Typed in "Day Three Cello". Found friend & SLC street cellist Eli. Fate! Photo by Taylor Barnes

The past few days I have been totally spoiled: rehearsals have been moved and other projects have been postponed at the last-minute, so I’ve had some awesome creating time.  In the back of my mind I’ve been fearing the very busy schedule that will commence in only a few days.

I’m having visitors in from out of town, and I’ve been able to incorporate my guests in recording today’s installment!  I started recording it as a multi-track but was frustrated with how it was progressing.  I opted to try recording a live performance for my friends instead.  I found that, despite a missing a lyric or two or goofed vocals, the performance went smoother than the multi-track version I was slaving over, so I’m just going to post and try not to worry about it too much. (Though, I’m totally worrying about it.  Damn you, insecurity!) Posting this version takes out all the other nice bowed cello lines I had planned, but it’s still alright naked.

Pizzicato (plucking of the string) or Arco (bowing of the string)? I wasn’t going to address this yet, but, why not?  Given the choice, I prefer to sing to a plucked cello rather than a bowed cello.  Ben Sollee has garnered himself a reputation as fantastic singer/cellist and has an arsenal of folky bowed vocal songs that work very well.  But, in general, I find I prefer the sonic conjunction of the pizz and voice (or maybe just my voice, I guess).  On the list of songs to do is a self-convincing vocal-bow piece, so there’s something to watch for…

Gloria.  Okay, my original intention was that this project would consist of songs written in 2010.  But, I’m here to confess that the majority of this song was conceived in November.  However, I just solidified a middle section today.  It’s important for me to just push it out because I have a horrible tendency to wait forever on a song, telling myself that it’s still not done.  I have a bunch of stuff like that, and it never gets out.   Well, here it is, regardless of its idiosyncrasies.  There’s actually a ton of information behind the construction of this song, so I’m going to attempt a brief Michel Gondry explanation without nearly the same amount of quirk and charm.  (Okay, it’s not Gondry at all, just a random excuse to throw in his name because I like him and link you to his video):

Some years ago now, I was living in Salt Lake City.  They have a large farmer’s market every Saturday that takes place in a tree-filled park.  I was there one Saturday morning and saw a woman walking a black pug.  (I don’t favor pugs as a type of dog to own, personally, but that knowledge is superfluous…)  Looking back, I remember very clearly the moment when I saw her but don’t recall what she wore or exactly what she looked like (though I do remember she had a clutch covered in multi-colored buttons and a primo hair-cut).  I think for a while this Stranger-Woman became a weird alter-version of myself.  Her presence struck me specifically as being something I needed to remember for a later time, and it’s a bit weird to try to explain the experience to you now.  Has something like this ever happened to you?  Without a specific reason, I decided at some point that she looked like a person who might be named Gloria.  Since I didn’t actually know her real name, I started calling her Gloria, The Girl with No Name.  I also forgot to mention the inspiration of Martin Sexton’s amazing song Glory Bound.  Man, this guy kicks so much ass live.

He Dreams in Actualities. There is a really fantastic documentary about New York City put out by PBS (Netflix!).  In it I learned about actuality film and the first line of this song was born.  I really love this line and have become really attached to it.  I eventually start wondering who the He’s and She’s are in songs I like.  I’ve heard Carly Simon’s You’re so vain is rumored to be about Mic Jagger (nope! Rumor: David Bowie!); didn’t some guy pay millions just to find out if that was true?  Anyhow, there’s a He in this song and, though I didn’t write it about him, my mind has begun to attach it to a kind friend back home who loves music.  He just might dream in actualities.

I won’t go anymore into intention or specific meanings here, but I’ll talk more about lyrics and how awesome and totally evil they can be at a later date.  Again, this song has become very visual for me since its birth, and I hope it is for you, too.  For now, here is a live performance of this song including my response to a the comment “The Cosby Show was taped before a live studio audience” right before I started playing.  (Sigh)

Gloria (Live Version No. 1)

February 4, 2010: I was in need of a better quality recording of this song, so yesterday I sat down and did about 5 takes.  I’m not even sure what number this is.  Though there were better moments in other takes, and I like the original version, I opted for this one because I felt like the overall delivery was better, though it’s still left me wanting.  Regardless, happy listening!

Gloria (Version No. 2: Re-recording)

Pretty face with swollen eyes
He dreams in actualities
He dreams in actualities
Drawn with visions shown in black and white
Eyes weighed down in reverence show
Eyes weighed down in reverence show
He mocks and laughs at solemn passers by
Relieved to find he’s one of them
Relieved to find her at his side
Gloria, Gloria, Gloria
Homeward bound and not a nickel saved
Capsized by the raging sea
Far greater than the sea was she
Mother waiting, blessed corona
Arms softer than the covered sky
Arms softer than the covered sky
To her breast she will fold him in
Safer than when lover stood
Safer than when once he called her
Gloria, Gloria
Tie up my mind, Gloria
In the middle of the night
You were here and so without
And all these things, we will let go
Gloria, Gloria
Tie up my mind
Gloria, you were mine
(Though I love sharing songs and posting lyrics for you to read, please, please, please don’t steal them for your own devices.  This whole writing thing is hard stuff!  If you need anything, please ask! -Thanks)

See you tomorrow…