Thursday, December 30, 2010

12-30-09 Ummm...

Kind of speaks for itself. Link.

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

12-29-09 My Life In Show Biz

I have Evan to thank for the title. "Awesome" was doing a three-day stint for Winterfest at Seattle Center, playing in - you guessed it - the food court. Although it ended up being a surprisingly fun and loose set of shows, it was definitely one of the weirdest places we've played.

The song turned out pretty good, and has the distinction of having one of the saddest kazoo solos ever recorded.

12-28-09 The Girl Made Of Glass

This is my favorite song about a girl made of glass. Link.

Monday, December 27, 2010

12-27-09 When The Wind Blows

Windy day and everything is a kite. Link.

Sunday, December 26, 2010

12-26-09 Great White Shark

Nice riff, moody song. Nothing much else to say about this one. Link.

Saturday, December 25, 2010

12-25-09 Another Christmas Song

Merry Christmas, o tens of readers! Link.

12-24-09 For What

This one almost perfectly skirts that knife edge of truthfulness and artfulness, in my opinion. It's a really simple song about what I was doing and thinking at the time, but I think it manages to be compelling to listen to without sounding whiny. And in this song, I think the answer is in the question.

Thursday, December 23, 2010

12-23-09 Three Rivers

a sprightly guitar instrumental. Link.

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

12-22-09 Four Rivers

Sheer absurdity. The title came from an internet pattern identification game to which Sarah and I are addicted. The song has nothing to do with the game. Link.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

12-21-09 Stupid Stupid Fear

This one's pretty bleak. They can't all be happy and shiny. Link.

Monday, December 20, 2010

12-20-09 See The Only One You Can Find

Back in Seattle after holidays with the family. Interesting how the tone of the pieces changes from jovial to melancholic for this period.

The vocal line was a melody that had been brewing for some time. The lyrics were pretty much just placeholders, although I like their obfuscatory nature listening back to them now. Link.

Sunday, December 19, 2010

12-19-09 Chili Dump

This day last year was our early Christmas celebration with the Ackermann family. Instead of a traditional turkey dinner, the family does what is affectionately known as the Chili Dump - everyone brings in a pot of chili. Because what's better than chili for dinner? Three different kinds of chili, that's what.

My nephew Shane (who was in 8th grade when this was recorded) is the co-writer and co-performer on this one. With a song title like 'Chili Dump', it would be a crime if the song didn't have a hot trombone solo in it. Thanks, Shane!

Shane and Snuggie.

12-18-09 Beer & Bowling

It's a night out for the Ackermann clan, Milwaukee-style: brewery tour, TGI Friday's, bowling, and karaoke. An epic night. Everything in this song is true.

Friday, December 17, 2010

12-17-09 Chicken Foot

...And we move from Cribbage on to dominoes. We played this slightly maddening variation on traditional dominoes called Chicken Tracks. You can build off of other dominoes in groups of three to make patterns that look like - you guessed it - chicken tracks.

The reason it's maddening is that the tracks can be built off of any other domino, so that by the end of the game the table is a chaotic mess of dominoes pointing in all directions. Not unlike what real chicken tracks must look like. So the song is just a little bit maddening, too. I really love the way it turned out, though, especially the messy splats of high notes played on the wrong side of the bridge of the mandolin. Here it is!

Thursday, December 16, 2010

12-16-09 Summer Bees

Some nice imagery in this one. Channeling Dear Prudence a bit. I've never tried out fingerstyle picking on the mandolin before; it makes for nice textures. Link.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

12-15-09 Living In A Glass Box

I like that this song is fragile. The kind of song that someone actually in a glass box might sing, with lots of icy and pristine mandolin parts reverberating off of smooth walls.

And now, a Philip Glass Box:

12-14-09 Play It As It Lays

A song about getting along. Link.

Monday, December 13, 2010

12-13-09 Cribbage, Baby

I can't remember a time in my life when I didn't know how to play cribbage. It's in my blood. So whenever I go home for the holidays, the board is always out. So this song is my feeble attempt to sex up an ostensibly geeky card game. Those of you who have never played cribbage before, ignore the weird game references and just make sweet love to this groove. (Sweet lovin' groove courtesy of Garageband; all other sounds programmed by me.)

12-12-09 Why I'm Doing This

A reaffirmation of why it's important to me to do the song a day project, and to try to touch people with music in the first place. Link.

Saturday, December 11, 2010

12-11-09 Dr. Kegel

First night in Milwaukee = Friday Night Fish Fry. For those of you who didn't grow up in the midwest like me, the Friday fish fry is akin to a religious experience. Deep-fried lake perch (or cod, if you're a heathen), tartar, coleslaw, potato pancakes, applesauce. Nothing like it.

The neighborhood restaurant my family chose this time around was a cozy little place called Kegel's Inn. Now, of course, the name Kegel is probably a rather common German name, but I can't hear it without thinking about kegel exercises ('doing your kegels'). In this song, I think there's a subliminal (and slightly perverse) connection between Dr. Kegel's fish fry emporium and the kegel exercise, but I'd rather not think too hard about it.

Friday, December 10, 2010

12-10-09 Goin' To Milwaukee

...And now the baritone has turned into a full-on basso profundo. (Well, not profundo, let's say moderato.)

We were heading to my hometown of Milwaukee for the holidays. The song details some Ackermann family holiday traditions, at least up to the last verse.

Thursday, December 9, 2010

12-9-09 In Reverse

Throwaway lyrics. Nursing a head cold, so my froggy baritone vocals shine through on this one. Link.

12-8-09 In Bed

Sometimes you just want to stay in bed all day. Link.

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

12-7-09 Hang Up

Back in April, Sarah and I had taken a trip to San Francisco to see our friends Aaron and Bronwyn. Aaron plays this wonderful bizarre instrument called the hang, a sort of inverted steel drum that is played by hand instead of mallets. (I recorded a couple pieces with it during the trip - here and here.)

While visiting Seattle, they bestowed on us a fantastic late wedding gift - a brand new Halo, which is the close cousin to the hang. That's the instrument featured in today's piece.

Monday, December 6, 2010

12-6-09 Carry The Water

The lyrics in this one are inconsequential, but I like the chord progression a lot. Future mining of this song may happen. Link.

12-5-09 Late Night

Stars and sidewalks. Link.

12-4-09 Madrone in A

Thanks to my friend Aaron for supplying the title for this one. Our conversation that night featured a lively discussion of Madrona trees and what makes a particular body of water a 'sound'. I decided to combine the two topics (in a somewhat hallucinatory fashion).

Saturday, December 4, 2010

12-3-09 North South East West

This is another West inspired piece. It's a wordplay song - four word phrases all beginning with the letters 'N', 'S', 'E', and 'W' (as if you couldn't figure it out from listening to it once). Although it's very simple and repetitive, there's something really alluring about this particular stream of consciousness. Some of the phrases would make great lyrical subjects.

12-2-09 I'm Waiting Here

Bluesy and inconsequential. Link.

Vicodin Taffy

The title of this song came out of a late night conversation/argument with Kirk and David. I'm not sure how the argument actually spurred the creation of the phrase, but it must have been a really interesting argument. It's a fun little bit of circus nausea. Link.

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

11-30-09 Needing

A simple, pretty little imagined memory about longing. The $19 guitar makes another wistful appearance. Link.

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

11-29-09 Bike Eating Tree

A long time ago on Vashon Island, someone parked a bike next to a small sapling and forgot about it. Eventually, the tree grew around the tree and subsumed it. Of course, we needed to see this marvel of nature. And I needed to write a song about it.

11-28-09 Millions

A statement about the epidemic of wasted time. My favorite part is the garageband gamelan sample that so nicely meshes with the ukulele. Link.

Sunday, November 28, 2010

11-27-09 On Vashon

Sarah and I took a little vacation to Vashon Island. A little travelogue of our first day there. Link.

11-26-09 Catch As Catch Can

I understand what this expression means, but I'm still mystified about its origins. I mean, it sounds like nonsense, right? But, when it's used in the right context, I love it. Like Ned Plimpton does in The Life Aquatic. I couldn't find a clip, but go see the movie if you haven't already. That's where the title came from. Seu Jorge is an integral part of that film, and I think the overall sound of this piece is reminiscent of his stuff (with a little Iron and Wine thrown in for good measure). One of my favorite patchworks of sound from the year. Link.

Saturday, November 27, 2010

11-25-09 Rainy Night

This song was played on a guitar made of a shoebox, paper towel roll, and rubber bands. (Musical instrument crafts for kids! That end up being way harder to execute than you thought! So that you're basically just making it for them rather than showing them how it's done! How do I get out of these parentheses!) Notice the Eddie Van Halen stripes on it. I don't think the kids appreciated the reference.

The song itself is a lame attempt at a Tom Waitsian ramble.

Friday, November 26, 2010

11-24-09 At The End Of It All

This day found me thinking about time. Spending, wasting, taking. Link.

11-23-09 Fixing It

Sometimes things just stay broken. Link.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

11-22-09 Untitled #83

One of my favorite instrumentals of the year. Link.

Monday, November 22, 2010

11-21-09 Summer's Far Away

The companion piece to Summer's In The Air. Bleakness and gray and great beauty. Link.

11-20-09 They Love You

Sometimes you just need to be reminded that the people in your life are there for a reason. Don't take them for granted. Spent your limited time on earth wisely. Link.

Friday, November 19, 2010

11-19-09 hasta luego!

Guitar part provided by a cheap little children's toy. Todo el mundo es loco. Link.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

11-18-09 Did It Taste Bad, Pa?

This will take some explaining.

During the course of the Intiman show (Abe Lincolin in Illinois), I came to memorize large sections of the text. (I was onstage for about 80% of the show. I played music for about 10% of it.) The language was very colloquial, and bits of this antiquated dialogue would get stuck in my head.

I got the idea to record a bit of dialogue from every member of the cast - just a word or a catch phrase, if they happened to have one. (The only exception was Langston, who played fiddle during the show, so it made sense record a sample of his playing.) The idea was to make a sort of aleatory piece, a la The Books, something that incorporated these bits of text into a musical form. One of the young actors in the show, Hannah, speaks a line as Abe's son, asking him about the medicine used to treat a sick child. I discovered that the way she said the line had a very distinct melody. That's how it all started out. Throw in a dance beat, and it pretty much writes itself.

I don't expect it to make much sense to anyone not involved with the show, but for me, it's hilarious and awesome. Thanks to the cast for making this weird piece happen.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

11-17-09 Two Days To Freedom

This was referring to the fact that I had two days of performances of the Intiman show left. By the end of it, it felt like my life had been hijacked. I was more than ready to be done. link.

11-16-09 MC Johann

Um, say what? John is rapping? I guess it was just a matter of time. Beastie Boys meets the suburbs. Bass part is me, drums are garageband. fresh link.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

11-15-09 Cannot Lose Another Day

Breezy and free, but with a message. Don't waste the time you've got. Link.

11-14-09 60 Cycle Serenade

Inspiration comes from strange places sometimes.

The drone in this song was inspired by listening to a shorted-out streetlight while waiting for a ride home. When I first noticed it, it was annoying, but then I listened closer and realized that there was a very strong fundamental pitch underneath all of the electric growling. I recorded a snippet on my crappy cellphone, enough to get the feel of it and determine what the actual note was (B). The actual drone in the piece was a looped accordion note that was bitcrushed by Garageband. The build of the piece is really striking to me, and clocking in at over 6 minutes, wins the award for the longest piece of the year.

11-13-09 The Light In The Mud Room

I don't think I'd ever heard the term 'mud room' until moving to Seattle. That's kind of telling. I like this song, especially the fact that it starts with the word 'and'. Link.

Friday, November 12, 2010

11-12-09 Blue Sky, Clear Cold Wind

Can you tell that fall is coming on? Link.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

11-11-09 Cooter Pie

Thanks to Russell Hodgkinson for the inspiration for this song, provided backstage during performances of Abe Lincoln In Illinois. I think his version is much better, but I believe it may be lost in the mists of time.

I almost sound like an actual blues guitarist in this song. Almost.

11-10-09 Event Horizon

As near as I can tell, I think this might be about my resistance to join Facebook. I've since relented. Thanks to Garageband for the steady and predictable congas. Link.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

11-9-09 I Don't Wanna Do This

Clearly I was having a rough day. Burning the candle at both ends, doing 9 performances a week at the Intiman, working during the day, and trying to write a song every day. Rough stuff. Sometimes the best you can do is to complain about what you don't want to do, and then do it anyway. Link.

Monday, November 8, 2010

11-8-09 Let's Get The Hell Out Of Here

A song about starting over. Link.

11-7-09 I Don't Have The Time

A simple song about the march of time and making peace with it. Link.

Saturday, November 6, 2010

11-6-09 Untitled #79

Played on my $19 acoustic guitar. Cheaper guitar = more wistful back porch longing! Link.

11-5-09 Rolling Blackout

Fall storms in effect. Link.

Thursday, November 4, 2010

11-4-09 Somebody Give Me The Time Of Day

Very rarely do I write songs with any form of social commentary; I'm not a good enough lyricist to pull it off without sounding too preachy. This song approaches social commentary, but it's more of an observation of an archetype than a comment on the homeless. Uh, what did I just write? Just listen to the song. Link.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

11-3-09 Ginger's In The Fridge

Nursing a cold. Nothing like a little fresh ginger tea to help the throat. Link.

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

11-2-09 Halve It Your Way

Half of nothing is still nothing. Link.

Monday, November 1, 2010

11-01-09 Buried In November

This time of year is pretty trying on me, so it's only natural that I should write possibly the saddest song I've ever written. Totally fictional, thankfully, but it still gives me chills listening to it. Thanks to David for the use of his mountain dulcimer in this song - it definitely adds to the melancholy. Link.

10-31-09 See You In Your Underwear

There is only one thing you need to know about this song: Ba ba bup ba ba.

10-30-09 Dumb It Down

Some off-the-cuff lyrics, and a cat solo. Link.

10-29-09 Everywhere Am I

I think I'd been listening to a little too much Radiohead (if that's possible). Still, garagebandy drum beat aside, this turned out pretty cool. I distinctly remember recording this at the dining room table; I have no idea why. Link.

10-28-09 Carry

A moody little piano tune. Link.

10-27-09 Humming Uke Tune

Ah, the Lydian mode. John Osebold has taught me to love the lydian.

As Robyn Hitchcock says, the song is its own introduction to itself. Link.

10-26-09 Wanting

Although it's a bit short, I really love this one. It skates on the knife's edge of oblique and concrete. Did I just write that? Yikes. Link.

10-25-09 Immortality

Here's a song where I claim not to believe in immortality. Of course, I am writing this blog that will sit out in cyberspace for the foreseeable future, and I am also having a child soon, so I guess I want to believe in it just a little. This song turned out nicely. Link

10-24-09 Light It On Fire

Nihilistically optimistic. Makes you want to light stuff on fire while singing it. I actually had a short firebug period as a kid. No one got hurt. Except for the ants under the magnifying glass. Link.

10-23-09 A Certain Virtue

Simple, and cautiously optimistic. Link.

10-22-09 Absolutely Nothing

One of those days when a dearth of lyrical ideas actually makes for a catchy little tune. Link.

10-21-09 In The Untimely Event

Speaking of untimely, I'm slightly embarrassed by how far behind I've gotten on these posts. Hey, I'm having a kid. Leave me alone. Kidding! Please come back.


Food for worms.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

10-20-09 My Curry

The latest hit at all the dance clubs. Where no one is dancing. Link.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

10-19-09 Once I Was

Sounding a bit like Iron and Wine on this one. Not the best performance of it, but it feels like a complete idea to me. I like it. Link.

10-18-09 Future Booty

Drums by Garageband, the rest by me. Kick ass bass, sexy absurd/chic. Gimme gimme gimme! Link.

Sunday, October 17, 2010

10-17-09 In Deep

I think that with this one, all I really had was the one little short guitar loop. It didn't occur to me until later in the year to add the weird stacked vocals. Tone clustery! Link.

10-16-09 Meh

John angry. John need to play sloppy loud electric guitar. John feel better. Link.

Saturday, October 16, 2010

10-15-09 Case

I spend a lot of time carting around instruments in cases, so it's only natural to dream about consolidating my home with my guitar's home. Don't judge me. Link.

10-14-09 Warning

This is not a test. Link.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

10-13-09 Helicopter

I was driving to work on this day, and I have a very clear recollection of seeing helicopter seeds swirling high up in the air while I was stopped at a traffic light. link.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

10-12-09 One More Hour

Creepy piano, nice arrangement, winter encroaching. Link.

10-11-09 Phil Collins

Written after reading about how Phil might never play the drums again. Which would make me sad. It would make me less sad if the spinal injury that precipitated this news hampered his shmaltzy songwriting rather than the ability to hold his drumsticks. Because, let's face it, he's a badass on the drums.

This song is not badass.

Sunday, October 10, 2010

10-10-09 Winter's Calling Card

Written and recorded outdoors in the courtyard outside Intiman Theatre on a dinner break from Abe Lincoln In Illinois. Link.

Saturday, October 9, 2010

10-9-09 Fish Ladder

One of my favorite places in Seattle is the Ballard Locks. The fish ladder is what helps the upstream-bound salmon from Puget Sound through the locks and to their source, to spawn and die. Link.

Friday, October 8, 2010

10-8-09 Melancholy

A nice little song scrap featuring Weezy the Accordion! link.

10-7-09 Baltimore

A little doo-wop for my traveling wife, with a little reference to The Wire thrown in at the very end. link.

10-6-09 Phineas Gage

From Wikipedia:

Phineas P. Gage (July 9?, 1823 – May 21, 1860)[n 2] was an American railroad construction foreman now remembered for his incredible survival of an accident in which a large iron rod was driven completely through his head, destroying much of his brain's left frontal lobe, and for that injury's reported effects on his personality and behavior—effects so profound that friends saw him as "no longer Gage."


10-5-09 Your Hands

This song would be great with a full band arrangement - it needs an emo treatment of some sort. That 12-string arpeggio needs to be a bass guitar. I like this song. Link.

10-4-09 Ohio's A Piano

Based on a random email that Rob sent out. I'd like to think that either the Ohio Chamber Of Commerce or Baldwin Pianos might pick this song up as their state anthem/jingle.

10-3-09 Autumn's Tugging At My Sleeve

A nice moody piece heralding the season of melancholy. Shades of Jose Gonzalez. Link.

10-2-09 Don't You Go Spreadin' Yer Pizen

Hey, there, o tens of readers. Sorry, I fell off the wagon for a bit. This whole getting-ready-to-be-a-dad thing takes up a fair amount of psychic energy. And the countdown continues...

Last year, I was part of a production at Intiman Theatre called Abe Lincoln In Illinois. I was onstage for most of the show, in my musician corner, and got to hear (and almost memorize) large sections of dialogue. One bit of dialogue that tickled me considerably was that of a country ruffian threatening a newcomer to their town for defaming President Andrew Jackson. This song goes out to Matt Shimkus (who's just become a dad himself). Link.

Monday, October 4, 2010

Friday, October 1, 2010

9-30-09 Not Your Friend

One of my favorites of the Paul Gude songs. My attempt at a Mountain Goats type of song. Link.

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

9-29-09 Old And New

A late night quiet song about old and new and stuff. Link.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

9-28-09 A Song In Five Minutes

This could be the theme song for this project. Link.

Monday, September 27, 2010

Sunday, September 26, 2010

9-26-09 Braniel

Written after attending the wedding of my two friends Daniel and Brangien. There was mention at some point during the reception of the two of them joining together to create this super-being called 'Braniel'. Happy anniversary, you two!

9-25-09 Jerk With A Chip

You're keeping a secret
Like a monogrammed sentiment
On the quilt of the misbegotten
So get bent


Friday, September 24, 2010

9-24-09 Yesterday

Different Yesterday. link.

9-23-09 Log Jam

The name of a one-off night we did at Seattle Center for Winterfest last year. Pretty much completely nonsensical. I kind of love it. Especially the ridiculous guitar tone cluster meltdown at the end. link.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

9-22-09 You're Always Right

Written out of anger and frustration at a situation I shall not divulge here.

This was an interesting experiment. The groups of 'backup' vocals were recorded while I was not listening to the playback, so they all seem to happen at random times. I then took those random vocals and painstakingly harmonized them (no easy feat since they weren't really synched to any particular part of the song. The result turned out pretty cool.


Tuesday, September 21, 2010

9-21-09 real thing

Tossed off, but hilarious. Sometimes they just come out that way. link.

9-20-09 Open My Arm

Another Paul Gude lyric. This one is disturbing for some reason. But I really love the chorus. link.

9-19-09 Seven Wonder Salad

O, banjo, why hast thou forsaken me? Link.

9-18-09 Magical Thought

When I did this one, I thought it was a throwaway. Listening back, I really like it. I resisted the urge to make the instrumental part too fancy, and the lyrical idea is well presented and almost (almost) poetic. Written after seeing "The Year Of Magical Thinking" at the Intiman.


9-17-09 Lonesome Bedbug & Headlouse

If there were ever two more misunderstood pests who just needed to be understood, these would be them. Gross.

I wrote this for a kids' music gig that was bug-themed. I performed it as a duet with Sarah as the lonesome headlouse and myself as the lonesome bedbug. I had intentions of fashioning the appropriate antennae and mandibles for each bug, but I ran out of time. Probably for the best. Gross.


Saturday, September 18, 2010

9-16-09 elayuna

A semi-improvised tone poem. Link.

9-15-09 Walker Lane

An instrumental guitar piece with deliberately oblique parts. If this were developed more fully, it would have a full prog arrangement with 17 guitar parts and a church organ. Okay, maybe only 13 guitar parts. Titled after having watched the Scott Walker documentary 30 Century Man. Link.

9-14-09 One Last Time

This has the makings of a perfectly serviceable (if somewhat lurid) pop song. It has a good vocal hook, a bouncy rhythm, and of course, who doesn't appreciate the sentiment? Nobody, that's who. link.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

9-13-09 Anniversary

A song written for my lovely wife on our 1st anniversary.

9-12-09 Taming The Beast

Created after a ridiculous 6-course meal at Beast in Portland. I think you can hear the meat in my throat. link.

9-11-09 Cheeks On The Glass


This one's kind of terrible, but in a really fun way. This was recorded in the Portland Hilton with Sarah, on our anniversary weekend. We'd been listening to a lot of Serge Gainsbourg on the way up, and it spawned this. The title actually came first, thanks to an unfortunate photo taken in our hotel bathroom of, well, cheeks on glass. Use your imagination. Or don't.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

9-10-09 Pot Kettle Black

A correspondence between pot and kettle. Clearly, they're on opposite sides of the fence. Link.

9-9-09 Let It All Begin

Some fun wordplay in this one. Setting up internal rhyming in a song is always fun and challenging, although the result (for me, at least) tends to sound somewhat awkward. link.

9-8-09 Long Day Done

Not sure why it was such a good day, but I'll take 'em wherever I can get them. This song has some nice harmonic lockdown between the mando and vocal (save for a brief diversion at the end). Link.

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

9-7-09 Forgive Me

And the countdown continues...

Ah, forgiveness. I find it very easy to forgive others, and very difficult to forgive myself. link.

Monday, September 6, 2010

Takin' A Vacation

Not the name of a song. I really am going on vacation; a babymoon, to be exact. During that time I'll have limited internet access (I'm guessing). So this blog will take a short recess while Sarah and I relax for what may the last time in a long time. See you soon!

9-6-09 Mi Corazon Es En Fuego

For the record - I don't really speak Spanish. I know that's shocking to you all, but there it is. Link.

9-5-09 Monkeytown

Another song with wonderfully demented Paul Gude lyrics. Crappy Radio Shack mic again. ooh. aah. link.

Saturday, September 4, 2010

9-4-09 Carbon Monoxide

This one is creepy. I like the way the vocal turned out - I used an old, crappy Radio Shack mic for this one. Link.

9-3-09 How Many Legs Have You Got?

I was working on songs for a gig at the Burke Museum. They hired me to sing a bunch of kid's songs about insects for their 'Bug Blast' event. This is my life. This song is intended to help people remember the wide variety of legs different creatures have. If you're not careful, you may just learn something. link.

9-2-09 Let's Take A Trip

A song fragment, really. But I like it. It's amazing how a chord progression feels so much richer when the bass notes aren't the root notes of the chords. I must have been listening to a lot of Beach Boys at the time. Link.

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

9-1-09 Lights, Camera, Tears

I think I was channeling Elvis Costello on this one. It needs The Attractions backing me up, though. Link.

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

8-31-09 Where Is Home

Nice mandolin hook. Somewhat high and lonesome. link.

8-30-09 The Road Of Bones

Sarah and I had been watching Long Way Round, a series about Ewan McGregor and his mate Charley Boorman attempting to ride his motorcycle east all the way from Scotland to New York. The Road of Bones is a treacherous expanse of highway in Siberia that they traveled as part of the journey. It's named for the labor camp workers who died while building the road during Stalin's regime. link.

Sunday, August 29, 2010

8-29-09 Please And Thank You

An ode to politeness, with an impolite interruption. Link.

8-28-09 Malefic

I decided to try an experiment for the lyrics on this one. In order to utilize a more colorful lexical palette, every line of the song contains one word obtained by a random word generator. The results were interesting, if a little awkward at times.

Saturday, August 28, 2010

8-27-09 Float Downstream

You won't feel anything. link

Thursday, August 26, 2010

8-26-09 Cinder Block And Concrete

An ode to my basement walls. Link.

8-25-09 Baby, Let's Go West

The title sounds like it might be an Elvis song, but it's clearly moodier than it lets on. Although it didn't end up in West, I really like it and it will probably have a life of its own somewhere else. Link.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

8-24-09 Keep Them In Your Heart

This one's personal. It needs to be longer, but I really like what's there, including the sentiment. link.

8-23-09 Rubberneck Dick

This title, and the first line of the lyric, came directly from John Osebold, so you can blame him for this song. Link.

Sunday, August 22, 2010

8-22-09 It's Hard Being Perfect

This song sets the bar for perfection shockingly low.

Saturday, August 21, 2010

8-21-09 Sunshine, Puppy Dogs And Lemonade

A 1920's dandy sings a song to his sweetheart, and it gets a little bawdy. Link.

8-20-09 The River

A simple song about accidental death on the way to a better life. Another West cast-off. Link

Friday, August 20, 2010

8-19-09 Old Man Kitty

Stevie has this certain meow that he does when he's trying to make us feel extra guilty. He sounds like a geriatric stray left out in the rain. We see right through his clever ruse. Link.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

8-18-09 Westward Meditation

Another West song. Lots of nice harmonies to accompany Evan falling asleep before he gets scalped. Link.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

8-17-09 Time To Get Up And Go

A nice little folk song. My $19 guitar sounds really sweet in this one. Link.

Monday, August 16, 2010

8-16-09 Lonesome Weary Moth

A children's song with a healthy dose of existential longing.

8-15-09 New Mandolin

An instrumental improvisation on my (then) brand new Collings mandolin. Sweet. Link.

Sunday, August 15, 2010

8-14-09 So Tired Of Calypso

I think I was on steel drum overload at this point. Lots and lots of calypso songs. Link.

8-13-09 Plum

This song was inspired by my honeymoon in Hawaii. One of my favorites.

8-12-09 Vituperation And Vitriol

Playing some catch-up tonight thanks to a couple crazy days and a summer cold...

The title came first with this song. I came across the word 'vituperation' in the Michael Chabon book I'd been reading. With his novels, I tend to look up a lot of words. It had occurred to me that my retention of these new words was next to nil unless I started using them. This was my attempt to retain that word. (I still needed to look it up just now to remember that it means 'bitter and abusive language'.)

Musically, it's a great little piece with weird chord changes and time hiccups, and it almost feels like it could be an interstitial track from The Lamb Lies Down On Broadway. You know, if I sounded anything like Peter Gabriel.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

8-11-09 An Ocean Of Trees

A West song that did make it into the show. This is the very earliest version of the song. I still had Lewis And Clark on the brain when I wrote it. Oh, how far we had diverged from them by the time we opened the show.

8-10-09 You And I And This Room

Portrait of a relationship about to end. Time is an abstract painting you can't decode. Link.

Monday, August 9, 2010

Sunday, August 8, 2010

8-7-09 A Penny For Your Soul

The old man that none of us wishes to be. link.

Saturday, August 7, 2010

Friday, August 6, 2010

8-5-09 Patient Boulevard

This is an honest song.

In looking back at the labels for the songs I've posted thus far, the tag I've used the most is 'working on my issues'. It's a bit of a self-deprecating thing, but it also signifies a time when I'm wearing my feelings pretty close to the bone. Sometimes it makes for self-indulgent crap, but sometimes it makes something worth listening to.

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

8-4-09 Monsters?

Oooh, scary. Sort of. Extra points if you can guess the song tacked on at the end. Link.

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

8-3-09 Why Am I Doing This Again?

An acoustic instrumental in the CSN vein. I like the changes a lot. It's pretty clear that it took several takes to get it down. link.

Monday, August 2, 2010

8-2-09 Something So Bad It's Good

This is indie-rock ready. link.

8-1-09 No More Sangria

A long alcohol soaked evening at Ben and Shari's. Sangria - yes. Bananagrams - check. Obscene telegrams - well, maybe not.
Drinky linky!

Saturday, July 31, 2010

7-31-09 If It's Real, It's Worth Keeping

I wish I knew what this song was about. I like mysteries, though - especially when they're ephemeral thoughts from my own brain. It's like looking in the mirror and seeing someone else for a split second.

7-30-09 The Burnout And The Stoner

I was playing a gig with the Toucans on this day. It was at a municipal park somewhere on the east side. There was a sound guy and another setup/crew guy who were our main contacts for the show. Both were complete hindrances to us. And they clearly hated each other, which made the gig even more fun. Oh, yeah, and it was 90 degrees out. link.

Thursday, July 29, 2010

7-29-09 Save Your Pennies

A sunny little innocent uke tune with some good advice. get it!

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

7-28-09 By The Light Of The Fan

A nice little melodic fragment on the ukulele. Plus, I like the title. I might have tried to develop it further if it hadn't been so blasted hot this time last year. link.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

7-27-09 Too Damn Hot

Another heat wave song. Extra funky. In a white-boy sort of way. Listen up!

Monday, July 26, 2010

7-26-09 Moon

If you haven't seen the movie "Moon" starring Sam Rockwell, then do yourself a favor and rent it, Netflix it, stream it, whatever the kids are doing these days. If you don't want spoilers, listen to this song after you see the movie.

Sunday, July 25, 2010

7-25-09 The Frozen Sky

This song was wishful thinking, as the sky and earth were baking hot in Seattle this time last year.

Saturday, July 24, 2010

7-24-09 The Wild Is Wild For A Reason

We just finished watching a Discovery Channel Series called "Out Of The Wild", where 9 regular city folk try to find their way out of the wilds of Alaska in winter. So this song feels timely.


Friday, July 23, 2010

7-23-09 Purring Furiously

Stevie decides that the song is done. Link.

Thursday, July 22, 2010

7-22-09 Time To Go To Bed

A late-night, last minute song. Link.

7-21-09 Oh Wild And Free

Despite the inferior recording (I think the laptop was in my lap, so as I played, the laptop moved around and the microphone made lots of noise), I really like this song. It's hard for me to make a song that isn't just a little bit ironic, but I did it with this one.


Wednesday, July 21, 2010

7-20-09 The Clock Is Ticking

Two bits of different songs jammed together in a hot mess. Say hi to your mom.


Monday, July 19, 2010

7-19-09 You Have A Good Heart

This one came out of a need to put some positive vibes out there for a specific person who needed them.

7-18-09 What's That You Said?

A simple uke tune with some nice changes. Link.

Saturday, July 17, 2010

7-17-09 Faster Than Trains

I really like the character in this song. Unreliable narrators are very liberating to write for once you figure out how they're unreliable. I think I'd been listening to a lot of Mountain Goats at the time. Link.

Friday, July 16, 2010

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

7-14-09 Diesel

Considering BP and all, this one's kind of timely.

Last year, "Awesome" performed at an event hosted by uber-talented art geniuses Sutton Beres Culler. It was meant to be a "West" workshop. It ended up being kind of a mess, but a fun one. The event was at a decommissioned gas station in Georgetown. The SBC boys have plans to turn it into a greenspace/artspace. It's an amazing project.

Right now, it's still the shell of a building. Their conversion plans have been stopped because it was discovered from underground testing that there is diesel sludge under the building. They may have uncovered a Superfund site! EPA testing commences this summer, and we'll see if it gets turned into a useful greenspace or not.

So this song was written to commemorate the event. I really like the weird harmonies.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

7-13-09 All-One

If you're curious about the crazy genius whose name is on this soap, Emmanuel Bronner, you must see this movie. It's a great movie.

The song has very little to do with Bronner, other than his "All One! Or None!" credo. In retrospect, I may have stolen some of the chord changes from David Crosby. He'll be wanting those back at some point, I'll wager.

7-12-09 Caroline and June

A song for my best friend's kids. Stevie makes an appearance. Link.

Sunday, July 11, 2010

7-11-09 Lake Serene

A really intense hike up past Bridal Veil Falls in the Mt. Baker-Snoqualmie National Forest gets you to this stunningly gorgeous and pristine glacier-fed lake called Lake Serene. This song was a document of our day. Link.

7-10-09 Ice Cream

Who doesn't love ice cream? Sarah and I just got some on the way home tonight. And although it's the right time of year for it, I can remember frigid and bleak January nights in Madison, trudging to the convenience store for Ben and Jerry's. Good times.


Friday, July 9, 2010

7-9-09 Brunching With The Devil

This one's pretty funny. I imagine that having brunch with the devil involves an endless supply of silver dollar pancakes from IHOP. With razor blades in them. Zeeba zobba zoo.


Thursday, July 8, 2010

7-8-09 Kids

Disclaimer: I actually think kids are great. I'm going to have one of my own soon. But when you work at a preschool, sometimes you just feel this way. Link.

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

7-6-09 The Chocolate Salon

Watch out. It's coming to get you.


Monday, July 5, 2010

7-5-09 It Was A Long Day

You can hear the exhaustion in my voice on this one. Link.

Sunday, July 4, 2010

7-4-09 Awkward Moments

Some angsty mandolin pop. Complete with indie-rock-style shaky vocals. Not sure what the specific awkward moment was to warrant this song, but it clearly wasn't awkward enough for me to remember. Link.

Saturday, July 3, 2010

7-3-09 Sleeping On An Air Mattress

This time last year, there was the mother of all heat waves in Seattle. The basement was a good 10 degrees cooler, so we slept on the floor on a luxurious queen air mattress. I remember going to Fred Meyer at 10:45pm to buy one of the last electric air pumps they had so we wouldn't pass out trying to inflate it. I also remember being paranoid that the cats would cozy up to us and pop it with their razor-sharp claws.

Sneezing solo by Sarah.


Friday, July 2, 2010

7-2-09 150 Flea

That's 150 flea, not fleas.

Another installment of wonderfully twisted lyrical genius courtesy of Mr. Paul Gude. It feels a bit like a sea shanty to me. As if sung by Drinky Crow from "Maakies".


Thursday, July 1, 2010

7-1-09 Rock Band

Written after playing the game Rock Band for the very first time, in which I felt completely uncoordinated. Link.

Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

6-29-09 Carry Me Over Mountains

Hmmm. Mountains on the brain. A late-night entry. Link.

Monday, June 28, 2010

6-28-09 Perilous Mountains

Back to Seattle, and a glimpse of the majestic and dangerous Cascades from 30,000 feet above. You've got ice, baby, in your soul. Link.

6-27-09 Rub The Goiter

Boy, this one's gonna be hard to explain.

Okay, so whilst visiting Milwaukee (Waukesha, to be more precise), I shared a night of bar-hopping, bowling, and 99 cent tacos with my sisters Julie and Lisa, my brother-in-law Dennis, and my niece Jenna. At one point during the bowling portion of our evening, Dennis pulled out this mangy rabbit's foot that he rubs for good luck. He's had it so long that the fur is mostly gone, and so it's a grisly sight - mostly bone and tufts of hair on a keychain. I'm not sure who said it first, but someone indicated that it wasn't so much like rubbing a rabbit's foot, so much as it was like rubbing a goiter. Of course, the expression stuck throughout the rest of the evening. (Sadly, there was no photo taken of said goiter.)

The next night, I was showing my mom how I make these little treasures on Garage Band. So I created this song at the dinner table with her sitting by. She actually helped out with some of the lyrics, and that's her laughing at the end. Link

Sunday, June 27, 2010

6-26-09 Michael Jackson

It's already been a year. Weird. Sarah and I watched "This Is It" earlier this week. I must admit to feeling nostalgic and sad. For all of the messed up stuff he did, that mofo could still sing and dance, up until the end. link.

Saturday, June 26, 2010

6-25-09 Guessing Game

My parents' piano has been through a lot. Note the chipped keys in the picture, chipped by me with a hammer when I was four or five. (Don't ask me how or why I had a hammer then.)

It hasn't seen a lot of use in recent years, but I like to plonk around on it when I'm home. (The hand in the photo actually belongs to my nephew Shane.) It's not the best sounding piano. The action is wonky, and it's only marginally in tune with itself. But the sound of it brings back lots of memories, in the same way that familiar smells do. Because of the nostalgia evoked when playing it, the stuff I play on it these days usually sounds like this.

Thursday, June 24, 2010

6-24-09 Back In My Hometown

It's funny - I don't get nostalgic for my hometown very often, but looking for a good photo of the Milwaukee skyline really made want to be there. Not to mention the fact that my family all live there.

Let's see - the first night that I was in town, I stepped in as a sub on my sister's bocce ball team. The league she's in plays on strips of grass between the parking lot of the bar that sponsors it, and the road. Accuracy is important.

anyways, here's the song. Link.

6-23-09 Day or Night?

A short little ditty about passing ships. Link.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

6-22-09 Stupid Misery

Not much to say about this one. Link.

Monday, June 21, 2010

6-21-09 Summer Songs

This one turned out really well. It's now enjoying a second life as a Railroad Tycoons song, which you can listen to here. Or you can listen to the original here.

6-20-09 Rings

I'm thinking of submitting this one to Ween for them to cover. Let's all go to the Medieval Faire together!

Oddly enough, the title came first on this. I'd just brought home a new board game that we were playing called Ringgz. It's an abstract, territorial game on par with Go, but much simpler. (For a review of this game written by someone who might actually go to one of those medieval faires, go here).

Here's the song.

Sunday, June 20, 2010

6-19-09 I Am Your Elmer's Glue

With the wild popularity of this blog, I'm a little afraid to post this song lest I be sued by the Elmer Corporation. But I laugh in the face of litigation. All for you.

The metaphors in this song get a little confused along the way, but I think you'll get the idea. Link.

6-18-09 Mega Ultra Crazy Love

This is a heavy metal anthem without all of that distracting heavy metal music to get in the way. Link.

6-17-09 I Wanna Be By Myself

Sometimes you just want to walk. Link.

6-16-09 See What Comes Back

I think this one turned out really lovely - a simple vocal melody doubled by the mandolin, and a simple theme about simplifying your life. Link.

Thursday, June 17, 2010

6-15-09 They Listen To Prog

I am the 'they' in this song. Link.

6-14-09 First Day On The Job

A silly little song with a twist at the end. Link

6-13-09 Sunshine

A pretty acoustic instrumental. Link.

Saturday, June 12, 2010

6-12-09 Wasting My Time

Ah, and now we get back to June as it actually was. Jeez, what was I so bummed out about? I can't really remember. Link

6-11-09 Free of Doubt

An upbeat break from the heaviness of the majority of the other June songs. (Again, full disclosure: this one was actually recorded later in the year as a make-up, which explains the sunny outlook in a sea of angst.) Link.

Thursday, June 10, 2010

6-10-09 Solving The Unsolvable

This will only take a minute and 6 seconds of your time. Link.

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

6-9-09 Where Is My Darkness?

A lot of angst and wistfulness this month. hmmm. Link.

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

6-8-09 Longing

An acoustic instrumental. A few clams in there, but I really like the chord changes. Weird guitar tunings always make for interesting surprises. Aptly named, too. Link.

Monday, June 7, 2010

Sunday, June 6, 2010

6-6-09 All Is Quiet

If I'd had more time, the main riff in this song would have made for a great bass line. It was one of those nights when I was writing the song late at night, which necessitates quiet parts rather than noisy bass and screaming guitars. Link.

6-5-09 Sunrise So Pretty

An ugly song about pretty things. Now with extra kazoos! Link.

Friday, June 4, 2010

6-4-09 She's Got A Brand New Bike

Sweet. Cruiser bike. It's all hers.

brand new bike (she not included)


Thursday, June 3, 2010

6-3-09 Walking A Mile In Your Shoes

Full disclosure: I had to make up some days during the year.

June was kind of a tough month. I had several days that I skipped. Usually, if I had a crazy, long day and didn't write a song, I'd do two the next day. But, in June, for some reason I really lost steam and let a few days lapse. Then it became this thing that hung over me for the rest of the year. So I think this song was actually recorded sometime in December. I can't remember who this song is about now, but it was definitely pointed at someone in particular.

I did make up all of the days that I missed.

6-2-09 Summer's In The Air

Well, at least it was this time last year. A break in the psychic clouds. Link.

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Monday, May 31, 2010

5-31-09 I Wanna Be Your Fish

Sometimes, you've just got to lay it all out on the line and say what you want to be. On this day, it was all about oceanic true love. Link.

5-30-09 I Smell Fear

An improvised ode to things that smell like fear. Almost goes off the rails in the middle. Actually, I'm fairly certain there were no rails involved with this one.

5-29-09 I'm Doing This Because I Have To

A song about trying to keep writing songs every day when you really don't feel like it. Link.

Friday, May 28, 2010

5-28-09 I'm About To Say Something Dumb

Hey, a song that doesn't feature the ukulele!

I remember this stretch of time being particularly difficult when it came to writing and recording. Sometimes you just don't feel like sitting down and making stuff. Link.

5-27-09 Control Alt Delete

Sorry, o tens of readers, for the late-nite post. Just came back from an amazing show at the Tractor - Bill Kerchen. Twangy guitarist who used to play with Commander Cody. Effortless mastery. Made me either want to become a rockabilly guitarist or give up trying to play an instrument.

Ho hum. anyways, hey! Here's a song. Link.

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

5-26-09 Will You Light A Candle

When will the ukulele songs cease? Oh well. This is a nice little lullabye about death.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

5-25-09 Falling Down Backwards

A little sloppy, but it's got a nice feel to it. Throwaway lyrics. Link.

Monday, May 24, 2010

5-24-09 Motorcycle Slapback

recorded in the living room, with traffic from 8th Ave NW providing the backdrop. Link.

Sunday, May 23, 2010

5-23-09 Finally Home

This was moving day. We've been in our place in Ballard now for one year! It's fun to listen to this song and relive the utter exhaustion I was feeling. I'm pretty sure this one was made up on the spot. Turned out pretty good, all things considered.

Saturday, May 22, 2010

5-22-09 Racing The Clock

Once I had a goat.
His name was Jim.
Once I had a goat
But I lost him.


Friday, May 21, 2010

5-21-09 Packin' It Up

We were getting ready to move into our new place in Ballard. Which is why a lot of the songs during this time period were hastily composed and played on the one instrument that hadn't been packed up, the uke. Link.

Thursday, May 20, 2010

5-20-09 When You Sneeze

short but sneezy. I recorded the uke part first. I stuck with the first take, ending in a cathartic sneeze by my wife. The rest of the song pretty much writes itself. Link.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

5-19-09 Hit & Run

On this day, we came out of our rehearsal space in Frelard to see another dude checking out the damage that his Smart Car had incurred from a hit and run driver. I'd never seen a Smart Car get smashed before.

I'm not sure where the part about the fish fry came from, though. Perch is better than cod, though.


Tuesday, May 18, 2010

5-18-09 Under Your Umbrella

I think this might be the only ukulele song I've written where I don't play chords, just individual notes. I like the minimal nature of the uke and vocal harmonies. I believe the 11th Avenue in question was in Capitol Hill. And it was probably raining that day. Link.

Monday, May 17, 2010

5-17-09 The Girl and Beatrice

A children's story of sorts, set to music. mostly improvised. Link.

Sunday, May 16, 2010

5-16-09 Woodchipper

This one makes me happy. I don't know why.

And by the way, kids, this song can also serve as a PSA: put your wood in the chipper. Nothing else. Got it? Or do you need to be Scared Straight?

Saturday, May 15, 2010

5-15-09 Do You Want to Sit In My Lap

Yeah, that's right. I rhymed 'pleasing' with 'malfeasing'. You got a problem with that? Link.

Friday, May 14, 2010

5-14-09 I Want To Make A Difference

An honest desire. One year later, and I'm still not sure. Link.

Thursday, May 13, 2010

5-13-09 Your First Memory

It's hard for me to pin down what my earliest memory is. A few that come to mind:

1. chipping the ends of the keys off of my parents' piano with a hammer
2. sitting in front of the massive space heater in my sisters' room
3. being sneak attacked by a neighborhood dog, and my grandpa defending me.
4. my mom singing 'Going Bye Bye On a Choo Choo'.

anyone else have a specific earliest memory?


Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

5-11-09 Wobbling Towards Infinity

The lyrics are throwaway, but I really like the chords on this one. Link.

Monday, May 10, 2010

5-10-09 Freaky Freaky Freaky

ummm. I've got nothing here. Not sure where this one came from. Link.

5-9-09 Garage Sale

Yes, we were having a garage sale, because we were getting ready to move. No, it wasn't fun. Stop asking. Link.

Sunday, May 9, 2010

5-8-09 Funny Medicine

Almost caught up!

This one's kind of icky, but also pretty funny. I think I'd been having some trouble sleeping, and had just gotten a prescription for Ambien. Don't do drugs, kids. Link.

Alright, I just listened to it again, and it's actually pretty damn clever.

Saturday, May 8, 2010

5-7-09 The Boring Leading The Bored

Kind of a throwaway song, but I like the film noir-esque bridge. Link.

5-6-09 Let's Paint

We'd just watched a disturbing documentary called My Kid Could Paint That, about a four year old in New York whose art ends up becoming wildly popular on the gallery circuit. I like the jump blues feel of this song. Link.

5-5-09 Little Mistakes

A straight-ahead alt-pop tune. Link.

Friday, May 7, 2010

5-4-09 Train Song

Aha. Now we come upon a piece that actually made it into West. The closest thing the show would have to real train sounds. Link.

5-3-09 Riding On A Bicycle

I can't place the vague accent of the narrator of this song, but I do know that I want to punch him in the mouth every time I hear him sing. Smug bastard. Still, it's a catchy tune. Tragically catchy.

5-2-09 Bblorted? Blorted B!

Okay, this one is so intentionally annoying it's almost funny. Almost. This was another Bananagrams-inspired song. When we get sick of playing it the regular way, we like to take a bunch of letters and make up new words. The fun is in defining the word. On this particular night, the word was Bblorted. The song quickly turned into a jingle for a product called Blorted B. "If you're feeling bblorted, why not try new Blorted B?" Of course, those lyrics aren't actually in the song. Wow, such a long explanation for such a ridiculous song. Link!

5-1-09 Don't Give Peanuts Away

I had calypso on the brain whilst writing this. I blame The Toucans. This song was completely improvised. Amazing!

Hey! Where did I go?

Sorry, o tens of readers, if you were worried. I took a little vacation to do a show in Calgary, and I'm now finally getting caught back up. I didn't take a vacation from writing songs every day last year, however, so get prepared for a blast of songs. Don't worry, I'll be gentle.

Saturday, May 1, 2010

4-30-09 May 10th, 1869

A little railroad history factoid for you. Link.

Thursday, April 29, 2010

4-29-09 Swine Flu

Hey, remember when we were all worried about this? Yeah, those were good times. This song is pretty much all garageband loops, but I dig the urgency. Link.

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

4-28-09 There's A Light On

This one's a rough gem. It's rare for me to be successful creating a song with a narrative, but I think this one's got a good start.

4-27-09 Every Day

A nice minor ukuklele song. It touches obliquely on the crumbling world around us, and how to cope with it. Link.

Monday, April 26, 2010

Fort Lewis, No, Fort Lewis

On southbound I-5, there's a road sign that signals the oncoming towns of Fort Lewis and North Fort Lewis. But the sign reads:
Ft. Lewis. No. Ft. Lewis. As if the sign had been asked a question, and it answered in the negative. "No, Ft. Lewis, you idiot." Sarah and I always found that sign hilarious. Not as hilarious as this sign, though:

But that's not the song I wrote. Link.

4-25-09 Staying In The Habit

Can you hear the strep in my throat? Link.

4-24-09 I Walk The Walk

Another song with lyrics by the inimitable Paul Gude. Prison doo-wop. Link.

Friday, April 23, 2010

4-23-09 Remember What's Important To You

Lastly, this thing. Kind of a garageband mess. Link.

4-22-09 Baby I Ain't Tryin' To Be Unkind

Next, we have a mostly improvised but fun 12-bar blues. I recorded the guitar part first as a way for one of my student to improvise some blues licks over it, and then something happened. Link.

4-21-09 Grapefruit Watermelon Cucumber

Sorry, o tens of readers. I have fallen behind. The show I've referenced in several past songs, West, just opened last night, so I've been a bit crazed. So today, you get a triple dose of songs!

First, we have a frivolous, food-based word play song. Link

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

4-20-09 There's Nothing Else But You

A nice little song for my wife. Link.

4-19-09 Breaking Glass

I was having a bad day. Running late for a guitar lesson. Couldn't find my wallet. Found it in a really obvious place that I'd searched three previous times. Got really mad. Threw my wallet across the room. It crashed through the glass of our screen door. Made me even later. Good times.

The song turned out really well, actually. From adversity springs creativity.

Monday, April 19, 2010

4-18-09 Desperate

Sarah was really into the show Desperate Housewives at this point. I couldn't stand it. I think what bothered me most was the theme music. So, as therapy, I wrote my own take on the theme. Link.

Sunday, April 18, 2010

4-17-09 Bamboo Heart

One of the really great things about living in our house in Lake City was the greenery surrounding the house. Although it tended to go wild and get overgrown, it made for a nice little escape from the urban hell that is Lake City Way. This song is an ode to our shrubbery.

Friday, April 16, 2010

4-16-09 Grandma's Dinner Table

I asked Sarah for a title, and this was what she came up with. My first inclination was to make a country song (maybe I was subconsciously thinking of this song. Once that inclination passed, I ended up writing one of the more poignant pieces that I've done in recent memory. And it's totally made up, which is even stranger. Link.

4-15-09 Mr. Destructo

About two years ago, I borrowed my friend Paul Gude's video camera. He lent it to me with a caveat - I had to record an album of his songs. He made it very low-pressure as far as the end result of the songs. "You can just beat on a bucket if you like" was an exact quote by Paul of the liberties I could take in the endeavor. He sent me lyrics and sound files to about 12 different songs.

By the end of 2008, I'd completed exactly one song. Every time I saw him, he was all, like, "Hey, how's my album coming?" And I'd be all, like, "Mumble mumble yeah I'm... uh..."

At some point, I decided that the Song a Day project was the perfect opportunity to complete the album. So during the course of the year, I revisited all of the lyrics and wrote new music for them. So Mr. Destructo is the first in a series of collaborations in order to fulfill my contractual obligation. It was great writing songs for these lyrics - Paul is a mad genius. Check out his stuff here.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

4-14-09 Tuck Yourself In

...And dream of sleep. Link.

4-13-09 My Citron Heart

I have no idea what this one is about, frankly. Link.

Monday, April 12, 2010

4-12-09 Jared's Rhapsody

This one's cheating, but I'm still going to count it.

We had gone on to visit my aunt and uncle in Los Altos in our California vacation. My cousin Sid's son Jared, who was nine, was learning guitar and fascinated with Garage Band. So, with my help, he created this piece. He picked out the samples, and played the tasty guitar lick. Link!

4-11-09 Ember's Glop

A field recording of Aaron & Bronwyn's daughter enjoying her breakfast (and making a game out of dropping her cup). Accompanied by some instrumental uke 'n' hang. Link.

4-10-09 Land's End

Recorded at Aaron and Bronwyn's after having watched a blustery sunset at Lincoln Park (Land's End). The instrument in the song is the hang, a metallic flying saucer-looking thing that makes the sweetest, purest tones. Link.

Sunday, April 11, 2010

4-9-09 Hanging In The Air

Another song recorded in San Francisco, using some interesting instruments belonging to my friend Aaron. Link

Thursday, April 8, 2010

4-8-09 Parallel Canals

Sarah and I were visiting some dear friends in San Francisco one year ago this week. We stayed in their gorgeous, rented open-plan house. They have a two year old daughter who was sleeping in their room, and we were staying in a loft above the bedroom. So it was quite difficult to work on songs late at night. Thus, this song is barely audible. oh well. Link.

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

4-7-09 We Came Out West

Yet another West song that will not appear in West. Link.

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

4-6-09 A Sunny Day

Another favorite from the year. Link.

Monday, April 5, 2010

4-5-09 Hey You! Yes You! Why Don't You Go To Hell?

...And now we move on from bitterness to just plain old aggressive anger. Link.

Sunday, April 4, 2010

4-4-09 My Way Of Saying Thanks

If yesterday's song was confusion and denial, today's is genuine sadness with a healthy dose of bitterness creeping in. It also happens to be the only song from last year composed on the tenor basses, the steel drums that I learned how to play last year. (I played with Rob's steel drum band The Toucans last summer.)

It's a nice contrast hearing the normally insanely cheery steel drums playing on such a dour tune.

Saturday, April 3, 2010

4-3-09 In Disarray

This one haunts me a little bit. It was a very bad day, the events of which I won't recount here. Suffice it to say that I felt pretty broken at the time. Link.

Friday, April 2, 2010

4-2-09 Recession In Heaven

This was the song I ended up using for the event I was talking about yesterday. A little pitchy, but it's got heart. And yay! It's still topical. Link.

Thursday, April 1, 2010

4-1-09 They Arrived At The Gates Of Heaven

My friend Jen was having a party to celebrate the completion of a manuscript she wrote. The title of it was "Uneasy Heavens Await Those Fleeing", and she asked a bunch of her artist friends to create pieces inspired by that title. This was my first attempt at such a piece.

Wednesday, March 31, 2010

3-31-09 I'm Relying On Your Hands

Short, but potentially club-ready. You know, if it wasn't all a cappella. Link.

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

3-30-09 Lazy Eye

This is a fun one. It's recently been expanded and turned into a more fleshed-out song with a new trio I'm playing with, Railroad Tycoons.