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Date: Tue 03 Nov, 2009 at 14:59
Headline: The Big Band

Greetings & Salutations!

Over the last little while, Matt and I have presented the live shows in a variety of different musical combinations, partly by design and partly by necessity. It's been interesting to stretch the boundaries of what constitutes a band, while also discovering just how adaptable our music is, lending itself fairly well to different arrangements and interpretations. And of course it's been great fun, a real blessing to have so many fantastically talented friends out there who are willing to step on stage with us and become a part of the continuously unfolding story of SoN.

Last Saturday, we played the Abyss Rock-n-Roll Sports Bar in Salt Lake City with what had to be the weightiest sound we've had in years. With full time keyboards and two guitars running all night, we were able to more closely recreate the studio versions of the tunes -- I think it may have been our best ever performance of "Saving Grace" -- and both Matt and I were freed up to concentrate a little more on fronting the band and playing to the crowd. Matt also got to wield the acoustic guitar more often than usual, which rounded out the dynamics nicely.

Making their debut appearances with us at this gig were David Slack on keyboards and Marie Estrada singing backup. I first became aware of Marie a couple of years ago and have admired her singing in Nine Piece Trio and Floyd Show, amongst other projects. We had already been considering asking her about the possibility of laying down some vocals on the new album, so it was fortuitous that Juli had a scheduling conflict with the gig and suggested Marie as a fill-in. We were able to break the ice while discovering just how great she is to work with -- a total pro, ably stepping up and tackling quite a few vocal parts on very short notice. She sounded great, held her own on stage (she also was relieved to have the option of dressing down at a gig, for once) and seemed to fit in with the group chemistry really well. We're definitely looking forward to working with her again in the coming months.

I've known Dave since Junior High School, but only recently reconnected with him via Facebook after many years being out of touch. He came out to see a show with his wife last year, we got to talking about music and life, and it occurred to me that if we ever needed someone to step in on keys (giving Matt a much needed multi-tasking break) he'd be a natural choice. I was a little intimidated in the asking, to be honest -- not only had it been years since we had played together and I wasn't sure of his interest level in general, I had also led him into some...less than pleasant musical experiences in the past, and wasn't sure of his trust level, either. Happily, he did accept the offer, and it was a treat to share the stage with him again. It's a rare thing for someone with such astonishing chops to be so level-headed, but there it is. The guy's a marvel.

Rounding out the roster for Saturday night were Mike Thiriot on guitar and Dave Geiselmayr on drums, both of whom have proved invaluable to us in the past and with whom we hope to keep playing in the future. For the kind of shows that we have planned in 2010, the sound of a bigger band is going to be a great asset, and it will be an honor to have all of these folks aboard for the ride.

Right now, though, we're stripping everything down to basics in preparation for another acoustic gig with our compadre John Flanders, our last performance of 2009. It's true that this year has been a little dry, gig-wise, but so far the quality has more than made up for the quantity.

Thanks to everyone who came out to see us on Saturday, as well as The OzzMenz (who put on a pretty righteous show of their own that night, it must be said) and the incredibly cool staff and management at Abyss. Lord willin' and the creek don't rise, we will be seeing you all again soon.