Good day to you, my friend. I hope this day finds you well, and, should the weather permit, may you attempt a Slurpy run sometime around noon. (I knew a girl who added vanilla ice cream in the middle of hers. It was surprisingly tasty.)
Lady Lamb and the Beekeeper! You are the reason jealously is running through my veins this evening… the voice, the hair, the menacing guitar, the screaming! (Insert any obligatory “Woo“, “Hey” or “Yeah” here.)
This song was written in approximately 15 minutes in the larger Portsmouth, New Hampshire cemetery beneath a lovely, lonely tree. Aly and her lovely traveling companion Maisie, drove an hour to Portsmouth just to write this song with me for the 365. (I’m so grateful!) Guy Capecelatro came to our aid yet again by, not only choosing the location to write this song (genius), but also carefully and skillfully tied my stereo mic up in the tree above us and has a thumb piano solo! If the wind hadn’t been blowing so fiercely, I do believe the sound quality would not have frustrated me as much in the editing moments of this posting. Not only was the wind a bit of a trial, but, for some reason, the video recorder on my mac decided to jump here and there which made matching up the garageband recording of the live performance impossible. Why did we shoot a movie for this song, you’re asking yourself? Well, I’ve been to Portsmouth, NH a few times now and each time I go I realized why I want to go back. It’s just beautiful there, and I thought, for a little change of pace, I’d actually get video of the song today. Everything seemed to fall into place, and I love it. I hope you do, too. (Again, sorry for the quality all around. These things do happen, but I wanted you to see it anyway…) Anyone interested in matching it up, let me know: have at it! I’ve resolved to post everything as it is and say: Love to you! (Oh, and who is the genius who got rid of the old iMovie and created this waste of space new version?! Who?! There is a reason I don’t put movies up anymore, and that program is it!)
As I mentioned earlier, I met Lady Lamb, also known as Aly Spaltro, when I was on tour with Anna Vogelzang a few years ago. She caught my attention then and still manages to pull me in, years later. I am enthrawled with her performance and writing style, and I will admit to you here that I had a hard time while recording and writing this with not feeling envious of her voice: so unique and beautiful.
Collaborations do a lot of wonderful things, but they can also bring up that little voice in the back of my mind that’s always critiquing, envying, and, even, punishing. I don’t know a musician who doesn’t struggle with this aspect of the craft. It’s a game we play with our own self-consciousness and awareness: Who am I, and how I can assure myself that I’m here and have something to offer as well. Grass is always greener, no? But I’m working on it.
Aly came up with her lyrics very quickly. A few weeks ago, I had heard on the news of the death of a young South Korean supermodel who was once quoted as saying, “The more I gain, the more lonely it is…I know I’m like a ghost.” I thought, though so sad, it was beautifully poetic and wrote it in my lyric book. This became the Ghost in My Teeth. (Something of interest: Guy only suggested right before we left for the cemetery that we go there to write the song as well, not just to film. I had already planned on using that line with Aly before we even started writing.)
As far as the actual collaboration, she and I talked a little about ideas while driving to the cemetery, but decided in the end to just let stuff come as it wanted. We only performed this song once, so what you’re hearing is the result of the 15 minutes we took to write it in the freezing cold. (Motivation!) We went to the Friendly Toast for dinner (go there!), and we all had this song swimming in our minds. The exciting thing about collaborating is the opportunity to revisit songs at a later date, fill them out, complete them if necessary, and make them even more awesome. I hope Aly and I will get this opportunity soon. Love you, girl.
Ghosts in My Teeth
instrumentation: guitar, cello, Lady Lamb the Beekeeper
Until tomorrow, dear friend.