Last year, Quad Cities-based singer/songwriter Lewis Knudsen decided to give up substitute-teaching to devote himself full-time to music. Lots of musicians make a similar leap, but few of them commit to it as fearlessly and smartly as Knudsen has.
He performed at open mics and got gigs wherever he could - restaurants, bars, wineries, nursing homes, birthday parties, company parties.
He set out to write and record a new song a week in 2013, a project that ended up generating 40 tracks (all of them available on his Web site at LewisKnudsen.com/songs-from-2013). For the uncharitable who think Knudsen was a slacker for falling short of his goal, the song-a-week project was waylaid by a three-week tour of Europe through the Germany-based Songs & Whispers organization.
He assembled a band and professionally recorded the self-released album Joy, Pain, Love, Songs. - whose debut he'll be marking with a June 5 show at the Redstone Room.
And while studio recording can be a challenge for neophytes, Knudsen sidestepped that issue in two ways - by fine-tuning the songs in live settings and having the process come to him by tracking with mobile equipment in his quintet's practice space. "It was exactly like being in my living room and recording the whole album," Knudsen said in a phone interview last week.