• news

    2012 in Review for Andy Ard Music

    The year started with a new album well under way, hindered by a few inconveniently timed bouts of bronchitis. The songs kept coming, though, and in June “How Easy It Is” finally hit the shelves. It’s my first full-length solo album, and I produced the whole thing in the bat cave that is my studio.

    I entered the title track, “How Easy It Is”, into the Durango Songwriter’s Expo “Write With A Hit-Maker” contest and won the pop category! I performed the song along with James Jacoby on tuba and Rachel Pearl on vocals at the October Durango showcase. While at the Expo, I got to write a song with Adam Zelkind, and you’ll hear more about that in 2013. In light of all the other things happening for me musically, though, this one was a huge shot in the arm.

    I had another song get picked up by a recording artist, but I can’t yet spill the details on that. More in the spring.

    I had some fun cowrites with some fantastic songwriters, among them Lee Johnson, Lauren Brombert, Jeff Zacharski, John Bunzli and Chris Webb. Now I need to figure out how to get all these songs out there.

    I started work on an album of children’s music that parents can tolerate. The first track is “Let Mama Sleep a Little Longer”, to be recorded by Micah Guy and the merry band Yo Mamas and Papas. A live version of the song is available already on Archive.org.

    I recorded an EP with Melle Johnson (as Von Melee) called “Quantum Folk“, with six tracks we whooped up as an extension of our participation in the Immersion Composition Society. The eclectic mix of songs was a welcome excursion out of my usual pop-rock environs.

    In October, Melissa Axel, James Jacoby and Kailin Yong occupied the studio for a few days to track several songs that involved tuba, piano and clarinet. It was an altogether charming experience, and I’m looking forward to hearing the final project.

    Going on two years now with funk-soul-r&b band PJ Zahn, I’m having such a great time with them that I’ve just about stopped doing solo gigs. We performed at the People’s Fair in June, Make Music Denver on June 21 downtown, various clubs, private parties and weddings, and we’re now planning on recording an original album together.

    We’ve both forgotten how long ago we actually started, but Jill Teas and I have been performing together in an acoustic duo for about nine years. Parties, clubs, weddings, festivals, Red Rocks… This coming year looks toward us finding a regular spot to play some tunes.

    The next album is already begun, and is decidedly more uptempo. The batch of songs is in the dozens, and will be whittled down through rewriting and recording as the theme takes shape.

    In December, I had the privilege of playing the third of the exquisite Katey Laurel‘s “Denver Dozen” songwriter showcases, this one at the Soiled Dove.

    2013 will mark the tenth anniversary of the collection of string & piano music I composed for online tours of the White House for the White House Historical Association. I’ve been working on rearranging those for rerelease, as the originals were produced for compressed animated segments. Ideally, I’d like to have them recorded with a real orchestra. Maybe this is the year.

    I continue to serve on the board of directors for the Colorado Music Business Organization (COMBO) as vice president. We’re focused on ways of helping music artists build career paths for themselves, a goal in which I am personally vested.

    This year began a new venture with fellow musicians and industry personnel June McHugh (Ash Street Music Publishing) and Alex Rodriguez. We’re creating an infrastructure for independent artists to be self-employed in music. Seeing a pattern here?

    2012 was a year of mostly ups, and the downs were instructive. I’m looking forward to 2013 because of some hard-earned momentum, and I’m excited about working with all of the people I mentioned and more.

  • news

    Andy wins Write With a Hit-Maker Contest!

    My song, “How Easy It Is” won the Pop/Film/TV category of the Write With a Hit-Maker competition, and it is quite an honor. At this weekend’s Durango Songwriter’s Expo I will be meeting with composer Adam Zelkind and we’ll write another big hit!

    Congratulations to Frank Maroney, who won the Country category. It is an honor to be among such amazing talent. Go have a listen to all the songs. They’re amazing!

    COUNTRY WINNER:

    “Just To Say We Did” – Frank Maroney

    RUNNERS UP:

    “Bringing Me Back To Life” – Donna Valentine
    “Without A Doubt” – Josh Tangney
    “Backwards” – Scott Miller

     

    POP/FILM/TV WINNER:

    “How Easy It Is” – Andy Ard

    RUNNERS UP:

    “Only One You” – Billy Schafer
    “Slo Mo” – “Rachel James”
    “You” – Diane Waters

  • news,  releases

    “How Easy It Is” by Andy Ard

    Recorded entirely in my underground bunker studio, this little bundle of songs represents several transformations – as a songwriter, as a recording engineer, as a musician, as a project manager, a father and husband, ex-couch potato, seeker of zen, what have you.

    I started out with the simple mantra “music for people who want to be happier”, and this is the result. I hope it can in some small way help you on that journey.

    If you enjoy the music, please share it! Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, mix tape, it’s all good.

    Thank you for listening!

  • events

    Andy Ard performing at 2012 Streetmosphere, Ft. Collins

    I’m thrilled to be selected to play this summer’s Streetmosphere, a summer-long festival in which Ft. Collins becomes a stage. More details to follow, but I already have the dates:

    • Saturday, May 19 – Moe’s BBQ, 12:30-3:30 pm
    • Sunday, June 24 – Ingredient, 12:30-3:30 pm
    • Sunday, July 1 – Moe’s BBQ, 12:30-3:30 pm
    • Saturday, July 14 – Ingredient, 1-4 pm
    • Sunday, July 22 – Ingredient, 12:30-3:30 pm

    http://www.beetstreet.org/streetmosphere

     

  • events

    Skipping Valentine’s Day?

    Why not hang out with everybody else who’s skipping it? Get down to Highlands Cork & Coffee on Tuesday, Feb. 14 from 7 to 9 and enjoy some drink & snack specials while your truly fires up the Jukebox O’ Spite. I’ll be taking requests, but you can certainly count on some done-me-wrong classics.

     

  • media,  news

    “Baby Don’t Care” on Radio Seagull in the Netherlands

    This was some unexpected and very pleasant news… Carmen Allgood at http://www.worldwidewavez.com/ told me that one of my tracks from her Indie Music Wave show got picked up by program director Stevie Gordon for his show at Radio Seagull.

    Broadcasting from the ship the ‘Jenni Baynton’ moored in Harlingen Harbour in the Netherlands, Radio Seagull can be heard on 1602 KHz AM in the Netherlands, across the North Sea and along the East Coast of England.

    Guess I’ll have to go play over in Europe now!

  • events

    Andy Ard & Tage Plantell at Summer Denver BrewFest – Friday, July 22

    Look for Andy & Tage during the VIP Session (6 – 7 PM).

    VIP Power Hour!

    Get first taste of great brews with this exclusive, limited admittance VIP hour with MouCo cheese sampling and beer pairing
    Price includes GA admission
    $40 advance/$45 day of event
    http://www.denverbrewfest.com/summer/index.html

    Right after us is Bop Skizzum!

     

    About the Festival:

    The Summer Brew Fest at Mile High Station will celebrate craft beverages from around Colorado and other U.S. microbrews and feature; live local music, food, and other vendors. This event benefits Swallow Hill Music Association.
    Swallow Hill serves a large community with instruction and performance of musical art forms such as folk, blues, bluegrass, Celtic, jazz, world, roots, and dance.

  • events

    A Celebration of American Songs – Swallow Hill, Friday, July 1st

    Kick off your Independence Day weekend with a celebration of quintessential American songs performed by Trinity Demask, Andy Ard, Lauren Brombert and Steve Jantzen. From immigrant influences, America’s musical legacy was defined by the blending of cultures, rhythms, and experiences. What emerged over two centuries are musical genres and stories that weave a tapestry as colorful and vibrant as the nation’s people. Trinity and friends will share their own interpretations of folk, country, blues, and jazz tunes that are both timeless and distinctly American.

    Tickets $10 advance/$12 day-of-show, $2 discount for SH members
    Purchase tickets by phone: 303-777-1003
    Purchase tickets through Swallow Hill website here:
    http://events.swallowhill.com/default.asp?SearchMonth=7&monthsubmit=x&MV=7

    Connect to this event through Facebook:
    http://www.facebook.com/home.php?sk=lf#!/event.php?eid=137327569678374

  • events

    Andy & the Dangsayers at the People’s Fair this Saturday, June 4!

    CHUN Capitol Hill People’s Fair
    June 4 and 5, 2011
    Civic Center Park
    Denver, Colorado
    Saturday – 10am to 8pm
    Sunday – 10am to 7pm
    FREE Admission! 
    Andy and his ragtag band of Dangsayers (Steve Millin – Bass & Carl Sorensen – Drums) take the Muve Music Stage on Saturday, June 4 at 3:40 pm. That’s going to be at the corner of Broadway and 14th, but make a weekend of it and get down there to see more of the 130 or so artists performing all day Saturday and Sunday!

    We made a little video to preview some of the songs we’ll be playing. Enjoy!

  • thoughts

    Fasterpieces (not Masterpieces) changed my life.

    First I must give credit for the title to my friend and fellow composer, Matthew “Melle” Johnson for coming up with that title. About a year ago, we conspired to start the Denver chapter of the Immersion Composition Society, and he coined the term that perfectly captures what ICS is about.

    Put simply, you coop yourself up in your studio for 12 hours, and emerge with 20 songs. Quality is of no concern for the purposes of this exercise, only quantity. No pre-existing material. We get together and listen to the songs that night.

    Wrote a song about it. Wanna hear it? Here it go…

    This idea generally elicits horror in the eyes of songwriters when I tell them. Make no mistake, the ICS 20 Song Game is meant to be an ass-kicker. You will find no better way to obliterate creative block, though, because despite what your inner voice tells you before or during a session, you have committed to churning out a huge volume of material in a (relatively) short amount of time.

    I can attest that some of my best songs so far have come from these sessions. Usually, I have a pile of disjointed ideas, and have to go back later to fix up the keepers. Sometimes, I get nice little gems that turn out in ten minutes or so, and those have done better than songs that took weeks or months to polish. The main thing is to keep creating, because that’s the best method for getting better at it. I’ve done four sessions so far with several of my favorite writers, and can’t wait to do more.

    Sure, you get bathroom breaks and meals. You have to clear your agenda with the powers that be. You’ve never done anything like it before. You’ll run out of ideas. A spate of little things pop up to prevent you from even starting. That is the whole point.

    Doing a 20-song session will have you confront your darkest fears. You will learn immediately what shortcomings exist in your project studio and your work flow, and you will fix them or perish. You will start gleaning lyrics from candy wrappers. You might bark for three minutes and call it a song (we call this “taking a mulligan” – if it’s got a track number, it’s a song). You might cheat and use an existing melody or lyric. You will get loopy and seriously consider why you agreed to this in the first place. It’s all good, and I promise, if you want to write songs, it’s worth it.

    The idea came from The Frustrated Songwriter’s Handbook by Karl Coryat and Nicholas Dobson, by way of Jody Mulgrew, a fantastic songwriter who recommended it. I do recommend the book, even though the authors themselves will tell you it’s more important to get started immediately.

    Just find one or more people who will hold each other accountable, and who want to be songwriters. Stop saying you want to be songwriters and be songwriters. Call yourself a chapter of the ICS. We named ours the Superfly Bungalow Lodge. And you’re ready to go. Schedule a session, and get started. If you’re in the Denver area, look us up on Facebook.

    More information is on the ICS Forum (you won’t find us listed there, we’re pretty slack).

    Full disclosure: I’ve only ever gotten to about 7 or 9 songs in a session so far. Even so, failure is a pretty meaningless idea in that context.