Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Do something with your music (or art...or writing!)


We're in the age of the internet, and living in a time where the Annoying Orange makes a quarter of a million dollars with a silly laugh.

We exist in a plane of possibilities, and it's up to us not to waste them! Recording this EP has been so empowering for me. I'm giving them out left and right, and I'm even wearing a Josh Urban shirt right now! (The official announcement will be soon.)

I've been urging all of my students, and now you, too, to do something with your music! Check out Audacity, the free recording program! Put your songs up on myspace! Get a YouTube channel! Do something! Play campfires. Look up blues jams and open mics. If your town or city allows it, play street music! This isn't just limited to musicians. Writers- start your own blog if you haven't already! Artists, find a local art resource of sorts. (This is sad. My mother's an artist, and I don't even know what to recommend to other artists. But I'm sure you'll figure something out!)

The world ain't gonna take itself over!

Rock on!

PS. Send me some of your music, art, writing, or accounting! I'd love to see what you've done!

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Selfish question

Hey hey hey rockers!

OK, got a selfish question for ya that I need some help with: What style does my music sound like? I've described it as blues, rock, and adult alternative. Input is much appreciated! Strike that - friendly input is much appreciated!

CD baby has stumped me with the category description of my music.

Check it out at www.joshurban.com

Thank you, good people!

Rock on!

- Josh

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Record away!


Wow, I hope everyone's been enjoying the approaching autumn season! At the risk of sounding severely un-rock 'n roll, days like this make me wish I were a butterfly.

Wait wait, I can explain! Really!
I was out on my morning exercise, and it's literally a walk in the park. I passed a Monarch butterfly feeding at a fall flower. That buddy goes all the way to Mexico! On his little spangled butterfly wings! He doesn't have to worry about marketing and border crossings and all the madness that is life. He just flies on the wind.

Then I came back to my old self, Rammstein songs filled my head, and I kept on plotting to take over the world.

Here's one thing that's been helping me in my journey so far - recording ideas. Yep, yep, I've mentioned recording many times before, but the technology has changed significantly since I got up on the recording soapbox! (I actually own a separate voice recorder. My iPhone makes it obsolete, but I have it anyway.)

If you have a cell phone, especially a smartphone such as the reigning iPhone or any of it's lesser rivals (passive-aggressive punch at my Android-owning brothers here), you've most likely got the capibility to record sounds. Speaking as the top dog, an iPhone owner (smirk!), I can use the stock voice recorder, or many apps available. I use FourTrack. It was ten bucks, but you can record four tracks (unfortunately, not all at once - it's not multi-tracking.) The app lets me mix them together, and send it to my computer. It rocks!

The point is - recording is extraordinarily helpful to musical progress. Be it perfecting shredding, or capturing the latest idea for a folk song, it's there, and it will help you. I like to use it for a.) listening to the track fully (I can't when I'm playing), b.) capturing ideas, and c.) charting progress. It's cool to look back a few months and say "wow!"

Since you probably have a recorder on that phone, use it! How much easier does it get? (I'm yelling here.)

I was just telling a client today how helpful it is for soloing. So - Arnold Schwarzenegger voice - Don't be a girly man! Get da recorder app! Yah yah! Use it! Yah yah!

Rock on!

- Josh

Thursday, September 16, 2010

The Making of an EP - Final chapter - Hello, World!


I'm done! I'm finished! The EP is ONLINE! I'm super proud to introduce to the listening audience my latest studio effort! Will you please put your hands together for....Signalman!

This is my first "real" recording, complete with vocals, drums, and even keyboards! I'm responsible for every single sound on it.

It's been quite a journey, and I've had an awesome team to help me through. From my brother Noah putting my website online, graphic design help, and answering endless photoshop questions, to Mike Mori helping me figure out the mixing and recording phase of the project, and acting as assistant producer, to the good folks at the Oasis record plant, Bill Wolf doing the mastering, my Mom for her much appreciated consultation, business and creative advice, and of course, my brother Zakk for his marketing input, and sitting through many conversations and rants about the project! Every single one of these people got dragged into this project, and they were most gracious with their help.

Thank you all!

And, without further ado, please take a listen to Signalman.

Friday, September 10, 2010

Handy Street

Hey hey hey!

I hope everyone's doing well...and has had a chance to listen to Radio W-HAM!
It's my zany radio track explaining a song I had written about a laundromat in Jersey. It's what happens when a nun tells you to shut up and you're stuck on a train.

Anyways, here that very same song is! It's track #4 off my upcoming EP. It's what I've been working on for months. It was quite a process to write, record, and mix. I learned a ton, and I really recommend songwriting if you haven't tried it yet. By the way, I plan to write an account of the journey very soon. Yay! That'll put ya to sleep.

Hope you enjoy!

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

I'll see you...at my new YouTube channel!


Wow oh wow am I on a roll with the music business stuff! This is SO MUCH FUN! Y'all should really try it. Anyone who says it's boring isn't doing it right!

Check it ouuut! I've got a YouTube channel now! Please visit and subscribe!

I've got a single up there from the new EP, and a bunch of iPhone Chronicles. See, I take that mighty phone around with me everywhere, and one night, about a year ago, I was walking out of the grocery store. I happened to notice a Katydid (type of bug) on the camaro. The Katydid is my favorite musician ever. They just have great tone. It was a summer's night long ago when I first noticed them. My mom said "listen, it's like the symphony in the forest!" I still remember gazing across the street into the trees, and hearing them in the distance. "Katy did...Katy didn't...Katy did..." Ever since then, I love to listen for them in the early summer, and enjoy their chorus all season long, until the cold slows them.

So, I whipped out the iPhone, and interviewed the symphony musician perched on the trunk of the camaro. (I stopped the interview when I noticed another customer wondering why some dude was talking to a car at ten o clock at night in the parking lot.) And then I interviewed a kitchen table a few days later...And all sorts of zany videos followed!

Check 'em out, and I'll also be posting music on the channel as well. (That's REALLY the main reason.)

Hope to see ya there!

Rock on!

- Josh

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Six Years!


I was walking through my living room today, and I raised my hand. As I did so, I saw my iPhone. See, it's glued to my hand. And I noticed the date: Wednesday, September 1st.

Six years ago, it was also Wednesday, September 1st. It was my first day teaching guitar at Hot Licks Guitar Shop. Boy was I nervous. Andy was my first lesson, and by some miracle, he's still my friend on facebook. He just wanted to use up a lesson coupon, and the guy knew exactly everything that I did. Usually, I can get away with teaching a guitarist who's on the same level by showing them something outside of their normal genre. But the quirks in Andy's playing style were exactly the same as mine. Wow, that was scary. He was very gracious, though. Thanks, Andy!

There was the girl who hated guitar, and was there 'cause her mom and grandma made her play guitar. There were the kids who really liked it. There was Sam, with his Blink-182 wristband and punk attitude that made me laugh. I sweated some serious bullets that first day...and that first month, really. But folks were patient, gave me a chance, and let me teach.

I locked the door to my office today, and went back to Hot Licks to say thanks. I shook my guitar teacher's hand and said "hey man, thanks!" "It's been six years already?" he asked.

Unbelievably, it has.

I'd like to thank each and every student who's sat in that chair, and listened to me opine about music, life, and learning. It's been a lot of fun! From the Annoying Orange drawings that grace the dry erase board, to the fun of routing the iPhone gun app through the PA and scaring the neighbors, to the darn good questions I get about music theory, it's been great.

I was talking to a gentleman at an event recently, and he expressed his view that I was lucky to get to pass knowledge on to those willing to listen. I wholeheartedly agree. Thanks to everyone for not only giving me the time, but also the platform (and sometimes, the soapbox!) from which to instruct. I know I'm supposed to be the instructor, but I've learned so much from my six years as a guitar teacher.

Thank you. I'm very grateful.

Rock on!

- Josh