Hal Merrill

News

Moved to Tacoma, Washington

 

This past month I have made a big move, out of Seattle and to Tacoma, Wash.  South Tacoma to be exact.  Starting to get adjusted to life here.  It is easier in many ways, leaving more time for composing and promoting music, and for practicing.  Looking to meet some musicians and have a group to play with here, while continuing to play with the trio in Seattle, which are very important to me.  Will keep you posted as things progress.  Hal Merrill

Friday's performance and some new songs

 

Hi,

Friday, November 13 was a good experience overall.  We got a chance to play a few new songs that I've been working on.  These are some jazz standards that Bruce has given me sheet music to, so I recently took the initiative and began memorizing and playing them.  Tin Tin Deo, an old song that was performed by Kenny Burrell and Diz back in the fifties.  Nice song.  John English is just doing great backing us up with his wonderful sounding acoustic bass. And Bruce, the absolute Maestro, with his patience and excellent guitar playing, makes me realize every time just how luck I am to working with such great talent.  I hope to be getting into some kind of studio or recording session soon, and we discussed this after the gig.  One idea that surfaced is to actually do a live recording at Grumpy D's.  I will be doing some serious consideration of this.  maybe we can bring in a percussionist for some of the material.  Anyway, thanks everyone who was there, and especially thanks Dan for having us!

 

More to come,

Hal

Another New Video

 

Hey, 

It was a great time last Friday at Grumpy's Coffee House.  I want to thank Dan and the whole crew for having us!

 

And a special thank you to our friend Josh Sweigert who took this video and posted it for us:

 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8M1nftC_A1U&feature=youtu.be

 

Great playing you guys!

 

New video

 

Hey there,

I just posted a short video of my performance at the steel guitar convention last month.  It's only one camera, and the sound isn't fantastic, but the effect comes through.  the backup band, Jim Stahlhut on guitar, Bob DeBoo on bass and Kyle Honeycutt on drums, was fantastic.  I will post some more of it very soon.  

 

The video can be found here:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8oYwPFUWu_Y

 

Hal

The videos are out!

Update on Video Project

 

It's hard to believe that a whole month has gone by since we did the video shoot September 28.  It went well, all things considered.  Michael Connolly really has his act together as far as studio management.  The picture quality is really good and the sound is even better.  Actually I can't even imagine what could be better except a good live recording of similar quality.  And it looks like that might be a possibility in the next six months or so.

Everyone played really well, and I'm so thankful to have such great musicians to work with.  I've been back for one mixing and editing session so far.  We finished one of my original compositions, "As a Princess Goes", which is a medium slow, haunting melody that I wrote for my cat that passed away last year.  I plan to have that posted on You Tube real soon.

We have another mixing session scheduled for November 13, and will be working on a couple of my other original songs.

Will keep you posted.

Hal

My new Video Project

 

 Hey everybody, I know it's been awhile.  I hope you've had a great summer.  I did, and actually I've spent the better part of summer developing this video that I'm planning to shoot a week from now.  I decided to go with a professional video team, since the goal is to really focus in on the steel guitar and how it's played.  The few videos I've posted on you tube to date have been ok but somewhat lacking in both visual and sound quality.  I'm going into a studio next saturday with the new amplier, custom built by Kevin Hilbiber, and 5 new compositions which I haven't recorded yet.  This is very exciting for me!  I'm very fortunate that I've found a group of guys that really support this project and the group is coming together very well.  It's a quartet, with Bruce Barnard on guitar, Dennis Stazkowski on acoustic bass and none other than Don Berman on drums.  I've been working out the details of the music.  You know part of the reason I got into playing jazz on pedal steel guitar is that I've never heard it played the way I would like to hear it.  As I reflect on all the past recordings I've done, I find myself wondering, what is different about this one?  I realize it's the fact that it will be on video with a professional video team, and also I've really had the fortune of some rehearsal time with the group, so that the dynamics and other details are getting worked out.  I can't wait to get this out there so everyone can watch it and hear it. 

I will keep you updated.

 

Hal

My latest efforts

 

Hi everybody!

Lately I've been creating some video material to help educate people about the steel guitar.  The videos are posted on You Tube.  Here is my latest:

 

Latest Video

 

Also, I'd like to thank all of you who showed up to my gig at Tula's!!! It was a great success.  Talk soon.  Hal

New Material

 

It's always interesting working on new compositions.  I had hoped to include more original material on "A Long Last Look" but it didn't work out that way.  It takes time to develop the themes, and then more time with the group.  Transitions seem to present their own challenges.  But they are coming along.  One advantage to taking a little more time is that you can think about the name of the composition as it develops.  One of the songs I wrote was originally entitled "As A Princess Goes".  You see, it was more of a requeim, for one of the most dear beings in my life, my cat Kamal.  I saw a flash of something recently, just a glimpse of a headline or name off of someone's songlist.  I immediately realized that I should actually come out of the closet, so to speak, and name this one "As A Princess Goes, Song For My Cat".  Life is intereating, isn't it?

Hal

More thoughts on CD Release

 

Hi,

We had Nadya shooting some video during the party wednesday.  We will be going through and finding some of the best performances there and I'll be posting some of these so that you can see them.  My primary goal of the moment is to share with as many people what the pedal steel guitar looks like, how it works, and what it sounds like when jazz is played on it. 

Everyone did so well during the performance, and I think Nadya did a pretty good job of capturing everyone in the group, individually.  Oh, yes, Nadya is a friend and videographer and her full name is Nadya Kadrevis, and her website is:

www.nadyakadrevisfilms.com

I look forward to working with her in the future.

Hal

Thanks for your support at the CD Release Party!!!

 

It was a great time yesterday at the Agua Verde Cafe!  Thanks to Mick for hosting it, and to all of you for showing up and supporting us on our first real "outing" since producing the CD.  I'll be posting some pictures on the site here shortly!!!!

Hal

I will get CD's today

 

I should be getting the CD's Today!  Will keep you posted!

Latest News on CD

 

The CD's are in production and the CD Party is planned for August 29, Wednesday at Aqua Verde Cafe.

A new CD Release "A Long Last Look"

 

Hi,

Finally, I know many of you have been wondering "where is Hal"? 

Well, I've been involved in recording my new CD, "A Long Last Look".  I had all of these songs I wanted to record, including a number of original songs.  As things go, even though I didn't get to record all of the Bill Evans songs I wanted to do, I DID get one of them on there.  But I'm very happy with the results.  As you get so involved with a project, it doesn't sound the same, as it did when you recorded it.  But then after stepping away from it for a few weeks, and when everything starts to come together, I am seeing, and hearing that everyone involved did some really great work.  And now I'm realizing that there has never been a CD quite like this one, and I get really excited to get those little CD's in my hands so that I can share them with everyone.  And I can hardly wait to be playing again for you all.  Thanks for all of your encouragement.  It is greatly appreciated.

I should have an announcement soon for the upcoming CD Release Party, ye Hah!

Hal

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