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An Epic Endeavour

An Epic Endeavour

Symphony Project
Left to right: Paul English, Brett Mitchell, Jeff Walton, W. Ross Wells.

I was trying to formulate a post describing  what took place in Zenfilmdom last Wednesday.  Fortunately, my extremely talented collaborator Jeff Walton posted the following on his Facebook page and I lifted it whole-cloth, read on…

“yesterday was an incredible and emotional day…”

Jeff Walton

As some of you know, yesterday was an incredible and emotional day. I had the honor of having an original score of mine played and recorded by the Houston Symphony in Jones Hall. This is all part of a massive video/music project to promote the city. I absolutely could not have done this without the help and inspiration of a remarkable group of people. W. Ross Wells and everyone at ZenfilmAndrew Bradley , Dan Workman, and everyone at SugarHill Recording StudiosBrad Sayles (awesome job!), Paul English for the stunning orchestration, everyone with the Houston Symphony, conductor/maestro Brett Mitchell (amazing!), the GHCVB folks (especially) Holly Clapham Rosenow who came up with the idea to begin with and without whom this would not have happened), and the support of my beautiful wife Dana Green Walton and my two boys Benjamin and Nicholas who supported and talked me through this sometimes terrifying and exhilarating experience. To my three drummers – Tyson ShethMarvin R Sparks Jr, and Leesa Harrington-Squyres and guitarist Aaron Echegaray – you guys totally rock and I cannot wait to see you in this video! And lastly, thanks to everyone who has posted such wonderful messages of support and well wishes, I truly appreciate it and am grateful!!!
~ Jeff Walton
Children’s Museum Houston Stands Out

Children’s Museum Houston Stands Out

Summer time is finally here! School is out, the ice cream trucks are making their neighborhood patrols, and parents everywhere are trying to figure out how to keep the little ones occupied and engaged throughout their newfound stretch of abundant free time. We’ve got a sneaking suspicion that the Children’s Museum Houston is ready and waiting with open arms.

Work has just wrapped up on a brand new look for Children’s Museum Houston’s summer promotions, and we’re all a little giddy at the outcome. It’s a pretty special occasion for us; you’ll be seeing the very first appearance of motion graphics rendered in our newly installed editing suite. Gravity and particle manipulation has never been so sweet! There’s a myriad of motion tracking elements going on, frame-by-frame pieced together by our resident visual magician W. Ross wells. He lets on that it’s pretty tough work, but step in to the new digs while he’s building a comet and charting its course through the halls of  Kidtropolis, USA and you’d swear you were watching a little boy excitedly tinker with his new chemistry set.

This was a wonderfully collaborative effort. Not only was the crew spot on, it features some of the littlest, hardest working actors in the city. Top that off with music written, produced and performed by  Dan Workman of SugarHill Recording Studios, and you’ve got a fine piece that’s every bit as much of Houston is it is for Houston. We’re beaming like a parent at an elementary school graduation.

We’d like to know what you think! If it’s any indication, Only in Houston has given it front-page approval . . . . thanks, guys! Head over We’ll keep it coming, as long as we still have such amazing people to work with!

Keep your eyes peeled for Children’s Museum Houston’s spot running now, and the bountiful deals they’re offering to make your summer visit as affordable as it is engaging, stimulating, and just plane fun!

Head on over to onlyinhouston.org and watch the video here!

Parents, this summer save $2 when you skip the line and buy online! Visit them at http://cmhouston.org and save today!

ZenHill Records Night a Huge Success!

ZenHill Records Night a Huge Success!

Zenfilm’s sister company ZenHill Records is getting set for a big night tonight.

It’s been awhile in the making, but our proverbial stars are aligning. While there is certainly a sea of talent to celebrate in Houston’s musical community, we can’t necessarily celebrate it all at once. We can try, but that’s what the Houston Press Music Awards Showcase is for, right? We can get our fill over a sweaty madcap weekend at Summerfest, but while that’s a bit in the offing, we’re going to need something to keep us busy. We’re going to need something that’s truly us . . . a celebration of how far music is coming in our home city. An evening that feels very much a gathering of friends and family, sharing experiences and looking ahead. Join us, won’t you?

On Friday March 9th, in the year of our rock, 2012, Zenhill Records Night will commence at Fitzgerald’s (2706 White Oak Blvd). For the very first time on the same stage, the fine folk of Zenhill Records will come together and share the fruits of their looms, welcoming one and all into the family that has grown together as one since the marriage of Dan Workman’s and W. Ross Wells’ supportive sensibilities.

The young label’s newest alum,  The Wheel Workers, will be on hand to deliver their brand of ragtime recognizance. The dulcet tones of Winter Wallace will fall in gentle flakes of loveliness, while Craig Kinsey will catch us up on the state of southern manhood. Fresh off of their recent release, La Vie en Noir, the Southern Backtones will come on strong with signature leather-clad swagger. Roky Moon and BOLT! will descend to earth long enough to propel the winds of glam across Houston before returning to the stars. And hide your kids, hide your wife . . . . a little band of gypsies known as The Sideshow Tramps will give you an education in getting down. Hips will shake, boots will stomp, and the burning star of Houston music will shine a little brighter that night.

A lot can happen in a short time. September of 2010 a partnership between Zenfilm and Sugarhill Recording Studios saw the birth of Zenhill Records in Houston, Texas, born of a need for a departure from the normal operation that standard labels employ. A completely rethought approach was put in place, strengthening a bond of trust between artist and label, encouraging creativity and collaboration without the hangups normally associated with signing ambiguous termed legalese. A communally supportive mindset, along with the belief that an artist shouldn’t have to automatically accrue debt to start their career, has gotten the Zenhill tribe off to a strong start; a year and some change later, a whole roster has signed and celebrated releases to share with the city at large.

What exactly is Zenhill Records? It depends on who you ask. “Zenhill is a community-centered creative outlet that is open to, and embraces, the changing world of communication. It is tribe minded, not cooperate minded,” says Craig Kinsey of The Sideshow Tramps. “Zenhill seeks to embrace the future of digital and social networking by inhabiting the spirt of Allen Lomax and others like him.”

Of course, opinions may vary. “Zenhill is like a gourmet hotdog . . . all sorts of cool shit going on.” The Southern Backtones’ Hank Schyma has a way of viewing life through a lens few of us have had the pleasure of seeing. “Signing with Zenhill is like getting over the flu. Things are just getting better now.”

As for the partnership that brought this new family into the world? Dan Workman weighs in; “Zenhill Records brings together three of my passions: working with and nurturing the amazing musical talent we have here in Houston, making outstanding recordings that are entertaining and will stand the test of time, and working with one of my soul mates, Ross Wells. Ross and I share a similar world view and love for film and music.”

Ross Wells couldn’t agree more. “Dan and I have joined forces with some remarkable artists and through ZenHill we are able to share our experience to help get their truly original sounds out to the world.” Working with these guys doesn’t have to be an exclusive experience, he continues. “We hope that our efforts combined with the energies of other labels and artists help Houston’s music get the attention it so richly deserves … It is an honor to work with this amazing team of people … and a lot of fun.”

You are not likely the only one that thinks so, Mr. Wells. Cheers to that.

Live From SugarHill Studios Episode 29

Live From SugarHill Studios Episode 29

LFSH episode 29 with musical guests Space City Gamelan and audience of one Ben Tecumseh DeSoto is now live for free download and viewing on your device of choice. Just choose from the links below.

Vimeo   Subscribe to me on YouTube  Live from SugarHill Recording Studios

 

Ross Wells and Dan Workman on KPFT

Ross Wells and Dan Workman on KPFT

W. Ross Wells and Dan Workman took to the air Tuesday on Roark’s Wide Open Spaces on KPFT 90.1 Houston. This is the first radio appearance on KPFT this week by members of the ZenHill Records tribe, leading up to the big ZenHill Records Night at Fitzgerald’s on Friday.

Ross and Dan (ZenHill’s founding fathers) talked with Roark Smith about long and winding road leading up to the label’s first big showcase, new releases in national rotation and lots of other coolness. Scheduled for noon slots this week are Craig Kinsey, Roky Moon and BOLT and Winter Wallace … it’s ZenHill Week leading up to ZenHill Night. Don’t forget to get tickets to ZenHill Records Night … there are still some seats available. Listen to shows this week or if you are outside the KPFT listening area… login on KPFT.org