Today marks the official kickoff of Storytellers On Tour’s first official Blog Tour, and it’s surely going to be a great one! This week we’re spotlighting such an interesting and unique creation: The Bookshelf Symphony Orchestra by Austin Farmer, an instrumental album that pays homage to staples of the SFF literary world. Each song is inspired by a book that has left a lasting impression on the composer, the album’s diversity just as varied as the stories they derive from, and it’s truly impeccable as a whole.
We’ve enlisted the help of a group of wonderful and talented bloggers to help us celebrate this album in a way it deserves. Each was assigned one song from the album and will be hosting a small interview with Austin, who will graciously share insights into that particular song, as well as other bookish and musical aspects. Then they’ll share with you all a song that represents a favorite book of theirs. We absolutely LOVED this concept, and we’re thrilled we get to debut Storytellers with such a bang. This is what we have going on, so make sure to check out each and everyone one of these amazing bloggers throughout the week for some brilliant content.
APRIL 13TH – THE WELCOMING
Whispers & Wonder
Dark Side Reads
Susy’s Cozy World
Armed with A Book
The Caffeinated Reader
Sometimes Leelynn Reads
The Paperback Voyager
Before We Go Blog
APRIL 18TH – THE ENCORE
For more about this tour visit Storytellers On Tour.
The Bookshelf Symphony Orchestra is an instrumental concept album created for readers and writers. Over the course of 2 years, Austin Farmer teamed up with brothers Addam and Heath Farmer to help produce, coarrange, and mix/master the album, bringing over a decade of experience in the music industry to the project. Every song is titled after the novel it was inspired by and couldn’t have been created without those stories. Austin’s previous songs have been featured on Nickelodeon, CBS, Fox Sports, and a national Sprint TV campaign with indie rock bands Island Apollo and The Bolts. Musical influences on this album include songs from many of the instrumental playlists he’d listen to while writing fiction, including Two Steps From Hell, Bear McCreary, and Joe Hisaishi.
His short story “Beethoven’s Baton” is featured in Baker Street Irregulars, co-edited by Michael A. Ventrella and NYT Bestselling Author Jonathan Maberry.
Austin Farmer is a musician, writer, and filmmaker from Southern California. His music has been featured on Nickelodeon, Fox Sports, and a national Sprint commercial. His short story “Beethoven’s Baton” is featured in Baker Street Irregulars Volume 1 (co-edited by Michael A. Ventrella and NYT Bestselling Author Jonathan Maberry).
- I attended the Y’ALL (@Yallwest) West Writing Convention in 2018 a few years back and attended a “WRITING MUSIC, WRITING ABOUT MUSIC” panel. I asked a few authors if putting music out like this would be a good idea, and they suggested to go for it and put it out. I think they said to let them know if I ever did. That panel helped me get the courage to put out this music. I always wanted to find a way to thank them or Yallwest for that.
- A lot of these songs were inspired by novels that I discovered because of Mysterious Galaxy Books (@Mystgalaxybooks) in San Diego. A lot of these authors had book signings, and I discovered a lot of these novels from those signings or different writing events, including the author of “Truthwitch” (Susan Dennard), “The Dreadful Tale of Prosper Redding” (Alex Bracken), “The Fold” (Peter Cines), and more (about 9 of them).
- Social Media helped me put out this music. I originally put the demoes out on Twitter and tagged the authors, and their support helped give me the courage to put this out as an album, too.
- My uncle played with The Beach Boys for about 12 years as their live bassist.
- I am the singer of a Rush Tribute band.
- My Band Island Apollo reached 2 million plays for our single “Hold It Down” on Spotify.
When I sat down to decide which book-music pairing I’d like to share for this tour, there was one author’s works that stood out most – those of the incomparable Michael R. Fletcher. Let me preface this by admitting I’m a Fletcher fangirl, and I’ll read anything the man pens, so the only difficult choice was which book of his to choose. While all the books I’ve read from him are insanely unique and worthy of praise, Swarm and Steel may just be my favorite.
Swarm and Steel is a weirdly beautiful and twisted love story led by a cast of delusional characters that shape the very reality of the world around them with said delusions. Quoting my original review: “It’s vile. It’s hilarious. It’s emotional. It’s cringeworthy. It’s thought-provoking. It’s beautiful. There’s death (lots of it). And life (and focus on how precious it is).“ Long story short, I love this book to pieces. While this tale takes place in Fletcher’s Manifest Delusions universe, it’s a completely independent standalone from the other novels that I can’t recommend enough.
And my musical pairing is none other than Deadhead by The Devin Townsend Band. I’ve been a fan of Devin Townsend ever since the glorious madness of Strapping Young Lad entered my ear holes, and I remember stumbling upon the live performance of Deadhead at Royal Albert Hall (embedded below – listen to it, and love it), and I was just completely blown away. There are definitely many interpretations of the content of this song, but I tend to lean towards the “enduring the pain of addiction, and seeking salvation and redemption” club. And this, of course, lies right in line with the message in Swarm and Steel.
Both beautifully haunting, both manic and profound, both composed and executed by masters of their crafts. Go read the book, go listen to the song, and enjoy.
That’s all I got for ya! Be sure to keep an eye on the official Bookshelf Symphony Orchestra tour page over at Storytellers On Tour (https://storytellersontour.online/2020/03/18/tour-schedule-the-bookshelf-symphony-orchestra-by-austin-farmer/) to get exclusive insights into the makings of this excellent album, and to hear what interesting book-music pairings my fellow bloggers come up with!