Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Umphrey's McNES: The Day of Truth

If you've followed my blog for a while, you know of Glens Falls musician Scott Hannay. If not, check out previous "Umphrey's McNES" posts.

Here's the 4-1-1 on Scott for those new to the blog:

He is a multifaceted musician who plays guitar, bass and keyboards for a number of bands in the Glens Falls area.

As a hobby, he began arranging songs by artist Umphrey's McGee using the original Nintendo sound effects. So he can hit a key on his keyboard and you instantly recognize the sound: Like one is Zelda's sword swinging, another is Mario's fireball, another is Mega Man, ect. ect.

So he used these sounds to arrange UM's dynamic structure songs note for note and, after putting them on MySpace under the name "Umphrey's McNES," he created a mini-sensation among the band's fans.

Well, the band took notice, liked it and asked him to sit-in on a concert with them. I won't rant about this being a big deal, but I encourage you to read The New York Times review of their recent release if you've never heard of the band and couldn't care less.

After practicing and being generally psyched for a good month, that day is now upon Scott, in fact the show is tonight, April 8, at around 8 p.m. at The Calvin Theatre in Northampton, Mass.

So, what's new with Scott since my story first ran in the newspaper?

Well, he was "officially" embraced by UM when his version of their song "1348" (click here to hear Scott's version) was added to their online exclusive material. Scott was in pretty good company. The song was available along with a version of "Intentions Clear" featuring bluegrass legend, Bela Fleck, on banjo as well as a version of King Crimson's (60's era original prog-rock band) song "Thela Hun Ginjeet" featuring original Crimson lead singer Adrian Belew.

He has also been practicing on adapting his songs, which were done for the most part on computer, to keyboards. See, the computer allowed him to recreate the melodies, base and vocal lines and drum beat. To try and recreate that sound, Scott has been trying to play various parts using three keyboards. Truth is, he has no idea what to expect tonight. However, as a precautionary measure, he set up a rig with three keyboards, a computer and other gadgets that allow him to manipulate sounds.

I caught up with him while he was practicing recently, here's is a look:

I will be making the trip and writing a review of the show for Glide Magazine's Hidden Track blog so stay posted for exclusive photos and video from Northampton including pre-and-post-show festivities.

Scotty practicing on his rig.

Well, good luck tonight Scotty, see you after the show for a few clinks of the old glass!

(Stay tuned for more photos/vids from Northampton.)

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