Monday, December 22, 2014

2014 Wrap Up: BOTB Results, Update, Music, and More

Today is my last post of the last month of what will soon be 'last year,' and there are a few things I would like to wrap up before taking a break for the Christmas holiday:

Deja Vu Blogathon
First off, let me offer a sincere "Thank you!" to all who visited and commented on my Deja Vu blog post. I really appreciate all the kind words.

It was also great getting to visit all the posts of the many bloggers who participated.  I tried to visit every single blog in DL's Linky-List, and I commented on most of them.  The only ones I didn't comment on were the ones who hadn't put up Deja Vu posts at the time of my visit. So if you did so late in the day and I missed it -- I apologize.  But I DID actually visit your blog at one point looking for it.

I just didn't keep a record of which blogs didn't have a post up so I could go back later, and I confess I'm too lazy to go back through 75 blogs again looking for the ones that posted late.  :)

Fianlly (and especially!): "THANK YOU" to my writing buddy Don 'DL' Hammons for hosting the blogathon -- It was a lot of fun to do between my last Battle of the Bands (BOTB) entry and its results post.

Battle of the Bands Results

...And speaking of Battle of the Bands:

The results from my December 15th Battle of the Band (BOTB) post did not end up anywhere as close as I thought it might be.  I took a lot of time going through tons of videos of "God Rest ye Merry, Gentlemen" on You Tube before deciding on the two that I ultimately chose, and I thought I had two worthy contenders.  Truthfully, I did expect the Phil Keaggy and Kim Hill version to win, simply because it was much closer to a traditional interpretation of the song, but I thought the Pillar version might get a few more votes and make it competitive.

Personally, I really like both versions, but for different reasons.  I like the energy, moody ambiance, and guitar of the Pillar version. There are some excellent dynamics in this take, from quiet and spacy to high-energy, although the growl/scream at the apex of the build-up is a bit much.

But I also find it interesting that although Pillar is nowhere near the "traditional" version of this song, it is one of the few versions I found on YouTube where they do more of the "traditional" verses, including the second verse with the often misunderstood line, "The which his mother, Mary, did nothing take in scorn." Most versions skip this verse, as the Kim Hill and Phil Keaggy cover does.

However, I do love the guitar, bass, and flute and haunting vibe of the Keagy / Hill version. There is still a cool mix of old and rocking-new in this version, but with a much more 'traditional' vibe. And of course the guitar playing is wonderful.  So in the end, I find myself in much the same position as several other voters -- I like the Pillar version, but I'm voting for Keaggy and Hill.

So my vote adds to their landslide victory, with the final tally:

-- Pillar: 2
-- Keaggy / Hill: 11

I guess Christmas brings out the traditionalist in me, too.

Battle of the Bands Update

...And while we're on the topic of the BOTB:

I'd mentioned before in my results post from my December 1st BOTB that I have some upcoming changes planned for my blog.  But I have to confess that I've also been all over the map as to how these changes will impact my participation in the BOTB going forward.  Honestly, I've waffled between deciding to quit and deciding to stay many, many times over the last month.

But, in the end -- despite my assurance to Stephen McCarthy in the comments of that BOTB results post -- I've finally decided to step aside from the BOTB  -- or at least for a while.

It was not an easy decision -- I have really enjoyed taking part, and I will definitely continue to vote on the other BOTB blogs on the 1st and 15th of each month.  But I will not be making any BOTB posts myself in 2015 (or at least that's the plan as of now).

My blog is titled, "The Creative Outlet of StratPlayer," but in the BOTB posts, I'm really offering nothing creative of my own -- I'm just sharing videos of other people covering songs and asking you to pick which one you like best.  It's fun -- I do enjoy getting to comment on the music and give background on the songs, and even trying to interject some creative stuff into my BOTB Results posts.

But, truthfully, the Battle of the Bands posts are not quite in line which what my blogging intent really is.  And that creative intent is what I want to refocus on for 2015.

So, with regret, I am announcing that I will not be hosting BOTB posts in 2015...

Create 52

...But speaking of my creative intent for this blog:

In 2015, I will be trying something new on my blog -- a thing that I'll be calling "Create 52."

Under this name, I'll be making a new post on Monday of each week with at least one new creative piece I've created -- music or writing, mostly, but who knows what all may end up here? 

As I mentioned above, my intent is to refocus my blogging energy to highlight the thing I create, and also renew my efforts to actually creating on a regular basis.  So as part of the "Create 52" push, I will be increasing my writing efforts as well as generating music on a regular basis.

I'll explain more of what I'm going for with my first "Create 52" post on Monday, January 5th, but for now I will say that I'm definitely looking forward to this refocused effort on creating and blogging.

I hope you will enjoy what you see here in 2015!

Music: For the Fun of It

...And speaking of creating:
Let me close out 2014 with one more musical offering -- it's not a Christmas song, but you can consider it a small Christmas gift.

This is another wikiloops jam, but it's one where all the pieces were already in place and I just added a single track of lead guitar. The user 'scrawfrd02' had laid down an acoustic guitar track and then added another track of piano, bass, and other keys, including a catchy little line of pseudo-horns in the background. Then the wikilooper, 'Jaymny,' added some drums (and the intro count-off) to the piece. I found their jam fun and compelling and wanted to take part.
So I added a single guitar track on top of it -- a lead where I tried to not overpower all the tracks that were already there. I used that little 'horn' line as the starting point the lead I added.  I recorded it in stereo with differing delays for the left and right channel, went for a smooth but edgy distorted sound, and tried to put it far enough into the mix so that it blended in without dominating the other parts.

I think it turned out OK for a quick, "off-the-cuff jam" kind of thing. 

Click on the image of the StratoRaptor to the left, the image of Wikiloops track above, or here on THIS LINK to check it out.  Feel free to comment on what you think of it -- I 'm always interested to hear feedback on what worked, what didn't, and on ways to improve.

Thanks for listening!

Merry Christmas!

...And finally, and perhaps most importantly:

I want to be sure to wish you and your family a very, very merry Christmas, and a wonderful New Year!!!

I hope your holiday season is filled with love and joy, and that 2015 will be a year of blessings and  great things for you and your loved ones!

See you January 5th!!!


  1. Merry Christmas, Chris!
    A nice, quiet wail with the guitar.
    I like the proposed changes for next year.
    BOTB doesn't fall on my posting days for the next two months, so I won't be participating either.

    1. Merry Christmas to you, too Alex!

      Thanks for the kind words on the track, and also your blogging support -- I really appreciate it!

  2. GgC ~
    What are "Resluts"?
    Are those bad girls turned good and then gone bad again?

    Disappointed about BOTB, naturally (see my reply to your comment at my blog), but I wish you the best, and I assure you I intend to remain a regular visitor to your blog.

    Gotta run right now though, because I'm in the middle of this Christmas Memories Bloghop. I'll be Bach! ...Or maybe Beethoven.

    ~ D-FensDogg
    'Loyal American Underground'

    1. "Resluts???" I have no idea what you're talking about... Clearly your age-and-drink-addled eyes have misread my title. ;)

      (Thanks for the typo heads-up, LOL! I've fixed it now. )

      Saw your comment on your blog, and I 'm disappointed too, actually. I wish I had more hours in the day to get everything done that I want to get done. I'd definitely stay with the BOTB -- or at least until I ran out of tunes. But at this stage of my life, if I want to add something, I have to cut something else, and that applies to my blogging, too, unfortunately.

      Thank you for understanding and for your continued support -- I welcome and appreciate it, my brother. I respect your opinions and also your willingness to say what DIDN'T work for you, instead of just a generic "it's great!" Constructive criticism helps me hone my craft, and it also makes your positive comments so much more valuable -- when you say it, you really mean it. :)

      Have a joyous Christmas and a very happy New Year!

  3. You sound like you've got some great plans for 2015. I love the idea of posting a creative, original piece on Mondays. I'll come by to say hello.

    Merry Christmas. See you in 2015.

  4. Another great piece of music. I'm going to make myself a note to try to check out your posts on Mondays for the new tunes. I really like what you're doing, I hope you make the time to keep up this good work.

    I'm disappointed that you won't be participating in BOTB. Your posts are always informative and interesting (even if you do use words like glissando). I can understand your need to cut back. BOTB has become it's own kind of monster. It's heartening to see so many people participating. It makes me happy that all these people like the idea and want to jump on board. BUT, I feel a need, desire, and obligation to visit and comment on each and every post. Between that and the time it takes to put my own together and reply to comments, it has become very time consuming. There are times (like when the 1st and 15th fall on Mondays) that it takes me all week to make the rounds.

    At any rate, I wish you the best with whatever your heart desires. I'll try to be a regular here, particularly for your new music. Would love to also see more of your writing. I do hope that you and yours have the Merriest of Christmases and are looking forward to a Wonderful New Year.

    1. Thank you, FAE. I really appreciate your kind words and your support!

      And I wish you and your loved ones a joyous Christmas and a happy, healthy, and heavenly 2015!

  5. I think we all need to stop and evaluate where we are from time to time. This thing called blogging is its own monster. It takes and takes and takes until we stop and say, "What's happened? I consider myself a creative sort, but I'm not creating anything." And then comes the cuts. We've all been there. I'm still struggling to edit my first finished WiP, while other (more focused, less distracted) folks are either in the query or publish stage. It's a reminder that we can't do everything. So, do what you can and we'll look forward to it.

    Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!

    1. You're absolutely right, Robin -- thank you for understanding!

      Merry Christmas and Happy New Year to you, too!

  6. I understand your decisions about your blog, but I do hope you'll occasionally pop in with a BOTB surprise post. You always added some interesting data to the mix.

    Tossing It Out

    1. Thank you, Lee. I may, or I may just interject some assorted music videos into my posts from time-to-time. And as I posted on your blog -- I will continue to take part in the BOTB voting! ..although my vote for the 1st posts might be a bit late. We'll see how hectic the first part of the year is. :

  7. Thanks for stopping by my blog on the deja vu blogfest. I was super busy on that day, so I didn't get to check out everybody's posts. Hope you still pop up in blog land from time to time. Have a very Merry Christmas.

    1. Hi Sherry,

      Thank you also for stopping by here. I hope you had a wonderful Christmas!

  8. Chris-

    Well that makes two of us-after I finish my current thread (Christmas music), I plan to take a break from blogging, including BOTB posts.

    I've got posts scheduled through January 6, and then the lights go off.

    Merry Christmas, and I hope your blog goals are attained next year!


    1. Wow, Larry -- going completely off the net!?

      But truthfully, I do understand the need to take a blogging break. I've done it. Several times. :)

      But I always come back. This time, I'm not really going away, just trying to refocus the time I do spend blogging.

      I hope you had a very merry Christmas, and that your 2015 is fabulous! I'll still stop by your blog from time to time to see if you pop back in.

  9. Ironically, I'm returning to posting after a sabbatical of seven months. Recently I reopened an old blog just for BOTB... a new thing for me. The first post is the January battle; hope you get a chance to stop over anyway.

    Love the jam - such a rich sound!

    Hope the holidays bring peace and kindness into your life. Merry Christmas!

    1. Hi Dixie,

      Yeah -- I'll still be stopping by for the BOTB battles, but not taking part in hosting a posts. And I may not always visit exactly on the 1st or 15th -- but I'll be around. So I'll be sure to visit yours, too!

      Thank you very much for the kind words about my musical piece -- I really appreciate it.

      I hope your Christmas was terrific and that the New Year and 2015 are great for you!


Don't be shy -- feel free to comment. I really appreciate your thoughts.