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Sailing to Denver! Our first CD is released, with a celebration show tonight!

Friday, December 21st, 2012

This eight song demonstration of our original sound is just a taste of what is to come. Stay posted for some free listening! We went into Vision Studio with a list of 20 songs and completed eight of our favorites. Being a sextet we tried to showcase each individual’s strengths while staying within the context of the band. That has always been a driving force in all STD’s musical ventures. Below is a video with Sailing to Denver covering a love song by The Talking Heads.

David Byrne is a large influence on our band, but in terms of our original music Brent Sandel is the songwriter and foremost arranger.

Brent had not only five band-mates in mind, but also the idea of the masses, and live audiences all of which influenced his decision making. With this attitude in mind Brent, and all of Sailing to Denver set the foundation for what is becoming the Sailing to Denver Sound. This encompasses a sound that continuously evolves for us.

Moving the focus from a huge cover catalog, (from AC/DC to Bach, literally) to an equally expansive assortment of nameless original ideas, we bring pieces to a table to make a whole. A whole idea, a whole song, a whole album. Doing what man does best, trying to give names to things that once were nameless. Remembering a name is just that, nothing more, and the sum is always greater than the parts.

Brent Sandel, Guitar, Piano, Vocals
Shannon Case, Vocals, Percussion
Jake Cohan, Mandolin, Vocals
Patrick Haynes, Stand up Bass, Pedal Steel, Fiddle, Vocals
Jenna Shea Mobley, Fiddle, Vocals
Mason Lutz, Percussion, Cajon, Vocals
Caled Elemam, guitar, utility band member and contributor

I would like to say thanks to all of the above mentioned musicians, as well as all the friends, family, artists, peoples and places that has made this creative work possible. At the Star Bar tonight at 9:30 at the with the help of great friends, and great bands in and of themselves, The Dust Up and Sans Abri we Sailing to Denver will play a set in celebration for the ages. CD’s will be available for purchase at the show. I can only hope your listening conveys the beautiful felling of actualization I felt, and saw throughout the faces of all parties involved, in this recording.

In times to come, be they blissful or tragic, it is insightful to remember, “it is what you make of it.” This album was made for each and everyone in an effort to help us all tap into whatever, “it,” is by means of artistic expression.

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Closed Position Major Scales

Sunday, November 11th, 2012

Below is a video where I show how one can play the major scale in any and all of the 12 keys. I show starting with an Eb major scale, followed by E and F. Where you start this pattern denotes which major scale you play through. The root of the scale is played by the index finger and then by the pinky in the next octave.

Starting with the first finger.

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Showcase of Mandolin Videos

Monday, November 5th, 2012

Here’s a showcase of a few mandolin videos I especially like. It shows a bit of versatility.

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My tribute the most eccentric band ever, Ween!

Thursday, October 4th, 2012

Below I play part of the tune, “A Tear for Eddie.” Ween has been a favorite band of mine for years, and just this year they called it quits after a long great run. My sadness is outweighed by all the great times I had at their shows. Here is my own eccentric sacrifice to Boognish.

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Bach’s Bouree I

Thursday, April 12th, 2012

I have recently been exploring classical music arranged on the mandolin. Here is me playing Bach’s Bouree on one mandolin.

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Don’t Take it too Bad

Tuesday, June 7th, 2011

I have enjoyed playing songs written by Townes Van Zandt since the first time I heard him. He does not waste a word or chord in his songs. Simple, true, timeless, often bittersweet or downright sad music. Here I play one track with guitar and vocals and a mandolin track.

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J.S. Bach on Mandolin

Wednesday, May 4th, 2011

After listening to some old recordings of mine I decided to upload my interpretation of J.S. Bach’s Bouree I. It is not without mistakes, but then what would I have to work for. This recording is me playing one track of mandolin. Even with sparse instrumentation, Bach’s music is full, colorful, complex and interesting.

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My Gear!

Saturday, April 30th, 2011

When I read about other plectrum players out there I am interested in knowing how they get “their” sound. So here is a list of the current gear I am using to get my live tone as well as recorded sounds.

I play a Taylor 310ce guitar that my father handed down to me. It is sounding better than ever after hours of him playing it as well as me, and giving the wood time to open up.

Top: Sitka Spruce. Back/Sides: Sapele. Cutaway & old Fishman Pickup system. The current models come with Taylor’s own Expression electronics, I prefer Fishman’s.

I use a real tortoiseshell pick, although there is some controversy around this issue in my experience it is the only way to get the volume and tone I am trying to produce. The pick was actually sanded as a mandolin pick making it even fatter and fuller on the 6 string guitar. I currently use it on both instruments. Eventually I will experiment with other picks, either tortoiseshell or something similar in material.

I play Medium gauge Elixer Phospher Bronze strings, and occasionally John Pearse Mediums for recording. I do find Elixers last longer and cost more.

To record at my humble home studio I use a Eurorack UB802 6 track with Shure microphones, sm56, and sm57. I only plug straight in when playing live. I use a Peterson clip on strobe tuner with sweeteners, so I can tune my guitar and mandolin even with background noise.

I play an Alvarez F3ANT Traditional F-Style mandolin. I had it scooped to avoid pick noise on the “sweet spot.” I also had a Fishman Nasheville series archtop mandolin bridge pickup installed. I play low action with Thomastik Strings: plain steel and flatwound chrome, medium gauge, 009 014w 020w 031w, 127.2 pounds tension, ball end, 34cm scale length. These strings are not cheap, but the flat-wound “a” strings seem to really keep my mandolin in tune and with the correct intonation. Other companies are starting to make flat-wound sets that are more affordable, I just haven’t tried them yet. I play through a Fender Acoustasonic amp.

Having listed all my toys as well as the ones my father so kindly lets me abuse, I do try to remember less seems to be more in most great art. I play completely acoustic whenever possible, and tastefully when my fingers oblige.

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Quicksburg Rondezvous

Saturday, November 27th, 2010

This is an original tune written by one of my favorite mandolin players, Ronnie McCoury. I recorded myself playing rhythm guitar, then went back over track and recorded the mandolin lead.

Quicksburg Rondezvous

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Old Joe Clarke

Friday, November 19th, 2010

Here is one of the oldest traditional fiddle tunes I have arranged here with harmony guitar parts followed by a mandolin break.

Jake Playing Old Joe Clark

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