About Michael Dyer and his music:
Michael Dyer has been writing songs, on and off, for several decades but had never arranged, performed, or produced his songs. Then, in 2006 he discovered music editing software when he acquired a new Mac computer. Using this software, he began producing his backlog of songs (as time permitted, since he has a full-time job as an educator and also a part-time hobby as a glass-blower.) The result is that he released 3 CDs in 2007 on CDBaby.com: Nothing Seems Like What It Seems, Our Unwinding Time, and Aboriginal Angel. In 2008, he released 2 more CDs: Compli-intricated Life and Butterfly's Release. In 2009 he released a CD containing 10 Christmas and 2 New Years-related songs (Christmas Comes Just Once a Year). In 2010 he released a soft-blues CD (Blues Souffle) and in 2011 he released a blues CD (Blues Brulee) and an Adult Contemporary CD: What I Just Found. His CDs are available at CDbaby.com (physical CDs or downloads) and at iTunes.
More recently, he has finished a radio-play/musical, titled: DRAGON'S BLOOD: A Radio Play & Musical, to be released in Feb. 2013 as a 2-CD set, available at CDbaby.com. This radio-play/musical is 2.5 hours in length, with 7 characters and 8 scenes. The 2-CD set contains 56 tracks (24 are song tracks, interspersed among 32 dialog tracks). He wrote, composed, arranged and produced it. Unlike his earlier CDs, the vocals on Dragon's Blood songs are sung by other singers. These singers are: Andrew Abaria (as Vandar), Aelim Chedry (as Vladimir), Ellie Jepperson (as Angela), Jani Kosturski (as Dr. Datura), Macain Treat (as Travis), and Amy May Wilson (as Lucinda).
Michael Dyer is a singer/songwriter who is sole performer of all instruments on all tracks of each CD. His songs usually contain complex picking patterns, along with dual-lead guitars and some keyboard. He plays bass and tries to provide well-defined bass themes. He does not play drums and so his percussion results from carefully created and/or modified drum loops. His lyrics usually involve love and relationships but also may cover other themes, such as the search for enlightenment ("The Trek") or the state of the economy ("Credit Default Swap Blues").
Some songs are narrative in nature. For example, in the song, "Aboriginal Angel", he dreams that he has rescued an aboriginal angel who is pursued by devils. Instead of playing a harp, this angel "…didn’t carry a harp. She found its sound too high and too sharp…" Instead, she played "… rock ‘n’ blues on two didgeridoos…". When he awakens, he finds a real didgeridoo that she has left for him. In that song, Dyer plays the didgeridoo as a lead instrument, alongside lead guitar.
His music is within the soft rock, lite blues and AC (adult contemporary) genres. His 2 recent blues CDs (Blues Souffle and Blues Brulee) feature him playing harmonica.
Like many contemporary songwriters, most of Dyer’s songs are about love: finding it, losing it, seeking it, with poetic lyrics. The chord progressions and melody lines of many of his songs tend to be more complex than standard folk, rock or blues songs.
He occasionally performs live, at various open mics in the Los Angeles area.
Who Do I Sound Like? What I've Been Told:
"You have the same strong instrument arrangement, story-telling and musical variety of Guster."
"Some of your songs are a lot like those of Elliot Smith but you have more instrumentation and that gives your songs a more rock feel where he has a more folk feel."
"Your guitar picking and general approach reminds me of Devendra Banhart but you have excellent lead guitar and you don't have his quavery voice."
"You have a similar dreamy quality to David Gilmore but without his brass orchestration and his music tends to be slower and jazzier."
"You have the same lyrical quality as David Gray but his voice is a bit gritty and yours is smoother."
"You have a dreamy sound that reminds me of the Foo Fighters but with a lighter touch."
"You remind me of Sondre Lerche but his music has many major 7ths in it, which gives is a jazzy sound but yours is more in the acoustic-rock arena."
"Your love songs remind me a lot of Ben Lee, like his song ˜Gamble Everything on Love. You have a similar vocal quality and same strong lyrics."
"When Chris Martin of Coldplay plays in his baritone register (like in ˜Yellow") then your voice might be somewhat similar to his."
"You and Jack Johnson have many musical and vocal elements in common but most of his music has a blues/jazz quality to it, while your music has a more hippie quality."
"You sound a bit like Radiohead (but they have these long vocal sustains that you don't have)."
"Many of your songs have interesting chord progressions, like "I've Been High" done by R.E.M."
"You have a story-telling quality in your songs that reminds me of Death Cab For Cutie."
"You know who you sound like? Yusuf. But his song themes seem more light-weight than yours."
"You remind me of Rufus Wainwright. His music has a similar dreamlike quality but he mumbles when he sings and you don't. Also his music has a more techno sound to it."
"You have a similar clean vocal quality and lyrical approach as that of Ben Folds but his music is mostly piano while yours is mostly guitar. His voice is more tenor and yours is more baritone but there are many musical similarities."
"I think you sound a lot like Ryan Adams but I think your lyrics and musical arrangements are a bit stronger."
"Some of your songs remind me a bit of Snow Patrol. You both have good lyrics and harmonies."
"You share vocal and poetic elements with Sufjan Stevens but he is more folksy and you're more pop/rock. Also he uses banjo and more orchestration and you're more into guitar. Rhythmically, you have different styles, but still I thought of him when listening to your music."
"You sound a lot like Robbie Robertson."
How I Produce My Songs
Some people have asked me how I produce my songs. Well, I use GarageBand software on my Mac, which lets me record an instrument into the computer as I play it. I then listen to that instrument while I play another instrument (or sing). I usually start by selecting a simple drum beat (from synthesized drum patterns) as a kind of metronome to set the speed of the song. Then I either lay down rhythm guitar or do finger picking. Next, I sing the melody line. Then, later, I can harmonize with myself. I play lead guitar, bass, and keyboard and I can set any instrument to sound differently, via synthesizer control. In this way I build up a song, layer by layer. I create variations in percussion through use of different drum loops.
My 2nd CD ("Our Unwinding Time") has backwards notes in the song with the cover title. In a song on my 3rd CD ("Aboriginal Angel") I play the didgeridoo as a lead instrument. (The didgeridoo is an Australian aboriginal instrument normally used just for background percussion. Actually, what I played in that song was a home-made slidgeridoo, which is a didgeridoo that can play several notes by means of sliding two tubes past each other in a trombone-like manner.)
Where The Glass Comes From
Listeners have asked me where the glass objects, that appear on my first 3 CDs, come from. Glass-blowing is a hobby that I have pursued for the last half-dozen years; so I have made many different types of glass objects. I use a variety of techniques: flame-working, slumping, casting, and Venetian-style glass blowing. The image at the top of each page (of two spiders facing each other on a mirrored surface) I made using flame-working techniques.