I hope your feeling good. Things have been moving along – the daylight hours are slowly getting a little bit longer and my workdays are more full than ever. Music has been my respite, a chance to not think and just feel. It has been extremely rewarding working with my new group – The Birdseye View. January was a busy month for us, we finished up our residency at Bishops Lounge – hosting the weekly open mic, played the Tom Petty tribute night at the Iron Horse, and participated in the Valley Showdown at the Elevens. Thanks to all the fabulous people who performed and participated in these events.
In other words, Matthew Dube, of the Valley Advocate, recently published an article about the new group (thanks Matthew!). You can see the article here: http://www.valleyadvocate.com/article.cfm?aid=11261
If you are interested in guitar/mandolin lessons I want to remind you about the lesson database I created on my website. You will find free, downloadable lessons here: http://www.levinschwartz.com/lessons/
Finally, I wanted to give you a quick heads up about the shows coming up in February. We will be playing two shows this month. If you are in the area I would love to see you.
Take care my friends,
February 26, 2010
The Iron Horse Music Hall
20 Center Street, Northampton MA
Doors: 9:30 Show: 10:00
*Support for YARN http://yarnmusic.net/fr_index.cfm
We have consignment tickets for this show for $8, drop a line if you would like to buy cheaper tickets (Tickets at the door will be $10).
Come on out and get your swerve on.
Sound Check: Levin Rising
Thursday, January 28, 2010
By Matthew Dube
Levin Schwartz is a busy man these days. In addition to teaching numerous music lessons each week—both in person and online—he has recently enrolled in Smith’s graduate program for social work. To top it all off, he’s recording and playing shows with his most recent project, Levin Schwartz and The Birdseye View.
Schwartz played for over five years with local Americana stalwarts Amity Front before feeling the pull in another musical direction.
“This past year I started writing my own music and started getting called towards this other, more acoustic-based sound,” he says. “I knew I wanted accordion, violin and clarinet, those voices, so I knew Jazer [Giles] from Rusty Belle and Lyon [Graulty] and Josh [Rellin] from Amity Front would be into it and help me with this ensemble, with this new sound I was hearing in my head.”
Schwartz, now based in Leverett, says that the resulting sextet—himself on guitar and vocals; Giles on accordion, glockenspiel, percussion, and vocals; Graulty on clarinet, harmonica, percussion, and vocals; Rellin on violin and vocals; Jason Schwartz on bass and drummer/percussionist Chris Trevethan—musically fell together quite easily. Determining a proper name for the outfit proved a far more elusive task.
“We had a few working names that we weren’t that into, but I’d had this song of mine that talked about a ‘birdseye’ view, all one word, and the group really liked that as a band name and got behind it,” says Schwartz. “It sort of suited the music well: a more acoustic, organic instrumentation kind of feel. It was like the twentieth band name we cycled through. We had a ton of spoof names going, my favorite being Levin and the Flat Breads.”
Where Amity Front was electrified and bombastic, The Birdseye View is acoustic and more textured. “It has threads of folk music in the sense that it’s very song-based,” Schwartz says. “There’s a real narrative. It tells stories, but it’s almost got an orchestral vibe to it, a lot of layers and instrumentation. It’s like [indie-folk band] Beirut, but it also has Radiohead’s big chord changes; it’s like punk rock, but done with this thread of folk running trough it—kind of murky but organic. I think one of the real nice things is that there are four singers going, and the harmonies are really coming on. With a lot of voices, you get this really thick sound to it.”
Schwartz strives to combine his passion for social work with his tunes. “Going to social work school, you interact with people in a really fundamental way—you’re exposed to life in a really raw way. Being able to take a step back from that and put it into my music, I hope to connect with people in a real emotional way. When people are depressed or hurt or frustrated, to tap into that emotion and be able to relate to these songs—that’s what I’m hoping for. It’s been a really rewarding experience.”
Levin Schwartz and The Birdseye View have been recording at Greenfield’s Bank Row Studios, and hope to put out a full-length album by the end of the summer. They appear at The Rendezvous in Turners Falls on Friday, Feb. 19.
For songs and shows, visit www.levinschwartz.com.
For those who do not know this, this post is going to blow your mind. Here it is: for each note in the scale (1,2,3,4,5,6,7) there is a corresponding chord type.
If we were playing just three note chords, the order is: major, minor, minor, major, major, minor, diminished.
here is the order for 7th chords: