The One and Only Gibby

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So far on this blog I’ve done a lot of talking about me.  Today I thought I’d try something a little different. 

Last night I got to go take some pictures of someone some of you might be familiar with for the artwork on the upcoming album.  This someone would be former Fools For Rowan bassist, and one of my very best friends, Andrew “Gibby” Williams. 

Gib played all kinds of instruments on the album, ranging from various electric guitars, electric and acoustic bass, some synthed bells and chimes, and even a few BGV’s and a bass drum.  I know what you’re thinking,.. he’s kind of a big deal.  He’s also one of the coolest guys you’ll ever meet, so this blog is for Gib, who can make me laugh at mostly anything and can also voice the most haunting E minor chord I have ever heard.  I’m so glad his playing will be on the record. 

Also, for the record, and a little fun fact for everyone, Gibby was the first person to ever hear a Rachel Mac & The Revival demo ever!  As in, when the band was still a kooky little embryo mostly in my head, he was the first person to hear one of the first messy little demo tracks I ever made in my apartment.  If he hadn’t been so positive about me pursuing the project that day, I might never have done it.  So thanks for not hating it, Gib!  Ha!

Check out some of the pics from last night and for more updates check out the Faceplace page and give us a like if you’re feeling friendly!  As always, thanks to each and every one of you for your support that allows us to do what we love!

https://www.facebook.com/RachelMacAndTheRevival

-Rachel

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Choices

Exciting times are ahead at camp Rachel Mac + The Revival!  As you may have heard on the Faceplace, we are finally done tracking the album!  Next step mixing and then mastering.  Then from there, setting up shows and, God willing, getting back on the road where we, and definitely I, belong!

The whole process has really made me think of the impact of one’s choices.

I think a lot of times we trick ourselves into thinking we choose something once and it’s a done deal.  But I choose every day to follow this path.  To stick with it.  I wake up and I choose it again everyday.  If I didn’t I would join so many of my friends, who once had their own dream careers and aspirations that they no longer entertain.

Regardless of what your “dream” is, you may have had that striking moment in which you decided that was what you were going to do, but that is not enough.  You will have to continue to make the choice to keep going, to resist the easy way out, to resist your plan B over and over again.  Everyone who has every achieved their goals has had to do this.  Anything worth achieving will take time and effort.  Sometimes you will have to make that same choice to continue on for years before you finally see the pay off.  So ask yourself, will you?  We started recording the album in September 2013.  Now in April 2014 we are prepping to mix it down, and that is just the tip of the iceberg as far as the road ahead.  Be patient with yourself.

The greatest achievements are really just years broken down into daily choices to persevere.  The everyday choice to stay in the game when the going is good and when it is downright shitty.  And it will be both.

You are going to pass all that time doing something, and life will have its ups, downs, and plateaus regardless of what you do.  Make it all count for something.

Looking forward to the months and years ahead, and as always, thank you all for your support.  It could not be done without you!

-Rachel

Real

Beezo and The Rock

What makes something real?  Hot Damn!  Rhetorical question time!

Ok, lets refine that:  What makes something creative real?

How does one even answer that type of question?  It’s hard to quantify art, be it a painting, music, poetry, whatever.  Who’s to say my creative manifestation is less than or greater than yours?  It’s not possible.

For me, it all comes down to what really touches my soul.  There are a lot of songs out there that I’ll be the first to admit are catchy as hell.  They get stuck in your head all day and taunt you in your sleep.  But does that really make them great?  Maybe.  I think for many of us though it runs a lot deeper than that.  We each have a go to list of songs, the ones that have moved us in our darkest hour, the ones that re-establish our faith in the world.  Most importantly, these are the songs that we hear and we think,

“Thank you, there is someone out there who understands.”

That’s what does it for me.  I don’t even have to relate to the exact situation described in the song.  Sometimes due to a combination of metaphors and the author’s own experimentation with narcotics, I’m not even sure what the scenario is.  But when you hear something that resonates with your soul, you know it.  You hear a sadness, a longing, an empowering and it takes you to a specific moment in your own existence.   Maybe in the past, or maybe very presently, you have felt that EXACT emotion.  You know EXACTLY what that person is talking about.  Those are the musical moments I live for.

How many other things can connect two human beings who have likely never met in such a raw way?  Excuse my sounding like a real hippie, but its entirely spiritual and so cool.   To write a song and have somebody say to you, “I know exactly what you mean, I’ve felt what you felt,” there is truly no greater compliment.  That’s when you’ve broken the barriers of genre and chart status and airplay.  In terms of commercial success, yes, those things are entirely important and necessary, but hopefully we don’t solely create to line our wallets… Mostly because it’s generally a terribly ineffective way to make money… Ha!

Too often one hears these great pop and, dare I say, country (that’s right, you aren’t all heartbroken, good ol’ boy rednecks with pickup trucks and a lady-friend ambiguously named “girl” with “painted on jeans”.  You aren’t fooling anyone.) anthems recorded by singers who didn’t write them about experiences they have never known and as a listener, its pretty obvious.  The song is great, the singer is great, but I don’t believe it.  It’s not real.  Its contrived emotion surrounded by grade-A production.  That’s not to knock on singing songs you don’t write.  Sometimes the pairings of artists and songs are ingenious, and an artist can bring a song to life in a way it has never known.  For example, the Johnny Cash cover of the Nine Inch Nails song “Hurt.”  The Nine Inch Nails version is great!  Trent Reznor created an incredible work in that song, but in my opinion, the Johnny Cash version is a masterpiece.  Maybe it’s his age, his vulnerability, and acceptance of his life: the good, the bad, and most importantly, his mortality that make his rendition truly chilling.  If you haven’t seen it, go watch the music video on Youtube, which is also stunning and powerful.  Its raw, its human, and it’s a reflection we’ve all seen and know in ourselves.  That’s why it affects us so.

The more I learn, the more I realize how little I know, but I do know this; these moments of human connection that touch us, that linger with us as long as we live should be coveted.  What song has done it for you?  The one you heard and thought, “I know.  Me too.”?   Share in the comments!

Once again, thank you for indulging my inner-ramblings,

Rachel

Love Is Blind Lyrics

In honor of the new EP coming out in 2, count ‘em, 2 days, I thought I’d post the lyrics to one of the songs today for your viewing pleasure! These are the lyrics to the first track on the EP, “Love Is Blind.”
Live 7/20/13
Love Is Blind
Music and Lyrics © Rachel Mac & The Revival, Rachel Brandsness 2013

You wrecked my world with your love,
And you made me blind
Yeah you made me blind
It gets so hard to break the fall,
From a love so high
From a love so high

And if this was you all along,
Why’d you put me through it?
Why’d you put me through it?
If this was you all along,
Why didn’t I see through it?
Why didn’t I see through it?

Was this your plan all along?
When you caught my eye
When you caught my eye
Did you ever love me at all?
Was it just a lie?
Was it just a lie?

And if this was you all along,
Why’d you put me through it?
Why’d you put me through it?
If this was you all along,
Why didn’t I see through it?
Why didn’t I see through it?

Love is blind but now I see
You never really cared that much for me
Love is blind but now I see
The things you are so easily

And if this was you all along,
Why’d you put me through it?
Why’d you put me through it?
If this was you all along,
Why didn’t I see through it?
Why didn’t I see through it?

Why’d you put me through it?
Why’d you put me through it?

Why didn’t I see through it?
Is love that blind?

Part II: The End of Fools For Rowan

This blog is harder to write than some of the others. It’s kind of like reminiscing on a strange obituary. Everyone involved in the story is still here, but the thing that held us together has finally come to an end. We went from a self-proclaimed “family” of nearly 4 years to former co-workers before the wake even finished processing through the streets.
We had the last Fools For Rowan rehearsal on the Thursday before the last show. To say that it was surreal is an understatement. To say that I was pissed off about the way things had played out is also an understatement. I wanted Fools For Rowan to live on for years and years to come, and I don’t think that was a naïve thing to think at one point. We were so hopeful about the band and where it was going once upon a time. At the point of this last rehearsal it had been clear that the band had been over for almost a year. It doesn’t take a lot to kill a band off. If the unity and drive slips away in any one faction of the band it won’t take much for it to fall apart.
That being said, I will never regret investing so much hope in Fools For Rowan. If you don’t have hope and drive and an unshakable belief in what you are doing then you don’t have a whole hell of a lot. I also accept that if pursuing music isn’t what one is meant to do then he or she should be free to leave it and pursue something else. If we don’t follow our guts on these sorts of things what do we follow? Nothing has to be permanent.
Perhaps I needed Fools For Rowan to dissolve to lead me to do what I am doing here and now. Certainly if Fools For Rowan was still in full swing there would be no Rachel Mac & The Revival. It’s a weird thing. For now I’m choosing to believe that what is meant to happen will happen and we will be led to where we need to go.
Forming Rachel Mac & The Revival was many things for me: A way to defy the death of FFR. A way to overcome its ability to prohibit me from playing music. A way to prove that even if FFR did not have longevity, I did. Plus, belting out some pissed off songs is pretty fantastic therapy.
Very few things make me angrier than someone trying to pass off my, or anyone else’s determination, passion, and hope as naivety. They can be jaded, but I will not. They can give in to the “unfortunate truths” of the business, but I will not. They can take the easy way out, but I will not. Don’t kid yourself and say I don’t know what I’m talking about because I’m “young.” I’ve seen a lot of shit out here doing this too. I know how hard this is. While other people quit to live their cozy home lives I am eating hotdogs and ramen and wondering if it would be ironic to hang my bachelor’s degree on the wall… I’m having almost ALL my hard-earned equipment and instruments stolen from the very place I sleep at night only to wake up hardly able to replace it. But, guess what? Instead of hating my job and loathing the sound of my alarm each morning I know I’m doing what I love, what I’m supposed to be doing, and so it’s all worth it. The Revival was in some ways my own rebellion against these things. Against the easy way out and the loss of hope. The Revival is my wave of hope.
Don’t get me wrong, I’m not such a narcissistic wack-job that I think this music is going to change the world and cure cancer. But it sure has helped me already, and I just figure, if one other person digs it and has a good time because of one of my shows, or forgets their problems or feels like someone else understands how they feel for just a second because of one of these songs, that would be pretty damn cool.
I just love music and love to rock and would rather focus on the amazing things in my life and take control than be consumed by all the bullshit. Cause life is short. Let’s be real. Bullshit: Ain’t nobody got time fo’ dat.
To be continued…

-Rachel Mac

Back In The Saddle… Finally.

Holy crap! I’m back to the blog world! I was seriously starting to think that I was hopeless at the whole keeping up with a blog thing. But here I am!
Currently, I am driving through upstate New York playing guitar for a Nashville singer/songwriter. I can actually see Canada through the window of the car. My phone also thinks I’m in a foreign land and is threatening to charge me unwelcomed fees so without the temptation of technology, I am finally starting this blog back up.
Ok, so here’s what has happened since the last blog. Um… A lot. Let’s start with gearing up for the first ever Rachel Mac & The Revival show last July 20th. Here goes:
Part I: The Revival Begins
So as June led into July I finished putting together the band for the maiden voyage of The Revival. I’ve been extremely blessed to get to make friends with some of the most badass and talented people in Nashville over the last few years, so when it was time to put together a band I knew exactly who I wanted to play in it and the best part is they said yes! Backing me up on electric guitars was one of my best friends, Andrew “Gibby” Williams, formerly the bass player in our soon to be extinct band, Fools For Rowan. On piano and Hammond, I had the incomparable Blair Breitreiter Smart of the Nashville-based band Absinthe Junk. This girl is talented in a way that’s borderline offensive. On drums, a mutual friend of mine, but especially of Gibby’s, Tyler Warren of the Tyler Warren Band and also the Queen Extravaganza. Yet another individual with enough talent for ten human beings… But more on that later. Finally, on bass, the killer Drew Uldrich of Nashville’s Static Revival.
The band was only scheduled for one rehearsal four days before the performance, so we didn’t have a lot of time to waste in making sure the material was up to par. We all met and set up in the rehearsal space and from about eight bars into the first song it was pretty clear that the level of awesome that was about to go down was higher than any of us expected. It was pretty exciting. I was super nervous, because at this time I had never sung lead for a band. EVER. I had sung a few songs by myself acoustically in high school, but that was a serious rarity that , until now, I had avoided very strictly. So vocally, it was my first major voyage out into the world, and for such, it was going alright. Maybe not spectacular, but not bad either!
We finished up rehearsal ready to throw down on Saturday. I was pretty ecstatic. I had only ever heard my songs as figments of my imagination and then in tangible form as the rough demos I had recorded at home, but to hear them come to life as played by these awesome friends of mine was a beyond cool experience!

Stay tuned for Part II. Coming soon!
…No but really, I actually will post it in a timely manner. Promise.

Tusk and A Few Words

So here I am, roughly 1:55am here in Nashville, TN. I was surfing the web listening to the Fleetwood Mac’s album, “Tusk,” which I am listening to at this very moment and I felt inspired to start a blog. I’ve tried to journal a few times in my life, and it usually goes fantastically for about 4 days. Then I fall off the band wagon. Maybe I will be better at the blog concept, we will know 5 days from now… Ha! But let’s go back to “Tusk,” because there are some songs on that album that are so incredible the entire world should be well aware of them. And let’s establish from the get-go that I am absolutely in love with a few bands, Fleetwood Mac, Heart, Bruce Springsteen, and Tom Petty to name a few. But I’ll probably hit that topic up another day. I can only assume that one of the perks to having a blog is getting to talk about whatever the hell interests you, either to the enjoyment, or all out dismay of your readers… Or perhaps lack thereof. So, I’ll leave you with the lyrics to the song “Storms” from Tusk, written by Stevie Nicks. I used to pass over lyrics more often than not without really giving them much attention for years, mostly listening to melodies and chord progressions, but I could read Stevie Nicks lyrics all day. This song in particular just hit me like a ton of bricks the very first time I heard it. Let’s get more poetry in our music today like this. Ugh. So good.
-Rach

“Storms”
-Stevie Nicks

Every night that goes between
I feel a little less
As you slowly go away from me
This is only another test

Every night you do not come
Your softness fades away
Did I ever really care that much
Is there anything left to say

Every hour of fear I spend
My body tries to cry
Living through each empty night
A deadly calm inside

I haven’t felt this way I feel
Since many a year ago
But in those years and the lifetimes past
I did not deal with the road

And I did not deal with you I know
Though the love has always been
So I search to find an answer there
So I can truly win

Every hour of fear I spend
My body tries to cry
Living through each empty night
A deadly calm inside

So I try to say
Goodbye my friend
I’d like to leave you with something warm
But never have I been a blue calm sea
I have always been a storm
always been a storm
ooh always been a storm
I have always been a storm

We were frail

She said,
“Everynight he will break your heart”
I should have known from the first
I’d be the broken-heartedI loved you from the start
Save us…
And not all the prayers in the world — could save us