Hi folks. I’ve been on vacation all week (the first one I’ve taken in my 7+ years at the company!). I thought I’d blog more, but I’ve been too busy doing nothing. It’s midnight and I’m getting some ass-to-sofa time, so thought this was a good opportunity to write.
Most of the week, I’ve either been doing stuff around the house or I’ve been doing stuff with my Dad in celebration of his 70th birthday (October 5). That’s been fun. On Tuesday, I took him to dinner at Tucanos, a favorite restaurant of mine–it’s a Brazilian place that brings swords of meat to your table and stuffs you full of it until you’re so full and happy that you want to die. Then today, I hung out with Dad and a bunch of his friends in the “Gluttons” club, which he helped found in 1964…a bunch of them turned 70 this year, so they had a group party this week. Fun seeing my old “Glutton Uncles” and listening to stories. One of them said, “You’re one of the old boys now, yourself!” to me, and even though I’m 36 and I know he was kind of kidding, that was actually a pretty nice thing to hear. Still the family celebration to come on Saturday, too!
The only real other thing I’ve done all week (other than screw around on YouTube) is work on music. I don’t think it’s a secret that I’ve been working on an acoustic career-retrospective release. New recordings, acoustic guitar and vocal only, songs dating all the way back to my first record, four NEW (or at least unreleased) songs, etc. If it IS a secret, it’s a pretty open one, since I’ve mentioned it both on this blog and in the interview I did over the summer. I’ve been doing tests here and there on it over a few weeks, but I’ve been doing the real recording in earnest on it this week. Almost done. A couple more songs to work up, then mixing, listening, mastering, etc… Hoping to have it out before the end of the year, but going to wait until after my brother’s record is out first.
Working on “Sorry, I Didn’t Mean to Shout” (that’s the name of the thing) has been an interesting process. I haven’t played some of the songs I’m doing on it in a long time. I think that the recording of “Fall Apart” I did tonight was probably the first time I’ve played it in about 5-6 years. Got it in one take…some of them don’t ever really leave you. (Whereas the stuff from the last three records have taken me dozens of takes and many profanities…)
Playing some of the old stuff hits me with a mix of emotions. On some of those songs, I dial right back in to where I was and what I was feeling when I wrote them. On others, I have to think long and hard about what they meant and when they meant it. It has been interesting revisiting certain songs and finding that I don’t really agree with myself anymore, or that I’ve got a different take on how I want to play or sing it. And that’s part of the fun of this. I know as a fan, I’ll often have “favorite” versions of songs that are maybe single-edits, alternate takes, or demo versions, etc… And it’s cool to do this knowing that some people might think “I prefer the acoustic version” about some of these tracks over time. I’ve always wanted to do something like this–acoustic and vocal takes are the truest representation of the artist to the audience, and I find that exciting and interesting.
There’s also a side of it that I wasn’t expecting. Playing especially some of the old songs, I think, “Oh God…my best work is behind me!” then I’ll play a different one or sing an older, clumsier lyric and think, “Oh…no…no it isn’t. Good.” 🙂 I’ve always had a complicated relationship with my own work, and that’s in full force when I’m looking at it big-picture. It’s been interesting to see how much I bounce back and forth between trying to do something musically interesting or complicated and just throwing down three chords and demanding that my audience “JUST LISTEN TO MY WORDS!!!” I’ve always had a greater fondness for the craft of the lyric than any other part of it (I think if I ever couldn’t play music for some reason–arthritis or injury, what-have-you–I’d write sloppy, rock poetry). But I’ve been enjoying some of the challenge of figuring out how to make some of it work musically in the acoustic setting…or just over 10-years of my technique evolving.
It’s been a weird experience, but ultimately I think a rewarding one…even if no one downloads it. But I’m hoping you’ll all at least download the new songs, when it comes out!
Anyway…that’s it. My big plans to run out the vacation include a trip to the record store tomorrow afternoon, I think. Back to work on Monday, and I’m sure it’ll feel like I have week’s worth of work to do on my first day back (even if it’s a light day–it’s just hard to get back into the routine). Blog ya’ later.
- Pixies – “Head Carrier” – Came out last week. Good record. Not a lot of the crazy Pixies left-turns we’ve come to expect, but good, deep hooks and I’m really enjoying Paz’s contributions now that she’s a full-fledge member.
- Drive-By Truckers – “American Band” – Also came out last week. Like it. I was hoping for something more raucous, but it’s got some really strong material. Especially like what Cooley brought to the table this time. And if nothing else, my biggest criticism of “English Oceans” was that it was mixed too boomy, and they fixed that for this one, so I’m happy. Good, political tunes. It’s a great summary of present-day America…which kind of explains why the cover is grey… Maybe not their best…definitely far from their worst. In the upper tier of their career, especially in their post-Isbell era.