With 2014 coming to a close, I am in the process of cleaning up my website and making things more accessible.
Sorry for the appearance while I am changing and working things out!
If you want clean and direct, visit my bandcamp page: AbbeyHoffman.bandcamp.com.
Thanks for checking in!
After years of writing and performing songs, a few days of studio time, and a whoooooole lot of procrastination, I am thrilled to announce an official release date for my first full length album! On Tuesday, November 11th, This Too Shall Pass will be available for purchase.
If you’re in Lansing that evening, join me at Dagwood’s for a drink, some Open Mic, and a chance to get a copy of the CD. If you’re not around, you will still be able to listen to/download the album on Bandcamp. I’ve also created a page on my website just for the album, where you’ll be able to find lyrics and some additional writing* about the making of This Too Shall Pass. (*Explanation of album art, sources of musical inspiration, my songwriting process, whatever else I decide to write about… feel free to email me with questions, too!)
Looking forward to sharing the album with you all!
This summer I had the pleasure of playing 3 gigs sponsored by The Great Lakes Collective at the Waterfront Bar & Grill. (Thanks again to everyone who showed up – you were a lot of fun to play for!) The 2-hr. sets gave me the incentive to work on more cover songs. Today I decided to record a handful of them for my Youtube channel. Go on and give ‘em a listen!
Last year I found out that the magical elves in the shop at Impression 5 (Lansing’s own hands-on Science Center) were working on a wall-sized “Lite-Brite” for their upcoming exhibit on light and color: Spectrum. The Light Mosaic is now complete with 2,100 plexiglass pegs that can each be turned in their sockets to form an array of colors. (Way to take my favorite childhood toy to the next level! I am continually astounded by the I5 staff – their imaginations when it comes to brainstorming exhibits AND their ability to execute their ideas.) You can imagine how thrilled I was to be invited to create a light image on-site.
Impression 5 is currently closed for renovations, but the center will reopen on September 23rd. Be sure to stop by and see what you can create!
Since we’re talking about I5, I would like to thank Steven Valenziano, Dereck Perkins, and anyone else whose work contributed to making one of my long-standing dreams come true. What’s that, you ask? Ever since I finished my Sharpie Designs in 2012, I imagined an exhibit in which they were backlit. I proposed this idea to Steven back in January, and he was on board from the start. Here are two (of the 8) drawings, all lit up and perrrrdy. (Also… framed to be circles, which I LOVE!)
How is it already August 2014?!? Here’s a short video for the occasion.
The title is in reference to a comic my dad told me about. In the comic, an artist is sitting at his blank canvas while the landlord is knocking at his door saying, “Rent is due, Art Boy!” with the caption “The Reality of Muse.”
Have I mentioned that I recorded my first studio album? Production is still in progress, but it’s on its way! Stay tuned.
I am thrilled to announce that my work is now available for purchase online through Etsy.com!
Currently there are only sharpie drawings available, but in the coming weeks and months I look forward to filling the shop with all kinds of goodies: drawings, paintings, greeting cards, photo prints, and more! Please stop by the shop, and tell your friends!
This week I received my first official piece of fan mail. Lazandria, an 11 yr. old aspiring artist, singer, and violin player, wrote me a lovely letter. (She also gave me a drawing and hand-made bracelet!) It took me by complete surprise and almost made me cry. Too many times I focus on the things I haven’t done as an artist/musician: I still haven’t recorded my first album, still haven’t had a solo exhibition, etc… But I forget that, even before I reach those milestones, I have the opportunity to create and share art on a daily basis. I was so encouraged by Lazandria’s letter that I made a drawing for her*:
And while I’m posting:
My favorite part of this style of sharpie drawings is the process. I start out with the lightest color (in this case, yellow) and add one color at a time until the whole page is full. The final background color (in this case, royal blue) completely changes the way the other colors look. It’s exciting how the text, which is almost unreadable in the unfinished image below, comes alive with the addition of the dark background:
*Lazandria, if you are reading this: I will deliver this drawing to you soon, along with a response to your letter!
It’s 2014 already. I haven’t updated my website since June 2013. Busyness and laziness were enough to stop me. When they failed there was always the daunting feeling that I would not only be responsible to post something new, but that I would be obligated to make up for lost time by posting an incredible amount of artwork/songs/excuses and worthy explanations for my absence. I could talk about playing gigs around Lansing, both of my own material and with the Lansing Unionized Vaudeville Spectacle, about working on community art projects through REACH, and about new milestones in my personal life, but who has time for that?
This past October two of my siblings and I were fortunate enough to attend a Derek Webb* show in Ann Arbor. He pointed out that many people have the idea that they have wandered too far from God and that to find their way back to Him would mean trekking through a whole mess of desert and wilderness. But Webb posed the question (this is, of course, my paraphrased version of it): what if God is following us around, and if we are ever lost all we really have to do is turn around? What if God is, to use Webb’s words, closer than you think?
On that line of thought, I am taking the turn-around approach to updating my website. Instead of finding some path backward to get on track with web posting, I’m starting from where I am. Will I ever “catch up” on the posts and updates I had hoped to get done in 2013? Maybe, maybe not. But it’s a new year, a new opportunity to set goals and have high expectations for myself, instead of feeling guilty for all the things I haven’t done. Here’s to a productive 2014!
*Derek Webb is one of my biggest inspirations as a musician/singer-songwriter. I could (and really should) write a whole post about his influence on me. I am particularly challenged by his honest, slap-in-the-face lyrics (definitely not background/party music!), which often wrestle with the teachings of Jesus and call out those who claim to follow Him. And Derek is a perfect example of a musician who can play with a band and produce memorable studio recordings… yet he still holds his own when it is just him and a guitar. Definitely something I aspire to.
I just posted a new song called Stuck that is deeply influenced by Derek Webb. First of all, I’m gonna give credit where credit is due and say that musically it is almost identical to his song “A Savior on Capitol Hill.” I was playing chords, singing, and at some point realized it sounded similar, but I love that song and how Derek sings it, and I have been wanting to experiment with different sounds/styles. So I decided to keep it how it is.
Lyrically the song started off with a phrase that made me laugh, but as I started writing it took a turn for the serious side. Context: I took communion at church one week and while the rest of the congregation moved on to pray and sing songs, I couldn’t ignore the fact that some of the cracker was stuck in my teeth. You know that feeling: when you’re in a public setting and feel food stuck way back there, and the subtle tongue maneuver to get it out just isn’t working… So I’m sitting there in church wondering if I should just pick it out, but symbolically (for me it is symbolic, I know this varies based on denomination) it is the body of Christ in my teeth! How can I justify picking it out with my finger? I smiled as I penned the first line in my notebook, thus the song “Stuck” began. But it evolved into a song about feeling stuck in the habit of going to church, not getting much out of it, criticizing authority, and wondering if the problem is them or me… I guess you’ll figure that out if you listen to the song… I am happy to report that a lot of my feelings have changed since writing it (hence my hesitancy to post it), but that is another reason I intend to post more often. There are many experiences and sentiments that are as fleeting as they are powerful. I want to capture as much as I can while I am present with it. Tomorrow will bring new sorrows and joys.