Here is the true account of how "The Struggle" came to be.
In May of 2018 I received an anonymous letter that explained the reason for the included five - one hundred dollar bills. It said that God had said that I was to use this money to produce a CD. The writer suggested that maybe this would "prime the pump" so-to-speak for more public interest in my music. Looking at my calendar I calculated that I would only have only about two months to complete the project before I would have to return to my teaching position for the fall.
I immediately began to perusing through my various compositions, partial tunes, and thematic ideas to create, record, and mix sixteen instrumental songs because even though I own vocal compositions, at that time I did not have any high quality recording equipment for my voice.
Here is the song list:
The Struggle song list includes various genres
(disco/rock, easy listening, classical, blues, Latin beat, solo piano, orchestral)
The Struggle - album of the instrumental songs are listed in alphabetical order
Abounding Glory - a melody on the piano depicting an old steam engine
BirDance - a dance beat with a rock lead guitar solo
Cool Mornings - a tone poem of a spring morning sunrise
Dusty Blue- a melancholy mood expressed on the piano
I'm Amazed - piano easy listening
Kali's Song - a guitar and flute
Let The Horses Run!
Light Blue Lite - a lively orchestral melody
Michele's Song - a piano solo
The Cinder Block- piano chordal piece
The Procession - a piece that adds instruments as it progresses
The Struggle - a Latin-style percussion piece
The Turn Style - a tone poem of the "daily grind"
'Twas The Gown - guitar & flute, a tone poem - a twirling sassy lass admiring her dress
Walking With You - piano solo, a vision of peace in heaven
Waves - piano solo. a tone poem of gentle waves washing up on the beach
I designed the cover graphic, secured the ISRC/USP codes, officially copyrighted the songs, hired WTS duplication services for 300 CDs with a "budget-level" one color cover, purchased mailers and postal stamps. The generous $500 gift was quickly consumed by the project. Soon the low budget project morphed into a $1,017.22 endeavor, but my optimistic adrenaline was able to dismiss the pain at the time.
I created three hundred copies of the album "The Struggle" in August of 2018. I personally gave away a couple hundred and mailed out over sixty (which added postage to the cost). I was hoping that this would generate more interest in my music. I suppose that it has had some positive effect, but nothing that would help me to recoup my investment. However, I am only a little discouraged. "The Struggle" CD shows what I can do and that may help me build some credibility with those that do not yet know me personally.
Since the album was released in August of 2018 most of my music income has been through teaching privately, playing for church services, and a few performances. Of course most of that income ceased when the pandemic hit and I lost all my students.
The music business is very competitive and many of those who do appear to enjoy great success have had to make sacrifices that I am not willing to make. I am going to try another angle. The Triano is a real eye-catcher so I am going to use it to draw attention to my music and hopefully sell CDs and USBs.
Hence my latest...
Recently after eighteen months of not performing live, I began working to improve the prospect of entertaining audiences again with my Triano. To achieve this end I set four main goals: to assemble an appropriate repertoir of music, produce an album of the songs, build a trailer to haul it, and repair my truck to pull it.
Goal 1: Live audiences had always expressed enthusiasm for my renditions of the hymns. So I began choosing and experimenting with tunes that typified late nineteenth century hymnology. Actually, for years while accompanying congregational singing at my church, I had been trying to minimize the characteristic of how many of them sounded quite like carnival tunes, but now on the honkytonk piano I am taking the other approach by exagerating that exact sound. I have done this by speeding up the tempo, adding new chords, changing the time signature, and by adding arpeggios, syncopated rhythms, and trills.
Goal 2: Now I am excited to announce that soon I will be releasing my new album called "HonkyTonk Hymns". It contains thirty-two classic melodies including two medleys of three songs each (so actually there are thirty-six songs in total). It will also include the entire sixteen song album "The Struggle". You can get all fifty-two songs for $15.00 plus $5.00 for shipping and handling if mailed (only mailed in the continental USA).
"HonkyTonk Hymns" will also be available on all the streaming services around the world on July 16, 2021.
Goal 3: I have been learning how to cut and weld metal bed frames on to a 1950s era boat trailer to dedicate it to only being used to haul and store the Triano.
Goal 4: A couple of weeks ago my transmission quit working so that is now another obsticle for me to overcome. It quit working on my way to my church. The only gear that continued to work was reverse. So I had to drive backwards all fifteen miles to return home.
Here is a list of the thirty-two songs as presented on the album:
1. Medley (Are You Washed in the Blood, There's Within My Heart A Melody, When We All Get To Heaven)
2. This Train
3. At The Cross
4. The Lily of the Valley
5. Bless That Wonderful Name of Jesus
6. Just A Closer Walk With Thee
7. Glory, Glory, Hallelujah
8. Faith Is the Victory
9. I Know Whom I Have Believed
10. Medley (Amazing Grace, Swing Low Sweet Chariot, When the Saints Go Marching In)
11. Down At the Cross
12. I Love To Tell the Story
13. Leaning On the Everlasting Arms
14. My Jesus I Love Thee
15. Oh How I Love Jesus
16. Praise Him! Praise Him!
17. Sweet By and By
18. To God Be the Glory
19. Only Trust Him
20. Oh Happy Day
21. When the Roll Is Called Up Yonder
22. Wonderful Words of Life
23. There Is Sunshine In My Soul
24. We Have Heard the Joyful Sound
25. 'Tis So Sweet To Trust In Jesus
26. What A Friend We Have In Jesus
27. Love Lifted Me
28. Mine Eyes Have Seen The Glory of the Coming of the Lord
29. Holy, Holy, Holy
30. A Wonderful Savior
31. Near the Cross
32. All To Jesus I Surrender
All the original melodies are public domain, but my renditions of them are not.