News

New music coming in 2017!

Sat Jun 24, 2017

I always write.  Always, even while mowing the yard.

Recording?  Now that’s a different story.  It takes a lot of time and depending on the scope, it can be expensive.

Each song represents about 40 hours worth of work… of course I still have a job and family life.

So that’s why I get excited when I can finally say NEW MUSIC IS COMING!!

 


I threatened and I followed through!  Christmas song #1.

Sun Dec 11

Over the years I’ve meant to record a Christmas song or two.  Thing is, it never happened.  Usually it was November before I started thinking about it, and there’s just not enough time by then.

Releasing a song is a lot of work even if the song is already written!  You have to arrange it, record, mix, master it, create cover art and then do all the admin work of releasing it.  I’ve done it all enough through the years that I know what it takes, and it always takes longer than you think.

silent_night_cover_wht-bg-shadowThis year I started thinking about it in the summer and then began recording in October.  I wasn’t up for more than one song.  I’m just too busy right now.  But I felt it was important to do at least one song because I’d been putting it off for several years and I was tired of regretting it.

My plan was to have it ready after Thanksgiving… and it was ready!  Only problem is I still needed to do cover art and find a day to take care of all the little things to get it published.  I had in mind to sync it with nice images of winter scenes so it can live on YouTube and FB video.  The “video” is pretty much done and I’ll put that out soon.  I say “video” loosely but the photos are beautiful and I think they serve the song well.  For now though, I just need to get the audio out.

Recording the song was a blast for sure!  I created the song arrangement based on how I would play it and I didn’t have any other recording of it in mind when I wrote it.  So it felt good when I played and sang it.  The bulk of the recording came together in one full Saturday, which is pretty quick compared to my normal pace.  It’s difficult for me to schedule blocks of time like that, so I’m glad it was productive.

I knew I wanted my dad to sing harmony vocals and I’m so glad he agreed to do it.  He added so much texture to the melodies and he did things I would have never thought of doing.  He recorded 4 full parts and gave me a lot of creative material to work with.  Thank you dad!Next I needed female voices to sparkle up a repeating anthem toward the end of the song.  I was thinking about who to ask one day when my daughter had a friend over.  I had an idea for the arrangement of the parts and they agreed to do it.  So the female voices in the refrain are my 12 year old daughter Elisabeth and her classmate Ocean.  I LOVE the way their voices sound on this song and they added a whole new dimension.  Thank you guys!Finally, it was down to artwork.  There was one photo I thought might work but I wasn’t convinced.  As luck would have it, our friend Lisa who is a photographer, was super generous and offered some of her work. The cover art is one of her photos.  Thank you so much Lisa for your generosity!  You’re a great friend to us.BTW- the song is SILENT NIGHT… just notice I didn’t mention that yet.

It’s available in a full band version, an acoustic version, or a 6-song EP.  6 songs you say?

Well, yes.  I decided to make a full band and an acoustic version… that’s 2.  Then I decided to make an instrumental version of the full band version and the acoustic version.  So that’s 4 versions so far.  You following me?

And finally, karaoke versions of each.  One full band version and the other acoustic.  Karaoke? LOL! Yes, you may think it’s cheesy, but not so fast there trigger.  Here’s the reason: people have asked me for versions of other songs without the lead vocal so they could sing alone with it.  So I thought “why not!”  And now Silent Night turns out to be the first karaoke song I’ve ever released.  Fun stuff:)

Silent Night is our little way to wish everyone a Merry Christmas.  We are blessed to have so many great people in our life who have helped us through the past few difficult years.  We sincerely thank you for meals, gifts, helping with family, prayers, encouragement and so so much more.  I honestly believe we could not have made it without each of you.

So please enjoy the gift of song.  I hope it contributes to your holiday experience and makes the season a little brighter.

It’s not going to Spotify, iTunes, Amazon or all those places, but you can stream it and download a free copy if you choose.

Silent Night on Bandcamp

Silent Night on Nimbit

So with that, Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!

 


New Songs

Fri June 10

New music released!

The 6-song EP We Know If They Knew.

These songs chronicle the journey of a couple walking through cancer, one at a time, over a two year period.

Its a mess.

It’s doubtful, hopeful and tearful.

Emotions swing from faith, to fear, to determination.

In the end, decisions are made.

 


Song Contest Results 2015

Sat April 9

Song contests are a two-edged sword for me; one side sharp, the other blunt.

I like to know what other people think and I like objective opinions from people who know music.  It helps to get feedback on which songs are good, but just like any competition, it can be disappointing when songs don’t do as well as hoped.

There are also variables you can’t control, like what tastes the judges have, and the sheer number and quality of the other songs in the competition.  It’s also tricky to select which genre/category to enter.  Sometimes I end up putting a song in 2 or 3 categories so I can test which category it does best in… the problem is that you have to pay a separate entrance fee for each category.  It can add up fast so you have to be strategic.  Basically I don’t have money left over to play golf.

I typically stick with two contests per year in order to keep costs under control.  This year (2015) I entered songs into 2 contests but neither of them release results until 2016.  Austin Songwriters Group (ASG) releases in Jan 2016 and Great American Song Contest (GASC) releases in April 2016, so it can take 4-6 months to know if a song placed.

These 2 contests are good for a few reasons.  ASG is local and it’s easy to interact with other songwriter peers.  GASC is nice because they provide written feedback that grades the song by the judging criteria, which is really helpful.

This year I was interested in testing two songs: Feelings Fade (Walk on Faith) and What Do You Think It’s Like.

 

ASG (Austin Songwriters Group)

For ASG, Feelings Fade went into 2 categories and What Do You Think into 3 categories.  The Singer-songwriter category is extremely competitive so it’s neat to see a song do well there.

Here are the 2015 ASG Winner results and the Finalists.

2015 ASG Contest Results

 

 

 

 

GASC (Great American Song Contest)

The GASC is much larger than the ASG contest.  It is international and over 1700 writers entered songs in 2015.  Most writers enter more than one song and although I cannot find where GASC discloses the number of songs, my conservative guess is over 5000 entries.  So it’s encouraging to have a song place in the Finals of ANY category.

One of the great things about this contest is that they send you a written report showing how the judges ranked your song on key criteria.  Things like title, melody, clarity, hook, poetry, and more are all ranked on a 1-10 scale.  They are honest.  I’ve received both hard  criticism and positive feedback on the reports.

Judges also write comments which sometimes point out the weaknesses of the song, or its strengths.  GASC lists many of their judges and you can verify they are professionals in the music industry.  That way we’re more comfortable that it’s not some snot-nosed kid on the other end of a phone app rating our songs.

Given this is a much larger contest, I’m happy with the results.  “Feelings Fade” did OK in this one!

2015 GASC Contest Results

 

 

 

If you’re curious, take a listen to the songs and see if you agree with the judges!

Both of these songs can be streamed here.

 


>>> Get 3 songs I wrote to help me unwind and recharge <<<


New Song Collection

Sun Aug 30Life is crazy but I’ve been quietly pulling together a group of songs that tells the story of what’s been happening – titled “We Know If They Knew“.

My initial intentions were to release it in late Oct 2015 but the actual date isn’t set.  However, the creation is finished – written, recorded, mixed, masted with packaging being done right now!

Here’s a 3D view of the packaging (requires Flash).

 


Mixing

Sun Mar 29

Lately I’ve been more focused on mixing.  I decided to enter a remix contest for a competition by artist Joe Gilder. He’ll select a winner and add the song to his LP coming out in April.  The song is called “Better This Way” and it’s about letting go of anything that holds us back.  It’s a well-written song!  I re-recorded bass and drums and added keys and BGVs.  Joe recorded all the other tracks.  Take a listen to my remix version (unmastered) below and feel free to share it!

Update- Joe didn’t choose mine:( but he said he liked the double-time chorus:)

 


Songs Placed in Finals of Writing Contest

Wed Jan 14

I’m excited that 2 songs made it to the final round of judging in the Austin Songwriter’s Group (ASG) contest!  One song, “I Can Be The Rain” was written by me.  Another, “That’s What I Knew” was co-written with two Austin writers Johnny Harbour and Larry Wilson.

The winners will be announced tonight to kick off the annual ASG Symposium!

[UPDATE] “I Can Be The Rain” was a Finalist in 3 categories and received Honorable Mention (4th place) in 2 categories. “That’s What I Knew” was a Finalist in 1 category.  ASG is kicking off their annual symposium and I’m looking forward to an inspiring week hanging out with amazing songwriters from around the country!

 


>>> Get 3 of my favorite songs right here <<<


My dad finally decided to digitally distribute his latest LP (!)

Sat Jan 3

My father, Johnny Herring, released an LP last year but he’s only been selling physical copies. It’s finally on iTunes, Amazon and the usual suspects, but support an independent artist by getting it directly from his store if you can: Official Store.

He and I put a lot of work into this one and we co-produced it. All the recording was done by us and Chris Beall  brought it to life through mixing and mastering. All the photos are in-house and I designed the CD artwork. Overall, it was a labor of love and I hope people enjoy it.

The 13-song collection includes 2 instrumentals, 1 love song, 8 Christian songs, 1 shout-out to our military service men and women, and a song commemorating a 30-year anniversary. Although it’s influenced by country, gospel and pop, it is unmistakably Johnny.

If you already have the CD, please stop by the online retailers linked from his website and rate the album. Ratings will help others find his music.  Find the stores at www.herringmusic.com.

 

Sun Jun 29

The Haiti Mission CD is sold out! But I held a few back (less than 10) for some fun promotions in the future. These will never be printed again so I couldn’t stand to sell every one of them:). So, I’m back focused on recording tracks for a full length CD release. It’s been a long road since I’m tracking as money and time allows at my home studio and at the homes of friends and guest musicians. More to come…… stay strong! www.markherring.com

 


Limited CD Release

Fri May 2

New CD is available 5/14/14 and pre-orders can be made at songsonpurpose.com. This is a Limited Edition Release with no plans to print more once they run out.

Proceeds go to support a group mission trip to Haiti.

A fund-raiser with live music and Holy Smokes BBQ is set for 5/17/14 – details will be on Facebook.

So far Chris Beall and I are scheduled to play but more details will follow…

 


Quick update on Cactus Cafe gig

Sun Apr 20

Quick update:

I arrived to the Cactus Cafe late and missed sound check because… well you know, Austin traffic…

All of my fears came true, people listened. But hey that was the worst of it!

During the first song by Will Callery, the lights went out. I mean ALL the lights went out, for about 5 seconds! What do you think he did? He kept on singing like nothing happened and then sang right through the applause that erupted after the lights came back on. The guy’s a real pro.

There’s a video of it. I’ll post it if I ever get around to…


Different Kinds of Nervous

Mon Apr 14

Sometimes people ask me if I get nervous when I play and I usually respond the same each time, “of course”!

I’ve performed music for audiences since I was 12 (early on as a drummer) and there’s always an excitement and adrenal rush happening before you go on stage. Once I get out there and finish the first song, things calm down and my comfort level goes up.

But there are different kinds of “nervous”.

There’s the good excited kind, then there’s the terrifying vomiting kind. Luckily I haven’t had the latter in decades. But even now,… READ MORE

 


Finalist in The Great American Song Contest

Wed Apr 2

I just found out that Story Of Our Lives was a Finalist in the 2013 Great American Song Contest! I’m surprised, humbled and happy all at the same time.

This contest is international and over 1600 writers entered it, many entered more than one song. I’m listed with 16 other Finalists in my category here: http://www.greatamericansong.com/honorary.php. There are several categories, so Ctrl+F and do a search for Herring to jump straight to it if you don’t like to scroll.

They said I’d hear more from them in a week. So if anything else comes from this,…

You can get this song free here.

Mon Nov 4

Story Of Our Lives was 1st Place Winner of this year’s Austin Songwriter’s Group song contest in the Inspirational Category. The awards ceremony was held Nov 2, at Threadgills in Austin where ASG President Rick Busby presented the award. I’m so humbled to be part of the ASG family. Not only are these some of most creative writers I’ve ever met, but they are also some of the nicest.

 


 

>>> Get 3 of my favorite songs to unwind and recharge with <<<