Brad Meador
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Apr 19

Music History

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A couple of folks have asked me about my musical upbringing.  I have avoided posting because I kind of think it’s a bit self-indulgent.  But all blogs are basically created to feed the author’s narcissism anyway, right?

  • My Mom taught piano while I was growing up, so I’ve always been playing music.
  • I took 10 years of piano, starting when I was 4. I can play two songs, neither very well.
  • I took up classical violin in 4th grade. I also dabbled with the viola.
  • In addition to my classical violin training, I played bluegrass and Cajun fiddle at contests all over Louisiana. I only won when my buddy John Johnson was exempt from competition because he had won the year before. I think he plays for Rascal Flatts now. My mom would accompany me on the guitar and my little sister would join on the washboard.  We were the Meador Family Band.
  • Around that time I also picked up the mandolin, though I’m still not as good at it as I would like to be. I’m not all that good at the violin anymore, for that matter. Not an instrument you can put down for a couple of years…
  • I took up string bass in 6th grade. In 8th grade I started playing in a semi-professional symphony orchestra.  The director of the symphony was Tony Kushner’s father.
  • I played bass with a group of professors all through high school to make some extra cash.  It’s good to be one the only bass players in the state.  We played mostly churches.  Trust me, there are a lot of churches in Central Louisiana.
  • I was going to be a String Bass Performance major in college until the Mechanical Engineering bug bit me.
  • It’s been years since I’ve played in an orchestra, and I miss it.  There are a lot of great community orchestras in the Bay Area, but I have commitment issues.  (And my bass will only fit in my car on sunny days…)
  • I was in musicals at the GPGC every summer 1983 – 1986. My crowning glory was playing Conrad Birdie in Bye Bye Birdie. This fueled an Elvis obsession that lasted for years.
  • I played electric bass in various Jazz Bands in high school. Freshman year they made me play electric bass in the marching band and that SUCKED.
  • I was an arts major at my high school, the Louisiana School for Math Science and the Arts.  I was in the 18 piece show choir junior\senior year. Yes, we sang and danced (unbelievable to me now) in shows all over the state. We appeared in Steel Magnolias.
  • I taught myself guitar late in college, mostly to support my singing habit. To date, I play it almost to the complete exclusion of all else.  My guitar fetish has proven to be an expensive habit.  More on that in another post…

Definitely a jack of all master of none thing going on here, but you get the idea.  For the record, I don’t think my story is much different than just about everybody who grew up with the arts.

Thanks for indulging!

Dec 17

Steel Magnolias

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Today someone I’ve known for a decade was shocked to find out that I’m in Steel Magnolias.  They filmed in Natchitoches, LA when we were in high school.  For kicks, I found the clip on YouTube:

Singing starts at 3’10”, but I’ve set up the embedded video to start playing when we come on screen (4’43”).  Don’t blink!

Happy Holidays!

Aug 11

Creativity and Creative Commons

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Jeff Jarvis says that every minute 10 hours of video is posted on YouTube.  Wow. Hopefully you find his observations about the massive amount of internet-fueled creativity as interesting as I do:

This has surely always been the case. The internet doesn’t make us more creative, I don’t think. But it does enable what we create to be seen, heard, and used. It enables every creator to find a public, the public he or she merits. And that takes creation out of the proprietary hands of the supposed creative class.

It got me thinking that for all the music that I’ve been writing and performing since my first preschool piano recital, I feel more creative now than ever.  I’m sure that’s in part because the barrier to pushing stuff out to the world has become incredibly small.  Now if I could only finish and post some of the stuff I’ve been working on…

Which reminds me that I wanted to talk about the copyright on this web site.

My album of original music, downtime is available on iTunes, Amazon, Napster and CDBaby and I always have a copy or two available at my shows.  You should totally buy it.  The CD artwork is sweet and the music files are of higher quality than those available for download here.  Someday soon I’ll have another album available that includes the WIP on this site.  Hopefully it will be compelling enough that you’ll want to buy it, too.

Creative Commons License That said, I really hope that you like the music enough to share it.  As such, I have licensed all of my posted original music and lyrics via Creative Commons.  I use the Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike 3.0 United States License, which means that you can download for noncommercial use, provided you give proper attribution and share any work derived from it under the same license.  If you would like to use the recordings for commercial reasons or have any questions about the copyrighted material on this site, contact me.

As for YouTube?  Yeah, I hope to contribute my own hours of online video someday soon.  In the meantime (and in the spirit of Jeff’s post), check out this sweet animation for the Violent Femmes Country Death Song.  Enjoy.

Jul 09

Hey, look at me, I’m writing a blog!

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I started a personal blog this week.  Theoretically it’s now tied to my Facebook profile, which means there’s a chance someone might actually read it.  Here’s what this thing is all about…

imageI needed a new web site (Brad Meador) to support my music habit and it had to have a simple way to post gigs and new material.  I’m no stranger to blogging, so a personal, music-focused blog seemed way to go.  The result is downtime.  If you use an RSS\Feed Reader you can subscribe here.  If you have no idea what that means, sign up for email updates here.

In addition to upcoming gigs and new music I’m working on, I’m likely to post about albums I really like (does the term "album" date me?), some great concerts, and anything else that captures my attention.  So, instead of sending you emails like "OMG I have listened to Greg Garing’s Dream Too Real to Hold 20 times today and can’t stop" or "I had no idea Kathleen Edwards could rock until I saw her at the Independent last night" I’ll just post that stuff here.

I also have some crazy notion that writing a little bit about music will help me clarify thoughts, stimulate creativity, and maybe – just maybe – make me a better songwriter and performer.  I guess that all remains to be seen.

On a final note, why did I name the blog downtime?  First, that’s the name of my album; a collection of largely melancholic songs recorded while between jobs.  Second, most of the stuff I listen to and perform tends towards tales of heartbreak – what I consider to be a very liberal definition of the blues (see About Brad Meador).  Finally, music remains my primary hobby, something I do to relax.  Downtime.  Perfect, right?

Jul 04

Hello world!

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This is the obligatory “Hello World” post.  Here’s an excerpt from my About page (which is sure to change in the near future):

My name is Brad Meador, I live in San Francisco, and I play music when I’m not working on the day job.  I hate artist bios that espouse the “exploration of dichotomous human relationships through sensitive folk music in a minor key,” so I’ll try and spare you.  I’ve been playing music all my life because it makes me happy and I share it with others in the hopes that they’ll enjoy it too.  That might sound odd from somebody who sings about pain, rain and driving at night (usually minus the rain and driving) but that’s the nature of the blues.  The music is largely acoustic guitar-based Americana with a dose of twang that comes from growing up in the Deep South.  In my earlier stuff you’ll hear hints of Chris Isaak, Lyle Lovett, James Taylor and David Wilcox.  In my later stuff hopefully you’ll hear hints of Brad Meador.  I’m not terribly prolific, but I hope to one day to write that perfect love song that is equal parts joy and heartbreak.  Watch my blog for posts on new music (mine and others), upcoming gigs and anything else that captures my fancy.

More to come soon.  In the meantime, check out some some music.