new songs… and “this ain’t no cowtown, v.4” (a colorado compilation)

This past week, “This Ain’t No Cowtown, Vol. 4” – a celebration of Colorado musicians – hit the streets on Bandcamp.com. It marks the one-year anniversary of the ongoing compilation series.

“This Ain’t No Cowtown, Vol. 4” album cover …. love the ‘Denver boot’ and the high heels….

Reasons to love and buy this album:

1)  The best and most important reason… ALL proceeds from album sales/donations will go directly to those affected by the shooting tragedy that happened in Aurora, Colorado on July 20th. 

Organizations such as: givingfirst.org, Mile High Red Cross, Aurora Mental Health Center and other organizations that will ensure proper disbursement of your donations.

2)  Actually 27 reasons here… 26 tracks and 1 bonus track from some of Denver’s and Colorado’s finest up-and-coming (and established) bands and artists. The songs on the compilation cut across a pretty wide range of styles and genres – indie, rock, power pop, punk, garage rock, metal, country.

Some (many) standout tracks from the album: “Brit Punk Rocka” by Two Fisted Tango – probably my favorite track here and one that should get the band a lot of attention; Andy Palmer’s Heart of Colfax;” “In the Cloudsby Overcasters; The Jekylls’ You’re Probably Right;Fell’s 13-minute plus mind-bender, “A Silent Goodbye;” “Double Four Time” by The Swayback;” “Hard Lessons” by The Manxx; The Far Stairs’ The Shining Hours,” and “Shooting Through the Starsby Band of Waves to name a few. So check them out (you’ll also find Nights on Venus‘ own “Paradise by the Lava Lamp” on here – it’s track #18).

All in all, it’s a great-sounding album that flows from start to finish with something for everybody. As always, I’m impressed with the music here in Denver, just the number of quality bands and artists to be found here and the sheer diversity of styles; this album is an excellent sampling and representation of that, as are all the “This Ain’t No Cowtown” volumes. The Denver music scene is one of the best you’ll find anywhere and I’m glad to be a part of it.

3)  An ongoing series of shows in support of “This Ain’t No Cowtown” at the Lost Lake Lounge (3602 E Colfax Ave, Denver, CO) every Saturday night in August (4th, 11th, 18th, & 25th), and proceeds from all compilation albums in the “This Ain’t No Cowtown” series are going to help those affected by the Aurora shooting. Many thanks and kudos to John Baxter for putting all of this together and for doing such a great job in compiling this album.

Again, here’s the link to “This Ain’t No Cowtown” on Bandcamp (set at a ‘Name Your Price’ $0 (FREE) to however much you would like to donate) – check them all out and donate generously for a worthy cause.

Still awaiting word on another compilation album coming out soon – “Make a Rain Dance Colorado” – which will benefit those affected by the wildfires here in June. It’s been a tough summer here in CO.

NEW SONGS from NIGHTS on VENUS:

Two of ’em here, from the forthcoming EP in the fall which now has a title: it will be called “Another Day in Paradox” – and it will now be a 5-song EP (to be released by 12/20/12 – just under the wire Mayan calendar-wise…. ya know, just in case). Currently working on the title track.

GENJŌKŌAN  (Way of Everyday Life)
© 2012 Nights on Venus/Craig C. Thomas. All rights reserved.)

The title comes from the first chapter of 13th-century Zen master Dōgen’s (1200-1253) masterwork, Shōbōgenzō, one of the foundational texts of Sōtō Zen literature. It may be a word people are unacquainted with as much as “Bodhisattva” was to me back in 1973 when, as a teenager, I learned about it via the Steely Dan song (and then, synchronistically, read Herman Hesse’s “Siddhartha” and Robert Pirsig’s “Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance” that same year – Donald Fagen explained “Bodhisattva” once in an interview as “the Buddha before he becomes The Buddha.”).

Basically, Genjōkōan presents in a precise way “Dogen’s philosophy that we should approach everything we do as bodhisattva practice.” In other words, practice = enlightenment, or truth through experience… through everyday life. The seemingly commonplace or  “ordinary” – the mindfulness and awareness you bring to your daily activities while staying in the present moment, interconnected with all living Beings.

I became familiar with Genjōkōan in 1983, from a book of the same name (“Genjōkōan: The Way of Everyday Life”) by John Daido Loori – a book of photography and Dogen’s verses, and it’s simply what this song suggested to me. The more commonly accepted translation of  “Genjōkōan” now is “actualization of reality” (from Shohaku Okumura’s “Realizing Genjōkōan” – an excellent book btw, for Zen practitioners and those interested in Zen – highly recommended), but I went with the “way of everyday life” translation as that’s how I’d always known it and “actualization of reality” seemed a little too abstract as a subtitle. The song sounded somewhat “Eastern,” especially after I added the saz and tambura parts to it (electronic though they may be), and hopefully does justice to it.

SUBTLE DISTURBANCE  [in the Atmosphere]
© 2012 Nights on Venus/Craig C. Thomas. All rights reserved.)

“Subtle Disturbance…” is a song that would have been easily right at home on “In 4 the Evening,” but it wasn’t far enough along by the time I was wrapping things up on the recent album. All of the new songs feature more active bass lines – ever since “Niteglo” I’ve been playing more and more bass (it’s an old Hofner from a pawn shop).

Hope you like the new songs and happy listening! Until next time….

“In 4 the Evening,” the new album (no. 2)…

In 4 the Evening” is the second album from Nights on Venus and is now available as a digital download on CDBaby, iTunes, Amazon.mp3, Bandcamp, and available on CD through the NoV website.  

Follow Craig and NoV on Twitter (@xlntsky) and Facebook.

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Author: nightsonvenus

Musician and producer with the band Nights on Venus.

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