new songs: “aloft” and “golden light on the hudson”…

We close out the month of October – Happy Halloween, y’all! – with a couple of new songs from the upcoming 3rd album, “Another Day in Paradox” – “Aloft” and “Golden Light on the Hudson.” Interesting thing this 3rd album… what began as a ‘simple’ 4 or 5-song EP has blossomed into a full album (at least 12 songs) and quite possibly a double album now. Still remains to be seen, but as the ‘quick sketches’ of songs I recorded in the summer have developed into their full arrangements, it has become impossible to break them apart into bite-size chunks, like on an EP.

If “In 4 the Evening” was “the Luv album,” “Another Day” is the “Americana” album – not musically of course, as in the Americana genre (still mostly electronic, not much acoustic, although even that is changing a little) – but thematically. Interspersed in the album are a few songs about some places in America, some of it autobiographical, some of it just about the “idea of America”… some of it just about everyday life. Song titles are becoming a little more specific, less abstract… a recent example: “Ghosts of 1887 (Ballad of Clifford Griffin),” pulled from a bit of Colorado lore from the little mountain mining town of Silver Plume (and actually you can read the brief story on him here and it will give you an idea of what the song is about and how it’s arranged) … and also here with “Golden Light on the Hudson.”

Paragliding over Golden…

The first song presented, “Aloft,” isn’t so much place-specific – it was inspired just from watching people hang-gliding or paragliding off of Lookout Mtn. right here in Golden. Most every weekend when the conditions are right you’ll see at least a dozen or so people riding the air currents down from the mountain; occasionally a few will catch one of those currents for an extended ride, veer way off course, and end up landing over in our neighborhood. It looks like a blast… but neither Erin nor I will probably be doing this anytime soon. “When in doubt, go higher…”

(© 2012 Nights on Venus/Craig C. Thomas. All rights reserved.)

The extended ending of “Aloft” segues into the next song, “Golden Light on the Hudson,” tracks no. 2 and 3 on the album…

(© 2012 Nights on Venus/Craig C. Thomas. All rights reserved.)

“Golden Light…” comes from a recollection from a few years back when I rode the train (Amtrak) from Denver to New York City. The last leg of the 2-day journey by rail down from Albany, where the train parallels the path of the Hudson River from about Saugerties southward, through part of the Catskills, into the city is the most spectacular. In the fall, it is even more spectacular as the train brings you into NYC in the late afternoon and early evening and the late afternoon sunlight on the river is truly something to see… and where the song comes from.

Late-afternoon sunlight on the Hudson River…

I love taking the train, if I have the time, rather than flying and even if it is Amtrak, because you see things differently staying on the ground than from the air and there’s no TSA ‘goon squad’ groping your body parts when you board (although this may have changed by now). I love seeing the land I’m moving through, and you also see things differently when you take the train rather than by car – you can’t see what’s ahead, only what’s on either side. I’ve made the trip eastward a few times from Denver to NYC and back – it’s a mostly relaxing way to travel. The trains are always late coming in or going out of Denver, on time east of the Mississippi; you can live on White Castle burgers heading east from Chicago, catch up on your reading, meet some pretty cool people, listen to a lot of John Mellencamp and Sheryl Crow across the Midwest, and you can grab your beauty sleep across Nebraska at night… both ways (it’s a lengthy state)!

BTW, if you come to Denver and ski at Winter Park, take the Ski Train from Union Station – it drops you off in front of one of the lifts.  Just step into your skis and away you go. Advanced skiers can make their way over to Mary Jane and the ride back into Denver on the train is always more enjoyable than the drive back on I-70.

As always, thanks for listening to the latest offerings from Nights on Venus and hope you enjoy. Later this week: a look at this Election Day, November 6th, 2012, with Mercury going retrograde (on Election Day itself), what that might mean (especially as Hurricane Sandy currently bears down on the East Coast), and a look back to previous elections in U.S. history when Mercury was retrograde, including one in particular – Election Day, 2000… and maybe also that chili recipe I mentioned last time…

“In 4 the Evening” is the second and current album from Nights on Venus and is available as a digital download on CDBabyiTunesAmazon.mp3Bandcamp and other fine online retailers. On CD through the NoV website.

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

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


new song: “niteglo”….

Nights on Venus closes out the month of February with two new finished songs, one of which I’ve posted here. “Niteglo” is the latest installment from NoV’s forthcoming album, “In 4 the Evening” which I’m now scheduling to release by late May. Aside from possibly a few re-takes of some passages, recording of songs is now complete for the album leaving selection, sequencing, and pre-mastering prep to do.

Photograph by Noel Kerns.

And that’s a good thing. February has been a busy month here and the next few weeks are about to get a lot busier. The beginning stages of packing boxes has begun as Erin and I close on the new house tomorrow and prepare for the move in mid-March. It is a much bigger place than we’re in now only 15 minutes away and it also means larger studio digs for Nights on Venus and various other projects with a better, more comfortable listening room. More space (!), and preferably, we’ll be there for a long, long time (a few years at least).

It’s also a good thing because in the course of writing and recording songs over a period of months (8 to be exact), the work changes somewhat. Sometimes quite a bit. A lot of the sketches for the new material I’ve been writing this month clearly didn’t fit in with the rest of the album; I seemed to already be moving beyond the feel and mood of the current one into future work. Sometimes it’s hard not to get ahead of yourself when the work is going well and growing into new territory, so this seems to be a natural stopping point to wrap things up on “In 4 the Evening” (I4tE).

The new song, “Niteglo,” itself came from a song sketch I worked on during last year’s sessions but hadn’t fully developed then as I was in the finishing stages of the first album. The title comes from a natural phenomena called “earthglow” that happens in the uppermost regions of the atmosphere at night and is a little like the better-known aurora borealis but not as dramatic and occurs constantly (more space!).

“Niteglo” finds a much more welcoming home now on ‘I4tE’ in keeping with the more mysterious, haunting (and yet, upbeat and hopefully magical) mood I’m shooting for. So much of playing music is really about listening to what you’re doing, not unlike working in a visual art form and stepping back to see the work as it’s taking shape. The same applies to albums… what fits, what doesn’t, what’s needed, with what you’re trying to achieve (a great album!), which is one of the roles of a producer (yes, I am trying to “drum” up business here – hire me while I’m relatively cheap).

© 2012 Nights on Venus/Craig C. Thomas. All rights reserved.)

The fade-out at the end actually leads into the next song, “Something Remembered Before Sleep,” which will be the closing track on the album. “Niteglo” will probably be the last song posted between now and when “I4tE” comes out. It’s an interesting process, posting songs to sites like ReverbNation and SoundCloud – as an artist you want to post new work so listeners get a sense of what you’re doing, what you’re about, and become familiar with your music (and, putting on my marketeer hat for a second, the NoV ‘brand’) and as a result listeners get to hear the album in progress as it’s ‘being built.’

Until next time, when serious packing will undoubtedly be in full swing here…

Nights on Venus - the debut album (2011)

The Nights on Venus debut album is available as a digital download (MP3) and can be found on CDBabyiTunesAmazon.mp3eMusic, and other fine online retailers.

Follow Craig and Nights on Venus on Twitter (@xlntsky) and Facebook.