Musicians that Will Make the CD Magic – Justin Helland

Surround yourself with the right combination of people and magic happens…

That’s advice I lived by in my IT management career and have smartly carried over into my musical endeavors. Some of the musicians I’ve hoped to surround myself with are “confirmed” for the recordings by means of “contributing” their time and talent while others are still on the “wish list”, because either:

  • they live live far off and we can’t afford the travel costs
  • this is their livelihood and they literally can’t afford not to get paid
  • they don’t know me from Adam, so once I find a way to contact them, I need to convince them this project is worth their time.

For those who have already invested or are considering investing in the CD, here’s an inside look into what your money will be going towards:

Ali Gilmore Music and Justin HellandJustin Helland (confirmed)

Justin is new and still a bit of a mystery to me, but here’s what we know so far and how he became part of the magic that is this upcoming CD…

I met Justin a few weeks back at my friends’ old pub in Escondido (O’Sullivans Irish).  Paul Castellanos (wish list) had invited me to join in an Irish session several times, but I didn’t think I was quite ready to try and keep up with all those fast chord changes, however, as part of this campaign was to “get myself out there”, I packed up my guitar and ukelele and off to the session I went.

There were about 6 of us in the session that night, including my drummer friend Brad Rehn (confirmed).  At one point I thought I heard a mandolin playing, but when I looked over it was Justin playing my Ukelele.  Astounding is the best word for it.  After the session I gave him my card and asked if he’d be interested in playing together.  He came over the following week for a session.  Jim, my upright bass player (confirmed) joined us and well, he said it best last night that when I put down the guitar and Justin picks it up, my songs “Ricochet”, to which I say “Exactly~”  This brings a smile to both our faces, knowing just how good this is all turning out to be…

Justin is young, but he’s an old soul.  He’s been playing music since he was a kid and studied at Berkley School of Music in Boston.  Music is his livelihood.  He has a studio in Escondido, California where he patiently and enthusiastically teaches guitar to students of all ages and when he’s not teaching, he’s performing at local venues.  Oh, and he recently met his musical hero Guinga, the world famous Brazilian guitarist.  Ask him about it and watch his face light up like a little kid at Christmas.

Justin is soft spoken, warm-hearted and the perfect “third man” for our trio.  There are plans for Jim, Justin and I to perform together ahead, but for right now we are focusing on getting the three of us and rest of the magic music ensemble into the studio all at once, which as Alan Sanderson, our engineer says is “like herding cats.”