Jimm Motyka
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Jimm Motyka

Milwaukee, WI | SELF

Milwaukee, WI | SELF
Band Pop Adult Contemporary

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On the Record: Cuyahoga Falls pianist’s music evolves with his life
by Sue Todd

Special Products Editor

Jimm Motyka’s music is a work in progress.

He told the audience at a May 7 performance at Jimmy’s Cafe in Cuyahoga Falls he has played punk rock, progressive rock, new wave and Christian rock over the years.

For the moment, the 41-year-old Cuyahoga Falls resident has settled on a new age/jazz/pop style, heavy on the piano, with a sprinkling of string sounds here and there and vocals on some tunes. This is the basis of his CD, “Subject & Predicate.”

“In our lives, we all are the ‘subject’ and the things that occur with and to us are our ‘predicate’ moments,” Motyka wrote in the CD’s liner notes. “The songs represented on this CD are based on the culmination of things that have occurred (so far) in my life.”

Some of these “things” are easy to deduce from the song titles: “Wisconsin” represents Motyka’s childhood in that state; “Christmas Wish (All I Want)” is self-explanatory; and “Remembrance” is in honor of his grandmother, who encouraged Motyka’s passion for music (OK, I cheated and read the liner notes on that one). Others, like “Visions of Heliopolis” and “Glitter Fades Away,” are more enigmatic. All are soft, caressing pieces that seem designed expressly for a winter evening in front of the fireplace with a glass of wine - or, this time of year, drinking that wine while watching a nighttime thunderstorm from a bedroom window.

Unlike many CDs, however, “Subject & Predicate” is less a recording than a snapshot, a moment in the life of Motyka’s music.

“Live music always has a different feel from the recorded music,” Motyka said to his May 7 listeners. “Songs shouldn’t stop growing as you keep performing them.”

Motyka was serious about that. During his live performance, he changed instrumentation, tempos and structure from the original versions of his songs as the spirit moved him - not necessarily a bad thing.

Personally, I liked what he did in person better than the CD; there was more spontaneity and a slight edge to the music, and the sound quality of Motyka’s keyboard comes off better live than on a recording.

Still, I’d love to sit Motyka down at a baby grand with a live string quartet and vocal ensemble backing him up, just to hear the effect the greater resonance of acoustic instruments would have on his music. I also believe that greater resonance would better balance Motyka’s voice, which is more pop/rock than new age/jazz, on the vocals. But then, he would lose much of his opportunity to improvise in that situation ... It is a dilemma.

Not all the songs Motyka played at Jimmy’s Cafe were from “Subject & Predicate.” My favorite tune of the evening, “Russian Winter,” is from an earlier project. Its combination of lively folk-music melodic elements and darker harmonies appealed to me in ways the lighter, more traditional songs couldn’t.

Motyka said the idea for another song absent from “Subject & Predicate” came to him in his sleep. He said he dreamed he heard one of his own songs on the radio, and when he woke up, he wrote down all he could remember of the song he had heard. “Little Dreams,” according to Motyka, is about “the need to celebrate life more,” with a new baby as the symbol of that celebration. The result is a sweet, sentimental lullaby to every innocent child.

“Moonlight Reflection” is, I think, my favorite tune from the CD. Perhaps not coincidentally, Motyka said it is the one that brings the most questions about whether he is classically trained (he isn’t). A mix of minor scales and broken chords, “Moonlight Reflection” has a modal feel, which lends it just a hint of mystery and a few rather surprising - in a good way - cadences.

Motyka has begun work on music for another CD (he said the working title is “Every Good Boy Does Fine”). In the meantime, he is racking up live performances, including last weekend’s appearance at Peabody’s as part of the Cleveland Music Festival.

Motyka said audience members told him they hadn’t expected to hear his “style of music” at the hard rock-leaning event.

“But they really liked what I was doing,” said Motyka. “In the Star Wars cantina-like atmosphere [at the festival], that was very encouraging.”

If Motyka’s earnest, hopeful lyrics and serene harmonies are any indication, he must be at peace with his life. But will his music stop there? I doubt it. In “Subject & Predicate,” we witness something of a musical rebirth, full of potential. Most likely, Motyka will continue to grow and mature as a composer and musician, and heaven only knows where that growth will take him.

“Subject & Predicate” is available at Time Traveler in Cuyahoga Falls and online at www.jimmmotyka.com, along with more information on Motyka’s life, music and concert schedule.

E-mail: stodd@recordpub.net

Phone: 330-688-0088 ext. 3153 - Record Publishing Co: Sue Todd


Copy and paste the link in your browser:
http://www.myspace.com/jimmmotyka/ - Jimm Motyka


Story at:

http://www.miami.com/mld/ohio/news/13791303.htm - Akron Beacon Journal


Discography

Autumn 2010: New songs for Blue Llama Parade, including "Resolution Or Revolution"

Autumn 2010: Re-release of the Blue Llama Parade "Bingo" CD

Spring 2009: Soundtrack for the movie "The Bride And The Grooms" ("Contemplation" and "Afterglow")

Summer 2009: Jimm Motyka "In The Waking Dream"

2007: Jimm Motyka "In A Sense Of Innocence" (piano/vocal oriented pop ala 70's AM radio)

2005: Jimm Motyka "Subject & Predicate" CD (piano guided compositions)
Includes "Moonlight Reflection" which was a finalist in the 2006 Independent Music Awards

2004: Byron Nemeth Group: The Abbey Road mastered "100 Worlds" CD (as the band's keyboardist and co-songwriter, penning two songs completely)

2003: Byron Nemeth Group: "Serpent's Eye" single (as the band's keyboardist and co-songwriter)

2001: Byron Nemeth Group: "Power To Destroy" single (as the band's keyboardist and co-songwriter)

1994: Jimm Motyka "Beyond Forever" Demo

1993: Blue Llama Parade "Bingo" CD (post new wave music ala Depeche Mode and Howard Jones)

1992: Amon-Ra "In The Company Of The Gods" CD (founding member, contributing songwriter, and keyboardist: progressive hard rock)

Photos

Feeling a bit camera shy

Bio

A finalist in the Independent Music Awards for the 2006 New Age Song of the Year, Jimm Motyka's style is defined by a touch of new age, hint of pop, and underlying tone of progressive rock. His music was featured in the movie, “The Bride and the Grooms”, which premiered in Cleveland this April 26, 2009 ("Afterglow" and "Contemplation" from "In A Sense Of Innocence").

Motyka is looking forward to (mid autumn) 2010 with the digital only release of new songs from his band, Blue Llama Parade, including the re-release of the "Bingo" CD (from 1993). He's realizing this is the fastest way to get the new music to his listeners. BLP will be working at Pacifica Studios in Cleveland. The realization was that the songs are more relevant now, than when they were originally recorded. BLP's sound can be described as modern classic rock, with the focus on lyrics and textures. The new songs are closer to what Motyka originally envisioned with the "Bingo" release, but the technology now allows those ideas to come to life.

Motyka comments:
"This is something I've wanted to do for quite some time, but needed to vibe when the time was right to bring other musicians in. I cannot wait to see what can happen in bringing in elements of a full band, since the songs have been written and arranged for this very thing. The original Blue Llama Parade was an all solo effort, so it's exciting and I cannot wait for the fans of my music to hear another aspect of how I compose. I’m anxious, yet expecting good things to happen with this release. And the music's message is more urgent than ever."

Motyka has completed wedding songs and arrangements for his wedding in May 2009. He’s mentioned that there’s a chance that this group of songs may find their way to a larger audience, after the wedding.

History of the Artist:

An established musician within the Cleveland area, Motyka has played with Catalyst, Amon-Ra, Blue Llama Parade, and the Byron Nemeth Group (BNG).

In 2004, he decided to dedicate his talents towards his solo career, of which he was amassing a number of self-penned tunes, just waiting for the world to hear.

Large venues, church stages or small coffee houses, Motyka pulls his audience into the intimacy of his songs, lyrics, and personality. He has opened for Tom Jones and Etta James (as a solo artist/Blossom Music Center). He's also opened for Yes (as a member of BNG), and Dream Theater and Rik Emmitt (Triumph) as a member of Amon Ra. Every song has a story behind it and Motyka finds it important to share that, so the audience can fully interpret and enjoy the song as it was intended.

The release of "Subject & Predicate", Motyka's first solo CD, gave his listeners a glimpse of another musical side of his creativity, which had been overlooked within the band settings. "S&P" touched on a bit of pop, jazz, and has neo-classcial undertones. In short, Motyka describes this release as something unique, but with a familiar sound.

With a sense of neo-classical overtones, which meld classical, pop, jazz, and progressive rock. Motyka jokes that his "classical music" influences are Styx, Kansas, ELO, Alan Parsons Project, Supertramp, Elton John, and the Moody Blues. He typically tells people that he's not classically trained, but calls himself "classic rock" trained.

That progression led to the 2006 release, titled "In A Sense Of Innocence". This release is stripped down, echoing a 70's pop radio format of vocals and piano. He does mention this release has three instrumentals, to bridge the gap between the two releases. What listeners will find is Motyka venturing back to his lyrical roots, with his uplifting and introspective songs.

The CD was recorded in Cleveland, Ohio at Ante Up Audio, on their Neve board. This was the same board that was used to record, "We Are The World" in the mid-80's. An arduous task, in coming to the completion of this release, the final product was well worth the minor setbacks.

"This release is a continuation of my developing style and sound," comments Motyka. He follows, "I would like to continue in the path established by Roger Hodgson, Elton John, and Steven Curtis Chapman, in the sense of retaining a great melody with lyrics that touch the heart and soul. This is only the beginning of the many various paths my music is going to take."