Monday, March 21, 2011

Rocky Mountain Harmony Sweepstakes

Tim took two groups to the Harmony Sweepstakes this year. He found out which groups got in 3 weeks ago. Throat and King4.

Both of these groups have existed in the past. Both have LOTS of music in their "book"s. Both have competed in the Harmony Sweepstakes before.

Neither actually existed at the time Tim applied for them to be in the sweeps, nor did they exist 3 weeks ago when they got in. And, with the competition on a Sunday this year, the cast that had most recently rehearsed wasn't available--the lead female vox is a Mormon and (rightly) chose to put church first.

So Tim scrambled and cast a new group of people for both the groups. King4 is an a cappella Elvis quartet. Throat is classic rock with a bit of a singer-songwriter vibe (similar to, but not reminiscent of, Fleetwood Mac).  So he spent a week casting the groups and getting the music ready. He even wrote 3 brand-new songs for Throat. Then he went to Utah for a week. Then he rehearsed the groups for a week.

Throat hadn't even all been in the same room as each other before Wednesday of this week.

Last night they sang for me (since I didn't go to the competition--it was Sunday, after all), and they were forgetting notes and missing chords. But I could still see that they had something really good going. For one thing, they have great songs. For another, Matt and Tim were incredible on percussion and bass. Really incredible.

So today they went to Denver to compete.

King4 opened the show (always a disadvantage, unfortunately), and they were a great opener--set the tone for the whole show in terms of fun. They had a great time and did a great job.

Throat closed the show. And they WON. Tim said he didn't think the audience loved it, and they didn't win Audience Favorite, and they had no covers so they didn't win best arrangement, but they swept all the other awards--first place, best solo, best original song, best percussion.

So Tim and Peter will be probably the first people ever to both host the Harmony Sweepstakes Finals and compete in the Harmony Sweepstakes Finals IN THE SAME YEAR.

They probably won't win, though. I doubt the Finals will allow them to use their octave pedal, which is a big part of their sound. But still, it will be a fun adventure, for sure.

We weren't expecting it. In fact, every time Tim's won, I've said the day before, "This is a great idea, great concept, great music. You aren't going to win." In fact, I've said that so often about groups that won that when I said it yesterday, we both paused afterward and I added, "Hmmmm. You probably will win just because I said that."

(Last year, I thought VoxBom would win because they're INCREDIBLE, but one of the judges, knowing Tim had done comedy in years past, thought it was a comedy group and didn't get the joke--because there wasn't one--so he thought they were terrible and ranked them very very low, which bumped them down to second place.)

So now if I can just get my wish and have them record all my favorite Throat songs for an album (Tim has literally 4 hours of music that almost nobody has heard that is incredible.....I guess that's 4 albums worth, isn't it.). We talked about it a long time tonight, and I really hope they record with a pop/rock producer. We know a producer who likes Tim's stuff, and who has an incredible facility with lead vocals--he makes gorgeous, crystal-clear recordings, and I think he is one of the few people who could really do justice to Tim's gorgeous voice, who can capture the beauty and depth and emotion he has when he sings, and do justice to his incredible range. Tim's songs are new and different enough that he can't work with just anyone and have it come off right--he needs someone who can grasp his vision for the songs without having any "make it sound like so and so" to fall back on, and someone who understands the feel and has a vision of their own that takes the music in the right direction. (The debate we keep coming back to is can the producer I picked out do justice to the vocals that are acting like instrumentals--that's a specific skill that isn't a given. He's produced a cappella before, but we don't like the sound of the group he's worked with, stylistically, and so don't know if he can do for all the other parts what he can do for the leads....). I also keep hoping for a producer who has the right "connections," but we'll have to leave that for another debate another day.

Anyway, after a week of huge ups and downs, this was another huge up.

And it leaves me asking--what happens next?

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