My Annual Christmas Video is Now Live! FREE SHEET MUSIC!

Every year around the holidays I like to make a Christmas video. You might say it’s a tradition by now. Usually I arrange a Christmas carol for solo classical guitar but this year I thought I’d change it up a bit: I arranged the Christmas classic “Silent Night” for solo ukulele! Check it out!!!

And check out these ghosts of Christmas past! That’s right, I put all of my Christmas arrangements into one big playlist!!!

I’ve made so many of these arrangements by now. I wonder if I should come out with a Christmas album? I wonder. Hmmmmmmmmmmmmm…..

Anywho, I must be losing my mind because I am giving away my arrangement for free-zies. That’s right, uke students, have a go at my arrangement! It’s not too difficult and it’s fun to play! Free ukulele sheet music and tablature for everyone!!! Enjoy and above all MERRY CHRISTMAS!!!

Silent Night Page 1 Ukulele

Silent Night Page 2 Ukulele

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THE REQUEST LINES ARE NOW OPEN!

Hey everybody, I’m back with another YouTube video. This time I got a fan request via twitter from @afterthefire1. He got in touch with me after I posted my Skyrim arrangement to let me know that he liked it.

After the Skyrim video I didn’t do much video game music. I did a Zelda vid and that’s it. I know. I got a retweet from Bethesda software, the makers of Skyrim, which boosted the views of my Skyrim video into the tens of thousands. I got a ton of new subscribers and a bunch of new fans, and then I promptly alienated everyone who subscribed to my channel by not posting any more video game arrangements.

Then a series of events happened that prompted me to put more video game music on my channel. First off, Jeremy Soule, the composer of all the music in Skyrim, commented on my YouTube video:

Not only that, but he posted my video on his official Facebook page:

WHAT IS HAPPENING?

Then, out of the blue, @afterthefire1 took to twitter and requested that I do another video game theme. What did he request? You guessed it, another theme by Jeremy Soule.

So this one was a no brainer. Apparently people really like my arrangements of video game themes. So here it is people, my arrangement of the main theme to The Elder Scrolls III: Morrowind. Enjoy!

BUT WAIT, THERE’S MORE! This time I’m going to do something I NEVER do: I’m going to make sheet music/tabs of my arrangement available to the public. Enjoy, guitarists! Here it is. Please note that my arrangement is in an alternative tuning and you have to put a capo on the third fret. If you do not understand the previous sentence then please do not attempt playing this arrangement.




The scoring software I use, Finale, has a hard time with guitars in an alternative tuning. Or maybe it doesn’t and there’s some way to transfer the sheet music to tab? I don’t know so I wrote it out by hand. I used a pen so that means I had to do some creative editing on the second page. Yeah, I know, it’s a little messy but I am not writing it out twice. It’s all there so don’t worry.

That being said, THE REQUEST LINE IS NOW OPEN! Does anybody have any requests? Anything you would like to see on my YouTube channel that you haven’t seen yet? Let me know, I am open to suggestions…

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Happy That Somewhere Out There Andrew Lincoln Thinks I’m Perfect

I am a lazy blogger. As I write this I can’t help but think I could be writing an arrangement, composing, or practicing my guitar right now. I don’t hate blogging, far from it. I actually like to take a moment to reflect and see where I’m heading as an artist and where I’ve been. That being said, look how infrequently I update this site. Yikes! Someone dropped the ball. So here I am, making up for lost time. I have a lot to talk about, so settle in folks. This is going to be a long one.

First off, I finished up another original piece for guitar/violin/8mm film. Once again the very talented Christopher Harn edited the footage for me. This piece, entitled “The Dead of Winter”, can be found on my latest release The Suite Acoustic. This is one of two tracks that feature the lovely Melissa Waterhouse on violin:

But enough about that! My last blog post was also about an 8mm film based on an original composition from my album. “WHERE ARE THE COVERS?” you might ask.

Not to fear! I have plenty of them, as well as a ton more already written and being rehearsed as we speak!

First off, I covered “Somewhere Out There” from the film “An American Tail” for solo classical guitar:

Compare to the original:

This one really brought me back. I had seen it as a child but I had forgotten about it until Dan Harmon’s brilliant show “Community” featured the song in an episode. I re-watched the movie after that and, wouldn’t you know, it still holds up! So that sealed the deal for me: I had to arrange this tune for solo guitar.

This is the first video I have ever done with a new piece of equipment in my guitar arsenal: The Fishman Aura Spectrum DI. I live in an apartment complex where things can get noisy. Noise means takes getting ruined. Lord knows my neighbors have ruined take after take after take as my mics pick up their screaming, yelling, and general thrashing about (seriously, why so much thrashing?). Not to fear! The Fishman Aura Spectrum DI takes the crummy sound of my undersaddle pickup and makes it sound more like a mic. The undersaddle pickup doesn’t register my noisy neighbors, just the sound of my guitar. Now I can do takes for hours without fear of my neighbors ruining my videos! It doesn’t sounds as good as a mic but I gotta tell you it is 90% of the way there. I’ll take it! I’ve been using it for my live sound as well and it rules! This device gets rid of the horrid “quacky” sound of the undersaddle pickup—-the comparison is like night and day. The Fishman Aura Spectrum is amazing, I love this little contraption!

Moving on! So, Nick Lanzer, who usually does videos with me, has been busier than ever. Sadly he does not have the time to invest in these videos like he used to. Instead he’s off doing irresponsible, reckless things like pursuing a degree and a career. What a weirdo! But he did have time to strap on a Canadian mountie hat and play “Happy” by Pharrell Williams:

Nick arranged this one so credit goes to him. He did a bang-up job! It’s a bummer he’s not going to be around much in the coming months but he’ll be back eventually. You know, once he stops doing this stupid school-and-a-career thing. Why do that when you can post YouTube videos? He’ll snap out of it, trust me.

And now, last but not least, my tribute to the film “Love Actually”! Yes, before Andrew Lincoln was cutting off the heads of zombies in the famed series “The Walking Dead”, he was wooing married women with hand written signs. If you don’t get any of the above references you really need to get out more. Both the film “Love Actually” and the series “The Walking Dead” are on Netflix streaming and there’s no reason for you to have not seen them yet. Get to it people! And enjoy this commonly requested wedding song. Be sure to stay tuned to the end for a special tribute to Andrew Lincoln in “Love Actually”:

So there you have it people! Wedding repertoire! Pop music! Animated film music! An original composition! Am I machine or what? Oh, not yet. Sure, I’m more machine now than man, twisted and evil, but there’s so much more coming. So much more in store. I will unleash it upon you all soon! (*mad scientist laugh MUAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!!!!*) Thanks for watching and, as always, stay tuned to my YouTube channel for more updates!!!

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The Saint Peter’s Fiesta

My album The Suite Acoustic began with a composition I wrote soon after graduating from college. I was inspired to write it after watching the 8mm films of my Grandfather. My Nonno used to film the vacations that his family went on. One day my Mom had the footage converted to VHS and scored it to various songs. The effect was powerful to say the least—there was laughter, tears, the full gamut of emotion and the realization that my family has been through a lot and has shared some really memorable moments.

My Nonno passed away in 2003 and I shelved the project. I didn’t want to revisit this idea that he inspired because I wanted him, most of all, to see it. It was just too painful. So I just let all of the footage and the piece itself rot in a closet.

Then, in 2009, I began to question what the hell it was I was doing with myself in the grand scheme of things. Am I an artist or just a wedding guitarist getting by on my classical/wedding repertoire? Was I just living for a paycheck or did I want something more? As I have mentioned on this blog I was inspired by having my work recognized on YouTube and I was finally motivated to create more as I felt that, not only was it fulfilling to me as an artist, but maybe somebody else out there would find this material as compelling as I did.

And people did. My 8mm film “Our Time Is Short” got accepted to the Flicker film festival and screened in Brooklyn. There was something to this. People started to pay attention. People started watching my YouTube channel.

So I embarked on writing The Suite Acoustic. Each one of my original compositions on the album was supposed to be accompanied by a short 8mm film that I hoped would be as powerful as the 8mm films of my grandfather. Each piece had an 8mm film in mind while I was writing the piece itself.

The latest 8mm film was inspired by my wife. She grew up in Gloucester, Massachusetts and came, like me, from a big Italian family on her mother’s side. Every year the St. Peter’s Fiesta takes place on the last week in June. The festival is an Italian “sagra” or religious festival that revolves around Saint Peter, the patron saint of fisherman. Gloucester has long been a fishing village since Italian immigrants first started coming there, and these immigrants often brought their trade with them to the new world. Just like Italian sagras the Saint Peter’s fiesta has religious events, such as the blessing of the fishing fleet, and the famed “albero della cucagna”, which in Italian means “The Tree of Plenty”. The Gloucester version of “L’Albero Della Cucagna” is a contest known as “The Greasy Pole” contest. Contestants walk along a greased telephone pole suspended over the ocean in an attempt to capture the flag on the other side. The result, as you can see from the video, is hilarious:

My wife and I go to the Saint Peter’s Fiesta every year. We love Gloucester and would like very much to move there, despite the fact that I have built a career here in New Hampshire for the past ten years. That makes it very difficult to pull up stakes and move, but you know, a man can dream.

On a side note I’d like to thank the talented genius Christopher Harn, who edited all of my 8mm footage for this video. I’m so glad I found hitRECord and, in turn, Chris Harn, who has been instrumental in helping me realize the full potential of the pieces that I wrote for guitar and 8mm film. I’m grateful to him and for his friendship. This could not have been possible without him.

I’d also like to thank Good Morning Gloucester for featuring my piece on their site. I was initially a little nervous when they featured it—it’s offbeat enough that I know not everyone will understand its intention as a piece. I love how, even though it was filmed in 2010, it looks like it was filmed 35 years prior due to the vintage look of Super 8. I got a good response to it, judging from the comments below the video on the page.

I have more 8mm films and more general YouTube craziness in the works! I can’t wait to unleash some more insanity upon the unsuspecting web. I have some really big projects in development as well as my first fan-requested YouTube video. In the meantime stay tuned to my YouTube channel as more updates will be coming soon!

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Internet Weirdo Not Quite Ready for Prime Time

It’s March so I’ve had enough time to sit back and reflect on 2013 and it occurred to me… Why did I only put out 3 YouTube videos in 2013? What was I so occupied with that I only managed to get that much work done?

Well, there was my first album, The Suite Acoustic, that I wrote and recorded. That was a 16 track behemoth that tested my resolve and my sanity but I managed to get it out regardless. I sold enough CD copies to put that puppy into its second printing so you know, that was nice.

What was the other thing I was doing? Oh yeah, I signed up with hitRECord. Forgot about that one.

And I kind of got involved with it. Obsessed with it. Lost in it.

For those of you who don’t know hitRECord is an online collaborative artist community started by the actor Joseph Gordon-Levitt. The way it works is that people upload their art and, by doing so, give permission to other artists to remix their art into something new. For example, I could upload a guitar track and someone could, say, add vocals to it.

I got involved with some AMAZING artists. I mean really amazing. And inspiring. I still can’t believe this happened:

I never thought anything was going to come of it. I just wanted to make stuff. Work with other artists. I got way more than I bargained for! In just one year I scored some short films, laid down guitar and ukulele tracks on other people’s art, wrote a bunch of pieces, shot some videos, and learned more about home recording in one year than all years previous.

Then came the TV show, “hitRECord on TV”. Mr. Gordon-Levitt was taking this little site to the public via the Pivot network.

And I got into the TV show, along with thousands of other artists. I got to work with the amazing film and TV composer Brian Langsbard on a piece called “Above It All”. I submitted super 8mm footage for the episode entitled “The Other Side.” I got video (yes, my face on TV) and a guitar recording into the episode entitled “Patterns”.

So there it is. Pretty amazing. Life-changing, in fact. I gotta hand it to RegularJOE (Gordon-Levitt’s hitRECord user name), somehow he got my ugly mug on to TV, ironing board in the background and all:

I know, that got on TV. Pretty crazy, right? All the episodes are available for download from iTunes if you don’t believe me! The above image is from Episode 8 RE: Patterns.

That being said, I can’t help but get the feeling that I kind of let my YouTube channel die to do all this stuff last year. But 2014 is different. I don’t have an album to record at the moment, although I did already finish my first piece for it. (Otep inspired me to write a piece to accompany her poetry so that’s probably going to be on album number two at some point). So I have a little more time than I did last year.

Long story short I’m already making good on my New Year’s resolution to do more YouTube videos. So here it is, my first YouTube video of 2014!

Yep, my first Disney arrangement! And man did this one bring back memories. I had this game at one point for the Sega Genesis and I remember it being impossible to beat! So much fun though. I’ve seen Disney’s “Alladin” at least 50 times. I had it on VHS as a kid and I loved every minute of it. Back then I had more time to watch a movie over and over and, since I grew up in rural New Hampshire, there wasn’t much else to do. It’s still an amazing film. If I had more time on my hands I would track down the 16 bit game online and see if I can beat it this time around. Alas, that will probably have to wait for another lifetime as I have way too much stuff to do at the moment.

BUT WAIT THERE’S MORE! Yes, I have more free time now that the whole hitRECord thing is over and my album is done. The 90′s X-Men cartoon theme! Done in costume! This video’s got it all! Cosplay! Guitar! Ukulele! Deadpan delivery! Enjoy!

Anybody remember the original?

So let’s recap: From my efforts last year I was able to put out an album and I managed to get on TV. I did all this at the cost of my YouTube channel but I’m working on building that back up. I already have a TON of arrangements ALREADY WRITTEN! All I have to do is practice them up and record them. 2014 is going to be crazy, mark my words. I have some insanity on the backburner that is just waiting to be unleashed. This year, just as in years past, I will be doing my part to keep the internet weird.

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The Albums that Made Me

This is a list of 10 albums most responsible for the guitarist I am today.  They are in no particular order, so this isn’t a “Top Ten”:

1.) John Renbourne—The Black Balloon
2.) Alexander-Sergei Ramirez—Sor: Compositions for Guitar
3.) John Williams—Spanish Guitar Music
4.) Pepe Romero—Rodrigo: Concierto de Aranjuez
5.) Sharon Isbin—Bach: Complete Lute Suites
6.) Yo Yo Ma—Bach: Complete Cello Suites
7.) James Levine conducts Mascagni: Cavalleria Rusticana
8.) Sabicas—El Rey Del Flamenco
9.) Miles Davis—Kind of Blue
10.) Pepe Romero—Giuliani: Complete Guitar Concertos

John Renbourne’s “Black Balloon” comes first to mind.  My parents played it occasionally but I became fixated with it when I was 15 or so.  I had been playing guitar for about 3 years and my playing was in a rut.  I listened to that album and was blown away.  All that from just one guitar?  Back in the day the Shanachie label (which put out Renbourne’s albums) allowed for listeners to send away for his music. I did and, sure enough, 6-8 weeks later I got the tabs to play the album! Some of Renbourne’s albums even came with the music inside the LP or CD! I got hooked. I would listen to the recordings and try to play them back as best as I could. Little did I know that John Renbourne would be my gateway drug to classical guitar, which had a similar technique. The rabbit hole went deep, seemingly without end, and here I am today. Sometimes I ask myself, “Why didn’t I take the blue pill?” I’m glad I didn’t.

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NEW ALBUM IN STORES NOW!!!

So, I recorded an album.

That’s right, a full length album. This is the dream of a lifetime come true. Ever since I received a guitar as a gift for my 12th birthday I’ve wanted this day to happen. Now it’s here and, in the digital age, it’s never been easier to get worldwide distribution for pennies on the dollar.

Here is a plethora of links to online stores that now carry my album:

The Suite Acoustic on iTunes

The Suite Acoustic on Amazon mp3

The Suite Acoustic on Google Play

And for you cheap freeloading streamers out there you can also stream my album for free on:

Spotify: Click here

MOG: Click here

Or stream it here on Bandcamp for free. Buy it if you like it!!!

Buy it. Stream it. Love it. SPREAD THE WORD!!!

Send this around— Facebook me, tweet it to me @mattguitarman, tell me what you think—make this happen! I want my album in the ears of as many people as possible.

Oh my, look at what just came through the door:

Order my new CD’s! Now available from the following local shops:

Spun Records 274 Central Ave, Dover NH 03820 (603)742-6939

Earcraft Music 432 Central Ave Dover, NH 03820 (603) 749-3138 (You can also get guitar/ukulele lessons from me here!)

Baldface Books 488 Central Ave Dover, NH 03820 (603) 749-2300

Bull Moose Music You can get the album from their Portsmouth, NH location at:

82 Congress St
Portsmouth, NH 03801
(603) 422-9525

OR order it online from them! CLICK HERE!!!

Or you can order The Suite Acoustic directly from me through my Bandcamp store! Click here and then click on “Limited Edition Compact Disc”!

I didn’t make this album alone. I had help from some amazing people along the way. They’re mentioned in the special thanks inside of my album but I wanted to take a moment to thank them again here.

Who did the lovely artwork for my album? Why none other than local artist, friend, and fellow table top gamer Matt Talbot. Click here and check out his amazing artwork!

Who else is on this record? Why my violinist, Melissa Waterhouse, plays on tracks 3 and 7. You may have seen her before in one of my YouTube videos:

And Nick Lanzer plays guitar on tracks 9-16. You may know Nick as the epic viking helmet guy from my Skyrim video:

I should also mention that The Suite Acoustic was recorded at Tweeksound and at RowCo studios.

The album has already received two fanastic reviews, one from The Daily Album and the second from local newspaper The Wire. I’m psyched that my album is already receiving some attention and I hope it reaches even more music critics and fans of instrumental acoustic music.

So what’s next? Lives shows, people. Live shows. I’m cooking up some real 5-alarm insanity here. I am going to play, busk, and shop these tunes to everyone within earshot. I hope my music spreads far and wide. Check out my schedule for every venue and open mic I will be playing. If it’s not a wedding, come on down! Or crash the wedding. I’m good either way.

As for the artistic vision for my album: The Suite Acoustic begins with the Suite New England, a collection of my own compositions inspired by various places around New England. I plan on releasing an accompanying 8mm film for each of these pieces. I have low-fi home recorded versions of three of these pieces already:

These pieces and videos were very much inspired by the 8mm films of my Nonno. His 8mm films were a great document of the times he shared with his family. I very much wanted to use the same medium for the pieces I put on this album—old home movies and memories of things gone by were very much in my mind when I composed all of the tracks in the Suite New England.

There’s a lot of tracks on The Suite Acoustic so I want to take a moment here to explain what’s happening on this record:

Track Listing
——————————
1. On White Mountain Tops
2. 92 Second Street
3. Saint Peter’s Fiesta
4. The Seacoast
5. March of the Leaf Peepers
6. Our Time Is Short
7. The Dead of Winter
8. Leaning on the Everlasting Arms
9. KV 65a Minuet #1
10. KV 65a Minuet #2
11. KV 65a Minuet #3
12. KV 65a Minuet #4
13. KV 65a Minuet #5
14. KV 65a Minuet #6
15. KV 65a Minuet #7
16. Reverie

The album starts high in the mountains of New Hampshire with “On White Mountain Tops” before descending into a haunted house in Fall River, Massachussetts. It then heads north to the Saint Peter’s Fiesta in Gloucester, Massachussets, where it attempts to capture the flag from l’albero della cuccagna. After that it meanders around The Seacoast before heading inland to join the March of the Leaf Peepers in Vermont. The end of the Suite New England ponders how Our Time Is Short before reaching its end in The Dead of Winter.

After the Suite New England is a brief service, Leaning on the Everlasting Arms, to lament the passing of these pieces but to take comfort in the many great pieces ahead. After the service all are invited to join in some light but regal dancing with European nobility. The album closes with a reminder that it was all just a dream.

Now, a quick word regarding some of the wacky genres I have been put into on some of the aforementioned online sites. I submitted my album as an “Instrumental” album through tunecore but apparently some sites have decided to brand my music as something else. This was done without my knowledge or consent. I don’t agree with these labels, but apparently there is little I can do in regards to changing them. All I can say is that it’s a crying shame I couldn’t get into the “Death Metal” category. That definitely would have ended in some of the worst/most hilarious reviews in Google Play/MOG/Spotify history. Bright side: Someone who likes something as terrible as “Easy Listening” may actually hear a good album for a change whilst searching in what is, most probably, the worst genre in the history of music.

Do I really need to point out the irony of Google Play not using Google to, say, Google my name and find out that I am not a Christian/Gospel artist? But that’s where they put me. Instrumental classical guitarist? Nope, that doesn’t sell. Put it in the Christian section! Whatever. Well, if it means more ears then sure, fine. I’m over it. But seriously, I am an instrumental classical guitarist. I am not easy listening, I am not Christian/Gospel, AND I SURE AS HELL AM NOT NEW AGE, DO YOU HEAR ME SPOTIFY? NOT. NEW. AGE!!!

Then again I’m not saying that playing my album while shoving a crystal up your nose won’t heal all of your ailments*. Try it, see if it works, please tweet me @mattguitarman with the results.

Sadly all of this highlights the larger point that the genre of classical music just plain doesn’t sell. It doesn’t sell to the point that some sites don’t even have a classical genre, hence why I put my album in the “instrumental” genre. I also had the option to choose a “second genre” in tunecore and I picked “soundtrack”. I should also mention that I recently licensed all of the works on this album for film, TV, and radio, so you might be hearing more from me soon! Some of my compositions may become a soundtrack for something in the near future…

Stay tuned! I’ll be posting on my blog more frequently in the months to come. And, above all, please listen to The Suite Acoustic!!!

*These statements have not been evaluated by the FDA. The Suite Acoustic is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease.

Posted in Classical Guitar Duets, Free Classical Guitar Sheet Music!, Good News!, Information, My Arrangements, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

2012 Christmas Concert on 12/22 at 8 PM Via USTREAM!!!

Well, it’s that time of year again. Time for my holiday Christmas Concert! That’s right: If you’ve seen it before you’ll want to see it again! This show’s got it all—Costumes, music (of course), special guests, holiday shenanigans, the works! So bust out the egg nog, cozy up by the computer, and enjoy some Christmas cheer! Just click on this embedded player on Saturday, 12/22/12 at 8 PM and enjoy the show!



Video streaming by Ustream

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