The RPM Challenge • Part 2 • Electric July

Making an Album in a Month

The RPM Challenge is a opportunity for musicians to record an album, 10 songs or 35 minutes total, in February. The results are streamed on the RPM Challenge website. I am participating in the 2019 challenge after a five year hiatus from playing music. Prior to that, I was unable to play my guitar because of a difficult health problem. When I was able to return to the guitar, I realized that my time away had a silver lining: I took to playing my instrument with a fresh perspective and this allowed me to break some old habits.

This winter I acquired a Fender Stratocaster. It is more comfortable to play; the tremolo bridge encouraged me to compose songs with a surf-rock infused vibe. I feel incredibly fortunate to make music with old and new friends for my two RPM projects. This post features the background of the music project named Electric July.

I first met visual artist and musician Laura Harper Lake over ten years ago. She is a wonderful friend, a gifted painter and designer, and has recorded for the RPM Challenge in the past. In January, we started to regularly jam together. She plays the electric ukulele and it’s a rewarding challenge to blend chords and melodies with Lake’s original compositions. We decided to name our pairing Electric July since we play electric instruments and were both born in early July. As a result, our astrological sign sensitively suits the many moods in this album!

Lake and I recorded the basis of our album, Summer Stars, in three sessions. Finally, Lake added additional instruments, including the accordion, bass, and synth, and vocals to the songs. Lastly, Lake invited violinist Aaron Wrightsman to accompany several songs, and his soulful melodies creates a wonderful finishing touch to the album.