Bandgirl's Blog











It’s been a busy week promoting Silverwing.

We picked up a new venue at a place called the Flight Bar, guessing it’s next to the airport.  A friend is teaching line dancing and the owners want some live music, so our friend suggested Silverwing.  Always great to get a recommendation, now the pressure is on. We’ve exchanged info on the dances and songs that will make this gig a success for us and for the new dancers.

Then another friend contacted us this week about an opportunity at a casino in Reno, which is looking for some country music.  It’s hard to break into the casino circuit.  Sometimes you need an agent, who will take a cut, for making a few phone calls.  Also you need to have experience and it’s the age old dilemma, you need experience to get the gig, but you can’t get any experience unless you get a gig.  So if we can get in the door, then we’ll work hard to keep it.  Of course the venue needs to support it with some good advertising.

Then we had a killer practice yesterday.  Lots of breaking down the details.  My husband has played for so long, then he does everything by ear.  I, of course, can’t remember s#@t, so I have lots of notes, but no sheet music.  He just listens, picks out the chords, noodles till he has the lead figured out and off we go.  It can be an amazing thing to watch.  Anyway, there was lots of breaking things down.  What is that note, what is the drum beat, where is the stop.  It went from noon to 6pm with lots of smoke breaks, but that’s where we connect and become friends, not just musicians at a job.

Our next gig is this Saturday at our local hangout Boomer’s.  So lots of friends in the crowd.  I’ll let you know if anything crazy happens.

Mary, http://www.silverwingband.com, our cd is available at http://www.cdbaby.com/cd/silverwing



Yup, that’s right.  Silverwing has a weekend off from gigging.  We could be practicing, but there is family stuff to tend to this weekend.

So instead we are going to make decisions on some new  songs to add to the set list. Sometimes this is so difficult.

First, we are musical mutts.  We love everything from Deep Purple to Brantley Gilbert, from George Jones to Motley Crue.  But we are a rockin country band, so the Crue is probably out.  It’s tough to make the call, pick the song, put in the practice time and then wait to see if anyone enjoys it.

Next, sometimes we pick a song that just falls flat.  We’ve worked up songs that just didn’t do anything.  The crowd just chatters, gets up to get a drink, heads to the bathroom.  Yikes!  That one is going to the back of the book.

Talking about heading to the bathroom reminds me of Casino Fandango in Carson City.  They pipe the music all over the casino including the parking lot and the bathrooms.  When my husband played with a band there, I headed to the bathroom and while I was in there taking care of business I realize that my husband is singing to me.  Huh!  That’s a weird experience.

Anyway, sometimes they just don’t fly.  Sure the crowd needs a break once in a while.  Maybe we just had them up doing a swing dance and they are catching their breathe, but sometimes we pick a song just doesn’t go over very well.

And finally, we kinda have to like the song, cause we are gonna live with it for quite a while.  Sure, we play songs that aren’t our personal favorites because they are popular at the time, but we also have to enjoy ourselves.  Perhaps the chord pattern is a challenge or it’s has a killer guitar lead or a dramatic drum roll.  Whatever!  We will find a way to enjoy ourselves.

Because rockin’ it up in our country band is all about the fun.  I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, I love being a musician.

SW Moonshine Cover

Our CD of original music “Moonshine” is available at http://www.cdbaby.com/cd/silverwing.  The music was written by Mel Warstler (holding the dobro, which he plays on the CD) and I helped with all the lyrics.  Check out the title track at http://www.silverwingband.com

Thanks, Mary Warstler



We have a gig tonight.  Silverwing is booked to play at the Whiskey Tavern.  This is our first time playing there, so we just don’t know what to expect.  Is it a country crowd? A rock crowd?  Will it be packed or not?  Will they dance or just stare at us?

Years ago I came to my first Silverwing gig with my friend who was married to the drummer.  I had never met Mel, the band leader, who is now my husband.  After the very first song my girlfriend elbowed me in the side and said, “Applaud, it’s your job.”  So I applauded loudly and yelled “Yeah” and we helped the party get started.  It’s contagious. 

So we applauded and next thing you know someone else across the room applauds and their friend applauds and someone yells, “Yeah” and it spreads.  But without that first person it takes a while longer to win them over.  Sometimes no one wants to be the first person to give the band their endorsement by applauding and you get this uncomfortable empty silence at the end of a song that you just put all your effort into for the crowd.  Oh well.  It’s a challenge.

So maybe you take a break and talk to someone at the bar or nod at someone who will ask for a song and you make a connection.  Then after a few more beers and a slow buckle polishing song, you’ve got them.  They finally start to hoot and holler and it’s a party.  But it sure is easier when the band family table does it’s job of applauding!  Ha!

Wish us luck at the Whiskey Tavern.  Come say hi to us at our Facebook page or check out our website at www.silverwingband.com.  Our CD “Moonshine” is for sale there. 



{November 14, 2012}   Recording Sessions on New CD

Oh my goodness, am I a procrastinator or what?

The recording of the CD has breezed by me and I have written absolutely nothing, but I am about to change that mistake on my part.  So here I go…

We recorded a track with the entire band, which we used as a scratch track, so that as we each recorded our own individual performance we could listen to the song through the headphones.  That was just easy as pie.

The first take on the drums did not come out so well, but we learned alot.  We learned alot about microphones.  They may look simple but they are complicated.  They have different uses, some for vocals, some for instruments and the mikes that we used were not good for drums.  The mikes picked up everything around them, not just the drum that they were pointing at, so we had hums and buzzes and double strikes and it was just muddy.  Not the crisp, individual recordings that we hoped for as a basis for our recording.

So shopping for new drums mikes was the next step.  We ordered the Shure PGDMK6 Drum Mike Kit.  Consisting of one kick drum mike, 3 snare/tom mikes and 2 instrument mikes that we used for overhead on the cymbals.  Our engineer also threw a blanket over the kick drum so the other mikes wouldn’t pick up the sound.

Then we had our drummer come back to the studio and re-record the drum tracks, which turned out beautiful.  I highly recommend spending the extra money to get microphones that are specifically manufactured for drums.  The Shure mikes were great and we look forward to using them in the future.

The next layer in our CD creation was the bass lines.  Since we have played these songs soooo many times in gigs, that went very smoothly.  If there was a note that they didn’t like we used the “punch in” feature to just fix that one little note.  Quick, fast and onto the next thing.  So recording the bass tracks for each of the ten songs took a few days and sounded great.

The bass tracks were done directly into the mixer board as opposed to through an amplifier with a microphone in front of it.  Using an amplifier can add a boominess to the recording, atleast in the room we were using, so direct in was how we went.

There is alot more to tell about the CD engineering and I’ll get back to that soon.  But Silverwing had a really great gig at the Carson Station Casino in Carson City, NV this last weekend.  We had a group of younger people who hung out and had a great time.  There was lots of encores and hooting and hollering and dancing.  That stuff is the stuff!  When you get a rowdy, fun crowd it just makes it all worthwhile.

Back in a few with more details on the recording of the Silverwing CD. Yeah!



{August 13, 2012}   Beginning of Recording Sessions

So this is the start of our final attempt at creating our own CD of our own music.  The songs are originals written by myself, my husband with some collaberation from a bandmate.  Our band Silverwing has been performing these songs in public for years.  We have had numerous requests from people for a CD.  We have actually missed so many opportunities to sell this CD at different events that it is frustrating to think about the lost income and lost exposure.   But that’s the past and today is day one of the recording sessions.

We are using a Tascam Digital Portable Studio DP-24.  I will go into greater detail on the equipment in another post, but for today we are creating scratch tracks of the originals with all the instruments and vocals recorded at the same time.  Then we will take our turn listening to the scratch track while playing our individual part for the final CD.

Silverwing is a four piece band that plays rockin country.  You can visit our website at www.silverwingband.com.  So we all show up and set up our equipment as if we are playing at a gig.  The drums are miked, the guitar amps are miked and the vocals are miked.  Then instead of all of these microphone chords going into a PA for a gig, the chords are the inputs into our Tascam DP-24.

We’ve played these songs together many times and so after a quick warm up.  We went ahead and attempted to record the scratch tracks.  Each individual song is being saved on it’s on Scan Disc.  The engineer has labeled each card for each song.

Playing together is a blast and even though we have played these songs hundreds of times, it’s still always new.  The drums were crisp and bright, the guitar playing was tight and the bass was driving and powerful.  Our music is fun and sometimes kind of rowdy.  There is not a sad song in the bunch.  So this is not work.  This is joy and life.  It never gets old.

So the recording of each song went without a hitch.  Our engineer, Sean, who is also the bass player has used a previous model of Tascam recorder and our DP-24 is the newest and best for our purposes.  So one after the other, we played a practice run through and then Sean hit the record button and there is was.  Saved on the SD card.  Amazing.

So step one is completed in one day.  Scratch tracks for nine original songs are completed in about 8 hours.  Very productive day in the studio.

Can’t wait to tell you the next part of the adventure.



This story is exactly why I created the
GuitarChics website, to inspire young girls and young women to play
music despite the odds and despite any self defeating behaviors.
There are successful female guitar players who have experienced some
tough times and they can inspire us to stay with our efforts.

Joan Jett is the epitome of the
GuitarChic Spirit, devoted, dedicated, full of belief in herself,
strong in the face of rejection. Joan Jett is an amazing person and
she shared her philosophy on life just recently with at-risk
students.

On Monday, May 23, 2011 Joan Jett made
a surprise appearance at a school assembly at Scriber Lake
Alternative High School in Edmonds, Washington and spoke to the
students on the subject of completing school and following your
dreams.  Joan had dropped out of high school to  pursue her dream of
being a rockstar, but after success with “The Runaways”, and smash hits
like “I Love Rock ‘N’ Roll” and “Crimson & Clover” she
returned to high school and got her GED.  Gotta love Joan Jett.

Scriber Lake is an alternative high
school for students with learning disabilities or at risk of dropping
out.  English teacher Gary Lange, saw the movie “The Runaways”
and felt that Joan Jett was exactly like his students and could
relate to them, so he sent an email to her manager requesting that
she consider speaking to the students.  She accepted and a quiet
plan was hatched.

Joining Joan at the assembly was her
longtime producer Kenny Laguna.  In 1979 when Joan was trying to get
her first album signed at a record label she was turned down by over
20 record execs, so she and Kenny formed Blackheart Records and
issued the album themselves, selling copies out the trunk of Kenny’s
car after shows.  And although now anyone can buy some inexpensive
equipment and issue a CD of original music, in 1979 this was a
complicated undertaking. After over 20 rejections they both still
believed and they took the project into their own hands.  This makes
Joan Jett the first woman to own her own record company.

So you know when Joan Jett talks about
doing what you love, despite the odds against you, she speaks from
experience.  When she talks about completing things, we all know she
didn’t need a GED, but it was important for her to go back and
complete school, she speaks from experience.  When Joan Jett
encourages you to pursue your dreams, you know she faced rejection
and kept on with her dreams, that is the essence of the GuitarChics
Spirit.

Surround yourself with people who
believe in you and your dream.  Why would we put people into our
lives who don’t believe in us, I don’t know why, but many of us do.

And when someone rejects you, remember Joan faced 23
rejections before she went on to a career that has spanned 30 years
and produced 8 platinum and gold albums.  Remember, the people who
reject you can be wrong.

I am so impressed  that Joan Jett took
the opportunity to share her story with at risk students. That is
epitome of the GuitarChic, faith in yourself, determination, and that
is what she spoke to them about. She encouraged these kids to find
what they love and do it.  Immerse yourself in your interest and it
will become a part of your life, it will help define you.  I am the
rhythm guitar player for Silverwing and Brandywine and I am steppin’
up to the microphone with faith in myself, belief in my goals and
lovin’ it.  Join Me.

If you want to see the story of her
rejection by 23 record labels watch the video for “Bad Reputation”

Don’t forget to visit www.Guitarchics.com
to learn about other inspiring female guitar players.

sources:  www.heraldnet.com,
www.ksdk.com,
www.joanjett.net,
www.joanjettbadrep.com,
http://www.myspace.com/joanjettntheblackhearts

 



{May 26, 2010}   Brandywine draws a crowd

I played guitar last weekend at the Oasis Bowl in Fallon, Nevada in my duo, Brandywine.  We had a great turnout with lots of dancing.  Brandywine plays mostly country music, so there is a line dancing crowd and a couples dance crowd that follows us where ever we play.  We added some new songs to the set list.  And playing them live for the first time is always exciting.  Will I remember the breaks, will I remember how many measures of each chord.  I love the challenge of adding new material to the set list.  But the classics are a treasurer.  The first song that I ever sang in public is “I can’t help it, if I’m still in love with you”  by Hank Williams Sr which I first heard on a Linda Ronstadt album many years ago.  I can’t sing it exactly like the Linda version and of course she had Emily Lou Harris doing back up vocals, how awesome, but I stand and deliver and try to do it justice.  It keeps me excited by life and playing keeps me young and happy with something to look forward to.  I’m looking forward to the next gig.



The Silverwing band from Fallon, Nevada is in the last stages of recording a CD of original material.  Silverwing is mainly a rowdy country band fronted by Mel Warstler.  Mel has been playing guitar since he was about 16 in numerous bands throughout Nevada, California and Oregon.  Raised a country boy on the coastal ranches in Oregon, Mel’s music roots go back to classic country.  He learned his picking style at 16 from a retired LA studio musician.  And from that time on Mel’s lead playing has improved and has elevated him to be one of the best country pickers in Nothern Nevada music scene.  When Mel isn’t playing with Silverwing, he is the lead guitarist for Rick Hays and American Steel and can be seen at casinoes throughout Reno and Carson City.

The music on the CD ranges from the classic country sound, to the Kenny Chesney beach type cha-cha to the swamp backwoods down home sounds of Little Big Town.  Really there is something for everyone on this CD.  Last few touches will be completed in the month of May and then mastering and production to follow.  I will keep you informed on when the CD will be released.

Have a great day, Bandgirl



et cetera