It has begun, my sixth year participating in Febraury Album Writing Month! My goal this year is to not think about it too much and just write and mess around. If you like to hear songs in their rough baby stages, head over to my profile page.
It's icy winter now where I live and final sessions with everyone have long past. The album is moving in a kind of subterranean honey, full of details with potential and yet not appearing to move terribly quickly. All of it sweet.
Greetings everyone! I made it to Nashville, a little worse for the wear, but after one of the best massages I've ever had in my whole life I was set up perfectly for sessions. I just got back to the cabin outside of the city where I'm currently staying after a heady first day at the studio.
Day 1 at the Studio!
Sound Emporium is really really nice. I was instantly intimidated by the place and people, but this is not a fussy bunch of guys and we soon fell into a rhythm and finished basic tracks for two of my favorite tunes -- Keep on Walking and Ghost Town. The Yamaha that I'm playing is a very comfortable instrument so I'm enjoying myself!
PHOTO: Steve Moore (keys), Ian Fitchuk (drums), Joe Costa (engineer), and Lex Price (bass, producer) getting set up in the main room.
PHOTO: Late in the day Steve and Lex parted their beards to discover they were wearing the same t-shirt. :-D
We'll be tracking 2 more tunes tomorrow and then on Friday Tim Young will be joining us on guitar. We're in good shape.
The only thing not in great shape is my brain which has been pretty taxed today. I now know I need to have absolutely no post-session social life. It's back to the cabin pronto for a light dinner and early bed every night. I hope to find that tomorrow everything is re-set perfectly for Day 2. Here's hoping!
Thank you, everyone, for the generous support to make my Kickstarter campaign a success. Because of you I am allowed to make this album. I'm exhausted and satisfied. You are amazing.
Last month I had the great pleasure of getting together with Jeff Berman and Jay Dudt to revisit making my album Chrysalis for Bob Studebaker's monthly feature Art from the Ground Up on WESA 90.5 FM. We looked at building the song "Harvest and Snow". Listen here!
Sometimes it's hard to know if something is you getting stuck in your own lessons, standing in your own way, and when it's just not the right time. The trick is to keep having faith that growth is inevitable. Once you have felt the sun and tasted water you cannot help but become what you are.
That is how it has felt with finding my way to my next album. It's been a lot of attempts at what feels like the right thing and getting nowhere. Like a handful of dry earth. Like a lonely road.
It has taught me patience and the beauty of living in the gap. I have not loved it. To wait, to wait for what, is absurd at worst and brilliance at best. But even as I have awoken to each day feeling like sandpaper and faded curtains there was an internal sense of knowing that nothing lasts and neither would this. I knew it would all work out.
And here I am in the middle of May nearly two years after planting seeds and I'm starting to see shoots. I have given up nearly all expectations and somehow I think that's a pretty good place to start creating again. A little more sun, a little more water, please. I'll be writing about it all here.
It's been an unexpected few months. I was in an auto accident in December and this month I've rather suddenly moved (and will have ot move again next month and again in July!). I have been working out some details for my next album which are pretty great so far, and keep me looking forward to what's possible in 2016. Plus I'm FAWMing. I'll be honest, with this year's chaos, injury and stress I'm not as inspired as some years but there are two new tunes that I've just finished.
I'll see if I can work some of these into my live sets in the coming months. Concerts will be less frequent for a while as I continue to heal from the accident but I'll be out and about as much as I can! See you soon.
With all the crazy and the obvious signs of fear and pain all around us I keep thinking about love. When in doubt choose love. It doesn't make it easier but it really is the only way, no matter if it's the micro details of your own life or the big picture. I know I'm preaching but we've got real magical work to do and this is no time to be anything but bold about what matters.
I woke up the other day with this new song in my head. It's just a demo but I hope you like it.
It's been a while since I've posted something to the news page but this is a pretty good week so I thought I'd mention a few things. First I got to meet the founder of WVIA, George Graham, where I did some recording for a broadcast coming up. I walked in with my keyboard and was blown away to discover a gorgeous Steinway, freshly tuned. Of course I had to give that a try!
The next morning I awoke to beautiful breeze and sunny skies in Eastern Pennsylvania. The autumn leaves were in full color for my drive to NYC to play at Rockwood Music Hall for John Platt's On Your Radar monthly music showcase that night. His support has been really great and to play with my trio for a standing room audience in New York was so gratifying. I can't wait to do that again. Seriously. Someone invite me to do that again. I was honored to be a part of the line-up, which also included the lovely harmonies of Plain Jane Glory and the sweetness of banjo and old-time sounds of Dubl Handi. Some pizza and the Mets/Cubs game on the big screen to cap of the night was about right.
Tomorrow I'm playing a showcase at WYEP Broadcast studio with my band. Again, I pinch myself with how much I've been enjoying performing lately when I get to share the stage with such class musicians. After years of playing gig after gig solo this is a delightful change of pace and one that I hope can continue. The new songs are really coming together and if I have my way I'll be recording the next album in 2016. Keeping my fingers and heart crossed.
Then I'll be heading to Chicago for the CDBaby DIY conference. Then I'll be heading to San Diego to do a few things I've been wanting to do personally for a few years now: get certified in Classical Feng Shui and see Southern California for the first time. Learning something new? Sunshine and the ocean? Sign me up!
After that I don't have much happening until I sort out my plans for the next album. Researching engineers, studios, producers. God I love what I do.
Hope to see you at a show sometime!
This week WYEP 91.3 FM Pittsburgh is featuring "Out of Our Atmosphere" on the Local 913. You can listen online www.wyep.org or catch it at these times streaming or on the radio in the mix:
We wanted to thank the stations that have jumped on early to add Chrysalis. Thank you to
KDHX St. Louis
KKFI Kansas City
WWUH West Hartford
As we say here in the 'burgh, "Yinz guys rock 'n' 'at!"
More stations to thank for adding Chrysalis:
ISA Radio (France)
KVMR Nevada City
Radio Unerhort Marburg (Germany)
WERU E. Orland
WETS Johnson City
WHAY Whitley City
WHFC Bel Air
Radio ATL (Belgium)
Peelgrass radio (Netherlands)
WCNI New London
WBDM East Lansing
Big Star 97 White Settlement
KWMR Point Reyes
I'm so excited to debut a new trio format. My new player is guitarist Daniel Marcus and I've shifted Jeff Berman to percussion for these shows (he plays vibraphone with the full band). Digging the new sound -- stripped back but still really lush. I'll be playing this way most of the summer, alternating between Daniel and my full band guitarist Chris Parker. Catch us around Pittsburgh and, if Lady Fortune smiles on us, I hope to see you on the road. Here's our first effort on a brand new tune "Las Vegas".
To hear more new material from this concert: https://youtu.be/9BMpJ43mXKw
This is my latest (favorite) song. Enjoy!
Hey all! Pandora added songs from Chrysalis so you can now listen to a Heather Kropf Radio station! www.pandora.com
I am having such a blast brushing off my latent love of basketball and lobbying for my album Chrysalis to advance in a March Madness contest for Best Album of 2014 as a guest commentator. I'm also thrilled to discover new band crushes.
Will I advance past my 99th seed? Will I crash and burn? Will The War on Drugs or Parquet Courts advance to the Final Four? Check out the battles at Propeller Magazine: 2015 Album Bracketology: Top Seed Revealed in Confusing, Methodologically Flawed Tournament
UPDATE: All I'm saying is I lost once and beat twice, and I'm still having a blast! Opening Round, Contraditions About, Editorial Staff Gives Up
It's that time of year when songwriting happens in a flurry. Get a sneak peak at my new songs in demo form at my FAWM page:
New songs will be sure to surface at shows coming up this spring and summer!
Thanks to everyone who was a part of my 2014! It was a blast to release my album Chrysalis and get to play more shows with the full band. Check out the recent video on my Media page. BIG thanks to music writer, Scott Mervis, at the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette for including my album in the notable mentions for the recap of Pittsburgh music in 2014!
Onward to 2015.
This year I've got personal things I'm working on for the first few months and then I hope to be out and about playing more shows with the guys I've been playing with for the past year. You are welcome to join my mailing list to get all the news.
In February I hope to be hard at work writing as part of February Album Writing Month (FAWM), my fourth year participating. Follow along at my facebook page to see when songs are posted.
Anyhow, lots to look forward to. I hope you have stuff to look forward to, too.
I wish you a very happy new year.
In the days of recording and posting every last thing to YouTube it stikes me as being a rare and special thing that I don't have total footage of my last concert, our best show despite my voice being sub par from a multi-week head cold.
I've experienced live music in Pittsburgh for nearly 20 years now and I know (and love) what it offers. I can honestly say nothing in this city sounds like what we're doing. These guys have great ears and technique and I'm starting to think of them as my band instead of sidemen. It's kind of a heady feeling.
A friend happened to film two of the songs, and while we all wish there was more footage there is also something really old school and cool that the concert only existed in a moment one cold November night, witnessed by friends and fans in the intimate listening room that is The Club Cafe.
It wasn't a perfect perforance but the spirit and intent were strong. To everyone who played a part, you are a big reason for why I keep doing what I do. Thank you.
Hi everybody, just a quick note to say that my show this Thursday with Bill Deasy at Mansions on Fifth has been postponed. Some unforeseen things have come up for me that prevent me from playing. We will let you know the rescheduled date in the coming weeks. Sorry about that.