Bright Shiny Object

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Bright Shiny Object

What we have here is a bright shiny object.  What, may you ask, is that?

Many have watched talent shows over the years.  America has seen programming such as “Original Amateur Hour“, “The Gong Show“, “Star Search“, “American Idol“,  “America’s Got Talent“,  etc., etc…  The contestant’s  task is convincing the panel that THEY are the latest bright shiny object.  It is a moment of instant, but fleeting gratification.  Now, they must prove themselves in the REAL world.

All About Communication

After all, it’s all about communication.  The message is what really matters.  The world is filled with amazing musicians, writers, singers, artists, etc., but a comparative precious few do anything meaningful with their God-given gifts.

It ultimately doesn’t matter how fast you can play scales and arpeggios,  how many chords you know,  or how many vocal triplets and gymnastics you fling around.  It always goes back to what’s in your heart and how THAT is communicated- the message.

Some of the best communication happened back in the early  days.  Sure, it was primitive in the music, delivery, and recording, but it was the guitar and the raw voice speaking directly to you.  Woody Guthrie, Leadbelly, early Bob Dylan are all prime examples.  People listened because a message was being delivered straight to them.  The vocals, playing, and recording may have been rough, but the message is what mattered.


Any artist cares about the legacy he/she leaves behind.  Now, if one is only driven by sales, not so much. There are countless pieces of million-selling garbage out there.  There are many gems, as well, but you generally need seek out the ones that speak to you personally.  The search is the real adventure.

As far as sales and even website traffic go, I am a dismal failure, but that’s not my goal. The learning curve is lurching upward.  It’s the journey, not the destination.

Good or bad, I’m building my legacy.

© 2018  J. Mark Witters

Free Speech

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Free Speech

Free speech is protected in the First Amendment to the United States Constitution.  This is vital to our society.  Being an artist, one can see things all around you affecting your work.

The PC (politically correct) police are everywhere and will stop at nothing to reign in any view they disagree with.  If you run a social network or search engine, turn things over to your AI (artificial intelligence) algorithm, and it’ll clean up anything it can label “hate speech”, “racism”, “misogyny”, whatever…  YOU only have “free speech” if you share that platform’s views; if you don’t, you’re shouting in a barrel, suspended, or even banned.  

Frank Zappa

Frank Zappa was one of the great 20th century composers.  His work encompassed everything from symphonic to rock to jazz to experimental.  He was an equal-opportunity offender who poked fun  at everyone (including himself).

Zappa upset many people because he believed in free expression, as did many young people in the 1960’s.  Frank was my biggest musical influence because of his fearlessness.  Here is a great documentary on his work.

The man knew how to push your buttons so you might actually think about things.  What a concept!  Music is ultimately communication, and Frank Zappa could certainly communicate.  Listen to his work if you aren’t afraid to be challenged.  

Sadly, Frank Zappa would not be allowed a platform today because he would offend someone at any time, and the mob wouldn’t let him survive.  It is especially dangerous to have an active individual thought process.  Let the “Central Scrutinizer” do ALL your thinking…  NOT!  (see Joe’s Garage if you’re not easily offended).  It deals with the government criminalizing music!  Don’t laugh…  Remember disco?

Joe’s Garage IS a tough three album set to get through, but my favorite Zappa album remains “One Size Fits All“.

Frogs in a Pot

We have been like frogs in a pot of water, slowly bringing it to a boil.  No one realizes the water until it’s too late to hop out.  There is always a way to parse anything into anything so that it can fit your agenda.  You’ll never know until it happens, but they’ll eventually come for you, too when it’s politically expedient.

Whatever word or phrase that anyone finds offensive will ultimately go away.  Soon, books will be banned and the flow of information will be completely choked-off.  Your “handlers” will then decide what you should and shouldn’t see from then on. 

It’s being done as we speak.  Your freedom of  speech is on the line. 

Speak out!

©2018  J. Mark Witters

Outlier Album Release

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Outlier Album Release

I’m pleased to announce the “Outlier” album release.  After doing this for forty-six (or so) years, I am finally starting to figure this stuff out!

Due to the advancement of quality audio plugins,  your average person has access to advanced tools available only to a select few up to now.


Thanks to Waves plugins, I’m on a level playing field.  No, this is not a paid endorsement.  I started using them a year or so ago, and they  make all the difference in sonics.  They have given me a warehouse full of vintage audio equipment for a bargain because I’ve taken advantage of their great sales that are always happening.  

Waves also has many great online manuals and tutorials that explain each plugin.  I’m a typical “get in there and start turning knobs” kind of guy, but I need all the help I can get, so it’s there for us!

The Beatles‘ music  (produced by George Martin) has had enormous influence on my music.  Now, I actually have software of the exact studios they used in Abbey Road Studios  (called EMI  studios back in the day), complete with their first solid state console channel strip, TG-12345.  I even have older Redd channel strips from earlier studios there if I want an even more vintage sound.   Rich analog sound is available  with a  J-37 (the Studer recorder used in Sergeant Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band).  Double-tracking originated with the Abbey Road ADT (artificial double tracking).  I have the plugin.  The reverb plates and Studio 2’s Echo chamber are right there for me, too.  I essentially have  what The Beatles (Abbey Road) and Pink Floyd (Dark Side of the Moon) used on the epic albums  afore-mentioned.  This way of recording with computer and plugins has been described as being “in the box”.

The Deal

Here’s the deal:  Outlier’s message is simple-either succumb to fear or forge ahead boldly.

Like many others, I entered social media expecting freedom of speech.  Evidence shows that is sadly not the case.  After a couple of minor “rufflings” with I’ll call “the major players”,  I decided to not continue to be funneled into their imposed obscurity because of my beliefs and Walk Away.  I’m the Outlier… I’m the counter-culture.

Outlier” features lots of twists and turns.  It doesn’t fit in a particular category.  That’s the point- not wanting to be like everyone else.  I especially don’t want to bore myself!

Videos for all the music are on the Skyypilot Vimeo page.  The videos are free to download! 

I don’t tour because the studio is my instrument of choice.  If you like what you hear, please support what I do by downloading or streaming my compositions from your favorite online source.

Hope you enjoy “Outlier“!



© 2018 J. Mark Witters