Mutineer News

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FREE SHIPPING ON ALL ITEMS IN THE MERCH STORE NOW THROUGH 12/31. HAPPY HOLIDAYS EVERYONE

It's almost Thanksgiving and you know what that means. Actually, no... no we don't know what it means. Certainly not the same thing it has meant in previous years. Most of the country is back into some kind of March-like lock down and hospitals are full or filling up. It's disappointing and sad to think of what our health care professionals are going through. We try to focus on what we have control over in our lives, and move forward the best we can. It is not a good time to be a professional musician, but not all is bleak. We continue to create art and music, and hope for the best.

After wading through the strange purgatory of the first half of 2020, Merry and I have settled back in Portland. We managed to perform live twice this summer at restaurants that followed health guidance. Our screen printing shop is set up once more. Now with the dark weather upon us, that little window we had to get out there responsibly is gone. To make up for the lost stage time, I've started to live stream a solo acoustic performance about once a month since August. I was honestly far more nervous before my first live stream than any show I've played in years. Because I didn't know what technical or acoustical problems I would have, because I was terrified that absolutely no one would watch or participate in the chat, and because I have never played a full set completely solo, I ended up completely sweating through my "show shirt" by the second song of that first live stream. But I made it through and as the show went on, got more and more comfortable. 

I've been playing a few Mutineers songs in each live stream, but the set list has been 90% covers. Some are songs I picked and some are songs I solicited from you all via FB. My most recent set was covers of songs written by our band buddies, all independent artists we've been playing with for years. You can watch the full performance on our Youtube page . There's a list of the artists I covered in the description of the video. You can also check out this Spotify Playlist I made with all of the original versions of the songs in the order they were played on the show. The other live streams are still available on FB and can be found on our timeline.

I'm definitely sold on the value and experience of the live stream. The reality is, for many folks, getting out to the bar or club to come see the Mutineers live is challenging to say the least. "The bar" is not a place where everyone feels comfortable, and the typical show time hours are not for the faint of heart. Don't get me wrong, I actually love the classic bar environment, but I also get why many do not. But even if you love the bar too, lots of people who might want to go don't because they are either: not in the town we are playing, parents who can't ditch their kids for a rock show at 11pm., typically asleep by the time we play because they get up at 5:30 for their jobs, or they have a billion other obligations that have to take precedence. 

Live streams are not comparable to a live show. The sound will never be as good or as big. We still can't figure out how to involve the drums because we live in an apartment. The lighting, the stage, the anticipation, none of it is as effective over digital media. It's not the same, but it doesn't have to be. I have found it to be the most intimate performance experience I've been involved with. I can choose to read and engage in audiences reactions in real time. The feedback is more personal and more frequent than the somewhat embarrassing and rushed experience of saying "good job" to us as we hurry to get our equipment off stage at 12:30am. The audience can choose when to start and stop the performance. They can tune in from around the world, and I'm happy to report that we had viewers from as far away as the UK and Southeast Asia. I've even been sent pictures of folks watching on their huge smart TVs with surround sound. We picked up almost 600 views of the video AFTER it was live. It takes a long time to prepare for these live streams because each show is entirely different material. It is really powerful to know that the performance continues to have legs after the live stream ends. Thank you for the support. I am humbled.

Tune in on Wednesday 12/23 as I live stream Christmas-Eve Eve. I'll be sitting at the synthesizer, performing some classic tunes that would normally be a part of our annual Holiday Spectacular. The tradition will continue albeit in Covid lockdown fashion. Don't forget to visit our store. Give the gift of The Mutineers for this holiday season. FREE SHIPPING! 

 

 

Our New Vinyl Has Arrived! 

At long last our record has arrived! Our double EP featuring No Winter and Threshold on 12" black vinyl is now in stock in our online store and available to order now. To all you Kickstarter backers, thank you so much for your patience, everyone should have their record by the first week of August. Last night, we sat back and shared a toast as we listened to our first album on vinyl. Merry and I are in Portland now, staying with friends while we look for a more permanent place to call home. A lot of things have changed for us as we adapt to this new reality of limited gatherings and social distancing. But when you listen to this record, we want you to imagine us playing to a packed house. Then, pretend we can all give each other sweaty hugs after the show. Finally, picture us loading up and heading out to our next gig, driving in the van on the open road, flying that ship straight into the sun... 

Hope to see you all again soon!

Brian and Merry

Straight Into The Sun 

Stream Track #5 - Straight Into The Sun 

This song was deeply enhanced by the exquisite pedal steel playing of Raymond Richards. He also joined me at the end for the fun electric guitar duet. Thanks Raymond! 

Getting out on a national tour has been a lifelong goal of mine. Merry got the bug too as soon as we went on our first two-weekend tour on the west coast. For over 3 years we’ve been circling the country playing mostly small venues, dive bars, breweries and restaurants. It has been an incredible ride and brought us so many new friends as well as the ability to continue life-long friendships with actual in-person visits on a regular basis. We’ve had the opportunity to grow as musicians and performers by playing more often than I ever thought possible. But there are nights out there that truly test us. In the midst of the difficulties of being an obscure independent rock duo, living out of a van, I’ve had to reflect on what truly matters. I don’t know where this ship is headed, but I’m very fortunate to take the ride with Merry, a talented, hard-working, and beautiful person. It doesn’t always come up roses out there, but we are still a couple of the lucky ones. Here’s my ode to Merry Young and our life, come what may.

The full EP is now up and available to purchase as a whole. Thank you for stopping by and listening to our new songs. Please check out our merch store. We would love to get you a new shirt, a handmade CD, or a screen printed poster. As always, they are designed by Merry and printed by Brian. Hope to see you out there from the stage sometime soon!

 

Free Radical 

STREAM TRACK #4 - FREE RADICAL

This one is a shoutout to those amazing people in our lives who barrel through the bad times and the good with incredible verve. Equal parts creation and destruction, these archetypes are the ones who can laugh louder, party harder and later, and seem to shrug off the stuff in life that can level the average mortal. They can elevate us and take us to places we would never go on our own, but they can also take us down with them in a fiery wreck. It’s the danger in them that makes them so intriguing. They are attractive in the truly magnetic sense, get close enough and you will be swept up in their energy. There is a scary side to it. After all, what goes up must come down (at least on this planet). Who knows if it’s good or bad? I’m happy to have had the experience either way. 

Enjoy the rock n roll. Back to the basics with guitar, bass, drums, and two vocals.

You Can't Run Away 

Stream Track #3 - You Can’t Run Away 

You’ve doubtless heard it said many times before, during some frustrated conversation about the troubled state of society. If we could only start over, with just the good people, our people, we could get everything right. I’ve heard this sentiment from family and friends as both a melancholic and unrealistic wish as we temporarily escape our troubles, or as a serious plan of action where we plot out how to buy land and start a new community. I think these moments provide some necessary relief and camaraderie when the news is getting us down. But underneath it all, my pessimistic side is nagging at me. All of the troubles we see in the world are universal to us all. Greed, gluttony, lust, rage, and the rest of the “deadly sins” live inside all of us. They aren’t someone else’s problem, they are our collective inescapable challenge. 

This folk song features a Nashville-tuned guitar played by yours truly, and the addition, once again, of Raymond Richards’ mellotron and bass playing. If you’ve been following along with all of our releases, you will have already noticed Merry’s beautiful vocals providing harmony in key spots. Her voice on the choruses of this song make me really happy. When it’s all said and done, I hope you will see this song as a hopeful tune, rather than a pessimistic anthem. I think facing our challenges makes our celebrations so much more richer and meaningful.

The Great Columbia 

Stream Track #2 - The Great Columbia

We’ve spent a lot of time around the Columbia River these past few years. It’s an ancient river, having been carved out by multiple massive volcanic eruptions over 10’s of thousands of years. It has stories to tell. It was the life blood of Indigenous people for perhaps 10,000 years. It led Lewis and Clark to the ocean and the end of their epic journey, which in turn became the seed for European settlement. There have been industries and villages which have come and gone. This history is painted all around the Lower Columbia River, as well as up into the hidden valleys where its tributaries flow. Cellist Andrew Emlen lives up in one of those sparsely populated, soggy, and beautiful valleys. It was an honor to have him perform on this track, our ode to one of the world’s great rivers. Producer, Raymond Richards, added some key elements with his mellotron, including accordion and mandolin. We hope this folk song will give you some wistful moments. In these dark times, it is hard to imagine that the river continues on to the sea and that all things will pass. If you have children to put to sleep tonight, or if you have trouble finding rest yourself, you can sing the classic existentialist tune that gave inspiration to this song: 

Row, row, row your boat, gently down the stream. Merrily, merrily, merrily, merrily, life is but a dream.

No Winter EP release week 

All this week we are releasing a single a day from our new EP, No Winter. Each day we will post a new song and make it available to stream from right here on our website with the full EP available for purchase this Friday. You can also order the CD now from our merch store and we will send it out after the Friday release. Be sure to check out our latest shirts and posters while you are at it. We stocked up big time for an extensive tour before we all ended up in lock down. We would love to get some of this merch into your hands instead of keeping it in our closet. And now, let's get down to the business at hand...

Stream Track #1 - No Winter

The title track of our new EP, No Winter features the intense and dramatic cello playing of Andrew Emlen, an accomplished musician and songwriter based in Wahkiakum County, Washington. Our engineer/producer Raymond Richards joins the rhythm section and is on the bass throughout the EP, just as he was on 2018’s Threshold EP. We hope you enjoy this arrangement of The Mutineers, we love the way it kicks things off. Here’s a bit about what influenced the song: 

No Winter is a dark, folk-rock, parable based on an ancient Taoist story. I first heard the tale while watching the indie documentary, The Bill Murray Stories. I think it had an impact on me because of a deep need to be more stoic about life’s ups and downs. My own emotional rollercoaster was making me a bit sick at the time. You can read the original tale first or wait until after you’ve listened to our song to see if it enhances the experience. Either way, it’s neither good, nor bad :) 

There once was farmer who had a friendly neighbor. One day his horse runs away. And his neighbor comes over and says, to commiserate, “I’m so sorry about your horse.” And the farmer says “Who Knows What’s Good or Bad?” The neighbor is confused because this is clearly terrible. The horse is the most valuable thing he owns. 

But the horse comes back the next day and he brings with him 12 feral horses. The neighbor comes back over to celebrate, “Congratulations on your great fortune!” And the farmer replies again: “Who Knows What’s Good or Bad?” 

And the next day the farmer’s son is taming one of the wild horses and he’s thrown and breaks his leg. The neighbor comes back over, “I’m so sorry about your son.” The farmer repeats: “Who Knows What’s Good or Bad?” 

Sure enough, the next day the army comes through their village and is conscripting able-bodied young men to go and fight in war, but the son is spared because of his broken leg. 

And this story can go on and on like that. Good. Bad. Who knows?

Covid Cancelations and EP Release 

Well hello fellow quarantiners. We hope this post is finding you healthy and that the harsh realities of this pandemic have not come to your door to claim a loved one. I'm afraid the truth is that we will all be coming very near to Reaper this year, whether it's through our circle of family and friends or whether we come face to face with our own mortality. These are indeed difficult times and we wish you all the best of luck, if there is such a thing.

I apologize for not updating the website sooner. It's been kind of depressing to deal with some of this admin stuff. We of course have been forced to cancel our entire national tour. Although some folks seem to be holding out hope that venues will get moving again in May, I don't share their optimism. And at that point, we will not be able to cross the entire country to restart our tour in the middle of the dates. It's just not economically viable even if, by some miracle, life returns to normal by then. We are sad that we won't get to see so many of you. We had a great tour lined up that we spent months working on. All gone in a cloud of coronavirus. In the grand scheme of what's going on, compared to the real human suffering, this is a drop in the bucket. We recognize that so many have already lost much more. Still, there are many who are in a similar boat, major loss of income and no real prospect of that changing anytime soon. Let's all work on supporting each other as much as we can. Be kind, empathetic, and generous where your situation allows. 

On a much happier note, we have continued to move forward with our new releases, No Winter EP and the No Winter/Theshold 12" Vinyl. The songs have been mastered for both CD and vinyl and sent off to the manufacturers. The CDs are actually already made and in transit to us and will be ready to send out to our Kickstarter backers as early as this Friday or Saturday. In addition, every backer of our campaign, at any donation amount, will receive an email this Friday with a link to download all of the new tracks. We are excited to finally get this into the ears of our fans. Thank you all again from the bottom of our hearts. There is, unfortunately, a delay to report on the vinyl. We have just been informed that the manufacturer has shut down to comply with state mandated business closures. We respect the need to protect the health of all workers. We will keep you all informed as we find out what we can expect in terms of vinyl production. If this becomes an open ended problem with no solution in sight, we will consult with our backers who ordered the vinyl to see if we can offer alternative products or refund part or all of their pledges. But if you can be patient with us, we will get our vinyl made as soon as possible. Thank you!

For those of you who did not jump on the Kickstarter bandwagon, we have good news as well. Next Monday, we will release the first track off the EP to stream and purchase on Bandcamp. The release will be accompanied by a short description of the song and the inspirations behind its creation. I will post them to our facebook page as well, so be sure to follow us there. We will continue to release a new song every Monday until all five tracks are out, at which time we will also make the CD available to ship anywhere in the US as well. The EP will not be available on streaming services until June at the earliest. You can help us get through this time in quarantine by spending a dollar for each song rather than the tiny fraction of a penny we receive through Spotify, Pandora, or Apple. We also have new items in our merch store, here on the website. The album art has been converted into a beautiful poster design by Merry and printed by Brian. We also put the No Winter art on a killer, heather navy blue t-shirt. We did a new run of our very popular but very limited "tree with ravens" design that sold out very quickly in 2018. And we have restocked all sizes of our red shirt with ravens. On top of that, we have KOOZIES! So please have a look at our stash. There's lots of cool things to pick from and we would love to get more people wearing our shirts and hanging up our posters. Seriously, our shirts are super comfy and great for long days sitting on your couch and social distancing the hell out of this damn virus. Every purchase means a lot to us. Without live shows, we are really in a tough spot. We will keep on rehearsing and hopefully come out of this with a whole bunch of new songs for the next album! 

On a personal note, we've had a rough couple of months. While we will never know what virus brought it on, Merry and I got hit pretty hard with a bronchitis-like sickness that would not quit and eventually turned into a sinus infection. After an on-line consultation with a doctor, it looks like I've had pneumonia for a while. It was nasty at times but on other days it was just a general malaise that seemed like it would clear up with a good night sleep. Then it would come back again with force. Weirdest experience, as I've been fortunate to stay pretty healthy and made it through the last 25 years without ever needing prescription medication for anything. That mentality made me avoid going to urgent care or a doctor's office for longer than I should have. Merry came down with similar symptoms but not as severe as my worst days, but enough to make us both fairly miserable. In any case, the antibiotics seem to working and I'm finally getting near to 100%. Merry is almost in top form as well. Being ill as this pandemic has spread really increased our anxiety levels, especially since there was absolutely no way to get tested. I'm not sure I would have taken this virus as seriously as early on as I did had I not been sick as a dog. When you're healthy you feel invulnerable; it's hard to remember what being sick is truly like. Be considerate to your neighbors and stay safe in your home. And remember, there are so many out there who don't even have a home to hunker down in. Dark times can lead to solidarity if you keep your eyes and hearts open. We hope to see you soon!

 

Spring Tour and Kickstarter Update! 

Our tour dates are growing and growing. We start our busy season this weekend up in northern Washington with four shows: Bremerton, Seattle, Olympia, and Yelm. Then it's off to Montana before heading south to warmer weather for the Spring. So many good dates and fun bands to play with, keep up with them by following us on the Bandsintown app. 

Meanwhile, we've been working hard on our recording and Kickstarter rewards. We have sent our EP off to get mastered, so it won't be long before new music is available for download to our Kickstarter backers. As is typical, recording and mixing took a bit longer than we projected, so our CDs will not be mailed out before we leave for Montana. But we have several days off when we get to Arizona and we should be able to do a big mailing then. I have been printing shirts, hoodies, and posters while we are still out here on the Lower Columbia River. We will get those out to you before we leave. If you backed our campaign you should have also received an email last week with a "secret" url to get your two bonus tracks, featuring Terry Luna and Michael Astudillo. We really hope you will download them and enjoy! Drop us a line if you can't find the link. 

By now you've probably been barraged by news of pandemics and stock market crashes. Rough news indeed. No one knows how this will all play out exactly. We hope that you will be healthy and come out to see us while we are on the road. We have new songs to share, and our shows have been so fun lately. We would love to sing for you and with any luck take your cares away for the night. If it's your time to vote, PLEASE do so. We don't have a perfect system by any means, but we hope that you will contribute. See you out on the road!

We Did It! New Album On The Way 

We reached our Kickstarter goal! Now we are busy getting the rewards together, screen printing T shirts, hoodies, CDs and posters. We plan to ship all of the rewards (except vinyl--that takes longer) before we leave for our next tour on March 11. Vinyl should be arriving in July. We finished recording and mixing last week so we are right on schedule with the new album, and we are really happy with how these new songs sound. We'll keep you posted and let you know when the downloads and CDs are available. THANK YOU EVERYONE!

Hope to see you out there....

Mer+Bri

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