Oh Come Emmanuel (1861) – Matt Bennett

Electronic / Synth version of the 1861 Christmas Tune (Hymn). I took some liberties with phrasing in the melody to make it sound more like EDM. I think a lot of the phrasing was in consideration of the lyrics, and since this has no lyrics, I wanted to change it to emphasize the beautiful melody. Listen or buy HERE.

Nobody Gets Me – Story

This is the first “traditional” blues song that I wrote. The knocking sound at 3:32 was interesting. I searched for an hour looking for samples of knocking, and nothing I dropped into the track sounded or worked well with the song. I grabbed my microphone, hit record, and knocked on my desk, and it ended up perfect. For the video, as usual, I just picked random open source videos to keep it interesting. Enjoy!

Quora: How do I choose chords or scales to make people feel specific emotions ?

clef-799259_960_720There is no mathematic formula for this part of the art of composing music. But it’s also so subjective because different people feel different things. What are some songs that make you feel moved? Study those songs. Which chord changes in those songs felt the most powerful to you? It’s not a crime to write songs with those changes. Nobody has a copyright on any chord structure.

You are asking us to tell you which chord changes make you feel emotion, but we don’t know which changes do that for you. Only you do. Study good songwriting, but also study the songs that move you. Learn them inside and out. Which chord inversions are your favorite songs using? Moving from a Bm to a C might not be powerful to you if both are in root position. But if the Bm is in 2nd inversion and it moves to a C major in 1st inversion, you may feel a burst of emotion. There’s no telling what chords will move which people.

I’m glad you’re searching for an answer. Remember that any art is just a series of corrections. So if you are having a hard time finding the notes or chords, then you are getting closer to an answer, because each time you try something you are eliminating things that don’t work.

You have my best wishes in your journey – find what moves you.

Off to the Rodeo!!!

IMG_1497-ANIMATIONOn July 3rd (2015), my country music band played after the rodeo that took place Hickory Creek Wilderness Ranch & Campground in Tidioute, Pennsylvania. I haven’t played music at a Rodeo since the late 90’s, and back then I didn’t pay attention to things the way I do now.

Screen Shot 2015-07-06 at 10.02.06 PM

Chris_LeDoux_promo_photoThere is one story that stays with me from the 90’s, though, and it involves Chris LeDoux. Broncos, a bar in Alliance, OH hosted a rodeo every year. We had an in because we played Broncos bar several times a year.

So we were the opening act for LeDoux after the rodeo, and our bass player got word to us that his wife went into labor and he wouldn’t be coming (pre-cell phone days for all of us!). This was a huge show for us, and we were contemplating what to do. The bar was closed, and the crowd was outside, so the only people inside were my band (Coyote Joe) and Chris LeDoux and his crew. His bass player heard us talking, and came over and said he’d be glad to help us out. It was a pretty fun time, and I’ll always remember how cool it felt at that time of my life to be playing with this musician. When I was young I didn’t really pay attention to detail, so I never got his name. Sad.

Moving forward to the July 3rd rodeo:

I was able to learn a lot at this rodeo, much of it was interesting: (All of these names are made up for my benefit. I don’t think the rodeo clowns “clown” anymore, but who has time to do accurate research?)

The Riders: The riders are crazy insane. They have to ride a bull for as long as they can. 8 seconds is the goal, and not too many of them made it. But even if they scored big, they were still going to get thrown. Nobody can ride a bucking bull. 

The Clowns:  The clowns are crazy insane. Their job is to make the bull chase after them after the rider falls, so the rider can get away, off the field. If your job is to make a bull chase you, you are crazy insane. Life is hard enough without getting a job like that. 

The Horseman: The man on the horse is crazy insane. If the clowns can’t get the bull, or the bull runs off in another direction, the horseman chases the bull and ropes him, and pulls him back to where he’s supposed to be. But on Friday night I saw this guy get in some pretty hairy situations being chased by a bull as well. 

The Timer: This guy is just a little bit crazy, because he stands on the field with a timer to time the riders – how long they stay on the bull. He’s not crazy insane – he’s close the fence, he can get away pretty quickly. But his job is still inside the ring with an angry bull. 

All jesting aside, this seems to be difficult job, and these guys were the hardest workers I’ve ever seen in my life. They had to constantly move, they were good at their jobs, and they fearlessly took on dangerous animals.

(My pics were all taken with an iPhone, at night, against bright lights – it was the only place I could see, or I would have looked for better shooting conditions.)



In the studio with Amelia!

Getting it ready
Getting it ready

Sometimes Amelia is not happy in her Pack ‘n Play. I usually just try to hold her in my lap for a little while, but when I’m busy in the studio, it’s difficult to do because when I’m working on the computer, she wants to play with the computer – and when I’m working on the keyboards, she wants to play the keyboards. I decided to set up a near-identical setup to mine – for her to play with. It worked!!! I set up a non-working computer on her tray, and a working (and active) Korg Microstation keyboard.

She played with this setup for an hour with no complaints. I spent the whole hour taking pictures of her instead of working.

Starting up Logic Pro
Starting up Logic Pro
Playing and singing. Take 23.
Some serious editing going on here.
Some serious editing going on here.
Whew! This is hard work!
Whew! This is hard work!
Taking a break.
Taking a break.
Re-recording a few bad notes. Love the little keys on this Korg Microstation.
Re-recording a few bad notes. Love the little keys on this Korg Microstation.


Traveling west – the digital humanities tour day 12 and 13

Through all the bugs on my windshield!
Through all the bugs on my windshield!

Day 12 (June 12, 2015) – Victoria, BC to Portland, OR (254 Miles) took the Port Angeles ferry to get back into the states, and we ate lunch at the diner on the ferry, which was pretty fun for me. I love being on a boat. I stopped at a few gas stations when we got back in the USA looking for Monster Java – I had been without it for the week in Canada. Couldn’t find any near the border either. We stayed at a hotel in downtown Portland – it was old and crappy, but it was cheap, and we only slept there.

IMG_1131Day 13 – Portland to Boise, ID (429 Miles) – We went to meet a friend at the Original Dinerant in Portland, where at 8 in the morning I was able to get a Cheeseburger with feta and a shot of the house cinnamon whiskey. And a beer. We took a walk to the Saturday Market – shopping is always kind of fun, and the carnival-like atmosphere is always exciting to me.

We caught a blues cover band that was pretty good, and fun to watch. IMG_1126

During this leg of the journey, we stopped at a sign for Multnomah Falls in the Columbia River Gorge, and though we should check it out. It was pretty cool, but living near Niagara Falls makes any other waterfall a bit less impressive through the law of diminishing returns.(the social one, not the economic one)

IMG_1238 IMG_1097


I may have said this before, but this was the most nerve chilling drive of the adventure so far. And I’m not the only one who thinks so. (Link to a news article about Interstate 84 through the Blue Mountains, with it’s signs telling trucks to only go 18mph.) I remember going up and up and up, and then it stopped and I waited for it to go down – but it got flat for a mile, and then went up even more. Some people’s conception of hell may be fire, but for me it’s a continually rising highway with a drop-off 15 feet away and a guard rail that wouldn’t stop a Schwinn. My worst nightmares will include that highway now.

Fortunately, we stopped and visited some friends in Boise, ID, and stayed for three nights, so I got some rest and relaxation before driving through the rest of Idaho and all of Wyoming. I also got a chance to do some work on a current project for the Magic Firm. More on all of that soon.

Learning by DOING!

As I look back on all the ways that I have learned, all of the things that I now know, that I have learned it all by doing. When I wanted to paint, I just painted, When I wanted to learn how to play a song, I just listened to it, and attempted to eke it out on the piano or guitar. When I wanted to build something, I just started sawing and nailing.

My stuff is CRAP! Well, it started out crap. The stuff I liked to do, the stuff I stuck with, ended up getting more and more refined. And the more I learned how to do that stuff, I got better at other stuff, stuff I didn’t even know related. The more I learned about music, the better I got at painting. The more I learned about martial arts, the better I got at building, The more I learned about building, the better I got at music. Life is amazing.


I had a friend who had a teacher that told him “There is one art, the Continue reading “Learning by DOING!”

Time marches on.


Loosely written for the Daily Post Weekly Challenge.

I am a child of the 70s, a child of the 80s, and a child of the 90s. I couldn’t get into Pogs, but I was really into Garbage Pail Kids. So much so that I remember dreaming about having stacks and stacks of them, and I was disappointed when I woke up. I had a collection of G.I. Joe guys, the small ones. Not the dolls. I could build a G.I. Joe guy fort all the way along the eastern wall of my bedroom. And they were all on the same team. Clutch, Cobra Commander, Snake Eye. Working together against a common enemy. My fort was so well set up, so well defended, that there was never really a war. Ever.

I couldn’t solve a Rubik’s Cube but I could take the damn thing apart and put it back together in the right order. That’s one way to solve it. Some of my best friends (guys) had Cabbage Patch Kids. I got creative with an Etch-a-Sketch, and earlier, a Lite-Brite. I owned the Venom action figure before I even knew why Spider-man was wearing a black suit. I really wanted a Swatch, but I never got one. I never even asked.

One of the most exciting nights of my life Continue reading “Time marches on.”

My journey back to a dumb phone (the dPhone Part I)

photo“The iPhone is amazing. You can do almost anything with it. But with all of the apps and capabilities of this piece of equipment, I just wish that it could like, make phone calls.” – a random friend of mine

He was right. I remember how excited I was to get an iPhone, after having a Samsung with a slide out keyboard it seemed like I was on the brink of modern technology. The phone replaced: My Camera/GPS/Nook eReader/Ipod/notebook/to do list/video camera/tv remote/Korg sound module/newspaper/calendar/olympus voice recorder/…and more. Like everyone else, for the last two years of my Verizon contract I had my head buried in my device. And during this time I was somehow blinded to the fact that it really, really, REALLY sucked at making phone calls. I hated to do it. In the winter, I couldn’t answer with gloves on. In the summer, I couldn’t talk without getting sweat all over the touch screen. I’m not a Bluetooth wearin’ kinda guy, so I’m not going to go that route. And the headphones with a mic, they just get in the way.

All of that aside, the sound quality during a phone call nearly always sucked. I have said “what” more in the last two years than in the other 38 years combined. (I made that math too easy for you!) And I really was blind to all of this, perhaps willfully so. Because I didn’t want to give up this device.

Thankfully, I am a slave of novelty, not technology. I think we all are. It’s just that technology is the most interesting form of novelty. When my wife suggested that we take advantage of our contract’s demise and switch back to far less expensive dumb phones, I almost felt relieved. We agreed that it wasn’t only the money, although it would save us $1200 a year. We both wanted “out” of the smart phone situation. And I was excited about getting something new, even if it wasn’t “as good as” the phone I was leaving behind.

I started looking at phones, so I could get us something that was not necessarily comparable, but definitely something that was usable. We are addicted to texting each other and asynchronous communication has it fine points. So really, the only feature we needed was a full keyboard.

I chose a Samsung phone for her, and (crazily) at ZTE  smartphone for me. I picked mine up first, and THANK GOD, Boost has no service at my house. So I send it back from whence it came, and we both got LG slide open phones. This isn’t a review of those phones, so I’m not going to mention the model. When you move from a smart phone to a dumb phone, there’s plenty to complain about. But in my mind I turned all of those into positive. No Apps? Not really, just the stupid common ones. Some games, but we were never really phone gamers. We prefer to be sitting at a table with a deck of cards, even though Janelle knows I cheat.

The thirty dollar “dPhones” we purchased are really only good at the one thing that the iPhone sucked at – being phones. Call quality is amazing – really. I can’t believe I could talk to anyone on the iPhone, after listening to my new $30 LG. The speakerphone is fun, and it afforded me something that my pickup truck could never do – hands free talking. My truck doesn’t have bluetooth, but I don’t need it anymore, the speaker is loud enough (and the microphone is sensitive enough) that all I have to do is make the call (voice activated calling if I want) and shove the phone in my sun visor. That’s it! I like it as a phone, and as a text messaging machine. And that’s all I really need.

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The iPhone? Well, it is my iPod touch now. I have music, news, and that’s about it. I’ll keep it with my when I need a slim, capable camera as well.  I went back to my neglected Nook for books again, and the experience of reading this way is very pleasurable. I also started really getting into my MacBook Air again. It is so much easier to blog, to search the net, to fill out my daily journal. Almost everything I have trained myself to do on the iPhone (simply so I could justify its existence)  is so much easier on my laptop. I almost viewed my computer as a necessary tool for some things, and the iPhone as the luxury item. Now I know the truth, I love the laptop, I love the nook. I used to think that I would make life simpler by consolidating everything into one device. I was wrong. I spent far too much time with my eyes and brain locked on this little device, and when I ran out of things to do, I would try to organize apps into folders in a better and more efficient layout. I was fooling myself, and spending far to much time playing with a neat little device.

It is very freeing. When I walk out the door, I grab my dPhone. I look at it when I get a text, and I look at it when it rings. And that’s about all there is to look at.