Category: EP

Family Reunion Blog Feature

One of the highlights on the CD for many people (well, at least my relatives) is the song “In-Laws, Outlaws and Offspring.”  One day I was browsing around for family reunion blogs, and I found, which is a very comprehensive website about planning your family reunion, whatever type of group you have.  “Aunt Mo” runs the site, and offers lots of great ideas, tips, games and activities to implement at your family reunions, including theme packages for theme reunions.  It’s a really cool website!

She was also kind enough to feature the family reunion song from Driven.  She interviewed me and published the story here.  There are a few pictures and well-guarded stories from reunions past, and if you have a chance, it’s kind of a fun read.

But don’t worry, Ward relatives, I didn’t give away all the family secrets…


FINALLY–Sneak Peek of the Driven EP!

Five of the eight songs that will be included on the upcoming Driven EP.  Official worldwide release will be in January, but there may be a few exclusive buying opportunities before that.  Stay tuned for ringtones and other fun stuff, coming soon!

Driven EP – test mixes by Dana Jo Forseth

What’s New with the Deejster

So, the past month has been a little crazy.  This has kept me off my blog, and for that, I apologize.  I was in Fort Worth for a few days, learning about utility accounting, which I’m sure will serve me well in my musical career.  I also made a semi-expensive stop at the Justin Outlet.  Now that I know such a place exists, I may be in trouble.  I’ve never met a Justin I didn’t like.

Aside from the day job, I currently co-host an open mic night once a week with my pal Joe Ryan (the guy I’m dueting with on the EP).  Last week, I had a gig with the ever-popular Mike Beeson/Miss Sloan, and, as always, I’ve been recording.  This week, I ordered some sound equipment so that when the time comes, I can play a few gigs around the area.  The plan for now is to set everything up in my living room, and carefully select and repeatedly play my set list over and over for my dust bunnies.  Once the lot of us agree that my show is ready for public consumption, I will start looking for some public to consume it.

The EP project is taking a little longer than intended.  We’ve had some issues with equipment and tracking people down.  But, we have the last few sessions scheduled, Chuck is all over the layout and graphic design, and I should have something ready to send the printers and pressers by the end of the month.  Thanks for your patience!  (Please don’t lose interest in buying my CD…..)  :-)

I’ve been reading a lot about marketing, and trying to decide which artists I am most similar to, so that I can try to get the EP into places where people who like it will look.  Not an easy task for anyone who writes their own material, unless they are purposefully and successfully emulating someone specific.   Come to think of it, to make my life easier, I will make sure the next album sounds as much like Nicki Minaj as possible.

Right now, I’m spending some time preparing for another trip I have coming up.  I’m going to the TAXI Road Rally in Los Angeles a few weeks from now.   I’m pretty excited about it, but right now, at the top of the list is choosing the appropriate luggage.  More on that later.

Happy Thursday!

-Dana Jo

Who’s That Behind the Curtain?

There are some great musicians on this record.  I’d just like to take a moment to mention them.

Acoustic guitar – Ryan Horn

Mandolin and fiddle – Dale Ellis

String Bass – Chuck Fulcher

On fairly short notice, all of these people have taken time from their already busy performing schedules to spend a few hours with us in the studio.  We put them on the spot, asked them to learn multiple songs very quickly, and they gave us solid, heartfelt performances that are really, really making the record.  I am blown away by the instrumentals I get to sing with.

Michael Gilboe, who is producing the record, is tracking some piano and percussion as well.  There are still a couple of string arrangements and cello parts in the works.   A high point for me will be singing a duet with Joe Ryan on a song called “Everybody Wants to Fall in Love.” He gave us a little time at the end of his EP recording session last night to learn the harmonies and record the scratch track.  Word on the street is his 2-year-old twins dig it.

There are a few other people involved in this project that I’d like to mention as well.  The music is important, but so is the packaging!  It will be the first impression for a lot of people, so great photography and design are critical to the process.  These folks came highly recommended, and for good reason.

Monica DeShaw – Lilli’s Studio – The professional photographer responsible for the EP photos, many of which you will eventually see here

Chuck Fulcher – In addition to his mad bass skills, Chuck’s day job is actually marketing and graphic design. He’s also an accomplished artist, which you’ll see on his website. I’m very happy to say he will be designing the EP’s cover as well.

One thing I am really enjoying about this project is that I get to work with so many other talented people in Great Falls.  There is so much inspiration here, and I’m so fortunate to have a circle that allows me to find other artists and musicians to work with.   Everyone whose help I’ve asked for has shown so much enthusiasm and willingness to help with the project.  It’s so encouraging.

So, thank you to everyone who already is or will be involved–your contributions are incredible!  We couldn’t do this without you!

…To Hear the Sound of Your Own Voice

So, last night, we started tracking lead vocals! I’ve been getting pretty nervous, because vocals are the last thing (typically) that you track in a recording project, and I’ve been waiting several weeks to find out what they were going to sound like. You can hear all the instrumentation coming together, but until you get that vocal down, it’s not really “your” album. And the studio is a whole different animal than that seat on a log by the campfire. Over the years, I had become used to karaoke, and more recently, open mic nights, where the resonance of the room, coupled with a high-energy crowd, a touch of reverb, and…well…beer, made me feel like a rock star.

The studio is different. In the studio, you really ARE the star. You sit on comfortable, cushy furniture, drinking temperature-controlled water, wearing big stereo headphones with 1/4″ plugs (the kind that say, “I’m headphones, and I mean it”) and singing into microphones that were made to be sung into by professionals, instead of folks from Friday-night office parties. The kind of microphones that don’t smell like cigarettes and PBR. The kind of microphones that say (in a language all their own), “Hey, this is what you REALLY sound like.”

And what a difference! I’ve learned more about my voice singing into studio mics than I ever knew in some 20 years of mimicing the sounds I heard coming from the radio. Until I heard my voice through studio mics, I was certain that I sounded like Marie Osmond, Amy Lee and Lzzy Hale all rolled in to one. Imagine my surprise when I heard myself sing into a quality microphone, and the sound that came out was….well…MY voice. My very own voice!

I suppose it’s not very easy to explain to someone who hasn’t been there. It wasn’t a rude awakening, though it was definitely an awakening. Singing into good mics, you start to learn the intricacies of your own vocal style–what works, what doesn’t, and what sounds are unique to you. You learn what your real recordable range is, and which types of songs sound better in different segments of that range. You begin to think of these things as you’re writing songs, and you chart them in the best key for your voice to begin with–instead of the best key for your self-accompaniment ability.

So, tonight we track another song or two, and we “Keep the Fire Burnin’”, as REO Speedwagon would say. Turns out, this isn’t going to be a Pat Benatar record. I don’t know about you, but I’m relieved. She’d sound pretty funny singing “In-laws, Outlaws and Offspring.”