November 20, 2011

Insert Coin: Anniversary Special

Insert Coin by Matt RodelaOne year ago today I fulfilled one of my childhood dreams. I wrote and recorded a full CD of entirely original songs. Last year on November 20th I performed the entire CD at a CD Release Party at the Strathmore Mansion in Bethesda Maryland. It was a magical night for me and I want to relive that magic with my fans.

So this week only, starting today, you can PAY WHATEVER YOU WANT for my CD. $1, $5, $100 whatever you feel it’s worth.

‘Tis the season, so if you already have a copy, get copies for friends and family just in time for the Holidays.

  • Download: If you download the MP3 version of the album, you can pay any amount starting at FREE! I’d appreciate some sort of compensation for the years of work I put into the CD, but if you’re tight on cash, I want you to have the music more than I want your money.
  • Physical CD: For the physical copy, the price starts at $.50 + shipping, but I’ll also throw in a free t-shirt!

This special price is only available at this link: http://mattrodela.bandcamp.com/album/insert-coin

July 20, 2011

Song of the Month: “Autumn Breeze”

Once a month in my Song of the Month Series I take an in-depth look at one tune from my album, “Insert Coin”. Each entry in the series may include alternate takes, acoustic recordings, videos, lyrics, or anything else I feel like sharing about the featured tune.

A little Background on “Autumn Breeze”

I wrote Autumn Breeze at a transitional time in my life. The period after I finished my service in the US Army and moved back into the “civilian world” was a time of uncertainty and longing for me. It was in this short one to two month period that I wrote this song along with Better Days and Top of the World. Each song captures a bit of my feelings at the time, this one being the sentimental bittersweet song about leaving good friends behind.

I like how this song turned out, as it had gone through quite a few transitions in arrangement and composition before it arrived at the final version you hear now. I think it’s a very unique song and I can’t quite place it into a genre. I also can’t think of any musical influences that informed this tune, I made no attempts to cater to any popular styles or sounds. In that way, this song is pure Matt Rodela.

Video

Here’s an video of me playing Autumn Breeze at home, just me and my guitar.

Lyrics

Autumn Breeze

by Matt Rodela

Wake up on a Sunday morning
Take a drink from my cup, stretch around a bit
And I can still smell you on my clothes
In a day take a plane halfway around the world
And I’ll find a way
To think of a better time where you will be mine

Think of times
That sun shines
And it’s all right
But I do miss you

Staring at the Autumn Breeze
So soft outside, thinking about life
As the leaves fall and tumble to the ground
I wonder if they had a voice they’d say:
“Take me back to the branch I don’t wanna leave yet
From below I’ll never see another sunset”
But the leaves still fall despite it all
We’re so small, so small

Think of times
That sun shines
And it’s all right
But I do miss you

Some say it’s better to have loved and lost than never to have loved at all
But I know the love we shared hurts deeply now that I feel so alone

Take me back
Take me back (but I don’t really wanna go)
Take me back (but I’m happy here)
Take me back

Think of times
That sun shines
And it’s all right
But I do miss you…..

Like this song? Have suggestions for the content of future Song of the Month entries? Let me know in the comments section below…

May 31, 2011

Song of the Month: “SWM”

Once a month in my Song of the Month Series I take an in-depth look at one tune from my album, “Insert Coin”. Each entry in the series may include alternate takes, acoustic recordings, videos, lyrics, or anything else I feel like sharing about the featured tune.

A little Background on “SWM”

SWM is definitely my most experimental song.  It was also the hardest to record.  It almost didn’t make it on the album.  The biggest challenge was finding a way to make the verses work.  Originally I was singing the verses, but with the rhythm of the guitar riff in the background, it just didn’t feel right.  Corrin Campbell, my vocal coach for the CD, suggested I try “talking” the verses instead of singing them.  All of a sudden the song took on a Cake-like pseudo rap feel that I fell in love with.  It also took me a while to figure out what kind of instrumentation to use.  I ended up taking a simple approach and treating the song like a typical rock arrangement with 2 guitars, bass, and drums.  Of course I had to keep the theme of horns on all songs and threw in the trumpet solo, which I think really ties the song together.

The lyrics are also a bit of a departure for me.  Normally my lyrics are sincere reflections of my real feelings.  In this tune I took more of a tongue-in-cheek approach to singing about a silly topic: online dating.  The topic is silly on it’s own, but throwing in a bit of a personal angle and then treating it as a sincere love song puts a unique spin on a universal genre. I look forward to taking this style further in future recordings.

Lyrics

SWM

by Matt Rodela

Single white male looking for a match
Brown hair, brown eyes, average build, about five foot nine
Likes good movies, writes poetry at night
Plays guitar, hasn’t gotten too far, but in a matter of time…

I will take you out dancing, to a club tonight
How about Karaoke under the moonlight?
Run away with me and I’ll show you a good time…
…in a matter of time.

Lonely female, seems like a catch
Brown hair, green eyes, likes frappuccinos and sunset skies
She cries at movies, reads Hemingway and Poe
Got a ring on her toe, a tattoo she doesn’t show normally

I will take her out dancing, cut a rug tonight
Sing cheesey 80s songs under the moonlight
Run away with me, yeah

I know you don’t know me
But we were meant to be, ohh, together
I don’t know any better
All I know is that we were meant to be

…Kick-ass trumpet solo…

I know you don’t know me
But we were meant to be, ooh, together
I don’t know any better
All I know is that we were meant to be

I see your smile in your picture and it looks like you have
Captured the whole world in your eyes
And I promise I’ll never make them cry, no…
But please let me show you a good time

Show you a good time , baby, oh
Show you a good time, oh baby please…

I know you don’t know me
But we were meant to be, ooh, together
I don’t know any better
All I know is that we were meant to be

We were meant to be, we were meant to be
We were meant to be, you and me
We were meant to be together
And I don’t know whether its right or wrong
So I’ll sing this song, because…

We were meant to be together…

Like this song? Have suggestions for the content of future Song of the Month entries? Let me know in the comments section below…

April 12, 2011

Song of the Month: “Melts Away”

Once a month in my Song of the Month Series I take an in-depth look at one tune from my album, “Insert Coin”. Each entry in the series may include alternate takes, acoustic recordings, videos, lyrics, or anything else I feel like sharing about the featured tune.

A little Background on “Melts Away”

It’s no secret that I love jazz.  It’s also no secret that I love coffee.  I attempt to merge these two interests into the perfect coffee shop song.  Melts Away is about those quiet times you spend with your significant other.  The times when the rest of the world melts away around you and it’s just the two of you in that moment.  Like drinking in that perfect cup of coffee, it both relaxes and revitalizes you.

This is the only song on the album that I use finger-style guitar playing (as opposed to using a pick).  This gives the guitar a soft mellow sound, perfect for playing intimate venues like coffee shops.  This was one of my favorite songs to write and perform, the vocal melody is perfectly in my range and the tune is fun to play solo or with a band.

I tried to keep the song structure simple in order to give Brian Falkowski (sax) and myself room to improvise and experiment with jazz riffs throughout the song.   Alex Barron lends some very unique cello playing to the tune.  I was so in love with his playing that I kept both takes and use them side-by-side in the recording so it sounds like two cello players riffing off of each other.  We never intended for that to happen, but it worked out superbly.

Melts Away Live

This video is from my CD Release Concert at the Strathmore Mansion in Bethesda, MD.

Lyrics

by Matt Rodela

Trace my fingers up your back
Your spine a path I’ll slowly track
To your neck and hair and back, back down again
A trip I’ll take till dawn cracks

And the world….melts away
And the world….melts away
And the world….melts away
And the world….melts away
It’s just you and me here

With your coffee eyes lookin’ back
Swim in your gaze and I relax
Smooth java skin and I’ll take you black, no need for sugar
Sweetness I know you don’t lack

And the world….melts away
And the world….melts away
And the world….melts away
And the world….melts away
It’s just you and me here

Breath you in I’ll take a deep breath keep you in my lungs
Hold you inside me no need to remind me with you beside me I am one
Complete my heart complete my words complete me completely
Until I fall apart
Until we fall….

And the world….melts away
And the world….melts away
And the world….melts away
And the world….melts away
It’s Just you and me here yeah…

Like this song? Have suggestions for the content of future Song of the Month entries? Let me know in the comments section below…

February 19, 2011

Song of the Month: “I’ll Remember You”

Once a month in my Song of the Month Series I take an in-depth look at one tune from my album, “Insert Coin”. Each entry in the series may include alternate takes, acoustic recordings, videos, lyrics, or anything else I feel like sharing about the featured tune.

A little Background on “I’ll Remember You”

This song is one of the most ambitious endeavors on my album.  It’s also one of the songs that I wish I had more time (and money) to record it just right.  It’s a song that needs to build delicately, in just the right way, so you’re always curious to know what happens next, musically and lyrically.  It’s a song that’s meant to take you on a journey, and at the end, leave you wanting more.  It almost gets there, but I think my ambition was bigger than my production abilities on this one.  I still love it though, it’s one of my favorites.

The highlight of this song for me is the bridge section where I pay homage to the art of horn rock made popular by Chicago, Blood Sweat and Tears, and many other groups from the 60′s and 70′s.  As a trumpet player I love a good soli horn riff, and this section was my no-apologizes love letter to that genre.  I feel like I could have done more with this section though, especially with the rhythm instruments…it’s not quite funky enough for my tastes.

I like the way the music and words work together in this tune.  Like the lyrics, which are loosely based on a good friend of mine that has yo-yo’ed in and out of my life for the better part of a decade, the music also bounces back and forth, never really finding a home to fit into until the end.

This is also the tune with the most instruments playing at once, with close to 30 separate tracks going at the same time at the end.  Yet the song only start with one instrument.  I love that contrast.

I hope to take many of the ideas in this song and hone and tighten them into future songs I record…I feel like I’m onto something here.

Behind the Scenes Video

Lyrics

by Matt Rodela

Wandering along a lonely path
A Gypsy stops to rest her back
Sets down the load she’s hauling

That is how I found her there
Tired, worn, with dirty hair
I said, “How ya doin’ darlin’?”

She said, “Howdy stranger I’m alright
My journey’s lasted through the night”
She laid her head on my shoulder

We sat there and had a time
Our souls connected, stars aligned
But the road was calling her away

Did you wander off for the last time?
Took away my piece of mind
Now I’m left here wondering
When it’s through
Will you still remember me
No matter where you’ll be
I’ll remember you…I’ll remember you

Throughout the years she’d pass again
Weary and in need of a friend
She had changed but somehow she was still as I remembered

Ages since she went away
I have grown old and grey
Yet the memory of her remains

Did you wander off for the last time?
Took away my piece of mind
Now I’m left here wondering
When it’s through
Will you still remember me
No matter where you’ll be
I’ll remember you…I’ll remember you

You inspired me to be something more than you can see
Can I continue on my own wondering if you have found you’re home
You inspired me to be something more than you can see
Can I continue on my own wondering if you have found you’re home

Did you wander off for the last time?
Took away my piece of mind
Now I’m left here wondering
When it’s through Will you still remember me
No matter where you’ll be
I’ll remember you…I’ll remember you

January 4, 2011

Song of the Month: “Better Days”

Once a month in my Song of the Month Series I take an in-depth look at one tune from my album, “Insert Coin”. Each entry in the series may include alternate takes, acoustic recordings, videos, lyrics, or anything else I feel like sharing about the featured tune.

A little Background on “Better Days”

To kick off the series I’ll start with the first song on the album, called “Better Days”. This was part of a handful of songs that got their genesis sometime in 2004 after I got out of the US Army. It deals with the feelings of longing for someone special at a time when I was seeking a sense of belonging and direction.

The song writing process for this tune was very slow and organic. I started, like most of my songs, with the main guitar riff on acoustic guitar. I knew right away that the riff would translate well to electric guitar, so I always kept that in the back of my mind for when I finally recorded it.

I then started singing a melody over the riff and the first thing that came out was the line: “These days are a cloudy veil of wonder.”  That lyrics sums up my feelings at the time, and was a good kick off for the song.  I started constructing the rest of the two verses based off of that first line. The subject of the song naturally flowed from my state of mind at the time. The gritty verses that hit up against the rhythmic brick wall of the chorus that finally release into a glimmer of hope in the bridge and ending….all mirror the inner dialogue I had with myself.

I played this song live on and off for years, but it always felt a bit empty as a solo acoustic arrangement. The horn parts were added much later, in preparation for the album recording. I felt this song would be a perfect testing bed for some power-funk inspired horn arrangements and I had a blast writing them.

Listen to the studio version of “Better Days” from Insert Coin

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Behind the Scenes

The group horn parts to all the songs on Insert Coin, including “Better Days”, were recorded in one afternoon at my girlfriend Daisy’s apartment.  Here’s a short behind-the-scenes video clip of me laying down one of the horn licks, along with engineer Dave Kovacek.  What you don’t see are the other horns playing along with me at the same time: the sax player in the other room and the trombone player in Daisy’s closet!

Lyrics

by Matt Rodela


These days are a cloudy veil of wonder
Ice age is your attitude
Throw away all thoughts of better slumber
I’ll say what have I got to loose

I know better days will come my way
But for now I’ll sit and wait for your hand

Shyly I go through the motions
Nightly I sit alone on my bed with my hand
Occupying The emptiness I feel
Never finding satisfaction in the nothingness I have

I know better days will come along
But for now I’ll sit and wait for your hand

Waiting, waiting for your hand
Waiting, waiting for your hand

These days are a cloudy veil of wonder
Ice age is your attitude
Throw away all thoughts of better slumber
I’ll say what have I got to loose

I know better days will come my way
But for now I’ll sit and wait for your
Now I’ll sit and wait for your
Now I’ll sit and wait for your hand

Waiting, waiting for your hand
Waiting, waiting for your hand…

Like this song?  Have suggestions for the content of future Song of the Month entries?  Let me know in the comments section below…

December 7, 2010

CD Release Party: The Aftermath

Photo by Junghea Kwon

Photo by Junghea Kwon

It’s been a little over a week now since I had my CD release part for Insert Coin on November 20th.  It was a hectic day. It took most of the afternoon to gather and load equipment, prepare food, get the guest list in order, and ensure everything was accounted for. I think the rushing around helped keep me from being nervous. I was focused, and I was excited.

How could I not be excited? This was the culmination of two years of recording, arranging, vocal lessons, re-recording, re-arranging, studio mishaps, and a lot of second guessing; not to mention a month and a half of rehearsals with the group of talented musicians that accompanied me, many of whom I had never worked with before.  The beautiful Mansion at Strathmore was an ideal venue: intimate, exclusive, inviting, it was a perfect setting for my kind of music.  Everything was prepared and ready to go, but how would it turn out?

It came down to one night. And what a night it was!

Photo by William Osborne

Photo by William Osborne

You all…my friends, family, and fans…came out in droves! This was an invitation-only event (mansion rules) so I wasn’t allowed to publicly sell or announce the event. I had to ask you directly for your support, and you guys came through for me. I was shooting for about 50 attendees, but was realistically expecting less than that. We ended the night with over 80 folks showing up! So many, in fact, that we ran out of seating for everyone. You turned what was supposed to be a cozy performance space into a packed standing-room-only affair!  You clapped-along, sang-along, and were the most attentive audience I’ve ever had the pleasure of performing for.  I want to take you all with me every I perform!

I wanted to extend a special thank you to Daisy Eun for managing and organizing the refreshments for the evening!  Also to Vijay, Megan, Lalita, my family, and everyone else who helped out with setting things up.  Also thanks to the Sims family for driving down from Ohio for the event and to Renee and Chip for making the trip from Virginia Beach!  You all made the night super special!

Finally I’d like to thank the band: Dan Jenkin on Drums, Jim Viner on Bass, Phil Baldassano on Keys, Alex Barron on Cello, Mike Welgein on Trombone, Jose Oviedo on Trumpet, Seth Kibel on Saxes/Flute/Clarinet, and Jeffrey O’Connor (and assistant) running sound!  You delivered a flood of sweet soundscapes to the audience that almost literally blew the doors off the place!   Thanks guys!

How awesome was the audience?  Check them out as they sing-a-long to Rain Song:

Best song of the night (aside from the flub in my trumpet solo):

Lets keep this momentum going! Please continue to spread the word about my album which is available at my live shows and everywhere online!

Keep the music flowin’…

November 24, 2010

INSERT COIN – Now available everywhere!

After 7 years of songwriting, 5 years of honing my craft at open mics and coffee shops, and 2 years of production, my debut album, Inset Coin, is finally available worldwide!

Featuring 11 tracks of all original songs I’ve written ranging in subject matter from longing for lost love to online dating!  Relaxing, smooth, and natural, the sounds of the album include diverse instrumentation including cello, flute, sax, trombone, and of course my favorite, trumpet!  As a multi-instrumentalist, I showcases my trumpet, guitar, and vocal skills on the album while joined by many of the DC/Baltimore area’s finest musicians. For fans of Dave Matthews Band, Jason Mraz, Chicago, Elvis Costello, or any fun, laid back, un-electronic music!

Buy “Insert Coin” now at these, and other, online retail outlets.

DigStation - Indie Music Downloads

September 29, 2010

Insert Coin CD Release Concert!

2 years in production…30 year in the making…

It’s been a long time coming, but my debut album “Insert Coin” is almost ready to launch!  Now that all of the recording and producing work is over, I’ve been concentrating on finding the perfect place to hold my CD release show. I’m happy to say that I’ve found it!

The Mansion at Strathmore is a beautiful 111 year old colonial revival mansion that is now used for art exhibits, weddings, and intimate concert performances. I had an opportunity to catch a show there a couple years back and fell in love with the intimacy and exclusive vibe it provides for musical performances. I’m so excited that I was able to reserve this historic venue for my CD release party.

If you want to be one of the first to grab a copy of the CD and hear all 11 tracks performed live, then you don’t want to miss this show! It is a ticketed event, so click the box to the left to get your tickets now! You can pay whatever you can afford for the tickets. I suggest $10, but if you can only afford $5, that’s fine! If you’re feeling really generous, a donation of $25 or more will get you a free copy of my CD and front row seats! Keep in mind, most music shows now-a-days charge over $25 for the worst seats!

Head on over to the event page by clicking “Register Now” above, get your tickets, and I’ll see you at the show!

August 25, 2010

[NEW VIDEO] Living Room Sessions: “Superstition”

This video is part of a series I call the “Living Room Sessions“, where I record performances done right in my own living room.

This time around I’m tackling one of my favorite songs ever, “Superstition” by Stevie Wonder.  I put my own unique spin on it using my Boomerang Phrase Sampler and also a Boss RC-2 Loop Station..  Enjoy!

Dig the video?  It’d make my day if you hit up the You Tube page and left a nice comment under the video!

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