Saturday, April 10, 2021
My song Original Miles has been streamed on Spotify almost 10,000 times now. 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. A few hundred more and we'll cross that 10k threshold, which probably puts it on even more automatically generated playlists. This is how it spreads, and it all started with you.
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. Again, thanks to everyone for listening and for helping my music to reach a broader audience. I couldn't have done it without you.
If you're new around here, welcome to what I do. If you like my music, please share it with your friends, add it to your playlists and follow me wherever you listen.
As always, thank you for supporting independent art.
If you want to check out 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:
3. Be Civilized
4. Panic Attack
13. The Fool
14. Gravel Roads
16. Screen Memories
17. Baby Blue
18. Turn the Page
19. Wake Up!
If you use a different streaming service, you should be able to find these songs there, too.
Friday, April 9, 2021
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.)
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
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
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
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.
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
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?
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
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
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.
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
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
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.
In most forms of writing, I rarely use exclamation points. In fact, my use of this particular punctuation mark is pretty much limited to dialogue, but even then, I only end a sentence with an exclamation point to indicate that a character is yelling. Beyond that, I tend to believe that the emphasis should be clear in the phrasing. (Did I mention that I teach English to college students?)
The two songs that I would like to share with you today happen to be my only two tracks with exclamation points in the titles. Wake Up! is the opening track on my 2017 album Mechanical Bull. It is about how an informed and engaged citizenry is a vital component of a functioning democracy.
Walk out of that door
Open up your eyes
Time is not the measure of a life
My other song with an exclamation point in the title is Make Some Noise! (Summer of '99), from my 2019 album Better Days. It is essentially an ode to power chords, and a nod to one summer in particular where I played a lot of music in basements and on front porches.
I played these chords until my fingers hurt
Screamed at the top of my lungs without saying a word
Banging on an electric guitar
I don't need to be a superstar
All going supernova, it only goes to show that
No one will ever hear your voice
Unless you learn to make some noise!
Thanks to all of my listeners on Spotify for putting Original Miles and Black Ribbon Day on the charts. Both tracks are from my 2021 album Embers and continue to climb in popularity, which is both an honor and a thrill.
If you dig my music, please add it to your playlists and share it with other people who you think might like it as well. As a one-man-band/recording artist, I need and very much appreciate your help in propagating my songs amongst your friends and around the world.
As always, thank you for supporting independent art... and by all means: crank it up!!!
(Consider those bonus exclamation points.)
Today's song that I'd like to share is the opening track from my newest album, Embers (2021). I've posted about it before, but here it is again. Original Miles is essentially about accepting people, including ourselves, despite our imperfections.
These are all original miles
Some city, mostly highway
You could even say
I've been around a while...
As a bonus track, here is my song Be Civilized, from my album Better Days (2019). It is a reminder that human beings need each other; in fact, this is exactly why civilization exists. I've written about this one before, too.
I hope you realize
What it means to be civilized
It's not like they advertise
You hold the truth behind your eyes
I hope you like my music. If so, please add it to your playlists, share it with your friends and follow me on Spotify and other streaming media platforms.
Thank you for supporting independent art.