Eric Hofbauer Jazz Guitarist / Composer / Educator

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‘American Grace’ Recorded! – Trilogy Nears Completion

The recording of the music for the last CD in my American Trilogy is complete! 4 days of total solitude at my home studio, hours of preparation, contemplation, creative consternation and finally revelation! All the compositions and improvisations have been documented and recorded. What an experience. Very intense and certainly rewarding, if you have not spent days alone in a while I highly suggest it… lots of insight and perspective can be gained from silence (also, no computer, t.v. etc except for one hour at the end of each day). I think the music will be a reflection of all that comes with such an experience. Below is a letter I wrote to my great friend and colleague Garrison Fewell upon completing the recording process. Some of it has ‘rough’ language, but I wanted to share this personal reflection of what the last 4 days meant to me as a musician and as a human.

‘Overall, I am very happy with the whole experience. It was very challenging, I tested myself everyday, at least 6 hours of solo guitar in a row for 4 days was exhausting but joyful. I worked really hard to keep things fresh and let the improvisation flow, there is a lot of risk on this CD, very different from the others and that was the hard part, trying not to repeat myself (consciously at least). I can’t wait to send you some tracks for review…’

‘Interesting stories… the first day of recording I could only practice and warm up until about 3pm because they were doing construction on the street and jack hammering all day. As it turned out this movie called ‘The Tree of Life’ was on cable in the a.m so I watched it. It started out with a voice over of this quote… ‘the nuns taught us there are two ways through life, the way of nature and the way of grace. Grace doesn’t try to please itself, it accepts being slighted, forgotten and disliked, it accepts insults and injuries. Nature only wants to please itself, get others to please it over them and have its own way’. whoa… talk about instant karmic inspiration.

Way of nature vs grace

‘I had been meditating on grace, trying to dig deeper into it, but on too much of a big picture scale… ‘American’ grace… when you look outside there is no f*cking grace in America, not in politics, nor culture, nor education.. however, when you look inside (nothing like solitude to help with that) one can find it. Curious how that movie was on randomly at 9am on a tuesday to help me discover grace, relax and make this music. Of course.. I thought this CD does not have to be just about defining grace or trying to capture it in sound… really it is about duality in life… and you know I always compose about duality… that is in my wheel house. Grace can be how one allows themselves to embrace the duality inherent in life and humanity.’

‘ I was able to allow everything… case in point; extra sounds from the guitar. I was 8 hours away on monday from using the manhattan (my other guitar)… too many buzzes and weird sh*t on the artist. (my main Guild guitar a 1974 Artist Award) the top is opening up, someday it will have an even more huge sound and be unstoppably joyful, but for now it has growing pains (buzzes). I took off every washer and nut on that f*cking thing… and guess what? that was it all along. Especially those washers and nuts under the pots. So the pots are just floating in the holes with bits of paper  jammed in to keep them from falling out, paper is jammed in the pick-up so that stopped rattling and when the tailpiece vibrated I just had to slap it to make it stop. So.. yes there are some important, keeper takes that have some random buzzes here and there, I play hard and grace tells me that is part of my sound… I can’t play percussively and not expect the sound of percussion to be there.’

I hope you found those excerpts interesting. Now the hard part. Mix, master, do a new photo shoot, get the layout done, get the liner notes written etc. etc. publicity etc… I have all that stuff lined up and most of it scheduled already so things are staying on track.

 

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