Saturday, November 24, 2012

Nearing the end of 2012...

...this has been a year with a lot of challenges both personal and in music. Personally my dear husband had more health challenges then any one person should have to deal with in a lifetime let alone in the last year. Although as the saying goes "What doesn't kill you makes you stronger." he is now a true Olympian in my book and has managed to fight his way back to a healthy state.

Musically it's been a fun yet challenging year in regard to the difficulties with the economy forcing so many venues, festivals, corporate and private parties to scale back both the pay scale and number of opportunities available for booking. Clubs closing, pay dropping, players giving up the game or having to take the dreaded "day job" took it's toll. These challenges reach their tentacles into the individual basis and force many otherwise stable bands to shuffle players as they scramble to secure the next higher paying gig or plug the holes in their otherwise sparse schedule "filling-in" in effort to keep financially afloat. Next thing you know it seems like every band in town is playing the same set of generic material or there is no "band" but instead a "jam session". Throw in the DJ's and reduction to duets and trios and really good, "bands" with really good variety are scarce at best. Don't get me wrong, that's not a criticism, that's just survival.

Regardless, ZG has again managed to survive another year and had a pretty good run in regard to bookings.We've seen our share of working with an "open door" policy and we've all done our share of "side jobs".  I think the biggest slow down was in the ability to freely add new material in the wake of all the shuffling about. However, on a positive note ZG's rhythm section has found what's shaping up to be a solid foundation with drummer Art McAvoy and bassist Avel Rios locking arms and falling into that solid groove so necessary to support our particular style of music. We've had a few really fun and talented lead guitarists share the stage and thankfully Lenny Locken has stepped up and managed to ride the waves with us and has put his stamp on ZG in an unmistakable fashion. So with these three solidly in the mix we're looking forward to adding a fifth player (guitar, keys, or sax) and rocking our way through 2013.

Finally, With the recommendation and introduction by my dear friend John R Borja to Steven Wetherbee of Golden Track Studios, I've begun negotiations with Steven to produce, arrange and engineer my first professionally produced original CD for release in 2013. I'm so looking forward to working my A** off to get it all in motion. It will be spectacular, with Steven at the helm. Simultaneously, I'll be doing a number of live performances including guest appearances, duets, showcases, gigging with ZG  (of course) and vocal coaching to foot the bill. In addition, after we've completed the first single I'll be releasing it to entice investors and running an online support campaign for shameless self promotion to my adoring fans who will, no doubt, want to offer their financial support and have their names listed on my "forever grateful" list on the CD insert, lol. So stay tuned...and wish me luck!

All in all it's been a great year and I feel completely blessed, especially in these trying times. To all those friends, family, musicians and overall music lovers and organizations I offer my sincerest wishes and support all you do to help me and all those who work with me in  "keepin' the music LIVE"!

____Deborah Blake