Monday, November 8, 2010

The Feal Good Foundation, a non-profit organization helping First Responders

For immediate release: November 8, 2010

Nov. 8th: Hollywood The Feal Good Foundation, a non-profit organization helping First Responders from 9/11 who are ill from the toxic dust at Ground Zero, is pleased to be the recipient of a fund raising campaign by California pop duo The Away Team. The first 100 people who donate $15 or more to the Feal Good Foundation will receive a free copy of The Away Team's album, slated for release in November.

Feal Good Foundation Founder John Feal, commented, “I am humbled and floored by The Away Team’s compassion and dedication to our cause.”


Singer/songwriter Penny Little says, “It is really a gift just as our music is a gift. Can we afford to do this? No, not really. This is not some clever marketing strategy. We really believe in this cause. These are people who selflessly gave of themselves. We have friends who have been sick since 9/11, and we want to bring more attention to the issue. We want to do something real and tangible to help those affected.” 

Penny’s Film ‘911 Dust and Deceit" premiered at the Santa Barbara International Film Festival in 2007 and has been used extensively as a fundraiser for the first responders of 9/11 who went down to Ground Zero in the recovery and cleanup effort -- many of whom have been denied help for years, some have died waiting, and many are too sick to be advocates for themselves. 

This issue has recently been in the headlines. The US House of Representatives on September 29 passed the 9/11 Health Care Bill which will provide billions of dollars for medical treatment to rescue workers and residents of New York who suffered from the dust and smoke. The Senate version of the bill still needs to be passed in order to become law.

Keyboardist Nik Green, who has worked with Jimmy Page, Roy Harper, Blue Murder, commented, “It is a topsy turvy world where trillions of dollars are spent to kill people in wars abroad, yet it appears difficult to get money at home allocated to care for the heroes of 9/11. Approximately 900 people have died directly as a result of exposure to the toxic dust of 9/11, and we’re in the early stages of this unfolding disaster.”

The Away Team’s album “Topsy Turvy World” is not specifically about 9/11; rather it is a personal reflection of life in a post 9/11 world. The album features Penny Little on vocals, keyboard, and guitar, Nik Green, synthesizers and programming. They teamed up with former White Feather guitarist Ben Hurley, who recorded his parts “remotely” - from Hawaii. 

“Topsy Turvy World” is an eclectic mix of modern pop songs, electronica, hard rock, world, jam band, even a little bit of country thrown into the mix. 

“Personal and original!” -- Ron Dexter, ASC

“Definitely not evil! Gorgeously packaged quirk pop with elements of creative genius.” --Bret Hughes. political writer.

“Tuneful exploration into electronic pop - somewhere between radio friendly and out there; The Away Team are musical chameleons” Carla Scaletti, Symbolic Sound. 


PO Box 20281 
Santa Barbara, CA 93120
www.theawayteam.com
www.fealgoodfoundation.com


Website: www.theawayteam.com
Facebook http://www.facebook.com/pages/The-Away-Team/185956875604 
Sonicbids EPK: http://www.sonicbids.com/epk/epk_link_code.asp?epk_id=62364
Topsy Turvy World: http://www.theawayteam.com/Album-Topsy-Turvy-World.html
Little Savage: http://www.littlesavage.com

  

The Away Team - Artwork

In the search for art which might represent a topsy turvy world, Penny googled “topsy turvy world”, and “crazy world”; the first image which came up in the search was the outsider art of Franciscan Priest Andrew Lewandowski. Outsider Art is “art from outside the art world.” It has been defined as a genre of art made by untrained artists who do not recognize themselves as artists. Coined by art critic Roger Cardinal in 1972 as the English synonym for “Raw art” or “art brut”, outsider art is created outside of official culture, but it can also mean folk art, ethnic art as well as art produced by prisoners, the mentally ill, or those who do not make their work to sell. 

Father Andrew donated use of his work to The Away Team for their album cover. 

Andrew Lewandowski: “The act of creation is one of the best qualities we human beings possess. I rely on an intuitive process. I ‘look’: into myself and allow whatever is there to emerge and express itself in images born in my imagination. The result is a work that is spontaneous and childlike. I use form and color to describe this inner world which is sometimes jubilant, sometimes sad, but always honest and direct. “ 

Posterous is the place to post everything. Just email us.

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Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Album Cover Ideas -Finalists

We thought it would be interesting to hear what people thought about our album cover ideas and it has been a fun experiment.  Taking the input from all of you, plus face to face comments friends, we've narrowed our choices for our album cover ideas to two: Crazy World and Bay City by Andrew Lewandowski.  

It was suggested that we use both, having a booklet rather than just a simple insert.   Or, if we must choose between the two ideas here are some of the thoughts which we've collected:

Crazy World 1 -- "It has to be this one" "Really crazy"  "This is more about people, maybe you need to call the album Topsy Turvy People."   "Stunning"  "Love the bright colors"   "Bold" (Crazy World got the most "votes" from our surveys) 

Bay City 2 - "This is more like the world."  "There is hope in this one".  "It includes city and country, but no people"   "More flow" 

We like the boldness and brightness of Crazy World.  We also like the "worldly-ness" and more "peaceful" (but with undercurrent) feeling of Bay City.   Both feel complementary to our eclectic music.  We really need to lthink in terms of which one will attract the eye if it's sitting on a shelf or in a row of albums on an Internet site......

What do you think?  
Thanks for taking a look!

Penny & Nik
The Away Team

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Friday, April 2, 2010

Notes from the Away Team in the Studio "All the People"

Notes from the Away Team in the Studio:

“All the People” ©2010 The Away Team, song by Penny Little

Ben Hurley:

This song brought out of me my love for African Electric Guitar and musicians...In particular, Ali Farkar Toure.   He has since passed away but has left an imprint on my being...For this I would like to dedicate my guitar playing on this piece to him.

I also took the liberty and went a little "Ladysmith Black Mambazo" on the vocals as I wanted to keep it "native" sounding and add that "world music"  feeling.  I also did a little "Aaron Neville" on the "crying" part...

Nik Green:

This song contains a strong message relevant to the world today.   The people in charge who are largely above the law, often act outside of the law and get away with it because they can.   There has to be a better way than this.  This song is political and addresses a centuries’ old problem from a slightly different angle. 

Both Penny & I worked on drums and various keyboards.  I added the bass to the mix, in 12/8 rather than 6/8, so it feels like it’s going across the beat, but it’s not really.  Then  I came up with a little marimba ostinato riff in 13/8 to weave around the vibe part which Penny was doing in 12/8.  They create an interesting interaction like a tapestry in the minimalist tradition as used by the likes of Steve Reich, etc.    The way we end the song live takes those same riffs and play them together until we are playing in unison.  It’s an interesting technique very rarely used in pop music. 

Penny Little:

I didn’t really write this to be a political song. I just wrote it straight from my heart one morning singing over the marimba part. I truly believe that we are the power, that we must claim it, we must dream it, give up our fear of dying, begin living,  take the risks, believe in ourselves, to create the world we want to live in.    I guess that’s political.  We’ve performed this at several anti-war rallies, and the song made it into the set on the Unconventional Tour 2008.   I wanted the song to feel more “organic” and less electronic than some of our tunes, so I recorded some live shakers and some live congas to mix in with the electronic drums.   Ben added exactly the feel we were looking for, plus some great "tribal" vocals.  

   

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Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Understanding Deep Politics Conference – May 14-16, 2010

Announcing the Understanding Deep Politics Conference

– Revealing the Driving Forces Behind World Events and Creating Alternative Solutions

University Inn & Conference Center Santa Cruz, CA May 14 – 16th, 2010

611 Ocean Street, Santa Cruz, CA 950

With Speakers: Cynthia McKinney, David Ray Griffin, Peter Dale Scott, Ellen Brown, Ian Crane, Annie Machon, Jim Marrs, Michael Parenti, Peter Phillips, and Barrie Zwicker

Understanding Deep Politics will bring together ten distinguished speakers and hundreds of concerned citizens in one weekend for the purpose of challenging the mainstream perceptions of political reality – revealing the hidden forces behind many widely accepted historical and current events.

This unprecedented and provocative conference will span three days, including an early
Friday evening meet & greet get-together.

Please join us at this sure to be historic conference and expand this critical, deeper
understanding of the causes of our political challenges and help us fashion new
possibilities for the betterment of all.This unprecedented and provocative conference will span three days, including an early Friday evening meet and greet get-together.

Conference Details:

For complete information visit: http://understandingdeeppolitics.org


Please contact the University Inn & Conference Center Reservations at 866-827-2466 and tell them you are booking for the “Understanding Deep Politics” conference to get the conference rates. Please note – you will not be able to book your reservations online.

Saturday, March 27, 2010

"Just a Guy with some chords and words..."

Our friend Randy sent us this link to a performance of his original song "The Santa Ynez" at Alisal Cellars in Solvang, California, 24 January 2010.

Randy weaves stories of reality, unpretentiously telling it like he sees it.  We think he’s great.  He also is a wonderful photographer and did our promo pictures for the first incarnation of The Away Team band -- and photographed Nik’s hand holding the remote on our first album “Aliens on Line”.   

He says:  "I'm just a guy with a guitar and some songs. I have three cds: "Coffee Drinkin' Music", "Can The Rich Get To Heaven?", and "Back On My Feet". I made up the songs and I wrote them down. I've known a few people and done a few things. I've had a lot of jobs. My life is a work in progress. But, the songs speak for themselves." --from http://www.myspace.com/randalll

And this song "Folk Singer" made us smile.  He's a folk singer and he's got "chords and words" to take him home.....delightful! 

  
Download now or listen on posterous
I'm a Folk Singer.mp3 (3276 KB)

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Sunday, March 14, 2010

Away Team Campaign Continues

We will give away CDs to the first 100 people who promise to write a review of our new album and donate at least $10 to the Feal Good Foundation. We are asking our dedicated fans to consider contributing to our costs of replication and our first promotional campaign, so we can start this fundraiser on April 22, 2010. The album will be ready for release shortly, since we're in our final mix stage.

Even though the recent proposed settlement in New York is a victory for those heros who helped on 9/11 and now are sick because of the toxic dust, the Feal Good Foundation continues to work towards getting HR 847 James Zadroga 9/11 Health Compensation Act back on the table. For more info, contact us


For more info on the Feal Good Foundation you can check out the Feal Good Foundation.

Here's how you can help with our first replication which will cover our costs:


Thursday, March 11, 2010

What the Birds Say

I’m so happy this song is making it onto this album. “I want someone to tell me what the birds say; the world is changin’ and I don’t know which way” I wrote this line in my song a long time ago but didn’t finish the verses in the song until 9/11. On that day, there were no sounds of cars from the freeway, no planes overhead except military jets late in the day. There was a very deep silence which I’d never heard before. I went into the studio to try to deal with my feelings, finished the verses and recorded a rough arrangement of “What the Birds Say” for the first time.

In 2007, I looked at this song again – after I had completed my film “Dust and Deceit” about the plight of those exposed to the toxic dust of 9/11. It seemed even more relevant. If you have not checked out my film, there is a trailer at http://www.911dust.org/preview.htm

Those who are sick from the dust of 9/11 are like the canaries in the mine. If there is another incident, how will the government respond? What have we learned from 9/11?

Sometimes it’s impossible for me to separate politics and music. So many of the songs I write are about what I see and feel. Songs are my way of coping and communicating, and I really hope that somebody does hear what the birds say……they are disappearing you know, by the millions, and it would be tragic to lose their songs. The Audubon Society reports that some species are down by up to 80 percent because of dramatic environmental changes. Here are some excerpts from a CBC special in Canada: http://rawstory.com/rawreplay/?p=372

I am really feeling like I can’t wait to share this music. Songs are like sending letters out to my friends, letters to the world. At first I wanted to name the album “Letters to the World” but then “Wild wild land” seems so appropriate. It’s crazy wild times we live in; and I really “don’t know know what this is all for….” this song encapsulates what I’m feeling about living in Twenty Ten.

Tab_width
Here's our first Rough Mix of the Song, "What the Birds Say"

Birdssaybouncejan28  
Download now or listen on posterous
BirdssaybounceJAN28.mp3 (9838 KB)

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Saturday, February 27, 2010

Wild Wild Land © 2010 The Away Team

This is the latest permutation of our "Wild Land" video with Penny Little, Nik Green and Ben Hurley.

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Life Changes © The Away Team

Rough mix and rough video edit from song for new album "Topsy Turvy World"

Monday, February 15, 2010

Hold on to Your Dreamin'

This is commentary about this song by Penny Little "All the People (Hold on to your Dreamin')

Ben Hurley:

“This song brought out of me my love for African Electric Guitar and musicians…In particular, Ali Farkar Toure. He has since passed away but has left an imprint on my being…For this I would like to dedicate my guitar playing on this piece to him.

I also took the liberty and went a little “Ladysmith Black Mambazo” on the vocals as I wanted to keep it “native” sounding and add that “world music” feeling. I also did a little “Aaron Neville” on the “crying” part…"

Nik Green::

“This song contains a strong message relevant to the world today. The people in charge who are largely above the law, often act outside of the law and get away with it because they can. There has to be a better way than this. This song is political and addresses a centuries’ old problem from a slightly different angle.

Both Penny & I worked on drums and various keyboards. I added the bass to the mix, in 12/8 rather than 6/8, so it feels like it’s going across the beat, but it’s not really. Then I came up with a little marimba ostinato riff in 13/8 to weave around the vibe part which Penny was doing in 12/8. They create an interesting interaction like a tapestry in the minimalist tradition as used by the likes of Steve Reich, etc. The way we end the song live takes those same riffs and play them together until we are playing in unison. It’s an interesting technique very rarely used in pop music."

Penny Little:

“I didn’t really write this to be a political or message song. I just wrote it straight from my heart one morning singing over the marimba part. I truly believe that we are the power, that we must claim it, we must dream it, give up our fear of dying, begin living, take the risks, believe in ourselves, to create the world we want to live in. I guess that’s political. We’ve performed this at several anti-war rallies, and the song made it into the set on the Unconventional Tour 2008. I wanted the song to feel more “organic” and less electronic than some of our tunes, so I recorded some live shakers and some live congas to mix in with the electronic drums.”

Saturday, February 13, 2010

Rough Cut of new video

video
This is a rough edit of our video for "Life Changes" from the Away Team's upcoming album. Penny filmed this with the camera sitting on her art table, with a paper green screen, then edited in some clips from a public domain video from the 50's and WW 11, some other footage, a letter sent from her great, great uncle to his sister Edna during the war. The idea was to show different lives, different times. Featuring Penny Little on vocals & keyboards, Nik Green on Keyboards, Ben Hurley on guitars. This is a rough mix of the tune.

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Name that album by The Away Team

This is the last dance before Cinderella must run for the Pumpkin Coach and leave the ball --the last gasp before the end of our Pledge Music Campaign.  I know I secretly vowed I wouldn’t talk about this again, but I just heard from Benji at Pledge Music who gave me another pep talk, so forgive me.

“Please tell me we’re not a ‘lost Pledge Cause’” I said... “I mean there are other artists on Pledge who have made $29,633!     And maybe that guy is cute....Go check it out, on the front page: http://www.pledgemusic.com  The Damnwells are doing damn well!    While Wild Wild Land sits there on the last page . . . .Is it because our project begins with “W”?  I know there’s a bit of a stigma about that letter now. 

From our Ground Hogs Day email blast, we got emails back from people saying things like, "i would send money but here i am debating whether i should buy my dental floss..." "Great songs! thanks, wish I could help you guys." Why is the economy frozen, and why are we all sitting here freezing, waiting for the thaw? No one seems willing to break the ice, especially the banks who get billions handed to them from we the taxpayer/serfs.

So maybe we need to change the name of our album to get away from the "W" stigma. We've been trying to figure out more ways to create more interaction between us and our audience, for you to experience the process.  So here is one idea:  We want you to vote on the album title.  Recently a fan mentioned that he liked the album name --  "Letters to the World", which was an early working title.  We've kicked around other names from songs on the album like:  "Topsy Turvy World".  Right now the album is still "Wild Wild Land". We, of course, have had dozens of other ideas, but we're interested in what you, the music fan, thinks. Anyone?  If you'd like to have some input, you can take the poll here.

http://www.learnmyself.com/poll38284x27f81Eb4

And if you're interested in checking out our project, here's a link at Pledge Music to The Away Team

Monday, February 8, 2010

What the Birds Say


“I want someone to tell me what the birds say; the world is changin’ and I don’t know which way” I wrote this line in my song a long time ago but didn’t complete the song until 9/11. On that day, there were no sounds of cars from the freeway, no planes overhead except military jets late in the day. There was a very deep silence which I’d never heard before. I went into the studio to try to deal with my feelings, finished the verses and recorded a rough arrangement of “What the Birds Say” for the first time.

In 2007, I looked at this song again - after I had completed my film “Dust and Deceit” about the toxic dust of 9/11. It seemed even more relevant.

And just this past month, the Obama administration has expressed its refusal to support HR 847, the 9/11 First Responders Health Bill.

Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius made clear that “the administration does not support any kind of funding mechanism that’s built into the bill”. Bronx Representative Eliot Engel said, “They find money for everything else, they need to find money for this.” Then, as if in response to the outrage, Obama announced that his administration will double the budget for treating sick responders to $150 millionby 2011. When one considers the more than $100 billion spent per year in continuing and expanding Bush’s wars, it seems like a token PR effort.

Those who are sick from the dust of 9/11 are like the canaries in the cage. If there is another incident, how will the government respond? What have we learned from 9/11? From Katrina? It is the responsibility of government to take our tax dollars to protect and serve. In the case of the toxic dust, the heros of 9/11 who went down to Ground Zero to help were lied to government officials and the media. They were told over and over that the air was safe to breathe, documents were manipulated, and as a result, thousands are suffering, many have died.

Please check out the Feal Good Foundation if you would like to help first responders of 9/11.
http://www.fealgoodfoundation.com/.

A rough mix of “What the Birds Say”
is available at Pledge Music.
http://www.pledgemusic.com/projects/96/updates

Addendum: I’ve heard that the birds have been disappearing, tens of millions of them not showing up at their regular migrational places. What have we done to make the birds disappear? We’re losing more than their songs. The Audubon Society reports that some species are down by up to 80 percent because of dramatic environmental changes. Here are some excerpts from a CBC special in Canada: http://rawstory.com/rawreplay/?p=372

We cannot lose the bird song, we cannot lose our songs, our soul. There is going to be a change, and I hope it’s going to be from us.

I am really feeling like I can’t wait to share this music. It’s like sending letters out to my friends, letters to the world. I wanted to name the album “Letters to the world” --but then “Wild wild land” seems so appropriate. It’s crazy wild times we live in; and I really "don’t know know what this is all for...". this song encapsulates what I’m feeling about living in Twenty Ten.