Monday, June 22, 2009

Close calls

Holy smokes: We're one week away from putting the audio portion of this record officially in the can -- that is, barring some unforeseen mishap. Mastering starts today, and we sit down to listen to it next Monday in Fall River. It feels good to get here, even if a little surreal, since it took so long to get to this stage. I've felt mutually unrushed and harried about this process. What I do feel good about is the record itself, which by the way, is called "Shake Down the Sun." I think it's a big step forward for us, and something we will hopefully be proud of for the rest of our lives. It's a true document of the band's progress -- whether we can parlay that into big-time success or not is the big question that follows. I guess we'll see when this thing hits the streets in September.

We're planning a fall tour. I have to get on that. Dang.

We played the Cape on Friday -- a little bar in Falmouth called Grumpie's. I had high hopes, and I wasn't super disappointed even if it was mostly empty. There were some cool locals there, we played pool, and we got an extreme 3-hour set under our belt. I'm pretty sure we played every available song, including some Neil Young covers and serious vault stuff. No set list, though, sorry.

I've been listening to an absurd amount of Neil Young lately, which is par for the course, I suppose. But absurd even by my standards. Hell, I even cracked open "Chrome Dreams II" again, before giving up after "Dirty Old Man." I don't know if this recent Neilgasm was spawned by watching "Don't Be Denied" on PBS -- a particularly unthrilling Neil documentary. The one highlight is an early TV clip of Buffalo Springfield where Neil is bouncing around all young and jovial -- quite out of character. Anyhow, what is evident, and made abundantly clear by the program, is that Neil follows the muse at any cost. I know that you have to respect a man of principle, but the whole thing makes me wonder: How can someone like that be happy? I mean, if I often feel like my work is inadequate for my ambition (which spurs me to always write more, try to improve), how can someone who is always working on their next project ever sit back and enjoy success? Not to say I'm on the same plane, or even a nearby one, as Neil. Just saying.

Another thought about Neil: Listening to the depth of his work, especially live recordings, he seems to rip himself off from time to time (which isn't particularly shocking when you've made that many albums)? You can't deny the similarity between "This Old Guitar" and "Harvest Moon" as far as guitar licks go. Anyhow, all of which makes me wonder if a performer is given as much artistic license as Neil is, can he essentially use the same song structure for multiple songs? People always like alternate versions, but it usually has some major similarity -- same chorus, verse lyrics, etc. Just something a little extra. Well, I often write 2-3 drafts of different songs which vary greatly. For example, a song called "Green & White" on my solo disc actually started as a more Dylan-esque tune called "Old Town." It's not an alternate version, it's a totally different song. But too close to use and get away with. Maybe one day I'll just put out the other version of these songs, at least the ones I like enough, and say to hell with those who characterize it as a lack of creativity. Because actually those drafts are the heart of creativity, I'd say. Every good writer knows that a masterpiece is shaped by great editing. Again, just rambling...

Toad tomorrow...

Might as well post a track list for the new record:
1. Ordinary Girls
2. Lights On
3. Golden Fleece
4. Madeline
5. Seek Cover
6. Someday Darling
7. Cedar
8. Shotgun Wedding
9. Like Secrets Beneath
10. Don't Get Me Wrong
11. There's a Reason
12. Valley of Gold

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Anonymous Anonymous said...



22 June, 2009 10:56  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

love the title! great choice! -jenna

24 June, 2009 12:06  

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