What’s Making Me Happy: July 2017

Summer has been playing ping-pong with our weather here in Massachusetts. Some days it’s sunny, 90+ degrees Fahrenheit, and disgustingly very humid. Other days it’s rainy and hovering around 70. (Though there have been glorious days in between, often with good timing for my Cape Cod trips. *smiles*) And personally, my month of July mirrored that fluctuation. Without going into detail, it went back and forth between contentedly quiet and productive, to stressful and tiring. 😐

So I’m partly glad that July is almost over, especially since it means the NYC trip is getting closer. (Yay!) It also means that today marks the next installment of What’s Making Me Happy. (Double yay!) So I’m linking up once again with fellow DIY MFA columnist Leanne Sowul and sharing five things that made me smile when I needed it most this past month.

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The Creativity Corner: Spring 2017

Can you believe that summer is here? 😮 It still feels like I was in Iceland last week. How on Earth has time zipped by so quickly??

Since a new season has begun, it’s time for an update on the past season’s creative happenings. And after a winter where I struggled with anxiety for a few weeks and my confidence in my writing hit rock-bottom, I’m happy to say that spring was a more productive, inspiring, and emotionally healthy season. It wasn’t free of bumps, but I’m moving forward and focused on new projects.

New projects?? What about The Keeper’s Curse? Or the novella? Yeah… I’ll explain what’s happening with them, too. But first…
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My Top 10 Albums of 2013

After an unforgettable year of music in 2012, I had no idea what to expect from this year’s releases. It turned out to be pretty good! Even though no 2013 album came close to leaving the same impact on me as some of my favorites from last year, a number of strong albums earned heavy rotation in my iPod playlist. So, let’s get started! Continue reading

Review of Ayreon’s “The Theory Of Everything” Now at Sonic Cathedral

Ayreon_TheTheoryOfEverything

There are few musicians out there who create music that I’d call a “playground of sound.” Arjen Lucassen is one of those few. He’s the mastermind behind several progressive rock and metal projects, most notably Ayreon. And after a 5-year hiatus from Ayreon to follow other musical pursuits, Lucassen has returned to his signature rock opera with The Theory Of Everything, a story about ambition, greed, finding your life’s purpose, and solving one of physics’ most elusive equations. (And yes, the title is a direct reference to “The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy”!) Like past Ayreon albums, Theory stirs prog rock with heavy metal, electronic music, and folk influences; and features a host vocal and musical talent, including Marco Hietala (Nightwish), Cristina Scabbia (Lacuna Coil), Tommy Karevik (Kamelot / Seventh Wonder), and Troy Donockley (Nightwish). So, how is it different from its predecessors – and do those differences affect the listener’s experience with the album?

Click here to read my review of Ayreon’s The Theory Of Everything.

Below is a video trailer for The Theory Of Everything. It doesn’t feature any vocal snippets, but you’ll get a good feel for the music’s range and power. Have a look and listen!

Coming Soon: I may have an Open Mic Announcement in the next couple weeks. Otherwise, things are quiet on the outside right now, but productive behind the scenes. Stay tuned!

Five Years at Sonic Cathedral – A Retrospective, Part 4: Artists #5 through #1

We’ve reached the end of the Sonic Cathedral Retrospective countdown! I’ve been listing my 20 favorite artists that I’ve covered in my five years of writing at the Sonic Cathedral WebZine. And today, it’s time to reveal the top five – including the artist I chose for #1!

First, in case you’ve missed the previous installments, here they are:

Part 1: Artists #20 through #16

Part 2: Artists #15 through #11

Part 3: Artists #10 through #6

So if we left off at #6, that means we’ll start tonight with…

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On Repeat: Guilt Machine – “On This Perfect Day”

First off, I’m changing the title for my music “reviews” on my blog.  “On Repeat” has a nicer ring to it than “Hooked On” does.  I’m also introducing a new set-up that, hopefully, will make this entry shorter than the Gotthard one.

Now, I’ve been dying to write about this album for some time now, and tonight’s my first chance to do so.

Band: Guilt Machine

Album: “On This Perfect Day”

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