Friday, April 30, 2021

Still Has That New Song Smell

I wrote another song. Here is version #1 of it. I expect I'll re-record pretty much everything in it, and the lyrics may be subject to change as well. Basically, this song is so fresh that it might not even be ripe yet. 

I've said before that if I'm ever going to have a greatest hits album, then I'm going to need more songs with parentheses in the title. If staying up until three in the morning has ever taught me anything, it's that greatest hits albums are loaded with parentheses. To that end, here's another one for my own collection. Check back tomorrow and it may sound totally different. This is how it goes. I'm just letting you in on the process. 

Thanks for listening.

Fresh Cooking

Yesterday, I wrote a bassline and then a guitar part to go with it (which is backwards of how I usually work). Today, I wrote some lyrics. Tomorrow, I'll see if I still like what I wrote. 

That is to say that I might have another new song pretty soon. I'll keep you posted...

Weekenders

Happy Friday.

The first song that I would like to share with you today comes from my latest album, Embers (2021). Welcome Back, Jack Kerouac is basically about the role of improvisation and experimentation in art. (Also, I teach college-level English and Film Studies, so there's a little bit of textual analysis thrown in there, just for fun.) The chorus goes like this:

    Welcome Back, Jack Kerouac
    Where have you been? 
    Were you on the road again?
    Say hello to Carlo, Moriarty and Old Bull Lee
    We're still looking for the beat

In Keruoac's 1957 book, On the Road, Carlo, Moriarty and Old Bull Lee were the stand-ins for Allen Ginsberg, Neal Cassady and William S. Burroughs, respectively, all of whom were key figures in the Beat movement. In my song, I also reference the narrator, who is essentially Kerouac himself. In the book, he goes by the name is Sal Paradise. 

    All looking for something nice
    In Paradise...

The other song for today is one of my yet unreleased tracks, all of which are works-in-progress. The Regular is pretty self-explanatory. It's about that guy at the end of the bar. You know the one. 


So basically, one of today's songs is about a drunk who wrote a severely overrated book. The other is about the same guy, minus the literary career. Yeah, that pretty well sums it up. 

Enjoy the music. If you like what I'm doing, please follow me wherever you listen and share my songs with others who might appreciate them, too. Thank you for supporting independent art. 

Thursday, April 29, 2021

Sad Songs to Make You Feel Better

Hello listeners, fans and people who randomly stumbled upon this site. Welcome to my music blog, where I like to share songs that I'm working on or that I've already written, and then I talk about them a little bit.  

The first song that I would like to share with you today is one of my yet unreleased tracks, to be included on my forthcoming album, which presently remains untitled. I wrote this song a few weeks ago

Haunted is about the memories left behind when a person is gone. My dad died unexpectedly last year. This song is basically about that -- but for anyone who is experiencing any kind of irreversible personal loss, I hope that maybe you can get something out of this song, too. 


The other song that I would like to share comes from my 2021 album, Embers. This one is about depression. It's called Quicksand. Again, if you or someone you know happens to need it, then I hope you get something out of this song. At the very least, it's got a cool groove, delivered to you by way of my baritone guitar.


Thanks for listening to and sharing my music. Original Miles has now been streamed over 22,000 times! For the sake of perspective, that is about seventy times more people than which currently live in the town where I grew up. No joke. That amazes me. If you like what I'm doing, please spread the word. I can't do what I do without your help.

Sometimes life sucks, but things do get better. Whatever it is that you're going through, I want you to get through it, and if you happen to need it, then I hope that my music helps.

As a bonus track, for those of you who may be feeling a bit stir crazy after more than a year of quarantine, here is another unreleased song that I recently wrote called Holiday. This song is me saying, yeah, I can totally relate. 


Enjoy. Share. Have a great summer. Stay cool always.

Tuesday, April 27, 2021

Plasticity

I did some more mixing and mastering on Plastic Flowers. I think I might be happy with it for now, even though I'm sure I'll revisit it when it comes time to put another album together. I suspect that this will happen sooner rather than later, if the first four songs are any indication.

You can hear the latest version of it here:


This song is about re-imagining the American Dream to adapt to a changing cultural context, which is one of the things that makes it so resilient. 

I've got another big project that I'm working on right now, which is not music-related. Once I'm done with that, I've got a few other songs that I'm developing but have not yet cracked. As always, faithful listeners, I will keep you posted. 

Thank you for listening and for supporting independent art. If you like what I'm doing, please share it. That's why I wrote it. (Music is meant to be shared.) 

Monday, April 26, 2021

The Odometer Keeps Turning (updated repost)

My song Original Miles has now surpassed 21,000 streams on Spotify since I released Embers back in January. This amazes me. Thank you to everyone who listens to and shares my music. I couldn't have done it without you. 




You can check out demo versions of some of the newer stuff that I am working on below, or you can stream any of the fifty-four tracks from the five self-produced solo albums that I've released over the past four years wherever you listen to music. 

If you like what I'm doing, please add my songs to your playlists and share them with someone else who might like my music. This is how it spreads. You might also consider purchasing my songs and albums, too. The more revenue that I can generate over the next couple of months, the better sounding my next album is likely to be, as this might allow me to invest in some necessary equipment upgrades

This is just the nature of DIY musicianship; I do the best I can with what I've got. The whole process is a work-in-progress.

Thank you for listening and for supporting independent art. 

Sunday, April 25, 2021

Evolution in Real-Time

I am what you might call a compulsive editor. I tend to keep going back to something until I've done it one too many times, which is when I go back to the version right before that. This is how I know when it's time to walk away from a project and move onto the next. You do something enough times, you develop a system. 


If you revisit this blog, you might even notice that I do the same thing here. I'm not really a perfectionist, per se, because I don't believe in perfect -- at least not within my limited means and capabilities. I am human, after all. That said, I do like to make things as good as they can possibly be. This is the motivation behind my compulsion. 

I spent several hours this evening re-recording the vocal tracks on Plastic Flowers. It's one of my new tracks, yet to find home on an album that I didn't even know that I was writing until recently. This song is about how the American Dream changes shape over time, always adapting in the public imagination to fit the cultural context. 

Incidentally, I wrote a book about it, too, if you like nuance. That clocks in at about 80,000 words, whereas the song is about 250, plus it rhymes in certain places. Also, the book contains zero guitar solos -- but for an adapted dissertation, it is a pretty painless read. 

Original Miles has now surpassed 20,000 streams on Spotify. That is officially a waterfall. Thank you for listening and for sharing my songs. You are the amplifier.


Thinking Inside a Box of My Own Creation

In 2017, I released three albums at the same time, which I basically wrote and produced one after the other. For my next solo album, released in 2019, I wanted to apply the lessons learned from those first three albums. The result was Better Days, my fourth eponymous experiment in DIY musicianship. 


I wanted to give Better Days a more cohesive sound than my previous albums, so I gave myself strict parameters to work within. It was kind of like a Dogme 95 thing, for all of you fellow film geeks out there. The rules that I set for myself were: every track is either my voice, one particular guitar that I own, or a drum track. Further, every song is in 4/4 time, and there are no lead parts. I also used the same vocal settings throughout. Even the basslines are all that same guitar, but played through an octave pedal. 

For the most part, I'm pretty happy with the result. As is the nature of experiments, however, there are a couple of tracks that maybe aren't quite what I might have liked them to be. Then again, if experiments always succeeded, then they would not be experiments. This is how we learn

I hope you dig what I'm doing. If so, tell your friends. Thanks for listening.

Saturday, April 24, 2021

Fluidity

I've spent much of the day working on Plastic Flowers, which is one of my songs that is yet unreleased and only available here. These are all works-in-progress.  

In fact, I recorded five new takes of the vocal tracks today and then cut together what I thought were the best parts of each section of the song into one track. The rest are hanging out in the background for now. My original version was a bit loose on the beat, and the melody kind of wandered off in the second verse. Now it's at least slightly better. I'm sure that I'll keep working on it, but you can stream the latest version of it below.

I also removed eight measures from the otherwise gratuitous guitar solo, as I felt that it needed to end before it officially entered wanker territory. I think that I got it just in time.

Every generation redefines the American Dream to adapt to a changing cultural context. This song is essentially a chronicle of this happening in real-time from the point-of-view of an educated inside observer. Before plastic became synonymous with waste, the word simply meant "capable of change." Did I mention that I also teach?

    These plastic flowers have magic powers

The birds are talking like it's going to rain. I'm going to go play piano for a little while. Enjoy the music. Enjoy your weekend. Live the life that you want to live, as long as it doesn't infringe upon anybody else's right to do the same. 


Thank you for listening and for checking out my blog. 


Friday, April 23, 2021

Tributaries (updated-updated repost)

My song Original Miles has been streamed on Spotify over 19,000 times now (that's why I keep updating this post). Let me just say holy shit for both of us. That many streams and I think that you can safely call it a river. Thank you to everyone who listens to and shares my music. This is how it spreads, and it all started with you. (In this context, that's a good thing.)




I've said it before, but you're the real rock stars; I'm just a guy who plays music. I am truly honored and humbled by your continued support. It feels great to know that people around the world are listening to my songs. That's why I wrote them.

Black Ribbon Day, also from Embers (2021), has been streamed a few thousand times now and continues to find its way onto playlists as well.

...........................................

If you're new around here, welcome to what I do. If you like my songs, please share them with your friends, add them to your playlists and follow me wherever you listen. I value and appreciate your help in getting my music out there. You are the amplifier. 

I always like to thank my listeners and fans for supporting independent art, too. That said, I feel compelled to note that only the creation, production and distribution of my music are independent; getting people to actually play it requires the dedication and support of listeners like you, especially since personally, I rather loathe social media. I'd much rather be creating than consuming. So if you like what I'm doing, please tell your friends and acquaintances to check it out, too. I don't even mind if your enemies listen to my music, unless they are in fact complete assholes. I don't need them, and neither do you.

...........................................

If you want to hear more of my music but you're not sure where to start, here are my top twenty (of fifty-four total) tracks on Spotify in terms of all-time streams. In parentheses after each, I also included a brief description, which is basically how I might introduce these songs to a live audience. I vaguely remember live audiences.

1.  Original Miles (accepting people despite our faults)
2.  Black Ribbon Day (a peaceful revolution in the USSR)
3.  Be Civilized (we're all in this together, so be cool)
4.  Panic Attack (coming together to promote positive change)
5.  Now or Forever? (our common humanity supercedes all that divides us)
6.  Life Preserver (always wanting to save the people you love)
7.  Modern Inconveniences (the distorting distractions that come between us)
8.  Entropy (progress as a force for positive change)
9.  Antidote (forgiveness as a remedy for hate)
10. Don't Forget Who You Are (old friends are always with us)
11. Make Some Noise! (Summer of '99) (power chords, basements and rocking out)
12. Particle (contextualizing our place in a very big universe)
13. The Fool (a bitter breakup song, part of every musician's repertoire)
14. Gravel Roads (road trips and the unexpected places life takes us) 
15. Gravity (the consequences of bad governance)
16. Screen Memories (remembering things as better than they actually were)
17. Baby Blue (a story of love and sorrow)
18. Turn the Page (people and places change)
19. Wake Up! (the need for critical thinking and civic engagement)
20. Life/Time (sometimes things only make sense in retrospect)

If you use a different streaming service, you should be able to find these songs there, too. 

...........................................

You can also hear early versions of my newest stuff at my ReverbNation page, including the four songs that I've written over the past couple of weeks (Plastic Flowers, Holiday, Haunted and The Regular), which are currently only available here. As I continue to develop songs for my next album, part of my process involves uploading the most recent versions of them, mostly so that I can listen to them on different devices to figure out if the mixing is decent.

Thank you for listening and for checking out my blog. Come back often, as I update it almost daily, sometimes more. I've also got a few more songs that are currently in the works. I'll let you know when I crack them. 

Thursday, April 22, 2021

I Have Come From the Future to Rock

Where I come from, it is already May. 

I joke. However, the two songs that I would like to share with you today could certainly be described as eerily prescient. I wrote them both before the pandemic, but the lyrics might seem to suggest otherwise. 

The first is called Do or Die? It comes from my 2019 album Better Days. It is about recognizing how the choices we make can affect people other than ourselves. Sound familiar?

The other song is called The Flat Earth, from my 2017 album Good Night, Fahrenheit. It is about the sad but often short-lived triumph of ignorance. I don't think I need to explain that one, either.

Enjoy. Share. Thanks for listening. 


Wednesday, April 21, 2021

Exclusive Tracks

These are the four songs that I've written over the past couple of weeks and which have yet to be available anywhere but here. All works-in-progress, you can always hear the newest versions of them at these links:





At some point, these songs will all find home on an album, but it's too soon to say when. Thanks for listening, and for supporting independent art. 

* I uploaded a new version of this one today.

Tuesday, April 20, 2021

A Thousand to One

It's actually one to a thousand, but that didn't sound as good.

Today's songs that I would like to share with you both come from earlier albums. They also both happen to be sitting quietly at exactly 999 listeners on Spotify. No joke. I think that at a thousand, they start getting added to automatically-generated playlists. 

Either way, I'd like to see them cross that threshold, if only because these are about the only metrics that I see, and I sometimes obsess a little over these kinds of things.

Plus they're both good songs that I play fairly often. My neighbors can attest to this. 

The first is called Don't Forget Who You Are, which comes from my 2017 album Good Night, Fahrenheit. It's basically about how old friends are always with us, because they helped shape the people that we are today. It's also about the things we wish we could say when it's too late to say anything: the conversation that could have been.

    Share your mind, share your heart
    And let yourself be free
    Because only you know who you are
    And all the possibilities...

Here's a video that I shot of me playing it completely unplugged in my sunroom a few years ago, not long after I wrote it:


The second track comes from my 2019 album Better Days. The cover art features the back of my son's head in the Chicago Art Museum. I said at the time that this image was an album cover waiting to be, but it took several years to get there. I wasn't even writing music at the time.

Make Some Noise! (Summer of '99) is about power chords and one summer in particular when I played a lot of music. This song is more or less what it sounded like in my head while my ears were ringing in the sweet cacophony of those smoky basements full of feedback and drum fills. Good times.

I worked in a bar that summer. There was a piano upstairs that was essentially used as a prop. Somebody had screwed the cover on the keys shut. One time when I had a break between shifts, I took the screws out and played the damn thing in what amounted to an extended set for no one. I also played a lot of chess against myself that summer, largely because I was allergic to a long-haired cat that belonged to one of my roommates. This song is not about any of that.

    Sitting alone in my tiny room
    I know it's better to create than consume
    I changed my habits and I changed my strings
    And I taught myself to play a few things
    By Kurt Cobain and Eddie Vedder
    And eventually, I started getting better... 

As I've mentioned before, this is one of two songs that I have written with an exclamation point in the title and one of two songs with a parenthetical thrown in there. It is the only song that I have ever written that contains both. It's even got an apostrophe. (Did I mention that I also teach English to college students?) 

Thanks for listening to my music. If you like it, please share it with others who might, too. As always, thank you for supporting independent art. 


Monday, April 19, 2021

Horticulture

I'm still working on Plastic Flowers, to be added to my (yet untitled) forthcoming album. I've been polishing the lyrics and playing around with the mixing. I'll probably re-record the vocal tracks this evening. As I produce and upload new versions of this song, you can hear my progress at the embedded link above or by clicking on the one in yesterday's post. This is all part of my process

Last week, I was talking to my spouse and mentioned the hypothetical challenge of trying to work the word "kakistocracy" into a song. Now that I've got Plastic Flowers pretty well figured out and have recorded at least an initial version of it, I'm happy to report that I managed to fit this word in there without it being too clumsy. See if you can find it.

    These plastic flowers have magic powers

Thanks for listening, and for supporting independent art. If you like what I'm doing, please spread the word. As a one-man band, I do what I can, but I truly need your help in reaching a broader audience. 

Sunday, April 18, 2021

This Just In

Here is version number one of the song that I've been working on for the past few days:


I will update the song on ReverbNation as I continue to work on it, but this is what I've got so far. For now, this song is only available here. I hope you like it. Here are the lyrics:

I used to think 
That I could be anything
Go to college
Earn some knowledge
And a four-year degree

I can’t believe
Never thought I’d ever be
Waking up from 
        The American Dream
But all I see 
Is inequality
And who are we
If we can’t come together?

Go to work
For a circle jerk
Spewing buzz words void of meaning
These funerals in cubicles
And every meaningless meeting
While the profiteers
Have engineered
Your clockwork existence
From their ivory towers
The wealth and power
Entitled by their inheritance

I can’t believe
Never thought I’d ever be
Waking up from 
        The American Dream
But all I see 
Is kakistocracy
And who are we
If we can’t come together?

Planting plastic flowers in the yard
They never grow
No matter how hard 
I try to give them life
At least they never die
I think it’s strange
They never change
Or grow, you know
These plastic flowers
Have magic powers
They don’t get cold
Never grow old
Or any other direction
Or do much of anything
Worth a mention
These plastic flowers
Aren’t even ours

I can’t believe
Never thought I’d ever be
Waking up from 
        The American Dream
But all I see 
Is your complacency
And who are we
If we can’t come together?

[instrumental break]

I can’t believe
Never thought I’d ever be
Waking up from 
        The American Dream
But all I see 
Is our humanity
And who are we
If we can’t come together? 

The title for this one is two words that are seven letters each. I used to play a lot of Scrabble. I wonder if that has anything to do with my titling of these songs lately. 

Thanks for listening. 

Saturday, April 17, 2021

Recently Hatched

I cracked that song that I've been working on. It's still a work-in-progress, but it's coming together. 

More to come... 

Friday, April 16, 2021

It's a Process

I've been working on another song. I still haven't cracked this one yet, but it's fun to play. That's usually a good place to start. 

It occurred to me that the last two songs that I recorded didn't have any electric guitar in them at all. I tend to think of that as my main instrument. 

With any luck, I'll have a new song to post before too long. If I can't crack this one just yet, I've got some other songs that I can work on. 

I've been playing electric guitar and/or laying out drum tracks for most of the day.

Stay tuned for more.


Thursday, April 15, 2021

Songs in the Key of I Guess I'm Writing Another Album

Today's tracks that I would like to share with you come from a very exclusive category. These are songs with seven letter titles that start with H and which I wrote this week. They are also presently unavailable anywhere other than here and shall be added to my forthcoming album, which I'm just as surprised about as you. 

See? I told you it was an exclusive category. 

The first is called Holiday. It's about going stir crazy, something I think a lot of us can probably relate to after more than a year of quarantine.  


The second is called Haunted. It's about the memories left behind when a person is gone. 


As a bonus track, here's another unreleased song called The Regular. It doesn't start with H, but the second word has seven letters.  


Enjoy. Share. Thank you for supporting independent art. 

Versionity

I re-recorded the vocal track on that song that I wrote a couple of days ago. I also made a minor edit to one of the lyrics. You can listen to the newest version here:


I'll probably keep working on it, but you can always listen to the most up-to-date version at the link above. That's part of the reason that I use ReverbNation: I can upload different versions of the same song without having to re-enter all of the other information. It's a bit of a timesaver. Then once a song is online, I can listen to it on different devices, which is part of my process when it comes to mixing and mastering. Basically, if I can get it to sound good on the worst speaker I've got, then I might be done with it. 

Enjoy. Thanks for listening and for visiting my site. 

Wednesday, April 14, 2021

Another New Song

Earlier today, I wrote a blog post about those rare and magical occasions when I am able to a write song extraordinarily quickly. I should note that this is the exception and not the norm. I think that I was trying to psych myself up to work on a song today, thinking that if I did this, then maybe I could wrap it up in fifteen minutes. 

I ended up spending about ten and a half hours on it. I hope you like it. 


I uploaded version number one to my ReverbNation page a few minutes ago. Bear in mind that this may very well be subject to change, as I might re-record tracks and/or rewrite lyrics in the next few days. Right now, I'm too close to it to be objective, but I wanted you to know what a song sounds like in its infancy. At the very least, I hope that it sounds better than a baby human. 

Here are the lyrics in their present form:

The window pane is a picture frame
A still life in motion
Every day you say is like the rain
Filling up the ocean
It's all the same, but I can't complain
Don't want to cause a commotion
But I need a change to some other place before I go insane
Because I'm breaking down like erosion

Let's take a holiday
Pack your bags, we'll leave today
Don't know how long we'll stay
But I've got to get away, got to get away, get away
Got to get away, got to get away, get away now!

Step out the door, seen it all before
Today looks like yesterday
It comes back to me so suddenly
Like a bullet ricochet
The cold concrete beneath my feet
Is bringing me down
When the starless sky comes out at night
I need to get out of this town

Let's take a holiday
Pack your bags, we'll leave today
Don't know how long we'll stay
But I've got to get away, got to get away, get away
Got to get away, got to get away, get away now!

Restless again at two am
Trying to dream
Myself away to another place
Where everything is as it seems
All you see is make believe 
Whatever makes you feel
Something other than the sadness
But that's just part of the deal

Let's take a holiday
Pack your bags, we'll leave today
Don't know how long we'll stay
But I've got to get away, got to get away, get away
Got to get away, got to get away, get away now!

I came up with the piano part yesterday, and then I wrote the lyrics and recorded it all today. You really can't get much fresher than this. This is independent art, delivered to you directly by the artist. Enjoy. Share. Make love. Make art. Fuck war.  

Cracking a Song

I'm in the midst of trying to crack a song. That's what I call it when I've got the basics of the music figured out (that is, I know the verse part and chorus part), but I haven't yet figured out what the song is about. Sometimes I can spend days or even weeks on this stage, while other times it comes to me almost immediately, as if materializing from out of nowhere

The two songs that I would like to share with you today come from that magical and elusive second category. Basically, once I had the music parts to these songs figured out, the lyrics to both of them came together extraordinarily quickly. In fact, between the two (even though these songs were written several years apart), I would be surprised if I even invested a half an hour total in writing them. That's just how it is sometimes.

The first of today's selections comes from my newest album, Embers (2021). It's called Welcome Back, Jack Kerouac, and in the spirit of the song's subject matter, I wrote the lyrics in a stream-of-consciousness. As a teacher, ordinarily, I would say that first drafts are for the writer and not the audience, but this one came out fully formed in one go. For what it is, that kind of makes sense. This song is fundamentally about the role of improvisation and experimentation in art. 
    
    Beatific, nonspecific, prolific on a road trip
    In search of the great American verse
    The curse of ninety thousand words, all unrehearsed

The other song that I would like to share with you today is one that I wrote in about fifteen minutes in the sunroom of our old house. I was looking out the windows at the bright blue sky, where the razor blade scars of contrails had cut through the air in various directions. 

Thoughout my adult life, I've moved around a lot, including two stints of graduate school. Most all of the friends that I met during this time were just passing through, which is how I always saw myself as well. This song is about how important those friendships are, even though they tend to be finite in nature before one or both parties inevitably moves on to other things. That's more or less what Contrails is about. It comes from my 2017 album Weather Patterns.

    Cutting through the summer sky
    I am always by your side
    Don't know where we started or where this ends
    I will always be your friend

Thanks for listening. Check back often, as I post things to this page almost daily. With any luck, I might have another song in the works. It just depends how long it takes me to crack it, but I think I'm getting there, as a few words and phrases have already begun to emerge.

Enjoy. Share. Add my music to your playlists. Thank you for supporting independent art. 

Tuesday, April 13, 2021

Spare Parts

I spent a good portion of the day taking inventory of some of the various song parts that I've come up with but haven't yet done anything with. Basically, I wanted to see if I've got another album worth of songs in me at the moment, or if I should just be patient.

I'm still figuring out the answer, but I like the stuff that I've been working on lately, so we'll see where it takes me.  

Today's tracks that I would like to share are both unavailable anywhere else. Talk about exclusive. You probably didn't even know you were that cool. 

The first one is the song that I wrote a couple of days ago and then recorded yesterday -- which means that it went from my head to your ears in less than twenty-four hours. That's something you don't usually get with mainstream artists. Just saying. 

The song is called Haunted. You can read more about it in yesterday's post. I worked out a guitar arrangement of it today while I was taking inventory of some of the other riffs and chord progressions in my rehearsal repertoire

The other track that I would like to share is the bar song that I wrote a few weeks ago. It's called The Regular. It's about That Guy. You know the one. If you don't, then it might be you. That's ok, too. 

Thanks for listening, with a very special super-mega thank you extreme to all of you who have been sharing my songs and adding them to your playlists. Original Miles has really taken off on Spotify in recent weeks, and it's all thanks to listeners like you. So I guess that makes me like NPR, but without the tote bags. I'm fine with that. 


Enjoy. Share. Please support public radio, independent art and the common good. 

Monday, April 12, 2021

Ghost Song

Here is the song that I wrote yesterday. I recorded a preliminary version of it today, which I posted to my ReverbNation page. Click on the embedded link below to play it:


This song is basically about the memories left behind when a person is gone. I hope you like it, and that it might help to heal you if you happen to need it. Two thousand twenty was a shitty year for a lot of us. 

Here are the lyrics:

Light a candle in your name
Things will never be the same
Without you here, you know I fear
That we'll never meet again
I hope you're well, still yourself
I hope you found another life
Your energy is still with me
But it might never burn so bright

Is it everything you wanted?
Is it everything you hoped it would be?
Because this old house is feeling haunted
By the ghosts of memory

The picture frames on the wall
Tell the story of it all
Another time, I don't know why
But we never said goodbye
Where did you go? Are you all alone?
You know I think of you sometimes
On my mind, I don't know why
But I can't call you on the phone

Is it everything you wanted?
Is it everything you hoped it would be?
Because this old house is feeling haunted
By the ghosts of memory

I see your face in the stars
In the passengers of passing cars
Another lane, some other day
When you might not seem so far
Away from me for eternity
You know, it's just so hard to take
I hope you're well, still yourself
Wearing somebody else's face

I hope it's everything you wanted
I hope it's everything you hoped it would be
I'm still haunted by your memory
I think maybe I always will be


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It looks like I might be working on another album after all. 

Thanks for listening. 


Sunday, April 11, 2021

Friday, April 9, 2021

Fun Songs to Play

Happy Friday. Today's songs that I would like to share with you are among my favorite to perform live. Even though all three of these tracks are taken from my previous albums, they almost always find their way into my setlists, even if I'm just performing in an empty room of my house (as you can see in the videos embedded below).

The first song that I would like to share with you today is called Particle. It is the opening track on my 2017 album, Weather Patterns, and it is essentially about contextualizing our place in a very big universe. The chorus goes like this:

    When I look up at the stars
    So far away
    God, I feel so small
    Who am I, anyway?
    Just a particle of light
    In the sky tonight
    Is that a shooting star
    Or a satellite?


The second song that I would like to share happens to also be the second song on that same album. Gravel Roads is also quite fun to play. I hope you enjoy listening to it as well. I wrote it on my front porch, and I think that vibe comes through a little bit. Personally, I like the way that the rhythm section in particular turned out on this one, especially since it was one of the first songs that I recorded as a solo artist (as was Particle, for that matter). This song is about the unexpected places that life takes us. It's also about going for a road trip if only to get the fuck out of wherever. 

If you want to sing along, here is the chorus:

    Where do we go from here?
    It could be anywhere
    We don't know where we're going
    Until we get there



Continuing with this theme of songs that are fun to play, this next one is called Panic Attack. This is track two on Mechanical Bull, which I also released in 2017. It was a particularly busy year for me. This is another song that finds its way into most of my sets, whether I am practicing or performing. I wrote this song in November of 2016. I'll let you do the math in terms of figuring out what it's about. If you want a hint, though, I will say that it involves a certain orange shit stain on our body politic. 

    No one knows what's supposed to happen next
    So we just keep our fingers crossed
    And keep hoping for the best
    But I know if we unite
    Then together we can fight
    Everything we know is wrong
    We don't have to play along anymore 


(I recorded these videos not long after the songs were written. As you can see, four years of Drumpf put a lot a grey in my hair. No joke.) 

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As a bonus track, here's one that I tend to think of as my Friday song. This song does not yet have an album, nor is it available anywhere else to stream or purchase, but in recent weeks, it has become a regular part of my setlists as well. It is called The Regular, after all.

At some point in the relatively near future, I will post an embedded video of a more up-to-date and extended performance that includes this song, as well as some tracks from my newest album, Embers (2021). I encourage you to check back often, as I update this site almost daily. Even though I tend to think of myself as more of a songwriter, I do miss performing, mostly because it's a fun way to share my work. 

Enjoy the music. Spread the word. Thanks for listening and for supporting independent art.

Thursday, April 8, 2021

My Latest Obsession

On my Spotify artist's page, I recently discovered that I can see how many people are actively listening to my songs at any one given time. Upon learning this, I admit that it has been kind of hard to look away. 

It amazes me to know that, at least in recent weeks, there is almost always somebody somewhere in the world who is listening to my music. Right now, that person might be you. As far as I'm concerned, that makes you the reigning title-holder of "Coolest Person on the Planet," so congratulations. You probably didn't even know you were nominated.

So far, the most listeners I've ever seen at any one time has been sixteen, which might not seem like much, but to me, it's kind of a big deal. If you want to make my day, please share my music and we'll see if we can get that number up even higher. If it ever hits a hundred or more, I might just crap myself. I'll keep an extra pair of shorts on hand, just in case. 

Perhaps even more amazingly, my song Original Miles has been streamed almost eight thousand times over the past two weeks! I'm not the type of person to just throw around exclamation points, either, so I hope you know how completely blown away I am by this. I am honored and humbled by your support.

Thank you to all of my listeners and fans around the world, with a very special thanks to those of you who continue to share my music and add it to your playlists. As a one-man-band/DIY recording artist, I am also my own publicist. It probably doesn't help that I rather loathe social media. To get around this, I communicate with all of you by way of this blog. 

Thanks for listening and thanks for reading. You rock.

Wednesday, April 7, 2021

Assignments

Some of you may know that I am also a teacher. Personally, I don't think of this as being entirely separate from playing music, as they are both rooted in the same fundamental desire to spread knowledge, wisdom and empathy to as many people as possible. These are simply different modes for doing so, with different ideas that I seek to convey.

I mention all of this because the songs that I am sharing with you today started as assignments that I gave myself, where I played the role of both teacher and student. 

The first song, Black Ribbon Day, comes from my recent album, Embers (2021). The assignment that I was working from was that I wanted to write a song about a specific historical event, something along the lines of Gordon Lightfoot's Wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald. However, instead of writing about a cargo ship that sank in Lake Superior, I wrote a song about the day that the citizens of Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia declared their independence from the Soviet Union by holding hands between their capital cities. I thought it was a beautiful story that more people should know about, and who doesn't like a little bit of self-taught banjo in their accompaniment tracks?

The second selection that I would like to share is called The Fool, from my 2017 album Good Night, Fahrenheit. The idea here was to write a song where only the voicing changes at the chorus, but the underlying notes remain the same. Basically, I wanted to see if I could write a four chord song and make it interesting. As it started coming together, it sounded more and more like a bitter breakup song, so that's what it became. I would describe it as something that lands in the vast, mostly vacant field between punk, country and space rock, if that makes any sense. Even when I'm working within the parameters of a self-imposed assignment, more often than not, I try to let the song tell me what it's about.  

As was the case with Black Ribbon Day, this next song was also an exception to that particular rule. There are several other tracks I have written over the years that also began as assignments by and for myself, but the last one that I am going to share with you today is called Extra>Ordinary. It comes from my 2019 album, Better Days. With this one, the goal was to write a song that fits into the "small town girl moves away to the big city" subgenre of rock music, but I wanted mine to be a story where things actually work out well for her. Otherwise, that never seems to happen in these songs. To be perfectly honest, I'm not thrilled with the vocals on this one, but I do what I can with what I've got. It's all part of being a DIY musician

Enjoy. Share. Go outside. Be thankful for something. That's an assignment. Now get to it. 

Thank you for supporting independent art. 

Tuesday, April 6, 2021

Post No Bills

You may have noticed that this site is ad-free, as are all of my other blogs. Personally, I am not a fan of advertising and try to avoid it at all costs, including my own financial gain. With that in mind, if you want to support my work, then I encourage you to buy my songs and albums (and books) wherever you get your music. 

That, my friends, is the only advertising that you will ever see on these pages.

Don't get me wrong: streaming is cool and very much appreciated, so please keep listening to and sharing my music. I love that. It is worth noting, however, that streaming services don't pay the artist much of anything, and that's true no matter who you are. 

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Today's songs that I would like to share with you are essentially musical expressions of my overall distaste for the advertising industry and its corrosive effect on culture.  

Living in Oblivion is about the passive consumption of mass media and its byproducts. It comes from my recent album: Embers (2021).

    This is not a drill
    Passivity kills
    Perpetual pursuit of profits
    The side effects are toxic

Fever Dream is about a society that produces consumers and little else. It comes from my second to most recent album: Better Days (2019). 

    This fever dream's not what it seems
    The sweat stings your eyes
    Can't you see?
    It's temporary
    All these things that consume our lives

Thanks for listening to my music and checking out my blog. If you dig what I'm doing, please share it.

Monday, April 5, 2021

The Things We Need

Today's songs that I would like to share with you are all about companionship as a basic human need. To be perfectly honest, I didn't realize how many songs I had written like this until I went to compile them here, but let's just say that this is merely a sample of my work that deals with this particular topic. You can find more songs that explore similar themes among my five self-produced solo albums.

The first song that I am sharing today is called We Are All That We Need. It is the last track on Embers (2021). As of right now, it's one of my favorite songs that I've written -- which, of course, changes periodically. I tend to think of this as my soundtrack to being quarantined. I hope you like it, too. 

    Like the water we drink
    And the air that we breathe
    I do believe...
    We are all that we need

Song number two of today's selections is called Wanderlust, from my 2017 album Weather Patterns. It's basically about recognizing the difference between the things we need and the things we want, and the things that really matter versus those that are ephemeral. 

    Sometimes it's hard to see
    That we've got everything we need...
    Is this love or wanderlust?

The last song that I would like to share with you today follows a similar theme. It's called Go It Alone, and it comes from my 2019 album Better Days. Once again, this song dissects the idea that we don't necessarily need a lot of people in our lives, but it is good to have at least one person with whom to share your days. 

    It's funny how these moments disappear
    So tell me all the things you want to hear
    I will hold you near, I hold you dear...

Enjoy the music. Thanks for listening. If you like what I'm doing, please add my songs to your playlists and share them with others. This is how it spreads.

Thank you for supporting independent art. 


Sunday, April 4, 2021

Concealed Glock

When recording music, sometimes I like to sneak certain instruments into the background of a song as a way to fill out the sound spectrum. Several tracks from the three albums that I released in 2017 contain a hidden glockenspiel. Here are two of them:

The first is Cold Blooded, on Good Night, Fahrenheit. This song is about how human beings are fundamentally social animals. Thousands of years ago, we figured out that we're all better off together, but every once in a while, some of us forget that

Begin on Weather Patterns follows a similar theme. This song is about the need to see our words with action. It also contains some casual swearing. This is one of my favorite songs to end a set with, as I like to believe that the last line gives the audience something to think about: 

    If we don't take care of each other 
    We've only ourselves left to blame...

Plus I like the irony of the last song in my setlist being called Begin. I'll leave it to you to find the hidden glockenspiel in my other songs

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Original Miles has now officially surpassed Black Ribbon Day as my most streamed song on Spotify. Thank you to all of my listeners, with a special thanks to the tastemakers out there who are sharing my music. This is how it spreads, and I love you for it. 

Enjoy the music. Take care of each other. 

Saturday, April 3, 2021

Swear Jar

Today's songs that I would like to share with you come from my "casual swearing" collection, where each of these tracks was labeled explicit on Spotify and Apple Music, often because of a single swear word that I wrote into a verse for emphasis. 

It's called artistic license, damn it. Yeah, that's right. I said damn. Take that, the man. 

These songs also all happen to come from my 2017 album Good Night, Fahrenheit. I won't include embedded links to the lyrics of each song this time. I'll let you see if you can find the naughty words all by yourself. I guess the main thing is to not let them corrupt you. 

The first track is called Life Preserver. It's about always wanting to save the people you love. This may be my best example of dad rock yet. It also contains one of my favorite guitar solos that I personally have recorded. Now that I think about it, that might even add to the whole dad rock thing, as does my purposeful wielding of the f-bomb.   

Track number two is called Carry On. It's about getting through it, whatever it may be. 

The third track that I am sharing with you today is called Modern Inconveniences. It's about bullshit; I'll let you unpack it from there. In addition to spotting the only swear word in this song (but not this article), you get a bonus point if you can find the allusion to the work of French philospher Guy Debord.

Thanks again to everyone who has been listening to and sharing my music, particularly my tracks Original Miles and Black Ribbon Day, which have really been taking off in recent weeks. I am humbled and honored. 

Enjoy the music. Share it with your friends and add it your playlists if you dig what I'm doing. As always, thank you for supporting independent art. 

 
 

Friday, April 2, 2021

It is a Good Friday, Isn't It?

Happy Friday. Today's track that I would like to share with you is called Gravity, from my 2019 album Better Days. I wrote it with other corrupt politicians in mind, but I think that it aptly applies to Matt Gaetz and his accomplices as well: 

    They'd better start bracing for impact
    Because it's a long way down
    Don't think they're going to stay intact
    They'll break when they hit the ground
    And they are going down... like gravity

I always imagined the video for this as an elaborate pseudo-Rube Goldberg device that starts with cell phones falling over like dominoes and ends with a certain narcissistic sociopath behind bars. I'll leave it to you to fill in the middle part. This also happens to be one of my favorite songs to perform. 

(If you like that, here is a playlist of other songs of mine that are political in nature... and if that's not your thing, here's a playlist of pretty songs that I wrote.)

As a bonus track, here's a song that I recorded a couple of weeks ago. It's called The Regular. Basically, I wrote a bar song, even though I haven't stepped foot in a bar in well over a year. Let it be the soundtrack for your Friday evening:

    I am the regular
    Just an ordinary guy   
    Wasting my time
    Got nowhere else to be
    I just stopped in to see
    If I could get my usual, oh, oh... 

Enjoy. Share. Hold your elected officials to higher ethical standards. Stay cool always.