wordpress statistics

Archive | January, 2010

Tags: , ,

Portland Scat-man Cody Weathers Plays With Heart

Posted on 30 January 2010 by Tim

One hardly hears about scat these days. For me, I’ve only seen scat performed in movies. Honestly, I didn’t even know people still performed it. But I’ve been pleasantly surprised to hear Cody Weathers, Portland’s scat-man.

Cody grew up in Denver and moved to Portland for college. He began performing about 20 years ago as a drummer but “was forced to become a passably-competent rhythm guitarist out of the necessity of accompanying myself solo.

I was really curious how someone comes to the genre and apparently, Cody was drawn to scat by his music teacher who introduced him to a wide variety of styles. Here’s what Cody said about it, “I had a really great music teacher in high school – voracious listener, one of those people who just passionately introduces you to things with the kind of outright fervor that disarms the baseline resistance to change of even the laziest bum (read: me).

I was the drummer for his jazz choir, and he used to lend me these tapes of Al Jarreau, Clark Terry, Bobby McFerrin, Ella Fitzgerald, et al. As a budding singer, I loved the not only the fertile melodic aspects of their soloing, but also the phonetic creativity of their peculiar syllabaries. I monkeyed around with it back then, either as a novelty or else in the pre-lyrical stage of songwriting as a melodic placeholder; but when I switched to being primarily a solo acoustic performer, that’s when it seemed like the natural tool for me to stretch songs or provide the melodic relief normally reserved for guitar solos. So curiosity followed by necessity, then finally embracing it as a part of my musical identity,” says Cody.

Hard rock sensibilities fused with acoustic upbringing and jazz acumen operating in a truly independent consonant harmonic system. [from CodyWeathers.com]

As a one man band, there can’t be too much conflict or drama. But do you ever get lonely and collaborate with others?

Sure; frequently as a player, occasionally as a writer. While I love the control and the challenge of playing everything in the studio, I have missed the camaraderie I used to enjoy playing with Flip Nasty back in Denver. In fact, I recently put out some feelers and invited two phenomenal new players to join my live shows (bassist Tim Krajcar and percussionist Evan Whitacre as The Men Your Mama Warned You About). They’re very flexible, like-minded improvisatory players, and having their two extra sets of fresh ideas in the mix each night has been a great boon to the variability I want to achieve from show to show. I never thought I’d be willing to relinquish playing the drums or arranging the bass, but their talents have sold me on probably recording my next album as a band and stepping back out of the complete auteurship I’ve hitherto embraced.

Are you working on a new album? If so, what is it titled and when can we expect to hear it?

I just finished two separate side projects, and I’m working on compiling a new live album as we speak. First, I collaborated with my lyricist friend, Cat Mayhugh on the second of our Sunhouse Branch albums, Cinema, a prog-rock song cycle exclusively in odd- or mixed-meter inspired by the films of Werner Herzog. That album is available completely free, both to stream and to download.

Second, I completed a separate, power-pop/hard rock solo album, Häårdvârk, under the band name UFO Catcher. It’s been mixed, and should be duplicated and up on CDBaby in the next few months. A bunch of preview tracks are up on MySpace in the meantime. I had selected a bunch of live acoustic solo tracks to release as a free album, but then I started playing with Tim & Evan, and the tracks we were getting were –frankly– a lot more interesting, so I think I’ll be retooling that album for a Spring release under Cody Weathers & The Men your Mama Warned You About. Still probably free. Check back to CodyWeathers.com for more information and for some new live videos of the kind of stuff we’ll be including.

Where have you toured and performed?

Anywhere coffee and muffins are sold throughout the West and Midwest. In my earlier years, I had greater range to my travels, but these days, with a family and a mortgage, I stick pretty close to home. With the new band, I think you’ll probably see us ranging out as much as we can manage up and down the I-5 corridor, and perhaps Central and Coastal Oregon. We’ll also look to branch more into full-band venues.

What’s the craziest thing that has happened at a show?

That’s tough – my folks are so polite and well-behaved ordinarily. Once, playing a show in Houston, my set got delayed, and delayed, and delayed while the prior act methodically shot her infinitesimal portion of a 30-second national TV commercial (“new music you’ll find at Major Retailer X”). The director – who may have been Iggy Pop (you can’t tell me otherwise)– ultimately took almost three hours of footage, including a lot of disconcertingly-phony pickup shots of rock-and-roll posing and crowd shots of the bewildered, bored followers of the act in question, now forced (and not too kindly) to method-act excitement from some earlier show they’d enjoyed. I’ve seen the resulting TV spot, and it’s literally 2-4 seconds of montage which must’ve cost in excess of $100,000 to obtain.

But then, when we finally went on, I think her audience was so tired of getting yelled at, and so grateful just to have someone playing a comprehensible “show” for them instead of the piecemeal herky-jerky performance that is a music video shoot, that they immediately embraced our set as if we were the buzz-laden sensation they’d come to hear. It was awesome. And those unpredictable gigs where the audience is really in and the music is really on are the tantalizing pure joy that makes up for all the other struggle and apathy of trying to ignore my otherwise obvious artistic unimportance.

You can find Cody on Facebook and MySpace.

View Comments

Tags: , , ,

Listen For The Renegade Minstrels

Posted on 25 January 2010 by Tim

The Renegade Minstrels are a new blended form of blues music with a hint of swing swagger. Listening to Frontier Blues, their latest album, is like the soundtrack for a movie set at a country fair. Good ‘ole fashioned Americana!

Original music is their hallmark. Which is great because The Minstrels are quite different from the slightly twangy southern blues. This five-man band finds a “wide spectrum of blues-inflected music compelling: all the way from field hollers to sophisticated jazz…While all five of us strive to forge something that sounds startling in its originality, we have an abiding respect for all that’s come before.

From a mandolin to guitar, drums to trombone, the Renegades layer their pieces with a more earthy quality. The lyrics are not quite up to par with the instrumentation and they sit a bit high in the mix, occasionally overpowering the rest of the music. Overall, the music is top notch homegrown Northwest folk music.

The band formed up back in 2003 with Joe Seamons leading the way and quickly adding members. The Minstrels clearly have a good chemistry though because when it comes to developing their music “the whole band works together to arrive at effective arrangements for the songs.

I always ask for input from each musician about which songs they’d like to solo on, and where they think their solo would fit best into the contour of a particular song. In creating the chords and melody, all I’m doing is crafting a structure that I believe the band can use as a springboard to surprise and delight people. After that, I focus on delivering the lyrics in a clear and compelling manner while supporting and emphasizing what my fellow musicians are doing with my guitar and harmonica playing,” said Joe.

Summer 2010 should see the first major music tour for the Renegade Minstrels. They get a lot of stage time here in Portland, Oregon but I’m sure heading out will lead to some interesting stories and fodder for more music!

The Band: Joe Seamons – lead vocals, guitar, harmonica. Jon Ramm-Gramenz – trombone. Austin Moore – mandolin. Luke Dennis – bass. Willy Gibbs – bass. Forrest Carter – drums.

View Comments

Tags: , ,

Inspiration Point by The Morning Birds

Posted on 21 January 2010 by Tim

Self-described as alternative, experimental rock, The Morning Birds surprise with a mellow acoustic sound that sets a relaxed mood. When I listen to Inspiration Point, I can imagine myself sitting in an underground lounge enjoying some Crown Royal and chatting with my sweetheart while the band plays.

Despite only being a year old, The Morning Birds have great chemistry on the album. The vocalists, Sam and Jen, compliment each other well and their real world chemistry carries over into the music too. The two “met about a year prior at a mutual friends b-day party and began dating.

But things didn’t start out easy. A little drama played into the creation of The Morning Birds. Sam was working on a solo album “New Dawn”, which Jenn augmented with some writing and music practice. The couple “decided to go out on an east coast tour, under Samuel Markus & the Only Ones” and work on new material. On their return trip they got into a car accident!

Instead of moving to the mountains as planned, [we] had to hole up in Jenn’s home town, Torrance, to get back on [our] feet,” they recall.

While in Torrance, Jenn introduced Sam to Eric who is a drummer. “After playing with Eric a couple times, it magically came together, and [we] decided to form a new band, The Morning Birds!

The band has traveled all over the United States and in Canada as well. They’re primarily based out of Los Angeles and have performed at The House of Blues on Sunset, Molly Molones, and the Hotel Cafe.

The Morning Birds have a unique style that is hard to categorize, which is one of their strongest features. I like the exclusive blend of tones and layered vocals they use.

When asked about their influences they told me, “Many things have influenced our style. We try not to be influenced by other music, but our past interests in folk, hip hop, classic rock, and classical definitely come through!

As far as lyrical content, their inspiration is life experiences and their spiritual connection. “We have recently moved out to the woods, for seclusion and to be influenced by the rhythms of nature, to finish recording our second album, “The Quickening” – which should be out by April this next year [2010].

Inspiration Point is a great debut album, even for a trio of experienced musicians. It’s one of those few albums you can listen to straight through without any songs grating on your patience. I really enjoyed listening to The Morning Birds!

Enjoy their music? Follow them on Twitter here!

View Comments

Tags: , , ,

My Zombie Pinup Finds New Home With Pops Ghostly

Posted on 19 January 2010 by Tim

Remember the My Zombie Pinup Calendar giveaway I did? Well, the second winner finally received his prize after a long holdup in Customs. His name is Pops Ghostly and he reps Canada for the nerdcore hip hop crowd.

Rhonny from Dollar Bin Horror was the other winner.

Pops Ghostly agreed to send me pictures and he even included a shot of him in his zombie apocalypse gear! (Click Image for Larger View)

Thanks for participating and sending the pictures!

View Comments

Tags: , , ,

Friends of Talk with Tim: Funny and Cute Pets

Posted on 17 January 2010 by Tim

On my Facebook page, I put out a call for cute, funny or interesting pet or animal pictures. My goal was to do a fun, lighthearted post. I was pleasantly surprised by the response and support from my friends! Below you’ll find the cutest pet pics that my friends sent me – plus a few of my own! (Including the thumbnail to the left here.) I hope at least one of these pictures puts a smile on your face! ‘Cause that’s my goal. Have a great day!

I’m open to more submissions…so spread the word and be sure to comment below if you liked the pictures!

Oh! If the picture is too small – click it! – and it will go to the full size image. Enjoy!

If you think you have a cute or funny pet picture that you’d like to share please send them to tim@talkwithtim.com!

View Comments

Tags: , , , , , ,

Personal Finance Blog Interviews

Posted on 16 January 2010 by Tim

As you’ve probably noticed, I am a fan of personal finance blogs and podcasts. I find them interesting and motivating and the personal finance community is very supportive and down-to-earth.

Although I like to visit a variety of blogs individually, if you don’t have the time or interest I recommend checking out a few of the personal finance related blog carnivals. These are basically weekly collections of really good blog posts. I like the Carnival of Personal Finance, the Carnival of Debt Reduction and the Festival of Frugality.

Do you have personal finance, investing or money saving questions? If so, comment below and I’ll help you find answers!

I have been lucky enough to have interviewed many of the most popular blogs in this niche including:

I plan to continue interviewing personal finance bloggers. But I also want to drill down and hit on some specific topics. If you have suggestions for what you’d like to learn more about please comment below.

I also wanted to say thank you to all these bloggers for writing amazing articles and (of course) for talking with me!

View Comments

Tags: , , , , , ,

Acoustic Artist Jeremy Tuell Strums Nice Tunes

Posted on 15 January 2010 by Tim

I’ve been trying to cover artists and musicians from my area – the Portland, Oregon metro, including Vancouver, Washington. When I put out a message on Craigslist asking for names of great bands I received a flood of responses. One of the better musicians I was directed to is Jeremy Tuell.

Jeremy began playing music in the school orchestra in 5th grade. However, these days you’ll see Jeremy working the strings of a guitar rather than a cello. Jeremy switched when he transferred school as “a Sophomore and my new school didn’t have an orchestra program. Playing guitar was simply more convenient.”

Jeremy is inspired to write about “love, struggles, ambitions, ideas, regrets, [and] pretty much anything I am passionate about at the time.” Tuell performs with drummer Ryne Freed and the two have been on stage at Tomfest Pop Culture and the Bluenote Cafe.

“I was 15 when I first performed at Washougal High School’s Bluenote Cafe, infront of over 200 people,” says Tuell, who recently produced 3-tracks which are available to listen to on MySpace.

Of the three, my favorite is Dreamer, one of the more upbeat tracks. I love the energy and the lyrics are catchy but still meaningful.

Jeremy’s voice sounds a bit underdeveloped, lacking the crispness and range of a more seasoned vocalist. However, he has a great sound overall one that should endear him to female fans.

If you would like to hear Jeremy Tuell live, Jeremy and Ryne will be performing at the Hawthorne Theater, in Portland, Oregon on March 4, 2010.

You can follow Jeremy on Twitter – @JeremyTuell.

View Comments

Tags: , , , , , ,

Flexo Discusses Personal Finance Tips

Posted on 11 January 2010 by Tim

If you’ve read personal finance blogs, you’ve likely heard of Consumerism Commentary. It would be hard not to. Since he writes great material, Flexo’s blog has been mentioned by BusinessWeek, Yahoo! Finance, and Kiplinger.

Flexo, founder and author, launched Consumerism Commentary back in 2003 and is also well known for starting the Carnival of Personal Finance. Recently, Flexo also launched the Plutus Awards to honor personal finance blogs.

Since creating Consumerism Commentary, Flexo has improved his net worth from less than zero to over $300,000! That’s pretty impressive. The next decade will likely be even better as the economy recovers and his blog continues to grow.

I hope you enjoy my interview with Flexo!

What are a couple things people can do right now to improve their financial situation?

At the most basic level, there are only two ways to improve a financial situation: earn more money or change your expenses. Earning more money doesn’t have as much of an effect if you haven’t optimized your spending, so I would look at that first.

Track every dollar you spend for one month. Where does the money go? If any of the spending can be removed the next month, remove it. For example, if canceling cable wouldn’t have a big effect in the enjoyment of your life, or if you value improving your financial situation over the reward you get by watching cable, cancel it. The same goes for eating out in restaurants, manicures and pedicures, and hockey games.

Once you’ve tracked your spending, you can use it to create a basic flexible spending plan. Decide how much you want to spend in each category for the next month, looking for ways to challenge yourself to spend less.

I don’t recommend living the life of a hermit or monk and extracting all enjoyment for life for the sake of saving money, but for anyone who is looking for an immediate solution to improving financial situation eliminating unnecessary expenses is the best method.

From your experience, what would you say is the most misunderstood concept or principle of personal finances?

The idea that personal finance is psychological is often misunderstood. Supposed experts in personal finance have expressed difficulty understanding how people can find themselves in debt when the concept of spending less than you earn, the key to building wealth, is built on kingergarten mathematics. Personal finance is much more than spending less than you earn. Personal finance advice needs to tackle psychology and the emotional side of the brain rather than just the rational.

What 3-5 blog posts from Consumerism Commentary are must-read for new visitors?

I would start with these:

Flexo has a Personal Finance Podcast! Download it free!

For those who don’t know, could you explain the Carnival of Personal Finance?

The Carnival of Personal Finance is a weekly event. Each Monday, a different blog serves as the host after compiling the week’s best articles about personal finance from over 100 submissions. The complilation is posted on the host’s website, containing critiques and summaries to highlight the best of the best.

Participation in the Carnival of Personal Finance is a great way for new blogs to receive exposure within the blogosphere. I created the Carnival in January 2005 when the part of the blogosphere focused on personal finance was much smaller. The Carnival helped bring attention to writing on the web about this topic and helped to expand the community into what it is today.

You’ve been blogging about personal finances since 2003, what have been the major milestones for Consumerism Commentary?

Although Consumerism Commentary has been mentioned in the press often, I was particularly proud when Money Magazine cited the website, alongside Get Rich Slowly, as the best in the blogosphere. More recently, this past year Consumerism Commentary surpassed 10,000 subscribers via RSS feed, and that’s a number I hope to keep growing.

Quite a few personal finance bloggers have gone on to write books or appear on television but you’ve kept relatively private. Will you write a book about personal finance or maybe even your blogging exploits?

I don’t have any immediate plans to write a book through the traditional agent-publisher-distributor process. I have several ideas for a series of shorter, self-published books and I hope to have the first ready by the end of the summer of 2010. The difficulty is executing everything I’d like to do in addition to my full-time day job, but expect there will be some changes in that situation this year.

Be sure to follow Flexo on Twitter – @flexo

Other Interviews with Flexo:

  • Moolanomy suggests that, “Although Consumerism Commentary may not be #1 in term of readership (among the handful of A-List Personal Finance Blogs), I believe you are the most influential one.
  • Money Crashers says, “…he tends to have some of the more fresh and original material covering personal finance.”

View Comments

Tags: , , , , ,

Bargaineering with Jim Wang

Posted on 08 January 2010 by Tim

Money, investing, credit card rates, and other personal finance related topics are covered by one of the top personal finance bloggers on the web – Jim Wang of Bargaineering.com.

Over the years, Jim has appeared in Smart Money, PC Mag, Business Week and other mainstream media outlets. I remember reading his blog before the first media mention and now he’s a professional blogger, working full-time from home. For being so well known, Jim is very approachable and was kind enough to answer a few questions I had about personal finance and blogging. Be sure to check out Bargaineering.com or follow Jim on Twitter – @bargainr.

Personal Finances at Bargaineering.com

When you first started really examining your personal finances, what was the hardest thing to change?

I was fortunate to have a pretty strong financial foundation, no credit card debt, no expensive habits, so there wasn’t anything bad I needed to change. I did find it difficult to begin investing in the stock market. With the bank, I know I get a small percentage interest each month but my principal is protected. That protection is important to me, the stock market is very unpredictable.

From being involved in the personal finance community, what are some of the most important lessons you’ve learned over the years?

One important lesson in life is that your personal relationships with other people are very important, it’s even more important online when you have very few shared experiences with other bloggers. You may write about the same or similar topics but you don’t spend free time with one another.

Another important lesson is that it’s not a competition. So many bloggers feel like they have to remain insular and keep their secrets, when in reality the competition isn’t against one another. I’ve learned far more by sharing with others than I ever did just sitting alone.

The philosophy behind Bargaineering and my personal philosophy is that life is about enjoying the things you love doing and spending time with the people you love spending time with. [About Bargaineering]

In addition to your blogging, you’re very involved in the personal finance arena. Tell us about your involvement in the Money Tips Network, Personal Finance Hour and Tip’d.

The Money Tips Network was something the guys at Wise Bread created, my involved in that is very limited other than being a member. The Personal Finance Hour is something I created and now co-host with JD of Get Rich Slowly. It’s a weekly BlogTalkRadio show where we tackle financial topics for an hour and take listener questions. Lots of bloggers listen in, call in, and hang out in the chat room. Finally, Tip’d is a social media news site and I’m responsible for blogger outreach.

What 3-5 posts would you consider “must-read” for new visitors?

Rent Forever Don’t Buy A Home – This post, which is part of the Devil’s Advocate series, raises the argument that renting is better than buying, which goes against conventional wisdom. The whole DA series tackles issues like this one and I’ve enjoyed writing all of them.

How To Budget – Learning to budget can be daunting but this Foundation series article outlines some simple steps you can take to start budgeting. The Foundation series is a series of articles that cover basic personal finance topics.

40 Money Tips for College Students – Forty tips that every college student should try to follow if they want a leg up financially when they graduate.

ProBlogging at Bargaineering.com

What do you like most about blogging full-time? Was turning the blog into a business your goal?

I enjoy building onto something that is mine and that I created from scratch. It’s fun being in charge but it’s also a challenge, I alone have to make decisions about the future and while I do appreciate the benefits, I also have to deal with the consequences of those decisions. Turning the blog into a business was never a goal until several years after it started, it began as just a journal for me to write my thoughts in.

What kind of reaction do you get from people when they find out you’re a professional blogger?

No reaction really, they just seem to chuckle and tell me I’m lucky to be able to work from home. It’s not a glamorous job but I enjoy it all the same.

Thanks for your time Jim!

Bargaineering.com Videocast #14: Jim Wang talks about how he calculates net worth, the value in tracking this information, and why your number isn’t as important as some other things.

View Comments

Advertise Here
Advertise Here