Traditional Instruments Reimagined Review

Edward Forstman at ArtsBHAM reviewed my recent concert with Matt Bryant at the Hoover Library Theater.

Part of the magic of Holland Hopson’s performances lies in the mystery of just how much he has planned out beforehand and what’s being extemporized. He is a rapt listener to his own performances, nuancing each refrain’s iteration with distinctive stresses, pitch bends, additions, and deletions. He began with a piece he used on the BAMA DIY concert reviewed in August, and yet it came off as freshly conceived and decidedly different, as if he’d made it up on the spot.

His set consisted of eight songs. Highlights included Hopson’s intense lament of forbidden queer love, the ballad “Laurel Cove,” and his hazy and weary “Over Yonder’s Ocean,” which yearned for a beautiful heaven “where the sun swings lowest over yonder’s ocean.”  Hopson’s vocals were resonant and full of character. He offered his audience a warm, joking presence in between songs and was a consummate storyteller throughout.

Read the entire review here.

Hoover Library with Matt Bryant: Banjo + Uke + Electronics

imageTomorrow I play a free concert at the Hoover Library Theatre with Matt Bryant in a performance billed as Traditional Instruments Reimagined. I’ll perform a song-based set of music for banjo and live electronics. Part of the performance will be on my newest instrument – a custom electric guitar/banjo hybrid built for me by Jefferson Pitcher of Pitcher Guitars. (More about the instrument later…)

Matt Bryant performs on ukulele and electronics. I heard him give a blazing performance at the Spring Street Firehouse in May. I’m looking forward to hearing more.

Thursday October 6, 6:30pm
Hoover Library Theater
200 Municipal Drive
Hoover AL 35216
Free

The Hoover Library Theatre’s main stage is being renovated, so this event will be in the upstairs venue.

Comes and Goes Returns

comes-and-goes

On Thursday I’ll be performing my work Comes and Goes with Andrew Dewar, Wendy Richman and Geni Skendo during the opening concert of the third Birmingham New Music Festival. Andrew and I will perform with electronics (modular synth and Max, respectively) while Wendy plays viola and Geni performs on various flutes. We worked up a wonderful blend of sounds during rehearsal last weekend; I think this is going to be a special performance.

Comes and Goes was written for Gates Ensemble and first performed in Austin, TX in 2007. My memory of the performance is a bit hazy. On the day of the show I was packing for a move from Austin to Albany, NY and gashed open the bottom of my foot. After stitches and pain meds, I somehow joined the other musicians on stage to perform with my foot elevated on a nearby chair. The piece is for four or more musicians performing on electronic and/or acoustic instruments. Each movement explores a specific set of sounds  derived from the technique of amplitude modulation. Download the score for Comes and Goes.

I’ll also be performing on banjo and electronics with Geni Skendo for two of his compositions.

Thursday 9/22 7:30pm
Birmingham New Music Festival
UAB Hulsey Recital Hall
950 13th Street South
Birmingham, AL 35294
Free

BAMA DIY & DIT

Tomorrow I’ll be joining friends in the Birmingham Art Music Alliance for a DIY Composers Concert featuring composer/performers playing their own compositions. I’ll be performing music for banjo, live electronics and voice. Also on the program are Raphael Crystal and Gaines Brake, Monroe Golden, Kenneth Kuhn, Kyle McGucken and area newcomer Geni Skendo.

Tuesday August 9 7pm
BAMA “DIY” Concert
Unitarian Universalist Church of Birmingham
4300 Hampton Heights Dr
Birmingham AL 35209

DIY = Do It Yourself, of course
DIT = Do It Together (and in this case, Do It Tuesday)

In the Backyard with Kelley and Matt

IMG_0013

I’ve traveled long distances for gigs before, but Friday I’ll just walk around the corner and down the street for a backyard concert featuring Kelley McRae and Matt Castelein. (Weather permitting; In the event of rain we’ll be inside.) Kelley and Matt are wrapping up an album release tour for The Wayside. I’ll be opening with a song-oriented set of banjo and electronics pieces including at least one new tune. Hope to see you in the ‘hood!

Friday May 20 6:30pm
Kelley McRae
Holland Hopson
1523 13th St
Tuscaloosa AL 35401
Buy tix

Hearing Metal 3

For the second time in a month I get to be a guest percussionist with the University of Alabama Percussion Ensemble directed by Tim Feeney. The concert is presented by Sonic Frontiers and features guest artist Greg Stuart. We’re performing Hearing Metal 3 by Michael Pisaro.

The work is for 16 suspended cymbals and electronics. The cymbals are bowed and activated by dropping beans, rice and millet on them. Such amazing sounds! Greg described one part of it in rehearsal as “listening to a radio tuned between stations.” If you know and love that sound (you know who you are), then you’ll understand why I’m so excited about tonight’s performance. If you’re bewildered or intrigued, you should come hear this. You’ll never listen to your radio (or look at beans, rice and millet) the same way again.

Cicada Consort Marathon

Tomorrow I’ll be performing as part of the Cicada Consort Charity Marathon. The music begins at noon and continues until 8pm. Proceeds from the event will benefit the Michael J. Fox Foundation for Parkinson’s Disease Research. My performances will be in the sixth(!) concert of the day (around 5pm) and will include “Steel Bearing Load” for lap steel and computer, “Windowed Pulses” for transducers and computer (one of my radicans project pieces) and maybe a song for banjo and live electronics. Check out the full program.

Saturday March 26 12-8pm
Cicada Consort Charity Marathon
Moody Music Hall

810 2nd Ave
Tuscaloosa, Alabama 35401

The event is free with a donation to the Michael J. Fox Foundation for Parkinson’s Disease Research through: http://www2.michaeljfox.org/goto/cicadaconsort

Tide Talks XIII

I’m happy to perform as part of Friday’s Tide Talks XIII event. Tide Talks is a student-run lecture series. Each event spotlights four of the smartest, most passionate University of Alabama students you’re likely to encounter. The theme of Tide Talks XIII is “Ideas are Revolutionary.”

Tide Talks XIII
Friday November 20 7pm
Ferguson Center Theater
University of Alabama
Tuscaloosa AL
Free!

I’ll be supporting the student speakers by performing music for banjo and electronics between talks. Vive la revolution!