Reverend Stickman Returns - New Music Debuts 4-20 @Mission Bay

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by Jay Allen Sanford

http://www.sandiegoreader.com/bands/reverend-stickman/">Reverend Stickman is recording a full-length with co-producer Bob Bartosik on the SDJazz label. Says the right Reverend, “This album moves in the blues/jazz direction, while remaining true to Reverend Stickman’s eclectic roots.”

"It includes great new original material ranging from the cheesy lounge sound of 'Love Every Woman' to the ethereal melodies of 'Left Behind' and the SD Songwriters Guild selection for best song of 2011, 'Drinkin' About Tomorrow,' along with six more tracks TBA." Expect the new full-length to drop this summer.

Along with frequent vocal collaborator http://www.sandiegoreader.com/bands/jenene-lambert/">Jenene "Neener" Lambert, the Reverend will debut some of the new tunes in a live acoustic performance on Friday, April 20, at the Mission Bay Boat and Ski Club, at 2606 North Mission Bay Drive. Showtime will run from 8pm until around 11:30 ("Last time there, we went late").

By way of a preview, the Reverend informs that "We will be covering radio music from the '60s to today, and as many original tunes as you'll let us play! In addition, we will perform a 45-minute non-stop musical set featuring songs from Pink Floyd's Dark Side of the Moon, The Wall, Wish You Were Here, and songs from David Bowie and Elton John all blended together in one piece."

"Later on, we'll do our acoustic dancing set. Uh huh, so you can dance and sing along to the music."

The Reverend Stickman band plays alternative folk rock, with a twist of the blues. “The music is a guitar-driven and an unconventional fusion of Americana and alternative," says Stickman. "Most of my songs are stories from some place or time in my life. I’ve never been much for writing love songs. Not with two ex-wives.”

“When my second ex-wife split and left me with a considerable debt...that was tough, paying for someone else’s mistakes, but in the eyes of the law I was responsible. Things financially are much better now, and maybe I’m a little wiser, too.”

Not that he has anything against the institution of marriage, as evidenced by his side occupation. “I’m an actual reverend, with the credentials to perform marriage ceremonies and legal unions. What’s more, everyone I’ve joined together in marriage is still together. I’d love to be a part of more happy weddings. That’s even more rewarding than happy gigs, at least spiritually.”

Stickman writes, records, and performs on various original projects with January Avalanche, Cathryn Beeks, Sandi Shaner, Eddie Jason Coven, B Violin, Happy Ron Hill, and others. In 2009, his song “Nearly Beloved” was a finalist in the San Diego Songwriter’s Guild song contest.

His 2010 album Half Alive: Stories From Under the Black Hat features his Electric Stickband as well as Collage Menage collaborator Jenene Lambert (vocals), Michael “Mrod” Rodriguez (drums), Christopher “Halestorm” Hale (fretless bass), Bahman Sarram aka Bviolin (violin), Bob Bartosik (saxophone), and the Reverend covering 6- and 12-string acoustic and electric guitars, slide guitar, and vocals.

Half Alive: Stories From Under the Black Hat ties into a stage show called The Reverending Story, a collection of songs, videos, skits, and other surprises designed to explain the strange workings in the past lives of Reverend Stickman.

“The idea behind the production came from the fact that my songs are generally stories from some place or time in my life. I’ve never been much for writing love songs, but I do have some wild tales to tell during the show.”

The multimedia production includes film footage, spoken-word skits, dancing (“of a sort”), and several guest performers, including a choir.

As for the accompanying nine-song CD, Half Alive: Stories from Under the Black Hat, “We actually cut 13 songs in a six-hour studio session,” says the folk-blues rocker. “The concept behind the recording was to lay down the basic tracks — bass, drums, and guitar — live in the studio and then add vocals and solos via multitracking. ‘Half Alive’ stems from the fact that it was recorded that way.”

Produced by Sven-Erik Seaholm at Kitch ’n Sync Studios and mastered by Paul Abbott at Zen Mastering, the CD features a full band, with Stickman covering 6- and 12-string acoustic and electric guitars, slide guitar, and lead and backing vocals.

So, how did the Reverend attain his ministerial credentials? It all started with two friends who wanted him to officiate their marriage. “After quite a bit of preparation — i.e., writing a money order — and profound thought — i.e., drinking — I became a mail-order reverend. I can marry, baptize, and perform legal unions, but I do not preach, and I’m not affiliated with any single religious belief. All faiths and denominations are honored, even if not always understood.

“Spirituality is something we can all feel.... Religion divides us from each other.”

He won Humphrey’s songwriting competition on May 14, 2011, taking home a Dean acoustic/electric guitar valued at $379.00, a full day recording session at Signature Sound, a photoshoot by Steve Covault Photography, a CD cover design and logo by Beach City Graphics, and a trophy, as well as airplay on KPRI 102.1 FM San Diego and free membership to the San Diego Songwriters Guild.

Later in 2011, his group landed a weekly Saturday night residency as the house band for the Valencia Resort in downtown La Jolla.

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