After my first CD was released I was with some friends in a bar when one said, "Hey Bob, about your CD, would you like some constructive criticism?"
As a matter of fact, I didn't, and said so. But that didn't register and my friend continued, "It's a really good collection of songs, but it's all over the place." Everyone there quickly agreed.
I was bracing for far worse "criticism." All over the place I was well aware of. I made the first CD with 5 different lead vocalists, and soloing instruments that ranged from electric guitar and organ to fiddle and cello. The songs were all inspired by books and included autobiographies of writers as diverse as Gao Xingjian, Frank McCourt, Jean-Dominique Bauby and even Anne Frank; with fiction from authors as eclectic as Barbara Kingsolver, Lewis Carroll, Jim Harrison and Antoine de Saint-Exupery.
I explained that the CD was meant to sound like a set of music played by a dj at an independent, acoustic-rock type radio station, like many stations that reside at the left side of the radio dial. Their response was, "Well, you never mentioned that." No, I hadn't.
At the time of their review I was in the process of making my second CD, Greetings from the Library. I knew I had upped the ante of five lead vocalists to six and that the same group of musicians from the first CD were kind enough to play on the second one, adding even more instruments and colors to what they had done the first time around. I also knew there were now horns funking up a few songs. I mentioned this to my friends, probably hoping to avoid more unwanted constructive criticism at some bar in the distant future. But I added that the second CD would be in three acts, like a play. I told them that having it in three acts would hopefully give the next CD a bit more continuity.
They listened politely. Three acts? They had no idea what I was talking about, couldn't care less. Didn't want to know. Their glasses were empty. "You getting the next round?" I was asked. Yeah, I said, I got the next round.
|bob eschenbrenner||acoustic guitar|
|kj denhert||acoustic guitar solo on "So Many Names"|
|mike sciotto||drums, percussion|
|rick mullen||bass, double bass, the rick bass|
|pete smith||electric guitar|
|adam holzman||piano, organ, keyboards|
|marc muller||pedal steel, fiddle, electric guitar on "Presence of Silence"|
|jens wendelboe||trombone, horn and wind arrangements|
|mark fineberg||saxophone, flute|
|kj denhert||"Secret of the Bees," "Ain't Signifyin'" and "So Many Names"|
|mary jacobsen||"The Isle of Saints and Scholars," "Snow is Falling" and "An Empty Space"|
|adam pascal||"No Worries"|
|adam falcon||"Ride the Sky"|
|jay prince||"This and That" and "Presence of Silence"|
|russell arcara||"The Towers and the Wire Walker" and "Closer & Louder"|
all photographs, images and music are property of Bob Eschenbrenner © Copyright 2020