Joe Willingham, Real Country, and a Cactus Flower

I hesitated to post this, as I didn’t want to have it come off as tacky marketing, but in lieu of recent events, I feel that it would honor his memory and simultaneously provide some insight into the inner workings of Munook.

Just this week, my wife’s Grandfather, Joe Willingham, passed away. He lived a full life and taught everyone close to him the importance of steady, persistent, hard work as the only way to bring about results and satisfaction. At least that’s what he taught me.

The man ALWAYS wore a cowboy hat and in this day and age, one could go as far as to say he was indeed, a cowboy. He was quick to support his loved ones, was rarely distracted from his work, chivalrous, and had a Clint Eastwood attitude towards any punks feeling lucky. However, despite the genuinely rugged exterior, he was very caring and only wanted the best for everyone.

As the patriarch of his large family, most holiday gatherings tended to center around him and was more times than not filled with music. Live, Country music played by him, his family, and friends. Not early 90’s mainstream country, certainly not Talyor Swift’s “country”, but the real roots of the music form; Appalachian, old-time folk music developed in the 1920 and 30’s Southeastern United States, the era and region in which he came up as a child.

As a classically trained musician, I always appreciate the ORIGIN of music forms, in a high regard. I really hate the over glamorized, celebrity driven, money making machine it becomes, but I love the core of it. It’s soul. Joe’s love of country and the years of listening to him play REAL country with his friends and family inspired me to incorporate it into my own songwriting. There was something about it’s simplistic, story telling nature that really captured me. I’m constantly surrounded by musicians who feel the need to prove themselves by squeezing as many notes as possible into one measure of music, but listening to Joe play 3 simple chords and sing about coming home to his wife after a long day of work; had far more impact that any “musical juggling” I’d ever seen or heard.

So, the song “Cactus Flower” was born. It was my best attempt to integrate what I had learned from him about the the soul of roots country. In a small way, his spirit lives on through it. On a final, passing, but not insignificant note, some of you may know of my affinity for the supernatural and esoteric. In his final days, Joe was seeing people in the room that no one else could see. I believe him; I’d like to think that there is a thin veil in this world between what we think there is, and the great beyond. I dare say that I know there is. Enjoy.

Omar al Musfi to Join The Cast of New Album

Work on album number 2 is underway, albeit a slow pace at the moment. While I would like to keep a lot of the themes, titles, and directions under wraps, I will reveal this bit of info, as it’s too exciting for me not to share.

One of the new tracks in production deals with subject matter that lead me to Syria; and no, it is not a politically driven song. It’s inspiration is one of a more esoteric nature; we’ll leave it at that for now. In creating the music, I chose to go native and use Syrian Folk music scales, it was a challenge to say the least. Once the song’s core was developed, it was time to start adding to it; I wanted REAL Syrian percussion, from a REAL Syrian. Barring a long story, ladies and gentleman, Omar al Musfi has agreed to be a part of the song. The man is from Damscus, Syria. It doesn’t get much more Syrian than that. He is highly trained and skilled in various forms of Syrian percussion and has performed with the likes of Yo Yo Ma and the Silk Road Project and Sting. He even hinted around at perhaps inviting some of his fellow Syrian musicians to be involved. He will record his parts at the Northern Illinois School of Music later this year. I’m very excited, honored, and humbled to be involved with such a great musician. More news later.

Congrats to Dennis Calvert!!

80% of Munook operations occur within the confines of the small town of Cullman, AL. I always wanted to escape, but the older I get, and the more advanced technologies that interconnect us become, I realize that it’s the perfect spot to flourish. Someone else had that same idea; his name is Dennis Calvert and he practices an art called Light Painting.
I am proud to say he was kind enough to do some promotional photography for Munook last year – as well as create a music video for Making Fire
rehearsal copyHis talent and hard work have paid off, and he landed himself on the cover of Digital Photographer Magazine’s Brazil edition.

denni's cover!

Worldwide, bitches.

Building A New Website – Transitions Abound

There is a huge push from the business side of “music business” these days to be constantly providing your fans with a stream of content on social media. Personally, I find this a bit overwhelming and have a hard time justifying shoving every little inch of my life into people’s information stream. I prefer to build some suspense and spring new projects onto people, as opposed to showing them every step of the way. To me, solid art always had a sense of mystique. Be it painting, sculpting, architecture, music, a film, photography, drawing, etc; you always had to wait on it. You waited, you received, and then spent the next several years, or even decades, slowly picking it apart, contemplating what it really meant. I’m trying to return to that mode; or at least stay somewhat anchored to that ideal.

Saying that, I do feel safe within the confines of this blog to let a little bit of new news out. If you’re reading this, you are a genuine supporter, fan, and appreciator of art.

So, a new album is in the works. I’m 3 songs in 8 to go. There will be 11 in total. I’ll try to update the home page with some sort of news feed concerning the updates on that process. Speaking of which, I am currently building a new website. I’m no programmer, but the process has a steep learning curve and has taken most of my attention over the past 2 weeks. Once that’s done, I plan on moving back to the writing and recording of the album. Plan…

As far as the first album, promotional efforts haven’t ceased. Independent promotion is slow – a lot of people still aren’t familiar with it. In that regard, live shows, interviews, reviews, etc. etc. etc. are still being cooked up and will replace the new album’s creation as a top priority, I’m sure.

I’m not revealing the name of the album, the songs, or any sneak peaks of the songs until the 2nd album is ready for release; I’m hoping that will be the spring of 2015.

More later…