A new project that I contributed a ton of stringed arrangements and performances to, is the brand new band “Roger Lion,” which is a cool combination of my friend and touring colleague Josh Karp (aka Budo), and Joe Pernice (of the Massachusetts alt-country combo Scud Mountain Boys and Pernice Brothers). The leading single from the album is the song “Dead Man’s Song,” which you can hear exclusively at Stereogum, or check out the Soundcloud link below. The album will be coming out on Team Love Records later this year. Enjoy!
Well it is finally happening. I’ve started the process of recording my debut solo orchestral album. I’ve written all the music, lyrics, arrangements, and had some help from friends with supplying beats and more throughout the album. It is a really exciting process to see all I’ve been working on over the past year finally culminate into a tangible product. Still a bit of a journey to go…. but it is gratifying to see all the hard work coming to fruition.
As of right now, there are eight full tracks, seven with lyrics, and one instrumental – complete with chamber symphonic works, and more. I didn’t want to write a classical album by any means, but there are elements of that, plus my own take on contemporary/pop music/film scoring. It is ambitious to say the least, but it is a really satisfying challenge for me to take on. Keep checking in over the next couple of weeks for updates on the process, and how everything is shaping up.
Our friends in the Seattle music community are putting together a wonderful little benefit concert for me and my girlfriend Susy. If you aren’t aware of what it is all about, here is a description below (wrote this back in January):
“Asking for help surprisingly doesn’t come easily to me. I have a tendency of wanting to do everything myself, and make sure it is done right – and with being an independent musician, this is a good trait to possess. However, you never quite plan for the catastrophic events that come your way in life, which are sometimes too much for someone to handle all on their own.
My girlfriend, Susy, who is also a full-time musician in Seattle, goes under the stage name Susy Sun. We used to own a beautiful little kitten named, Mendelssohn, but he passed away on January 4th, 2015 in a horrific fire that severely disrupted Susy and my little musical world.
On January 4th, Susy and myself were flying back up from San Francisco, CA, after spending New Years with my relatives in San Rafael. We had felt like we had earned ourselves a mini vacation after a big year of touring, releasing music, and recording. We were happy with the middle-class musician modest living we had earned for ourselves.
Our flight back had a layover in Salt Lake City around 5:00 PM. When we landed in Utah, I had a ton of missed calls, and voice messages from my neighbor, my landlord, and some random numbers I didn’t recognize. When I called back my neighbor to figure out what was going on – I wasn’t prepared for what I heard.
I was told that Mendelssohn our cat had died, and that there was a terrible fire in our apartment. I spoke with a fire marshall who said that the fire originated in the bedroom and that it was a ‘dirty fire.’ The carpet caught fire, which then ignited the bed, the drapes, and everything else in that corner of the room. Unfortunately the drapes had rubber covering on one side (to help keep the heat in because of unweatherized windows), and burned and released a lot of noxious fumes into the apartment, and the smoke damage from all of this was extensive. Poor Mendelssohn had passed away from smoke inhalation.
The fire was an electrical malfunction, which supposedly originated from a really old floorboard heater – the apartment was built back in 1963. While Susy and I were gone, we had turned off the heaters, so it just was some freak event.
Thankfully, we were covered by renters insurance… HOWEVER that amount also covers paying the cleaning crews, the inventory of stuff we want to try and re-claim, storage, renting a cargo van, etc. etc. The insurance company, and all these third party companies nickel and dime you, until you don’t really have a lot left to reclaim all your destroyed goods. So Susy and I had to do our own inventory for EVERY SINGLE THING in the apartment – from make up, to smoke poisoned food, to dead plants, to burnt out clothes, to all of our kittens old toys… This was a really difficult and emotionally trying part of all of this….. walking into our burnt out apartment day after day, felt like descending into a coal mine, pulling out blackened, and dead pieces of our old life. Smoke damage is under-rated on how devastating it can really be…..
At this point we guesstimate we have lost around 90% of all our belongings including: Susy’s piano, Susy’s albums, our bed, all electronics in the apartment (a macbook pro laptop, ipad, etc.), books, art, family heirlooms, quite a bit of my music gear (PA system, guitar pedals, sheet music, musical scores, etc.), 85% of our clothing, and all of our furniture in the apartment is unsalvageable. Our Xmas presents also went up in smoke. We know we are going to go over the coverage, but are not sure by how much, and that terrifies us.
That is where everything stands at this point. Since Susy and I are both freelance full-time musicians, this ordeal has made it impossible for us to work.
We are thankful for all the support from our friends, family, and community. A lot of people wanted to know how they could help us – and donations through a site such as this would be the easiest way for us to get back on our feet.
Asking for help surprisingly doesn’t come easily to us. But in this moment, we really need it.
Susy & Andrew
Here is a recent interview that I had with Steven Graham of What Radio? blog in Everett, WA. Really great conversation, and talks about my latest projects, and the journey I’ve had over 2015.
By Steven Graham
With all the work he has done with so many amazing artists it would be an understatement to call Andrew Joslyn a staple in the Seattle music community. After sitting down with him recently and hearing his story the case could easily be made that he is the hardest working musician around these parts, a title he would of course never claim.
His path has taken him from studying classical music at Western Washington University to performing in front of millions on television. If you take the time to really look at it, the last few years have been a pretty incredible ride for Joslyn.
“I’m an avid serial collaborator,” he said. And it’s true.
The list of people Joslyn and his Passenger String Quartet have worked with is pretty incredible. Artists like David Bazan, Kris Orlowski, Sol, Lerin Herzer, Craft Spells, Susy Sun and so many more than we could possibly name here.
Most famously Joslyn is responsible for the string arrangements for Macklemore and Ryan Lewis on their breakout record The Heist. A collaboration that took Joslyn all over the world, including a performance at the Grammys (that probably made you cry a little bit if you’re being honest) with Macklemore, Ryan Lewis, Mary Lambert and Madonna.
“I started working with Ben (Macklemore) in 2008 when we met through a mutual friend,” Joslyn recalled of his relationship with Macklemore. “This was before Ryan Lewis got involved and Ben was actually playing keys at this point.”
“I knew it was going to be a good album because it was such a good energy. I was volunteering and putting in a lot of time and I think everyone felt like it was something bigger than ourselves,” he said of his work on The Heist.
After what seems like years of constant touring all over the world with some of the most well known artists today, Joslyn is ready to go in a different direction in 2015.
“I have been collaborating for so long I feel like this is the year I need to write my own stuff. I want to finally say something that is my own voice … Lyrically, arrangements, scores, the works. I have a lot to say. Being a collaborator is great, but you’re always waiting for the next phone call.”
Joslyn’s plan is to write an album with the Passenger String Quartet as his band and invite guest vocalists in to sing his songs. He has five songs already written and other than his March tour with Judy Collins and some one-off shows with the Passenger String Quartet he has intentionally left a lot of his time open to work on the new project.
There is no word yet on when the new Andrew Joslyn project will be ready for our ears, but considering how hard he has worked on everything else he has had a hand in I think it is safe to expect the finished product to be pretty darn good and likely feature vocals from some people you’ve heard of.
Now, it’s time to shift gears a little bit. Everything above this was written back in December when I sat down to chat with Andrew. Shortly after our conversation he was away on vacation with his girlfriend and fellow Seattle musician Susy Sun in California. On their way home they were informed that their apartment caught fire and they lost pretty much everything, including their beloved cat. This tragedy was obviously not a start to 2015 that either of them could have possibly imagined.
After receiving some disappointing news from their insurance company the couple decided to start a Go Fund Me campaign to help raise money to cover everything their insurance policy couldn’t. At this point they have raised $17,500 and are about $2,500 short of their goal.
In addition to their online campaign, there will also be a benefit show this Sunday night at the Tractor Tavern. The show is being present by Artist Home Booking and Seattle Living Room Shows and will feature music from Shelby Earl, Mikey & Matty, Kevin Long and many more. Tickets are $15. Don’t miss this chance to come out and support Andrew and Susy, enjoy some great music and see how the Seattle music community takes care of their own.
In the final installment of my Berklee Online open mic series, I sit down and chat with Berklee Online Admissions Director Michael Moyes about the evolution of my improvisation techniques. From a stylistic stand point, I have transversed everything from Scots/Irish, Cajun, French Canadian, Blues, swing, Indian, and more various fiddle styles. I even had a hand in rock and more alternative styles with instruction from such teachers as Geoffrey Castle, Mark Wood, and Tracy Silverman. Just incredible to get such a wide education from various guides along the road.
Here is the next installment for the Berklee Online interview series that I did for their ‘Open Mic’ program. I talk about my history with improvisation, and how I came to it after departing from my past as a strictly ‘classical’ violinist. It is an interesting progression to make for any musician… essentially I felt like I had to completely unlearn what I had learnt with classical music, and open myself up to letting myself go in the moment – which I strongly feel now is the most pure form of musical creation there is.
As a close friend once told me: “Improvisation is composition sped up. Composition is Improvisation slowed down.”
Here is the next installment from the Berklee online interview series that I did with them. This one talks about my approach to transcribing parts and learning proper orchestration.
Here is the second in a series from Berklee Online, where they interviewed me on my work. This video focuses on my approach to arranging music.
I was recently interviewed by Berklee School of Music on my writing, composing, arranging and more. Here is the first video in a series they recently released:
I will be joining a bunch of other Seattle musicians for a day of helping raise money for the Creative Advantage. Here is a ton of information about this amazing event, and how you could help contribute to help Seattle music, and this wonderful charity.
SEATTLE ROCK LOTTERY 07
The Rock Lottery is simple, but effective. Twenty-five hand-picked musicians meet at 10:00AM at the evening’s performance venue. These volunteers are organized into five bands through a lottery-based chance selection. The five groups are released to practice at different locations. The musicians have twelve hours to agree upon a band name and create three to five songs (with a one cover song limit). The bands then return to the venue and perform what they have created in front of a waiting audience.
The twenty-five musicians included in this experiment are carefully selected in an attempt to represent a wide variety of musical styles. This event will bring together many facets of the music community that may seem incompatible, as well as musicians whose interests may conflict. The challenge for these participants is to go beyond their personal and musical differences and work together to create a unified group project that still contains the personal styles of each of its members.
The Seattle Rock Lottery is a benefit, with all proceeds going to The Creative Advantage. The Creative Advantage is dedicated to restoring access to the arts for all students in Seattle Public Schools, and is committed to providing culturally relevant arts learning that foster skills such as creativity, critical thinking, communication, and more. Partners include Seattle Public Schools, The Office of Arts & Culture, and Seattle local teaching artist and community arts organizations. To learn more about The Creative Advantage, visitwww.creativeadvantageseattle.org.