8. The Easy Way


I wanted to address a question I’ve gotten a few times:  Was I inspired by the movie/book Julie and Julia in starting this project?  Nope.  Though I did enjoy the movie, I didn’t even put the two together until someone asked me that a few days ago.  I was inspired by Brian Speaker’s year-long project, The Spiral Notebook, as I mentioned in the project description.  But, man, that Meryl Streep: what an actress!

I laid in bed last night at 2:30 in the morning reminding myself of things I had to do the next day.  One of them being a song, obviously, and for the first time since starting, I didn’t want to do it.  Really? Another one?  And just when I thought I was done for, I fell asleep and woke up, feeling okay and ready to go.

I’m on tour with Ugly Purple Sweater and Pearl and the Beard: really great, patient, and understanding people.  We have played Boston, Jersey City, and Philadelphia.  Baltimore tonight.  I really love it.

I was really worried about today’s song because I’ve felt drained and tired; not quite sure what to do.  Jonathan was playing around with a few chords and a rhythm on his guitar (another result of doing this project is that Jon is much more active on that dusty thing. It’s really nice.), so it was actually he who started playing arbitrary chords that lead to the creation of this song.  Credit where credit’s due, you know?

For The Easy Way, I used an old trick to get out of being stuck for lyrics: I went to a book, flipped to random page, closed my eyes and let my finger land on a random word or sentence.  I used whatever I landed on like you might use jumper cables for a dead battery on a car.  The book used for inspiration for this song?  Don Quixote by Cervantes.  It was very helpful.  The result?  Strangely, and totally unexpectedly, I think I just wrote a really scary song… a bit disturbing, actually…but I’ll let you judge for yourself.  For your mind’s back drop, imagine, if you will, a Sweeney Todd-like grossness and time period… I’ll let you take it from there.  (And yes, Tom Waits was a huge inspiration musically.  Experiments are fun!)

Recording: Accordion. Franz, where are you?! I was very inspired by the technique Franz Nicolay used on Pearl and the Beard’s new CD God bless your weary soul, Amanda Richardson (available on iTunes, too!)  I CANNOT PLAY THE ACCORDION TO SAVE MY LIFE.  But I did it JUST FOR YOU!  Yay! Also, I’m trying to train myself to be done when I really don’t have the time to slave over the recording of a song.  Sometimes, it’s just time to move on.  That’s what I did with this.  Recorded vocals and cello simultaneously and used the second full take.  Accordion was over-dubbed and just took the second take of it and told myself to get over my whiny insecurities.

This song was written fairly quickly.  Maybe an hour and a half for chords and vocals.  Vocals took longest, choosing chords was very easy and natural.  I love it when at least something is in this business!  Again, the most lengthy process was the recording and mixing.

The Easy Way

instrumentation: voice, cello, accordion

I’ve been around and around and around seven lifetimes
Little here, little there,
A shoe shine and shave
You know I’ll get mine
With a cough and wheeze and a laugh, it’s perplexing
Shield your face, glue the gun
Pack your lunch, watch the fun
I’m behind you
Skin whole from head to feet
Some of the most valuable
When will we meet again?
Market place, meet me there, wear that tie, comb your hair,
I’ll be waiting, might be late, pitch a fit,
Make it loud, scream and hit, be convincing
If I come, then I come, if I’m there, then I’m there, don’t you push me
If you’re not then your not, seems a problem we’ve got,
I wouldn’t mind one
Skin whole from head to feet
Some of the most valuable
When will we meet again?

I just realized that I have just written over a full week’s worth of work!  WEIRD!  Hope you’re doing well yourself.  Thank you for listening!  Until tomorrow!


9 thoughts on “8. The Easy Way

  1. For real, dude. I can’t believe you can write such awesome songs day after day after day…oh, the talent…that I long to have. 😉

  2. One of my favorite moments of each day is listening to the new EHP 365 project song. Once again, FAVORITE! Your creative process is really helping me slay the insecurity monsters in my membranes when it comes to writing stuff for a live performance I have later this week. Thank you, lady!

  3. Emily, I love love love the lyrics for this one! I read back in your entry after listening and was surprised the way you describe it–Sweeney Todd, creepiness. I was picturing an old Western scene the whole time. Crunchy old cowboy meeting someone in a saloon to talk business–the wells are dry, the bank hasn’t been robbed recently enough. It’s time for a new trick.

    Well. I wish I had seen you more when you were in Utah. But next time I’m in NY visiting my sis, I hope you’ll be performing and I can see it! Thanks again for sharing these songs–this project is so inspiring for me; one of my goals is to produce another folk album this year. I’m excited to follow all year long. I’m going to advertise you on my blog (lizlambson.com). Keep going!

    • Liz: I’m so happy you wrote, and shared your own interpretation! it’s up for them for sure… the meaning for me is quite a bit grosser and evil… so I might prefer yours to mine 😉

      I hope you are well! I will keep up with you for sure! Coming to Utah in March for a show! Please come!

  4. Thanks again for sharing…wow! There is certainly something to be said for the ability to “let it be done”, as proven here you left it perfect! Looking forward to seeing you in Miami!


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