Palace-like setting for solo guitar

Matt gets the guitar ready before his performance at the Elkins Estate 9/27/11

My performance at the Elkins Estate house in Elkins Park this past Tuesday (9/27) was a success in terms of the quality but lackluster in terms of draw.

This was my first public performance with a classical guitar and I was very comfortable. Of course, spending a generous part of my evening in a turn-of-the-20th-century palace-like mansion had a positive impact on me.  I’ve always had an interest in early 20th century extravagant mansions and did, in fact, publish a series of feature articles on several local locations back in my journalist days.

The house is in impeccable condition (thankfully) and worth taking the time to tour on a Tuesday evening just before the live music. White Pines Productions produces the shows — in fact, Benjamin Lloyd is the production company and, being an artist himself, assures everything is just the way it needs to be.

As I was playing solo, we decided on the Music Room as the setting and I was not disappointed in the least. Comfortable and just a bit on the live side, I had a blast playing for the small but appreciative audience. Ben called it a perfectly intimate performance and I agree. I brought out old warhorses (A In Blues Major, Carnaval) and new pieces (Ronnie’s Theme, a re-cast Hollow Victory) and allowed spontaneity to guide my direction during the entire show.

My son did push the record buttons on both the Kodak video and Tascam audio recorders and I’ll be embarking on my usual sojourn into the digital realm to edit, EQ, tweak and go thru the labor pains I subject myself to during every self-produced studio experience.

In addition to these tracks I have a multitude of Group recordings from the last Witherspoon Grill date to excavate — in the case of these tracks I have to work extensively with the balance / EQ / sound to even determine if they’re suitable for mass-consumption. While I feel I’ve learned a lot over the years, I nevertheless feel guilty during the post-production phase as I keep thinking about the practice time going past me….

Preparing for a private event gig with flutist  Katherine Barbato as well as a sideman date with pianist Howard Miller is allowing me to stretch in all my directions. Now, I just need to get the Group some dates….

And for the players:  I ran the piezo pickup from the guitar thru a tube preamp and mic’d the guitar at the 12th fret, sending both feeds into my trusty Behringer mixer with a hint of reverb. Sounds pretty good from the non-EQ’d tracks. Small-diaphragm mics are my friends (for now)….

I think I’m playing much better now…. I just need to do more of it!



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