Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Year in review

Nah, I'm not going to really put any content here. Not yet at least! But with our first album, The Unsinkale Nino Blankenship, now available for free listen...well, I've been meaning to recap the recording and writing process behind each and every song, and the project as a whole. It took two years, some fine-tuning (and the introduction of new material and concepts!), and eight shows' worth of performance experience as an ensemble...and some judicious culling too, before we got to a final product. I can only speak for myself but I'm really happy with how it turned out. I wouldn't call our approach to home recording particularly traditional; instead, I say it's more "the geography of insane creativity" at work. In the coming days I'll try to do a track-by-track writeup and cover how it all went. It probably won't be exciting as reading about Fleetwood Mac recording Rumours in Sausalito, but it'll be at least unique!

Sunday, December 1, 2013


So after months of work, we've finally produced our very first album, The Unsinkable Nino Blankenship. Enjoy. Listen. https://ninoblankenship.bandcamp.com/album/the-unsinkable-nino-blankenship A track by track overview will occur at some point. For now, we'll let the music speak for itself.

Monday, June 17, 2013

Song of the Day: Kotoba Yori Taisetsu na Mono

Although it's almost midnight in California, Nino Blankenship would like to wish a happy birthday to our namesake, Kazunari "Nino" Ninomiya, who was born thirty years ago (June 17, 1983) in Tokyo on this very day. To celebrate, here is my favourite Arashi song, 言葉より大切なもの ("Things More Important than Words"), from the 2003 J-drama Stand Up!! (which is, in my never-humble opinion, one of the best J-dramas ever). The performance here, however, is a solo-of-sorts by Nino, from their 5x10 concert series celebrating their tenth anniversary; the other four members also performed solo versions of Arashi songs from a drama or film that featured them. Also, this song just screams summer because of its shimmery, carefree pop-rock arrangement, making it a fitting choice for this week. Well, for anyone in the Northern Hemisphere, anyway.

Kotoba Yori Taisetsu na Mono - Nino Version (embedding was not allowed for this video. Oh well.)

Monday, March 18, 2013

Ring the bell

So I find out this morning that one of my absolute biggest influences as a performer - the heartfelt Jason Molina - is no longer with us.

I...I don't even feel like I have the right words to convey my numbness. Others might do a better job of it than I.

I offer up a story of a show in midtown Sacramento about...hmm...six years ago at this point. (Can't believe it's been that long).

The venue had all the glamour of a garage, albeit roomier. A nondescript basement in a building next to an Old Spaghetti Factory. Turnout was lean, maybe twenty or so, maybe thirty...I forget exactly how many.

Then the opening act finished up, followed by the brief soundcheck music...and then...


An hour of haunting, beautiful, eloquent sound pictures...almost as if that room was suddenly a thousand times larger. The weight of so much living and so much pain had borne itself out in every song, every journey.

That night is when and where I finally understood what spoke to me about being a musician: not fame, not adoration, but the unspoken connection between artist and audience that transcends praise...something greater than the applause.

And for him to remember who I was, two years later in Fair Oaks...I cannot convey how much I will always appreciate that.


Godspeed, Jason. Thank you for your graciousness both times I met you, and I only wish that there could have been many more times too.