56. You Broke Me In: Ninety-Six Seconds (RPM)


Commercial interruption:

EHP has an early Mercury Lounge show, TOMORROW NIGHT! Monday, March 1 at 7 pm!  With Dan Torres.  She starts at 7 pm and is doing some 365’s with special guest Abbie Gardner from day 36Get more info here.

I know what you need: A random picture of the kissing scene from The Godfather. Yes. Exactly.

The past week has been a whirlwind. The second I get home, I’m off again.  Yesterday was a crapshoot: lost the charger, computer died, and drove from Maine back home all day yesterday.  The snow in New York has been piling up, and it’s making everything take a little more time than usual.  Pearl and the Beard played an awesome show at Hog Farm in Biddeford, ME (my favorite venue so far!), and we leave again in just short of a week for our tour to Austin.  I’m tired already.

The RPM Challenge is ending TODAY, and I’m rushing to finish tracks… here is a finished track I’ve done for the RPM Challenge with Guy and Mike.  (For more information on the RPM Challenge, see day 46.)

I love electronic, experimental, indie-bandish, dance, etc. music.  I write acoustic ballads sometimes, but in my heart I love this stuff and wish I could put out stuff like it.  Broken Social Scene uses a weird sound-catalogue song, and I like their impressions and quirks.  Animal Collective is another band with a cool indie-electronic sound collection that has gotten a lot of press lately.  (There are more, but it’s already 9 am.  Let’s post already.)

Anyway, for the RPM I put together beats and a bass track from Garageband and sent it to Mike Wolstat and Guy Capecelatro. We are, each of us, at the mercy of the others to put whatever they want onto our original tracks.  It’s been so interesting to see what the others have come up with this.  I worked on this yesterday and today.  It’s been hard to know what to pull out and back and find clarity and a focus, but it is what it is, and it’s groovy, which I like most of all.  What you’re hearing here is a collaboration of two tracks from each of us to create:

You Broke Me In: Ninety-Six Seconds

55. Give Me More In Color (Originally: “My Computer is About to Die, So…”)


Pearl and the Beard At Hog Farm! With Lady Lamb the Beekeeper, Santiago and Dilly Dilly. Love is everywhere.

Original posting:

“I am going to quickly post a commercial song until I find my lost charger!”

A few days later, after my charger was found, I am posting something more detailed:

Give me More Color

This song is part of the RPM Project with Guy Capecelatro.  Guy, Mike Wolstat and I each wrote 4 songs and traded them, each person adding only two tracks to each song.  This final version is missing Mike’s piano track, but I might add it later if I find the right one that belongs with it.  With so many files going back and forth, I’m not surprised the right one was was lost in the shuffle.  For this song, I tuned my uke up unconventionally and just started playing and improvising.  I recorded it and then recorded one take of improvised lyrics on top of the uke.  It was weird enough to keep, I guess.  The term “Kick back, Holly Jolly” means as much to me as it does to you, so have a good time figuring out what that might be.


54. Manek and Ilona


Good morning.

I have a friend named Jesse Patrone-Werdiger.  He has been talking to me about his grandparents recently.  While I was stuck in the Miami airport, we talked online about his grandfather, Manek, and his grandmother, Ilona and their lives in Long Island, but also that they are Holocaust survivors, Ilona in Auschwitz for a little while and Manek somewhere else.  Originally from Poland, they are now 80 or so and have led a wonderfully full life.  In talking with Jesse, he showed me this video (Jesse is a filmmaker and used his grandparents for one of them.)

I instantly crushed in his grandpa.  So cute.  In jest, Jesse said this “hahaha: you and manek.  love at first sight.  there’s your song for the day manek!”  Well, I have written a song inspired by Jesse’s grandparents.  I spend the next several hours talking to Jesse intermittently, asking questions about his grandparents, hearing little stories and small bits of information.  An aspect I hear a lot about from that time is how so many people came to the states (and still do this) and would feel the need to change their name or their names would be changed for them by officials at the border.  Jesse: “When they came to the states they changed their name.  Werdiger’s not my real name.  My grandfather stole medicine at the end of the war because one of his friends needed it, and I think he was worried about not getting into the states b/c of it.”  This prompted the first verse of this song.  I feel such a connection to my name.  Names are a way of identifying you, placing you in a moment in the past, present and future.  Millions of people have changed their names, and I personally feel a sense of personal loss for them, though I understand it’s a matter of life or death in some cases or that others may not hold such weight on a name.

And the chorus?  Jesse said, “My grandma says beautiful all the time.  It’s her adjective of choice for anything positive. “It was so beautiful, we had dinner, the whole family was there.  It is such a beautiful restaurant.”  Everything is beautiful.”

I realized well into it that I didn’t know his grandparents well enough to really do justice to an entire song about them, so I took some time away from it to think about what I really wanted to say.  My friend Rachel Lord’s (Ugly Purple Sweater) grandfather recently passed away.  A few weeks after he passed, Rachel posted a link to an NPR article about her grandfather.  “Rather than fight in World War II, conscientious objector and Quaker Charlie Lord was sent by the government to work at a mental institution called Philadelphia State Hospital. He secretly took photographs to expose the horrors of the institution.  These are his photographs.”  They are so moving.  The photographs he secretly shot were shown in Life Magazine in May 1946.  I encourage you to read about and visit these photographs.  They even have audio of Charlie talking about each photograph.  You can read the most recent NPR article here.  I love this picture of him.  I looked at it for a long, long time, and decided to write about him.  Charlie is the second verse of this song.

Charlie Lord

How should I end this song?  This is my grandmother and my grandfather: Hope Thomas Price and Ralph Price.  My grandfather passed away very soon after my birth, so I never knew him.

Hope Thomas Price and Ralph Price

I am named after my grandmother.  (Another name reference.)  She is still living in Malad, Idaho.  I wish I had a closer relationship with her, though we are very friendly, and I love her very much, I think it’s just that we are far away.  She is a beautiful singer and a great organist.  I spent my childhood visiting her home and playing on her Thomas organ, improvising the afternoon away until she would bring me a rhubarb slushy.  She is a determined, hard-working and stubborn person, and she tells stories really well.  This is my grandmother, Hope.

In talking with Jesse about his grandparents I said, “That’s so cool that you have that stuff in your blood, you know?  Such a dramatic history is a part of YOUR history. I love that thought.”  Jesse: I know, it’s really amazing.  I’ve tried talking to them more about it, and they’re such AMAZING people.”  Me: “I think you should feel really special.”

It makes me think of Rachel, that she has that history in herself, too… that I also have a history that goes through people who have experienced dramatic wonderful things and dark and scary things.  They have lived and existed and make up a part of me… It’s the same for you as well.

Writing: Took a long time.  A lot of thought and gestation time.  I didn’t concern myself with being cliché or if I was inappropriate.  I wanted to be sincere.  That’s all.  I included a bridge with no words.  I’ll reserve the right to add them later if they come.  I have included two choruses which are in red that I changed to tie them together with a more similar thread.  I’m including them because the change in meaning was so drastic, I wanted to show you both to see what you might think, too.

Recording:  I’m coming down with something so, the vocals aren’t in top shape, but it’s okay.  I recorded the uke and vocals simultaneously though I attempted to track it and gave up.  I really wanted to arrange cello parts and bells, but just didn’t have time as Pearl and the Beard are braving the snow to play a show in Portsmouth, New Hampshire this weekend, so I had to get ready.  I think this stripped down version is okay and appropriate at least for a first draft.  I also feel like this song, mainly because of color and instrumentation is a sister song to “Headache for a Heartache”, but I’m not sold on that thought.  I can only hope they have their own identity and can stand alone.

Manek and Ilona

Manek and Ilona
We designate you by a name though changed
From there, there to here
Lost in the survival
The anther sure will sting until it’s down and gone, it’s done.
And why not?
And why not say everything is beautiful
Cause it is
Cause it is
Cause it is
Pictures of a watchman
Who meant the best but saw the worst
It was done, done to men, fragile men
Hearts they will be broken
No matter what the doctors say
He will sleep, then awake and ask to go
Changed chorus lyrics
And why not?
And why not?
Say it’s an image that’s hard to bear?
Cause it is
Sometimes it is
Used chorus lyrics
And why not?
And why not?
Say everyone is beautiful?
Cause they are
Cause they are
Cause they are
Me a living namesake
A stranger living side by side in a mirror
I am you, You are me, we are one
Will you not remember?
And forgive all the battles lost
And even those, those we thought had been won
Changed chorus lyrics
And why not?
And why not?
Say that we will persevere?
Cause we will
Cause we will
Cause we will
Used chorus lyrics
And why not?
And why not?
Say that we are beautiful?
Cause we are
Cause we are
Cause we are
And why not?
And why not say everything is beautiful?
Cause it is
Cause it is

This uke has gotten some mileage.  It’s brought out quite a few ballads.  Maybe a Ramone’s inspired song is in order soon.  You can’t do ballads forever…

Have a great day. Drive safe.


53. Spice Up Your Life (Cover No. 3)



[Commercial interruption: EHP has an early Mercury Lounge show, Monday, March 1 at 7 pm!  With Dan Torres.  She starts at 7 pm and is doing some 365’s with special guest Abbie Gardner from day 36Get more info here.]

Back from Miami after a de-planing and three turn around’s on the tarmac.  Oh well.  I’m home and leaving for Portsmouth, New Hampshire this weekend with Pearl and the Beard for another show a Hog Farm (but with the band…yessss!)

I have been working on a song about my friend’s grandparents.  I was hoping to have it finished in time to post it for today’s no. 53, but I didn’t want to rush it, so I arranged and recorded this instead.  (Am I stealing this melody from someone?  I hope not… but there is a big brain-file of music up here…you never know.)  You can read about this song’s history and its author’s here on trusty Wikipedia.

Why did I choose it?  Well, I was making eggs and was adding pepper to them and started singing it, and there was a hat on the bedpost so I wore it, and Lacey jumped on the bed, so she’s in it.  (I think she makes it better anyway.)

Lacey and I did two other truncated version of this song because I forgot the lyrics.  And did I really say “Posidividy?” This is the only one where we got all the way through, and Lacey was finished half way, obviously.  Her leaving did allow for a “woo”, which I appreciated (given my requirement for “woo’s”).  The hat?  Not again.  I feel like it made me a little douchy…weird… I’ll leave it to Jonathan to wear it.

This is a cover.  Here are the lyrics I chose to use from the original.  The mp3 is different from the video.  Enjoy!

Spice Up Your Life (by The Spice Girls)

When you’re feeling sad and low
We will take you where you gotta go
Smiling, dancing, everything is free
All you need is positivity
Colours of the world
Spice up your life
Every boy and every girl
Spice up your life
People of the world
Spice up your life
Yellow man in Timbuktu
Colour for both me and you
Kung Fu Fighting, Dancing Queen
Tribal Spaceman and all that’s in between
Colours of the world
Spice up your life
Every boy and every girl
Spice up your life
People of the world
Spice up your life
Slam it to the left
If you’re having a good time
Shake it to the right
If you know that you feel fine
Chicas to the front
Uh Uh Hai Sí Ja Hold Tight
Colours of the world
Spice up your life
Every boy and every girl
Spice up your life
People of the world
Spice up your life

You can hear the original here in this totally sweet music video:


But Lacey and I made our own video for our song.  You can watch it here:

I hope your day is going splendidly.  See you tomorrow!


52. Taking A Light To Where There Is None (A Dedication)


I am flying home from Miami!

This is a dedication piece.  I didn’t intend it to be.  I started playing around on my loop pedal and brought what I had found to garageband and recorded it all there.

As I started creating it very quickly, not being too picky or redoing a lot of tracks, I found myself  playing around with sound effects, as Guy Capecelatro tends to do.  I like this… it makes me think of Laurie Anderson’s (sound artist) work I heard once that had a bunch of foot steps in it.  I love the sound of footsteps.

Before I knew it, I was putting together a piece where I wasn’t sure if the person was leaving from one place and going to another or returning to the same place.  The clock suggests the latter, but because the door sounds are different, it makes me think they left a friend’s house and walked home… I’m not sure.  It took only a few hours to complete.  I am slowly changing my perfectionist ways.

In any case, as I devised the song, someone kept popping into my mind for some strange reason (it must have been the nature sounds).  I have befriended a bird lover who lives in the middle of the mountains (or so I’ve been told) of California, plays the cello and is a great musician.  This song, even in all its imperfections, is dedicated to him: all the way into the top of the trees.

Taking A Light To Where There Is None (A Dedication)

51. Mr. Mischievous (Tribute to Vic Chesnutt)


Still in Miami with one last four-hour show still to go…

Guy Capecelatro sent me this email a few weeks ago:

So one of the projects I’m doing for the RPM is a tribute to Vic Chesnutt.  He’s been an amazing inspiration over the years.  I actually got to open up for him in town about 18 years ago and have seen him play lots.  If you didn’t know, he killed himself about 5 weeks ago.
The project is to get folks to use the words I wrote and make a song of it.  I know some of your 365 songs have been outside source material so if you have any interest in taking a whack at let me know. If you do decide to make a song out of it please do feel free to make it your own.  Have your way with changing words, adding things, taking stuff away.  There will be ten versions so anything the more of yourself you can bring to it, all the better.  I’m most curious to hear what this becomes.
Plus today I made two more songs from your loops.  I’ll send them along tomorrow.  It’s quite a bit of pressure I feel with these as they’re so beautiful on they’re own and I don’t want to disappoint you.  Nervous!
Okay ma’am,
I should tell you right now, I have never really listened to Vic Chesnutt’s music before today.  Guy mentioned something about him a few weeks ago while I was in Portsmouth and played me a few seconds of his song “Flirted With You All My Life”.  He’s really great!  (Shame on me for being so out of the loop.  Man!)
I got home tonight at about 9:30 pm and passed out on a huge black bean bag chair: awesome!  I might get me one of these.  At 1 am I woke up and decided to get to work the song.  I have been traveling all day to the south and played my uke a little in the car while my dear friends Jason and Melanie drove around southern Miami.  Technically, I just realized, when I write at 1 am it’s actually the day after, but it’s all subjective.  I’m still counting it.
Recording/Writing: The writing of the melody of this song took place away from any instruments.  I usually find this method extremely helpful.  I wrote and recorded the cello part and the main vocal in about 30-45 minutes.  It was very fast.  I wonder if you’re asking yourself why I made this vocal style choice.  Well, I’m not sure what to tell you: as I sang the melody to find it, that’s what I started doing and kept it.  I like it.  Recording the other voices took time to record and line up and then I added a simple cello part.  I still think there are some holes in this song production-wise, but it’s so late (4:15 am!) that it’s good enough for song of the day.
For me, finding arrangements and melodies for other people’s words is usually sitting and looking at them for a minute and do it away from any instruments, like I just mentioned.  I look at the meter and play with different rhythms that the words might want to take on.  Sometimes it’s obvious, sometimes it’s not (see Sam McCormally’s song he emailed me for day 22 Vorarephilia).  In this case, for example, in the chorus there is the line “Didn’t I hear you say”.  The word “Didn’t” could have been a part of one entire line, but I decided to hook it in front of the beat instead of joined to the entire line.
Anyway, enough talk.   Just listen.  I hope you’ve scored yourself a sweet ice cream sandwich today: I did!

Mr. Mischievous (lyrics: Guy Capecelatro)

Lifted on the stage
Your mischievous eyes a flitter
You roll up to the mic
That booming voice sends shivers
You have us laughing
Then the dagger hits our chest
The places and the stories
We won’t soon forget
Didn’t I hear you say
Your sorrow seemed silly
Didn’t I hear you say
You weren’t quite ready
What a roller coaster you must have been on
Learned to play guitar
From you granddaddy in Zebulon
Running through the woods
Like a skinny Genghis Khan
You captured all those worlds
With a shrewd unflinching eye
And in the way you tell it
We feel like we’re inside
Didn’t I hear you say
Your sorrow seemed silly
Didn’t I hear you say
You weren’t quite ready
What a roller coaster you must have been on
Ain’t it funny and ironic
As a self-proclaimed atheist
You decide to leave this place
On the day of Christmas

50. Straight Line (Uke and Three Vocals)


I drew this while on tour with Anna Vogelzang last summer. It is a giraffe. She likes giraffes.

I guess this is supposed to be a benchmark of some kind… song fifty.  I will celebrate it in my own small way by eating an ice cream sandwich today from somewhere.

This is a song I did this morning; right now.  It is exactly noon.  This is a short study on lyrics.

I will write a straight line.
Map out your face in lines and years.
I will write a straight line.

Writing/Recording: In total probably 1.5 hours. Improvised uke after finding little things I liked with which to repeat with in the structure.  Vocals are also improvised, but the study was to be simple yet refined in my lyric choice.  And it didn’t matter how little or many words I used, and I could repeat them, but they had to relate to one another and link together with one common word.  In this case, that word is line.

Straight Line (Uke and Three Vocals)

Hope you are well.  It will be Monday when you read this.  Mondays are special days.  Have an ice cream sandwich.


49. Celia Hildreth in 1943 (The 365 A Capella Version)


Took this with my phone. This was on the wall of the venue, Respectable Street, in West Palm Beach. I didn't catch the artist's name, but the whole mural was awesome- a bunch of mermaids dragging a woman down into the depths to be a mermaid, too. MERMAIDS! Evil Mermaids!

This song is really old.  Sick old.  (Even so old that I don’t perform it anymore), but I don’t mind using it for the 365 because my friend Steph Taylor of the band The State Of here in Florida challenged me with an a capella song where I accompany myself.  Lo and behold, here it is.  The main vocals in this recording are probably over a year old.  I’ve decided that this counts because the rules are “write or arrange”.  I feel like if covers count, so does this.

I remember writing this song in like 5 minutes or something.  I scribbled it out on a dirty piece of paper with pencil and came up with the melody immediately following.  I deliberately used Greek myth imagery (I love Greek mythology) in the first verse (pay the boatman with a coin).  There was no deliberation upon writing this song that it would be about abuse.  It just happened that way, although I do remember as I wrote the lyrics I reminiscing about Jimi Hendrix’s song Hey, Joe.  This is such an amazing song.  I love it.  I first heard this on a mixed tape a friend made me in high school, and whenever I hear this song I think of him.

Other inspiration came from Alan Lomax’s Negro Prison Blues and Songs.  I love these recordings.  In Pittsburgh, I assisted a professor who introduced me to these recordings, and I fell in love with them.   I highly recommend them to you.

The title comes from the Kurt Vonnegut book Deadeye Dick.  I was struggling with a title at the time and opened this book and there it was.  This book is also somewhat entertaining, and even has recipes you might enjoy.

Yesterday I worked for a huge portion of my day on a long-distance collaboration with Sam McCormally.  After finishing a really rough draft I was quite unhappy with but sent anyway, I sat down and wrote another song to post for today, but will wait because I wanted to fulfill my assignment from Steph Taylor first so you might hear it, too.  So I have been working and writing constantly for hours.  Work gives headaches.

I played a show last night in West Palm Beach, Florida (Yet another smokey club. Man, Florida.  Catch on, won’t you?).  So, I’m here to tell you that I appreciate you coming, listening and reading.  Have a fantastic Sunday.  No shows today or tomorrow, so I’m off to the Keys with some friends from Portland for a few days.  Never been there and should be a good time.

Celia Hildreth in 1943 (The 365 A Capella Version)

Missed the boat, Lord
Have no shillings for the man, Lord
Stranded by my guilt, Lord
Iron shoes weigh down , Lord
Pocket full of bills, Lord
Pay my dues I will, Lord
Saw the hard times through, Lord
Weak things are strong, Lord
My man, Lord
Mighty, mighty man, Lord
Daily showed his hand, Lord
On a guilty conscience lay, Lord
I cry, Lord, I cry, lord
Every night I cry, Lord
My soul for my crime, Lord
Bruised lord
Heart, soul, hand, and face, Lord
A canon to my plea, Lord
Beat down savory guilt, Lord
Woman, Lord
Mighty, mighty woman, Lord
Found sweet mercy here, Lord
Shot that mother down, Lord
I cry, Lord, I cry, Lord
Every night I cry, Lord
My soul for my crime

48. The Princess and The Pea (A Four Minute Cellistic Retelling)


Good day!  Did you know that I love Fairy Tales?  Well, I do.  Very much.  I always had my mother read them to me, and sometimes she would fall asleep reading, and I would insist on poking her to wake her so she would finish them.  One of my favorites was The Red Shoes, and I think my most favorite of all was The Little Mermaid (The non-Disney, bloody, depressing version).  These stories became real life for me which is why I think I liked them so much – such escapism.

In 1982, Shelley Duvall created Faerie Tale Theatre, a freaking sweet series that starred people like Jeff Bridges (Rapunzel – probably my favorite one), Mic Jagger (The Nightingale), Robin Williams (The Frog Prince), and Liza Minnelli (The Princess and The Pea).  You can get most of the episodes on Netflix or buy them even.  Maybe most of my attraction to this series is sentimental, but I have watched them recently and still love them.

So, as I have been working on Guy’s RPM Challenge (see day 46) all day, I took a little while to think about what I wanted the 365 song to be today.  I was shown this woman’s music today: Tuneyards.  I was instantly intrigued by her voice (I really hate pegging someone as anyone other than who they are, but anyone else hear a bit of Nina Simone?) and bold performance attitude.  I say that it’s bold because I’ve always wanted to perform sounds similar to this live and chicken out.  I do it privately when I think no one is listening and always consider doing something like it and maybe I will now that I’ve see this woman do it.  It’s really, really interesting to me, so much so that I would love you to watch this video of her live: Tuneyards: 4AD Sessions.  God bless all the musicians fearlessly doing what they love.

So, for the song today, in light of me really not liking solo bowed cello and voice, I tried about 3 different ideas with just cello and voice live.  (I have to figure out why I don’t like it by trying it instead of just insisting that I don’t do it.)  After a few trials of inspiration and not being happy with the outcome, I totally suddenly and randomly decided to tell the story of The Princess and The Pea.

Recording/Writing: This is totally improvised and all the first and last take.  Everything is live and simultaneous.

The Princess and The Pea (A Four Minute Cellistic Retelling)

Hope you are doing well and that you’ve taken your multi-vitamin should you subscribe to such things.


47. I Wish You Were In Everything (The Six Word Song)


Florida Palm Tree

Yesterday I told you about the RPM Challenge.  Last year (I think?), Guy Capecelatro III issued a project to his friends to write a 6 word song.  Well, I tried it, and here it is.

I am in Florida and played a show last night and it was great, but it’s also why I’m late in posting.  I started this late last night, but finished it up this morning.  I’ve decided that sleep is a necessary part of living.

Writing: The words have a friendly place to which they are assigned in my mind, but you can have them where you’d like because that’s who it’s for today… you!

Recording: Tracked separately. Both uke and vocals were the first take.  Also, Emilyn Brodsky asked me to kick the volume of the tracks up a few notches, which I have been attempting to do lately.  This is the first one I felt like worked, finally!

I Wish You Were in Everything (The Six Word Song)

I do hope you are having a fine day, and if not (or even if you are): I suggest a medium hot chocolate, whipped cream and cinnamon on the top.  Then, go buy some butter cookies or something that will work to dip in it… that’s my suggestion, at least.


46. The RPM Challenge – With a side of Guy and Mike


Please Delta Airlines: Let me on with my cello today so I can get to Florida for my shows in peace and non-anxiety. Please.

Good morning.  I understand the need for a break.  I’d like to have one right about now, but it’s not really an option.  So, here we go:

The RPM Challenge: Held every February and people from all around the world get on it.  The Challenge: “Record an album in 28 days, just because you can.  That’s 10 songs or 35 minutes of original material recorded during the month of February.  Go ahead… put it to tape.”

I was approached by Guy Capecelatro about collaborating on an RPM project for the month of February.  The collaboration in Guy’s words:

The idea: writing 3 to 4 songs with just 2 things on it then passing it along for the next person to do 2 things and then the final person and their 2 things.  What you start with can be anything at all as long as you’re okay with free rein from myself and Mr. Mike Wolstat.

This has been an interesting endeavor, and I would suggest anyone stuck on something to give it a try.  It’s an interesting process also because as I’ve received each original version of the proposed songs, I’ve had to remember that another person has yet to add 2 more tracks to it.  It’s a good lesson in listening and planning out your attack.

The past 24 hours I have either worked on existing or written new material for 8 songs both for myself and other people.  I leave for Florida today (Feb. 18th) at noon and then run to play a show tonight at 11 pm in Miami.  Today, I would like to show you just a few incomplete songs within this RPM that will be completed by the end of the month with more tracks on them added by Mike Wolstat and Guy Capecelatro.  When the song is completed, I’ll update this with the new version so you can hear the finished product.

#1 Give Me More in Color (Original Version): WEIRD!  But I’m over myself and will show you anyway.  It’s funny.  (A little of both “funny ha ha” and “funny weird me out”).  I sat with my tenor uke and started playing with the beginning motif, pushed record and improvised the rest of the song.  This is the first and only take of the uke part.  The vocals were recorded immediately afterwords and are completely improvised.  I thought I would just use this first improvisation as a map and write the rest of the song from it, but as I went back and re-recorded it, the performance was so weird and unlike me, I decided to just use it.  So, there it is.  I have sent this song to Guy to add whatever in the world he wants.  We’ll see if he can make any sense of it… and good luck to Mike as well!

#2 There’s a Fire (with EHP only): This is a song Guy wrote and sent me that I worked on yesterday.  His original parts are the thumb piano and vocal.  I really like almost everything about this song.  I went against my instincts with the additions I did to this song.  I was actually hearing female vocal as an accompaniment to Guy’s lead vocals, but did tambourine (one of my least favorite instruments, actually) and a cello line.  Mike still gets to add 2 more tracks to this and it will be complete!  I like the cello line, but question my use of tambourine.  What is this life but to learn?

#3 Bachelorhood (with Guy only): What you’re hearing here is a tiny loop of the beginning and end of a track I received from Jeffrey McKenna of Canada.  He and his brother put this track together and sent it to me as a 365 hopeful.  It’s cool, and I’ve been working with it for a few weeks.  I used the first 2 seconds or so of the end and the beginning for this song as well as manually playing an old recording from my record player from The Best of Steve Allen’s “What is a Wife”.  I sent it to Guy and he added toy piano and nature sounds.  Mike Wolstat will add two more tracks.   We’ll see what happens!

The 365 continues…thank you for coming back again and again… see you tomorrow!


45. Sea Creatures in Perilous Situations (Christopher Faroe)


(Announcing the Debut of Synthetic Strings! Dreams DO come true! Yessss!)

Here’s the story:

I played a show at The Knitting Factory in Brooklyn a few weeks ago.  I met this really cool, tall red-headed guy named Christopher Faroe (sweet name, right?!).  After I played he walked up to me and handed me a note with my name on it (it kind of awesomely reminded me of passing notes at lunch).  On this note read, and I wish my scanner was working so I could just show you how cool this note is:

Dear Songwriting Person,
If (when) you become (more) desperate for song topics, perhaps the following will prove helpful?

-the possibility of airships in the Byzantine empire
-the silk road
-ancient sawdust
-contemporary sawdust
-Lord Byron, himself!
-Sea creatures in precarious situations (especially seahorses, starfish, Jellyfish & Narwalls)
-falconry (a noble, ancient art)
-outer reaches of outer space

Good luck, if you run out/need more, email me – Christopher

This was so cool.  I wish more people were this forthcoming with notes at shows about “Falconry, a noble and ancient art” (probably my favorite one)… I mean, have you ever done this?  I certainly haven’t, and I really appreciated it.  The other day in the car, with my new uke and a road trip a head of me, I started singing, “Sea creatures in perilous situations”.  I didn’t have the list with me so I thought it was “perilous” not “precarious”, and I recorded the vocals before I got home to check the list. But I think it works well as it afforded me the opportunity to use SYNTHETIC STRINGS FROM GARAGE BAND…. YESSSSS!  As a string player, nothing beats synth strings.  NOTHING.  So, curl up with your favorite used copy of Moby Dick and some popcorn shrimp from Popeye’s and push play.  You deserve it.

Writing: Jonathan, my lovely companion, was very helpful with the writing on this song.  He suggested I relate the perilous situation to something random… like love?!  So, I blame that “random” perilous situation choice on him.  But, I would struggle with a line and he’d shout out something super weird from the couch like “mollusks in public fornication”.  Also, did you know that extroversion means the act, state, or habit of being predominantly concerned with and obtaining gratification from what is outside the self. This will come in handy later I think.  I also wanted to use at least one scientific animal name in this song, so I used the name for sting rays: Dasyatidae.

There is another aspect of this song.  I love the sea.  I love the sea.  I wanted to be a marine biologist for a really long time.  When I was little, my family would road trip to the Oregon coast every summer for a week or so.  We’d go see the glass blowers, fly kites, and stand in the rain.  It would rain and rain.  I love the rain.  One cloudy day we were on the beach.  I was flying a kite and running backwards.  Not paying attention, I ran backwards right into a huge boulder covered with BARNACLES and slid down it.  Wearing shorts, this caused, as you can imagine, some pretty nasty cuts down the back of my legs.  Ever since then I’ve had this totally weird, weird, weird fear of little things clumped together.  This is a real fear!  It has been only in the past few years that I have run into other people with this same fear, which makes me feel a little less strange.  The thing about the fear for me is that it doesn’t apply to every single little thing clumped together like raisins, peas or stuff like that… but stuff like: spores on the back of fern leaves, clumps of warts (ahh!!!), ant piles, ahhh… I can’t list them anymore… but you can google this: trypophobia. I attempted to google it for you and link it but couldn’t deal with it.  Needless to say, barnacles are at the height of intensity in this song!  Funny enough, though they totally freak me out, if I see barnacles in person, they are so fascinating, and I can’t look away and end up grossed out but staring at them.  I tried to get you a picture but, again, wussed out… so, there you go.

Recording: I think sound effects are pretty awesome, though I wish I had actual field recordings to use, garageband will have to suffice.  Everything was tracked separately.  I recorded everything from Sam Stolpe’s apartment yesterday morning (see song no. 43 The Wreck of the Hesperus), got home, felt totally dizzy from sleep deprivation and totally knocked out, so this morning cleaned everything up and have added, synth strings, organ and THUNDER!  And TOTALLY messed up and said “Behoveth” instead of “Behemoth” on the lower voice… sigh… oh well.  You do a few songs about the bible and it infiltrates everything else…

May your Sea Creatures remain safe this morning…


Sea Creatures in Perilous Situations

Sea creatures in perilous situations
Sea creatures in perilous situations
Like love is
A lot like love is
Sea creatures in perilous situations
Sweaty Sea snakes in compromising positions
Giant mollusks in public fornication
Like love is
A lot like love is
Pretty mermaids and their topless salutations
Tiny Lobsters in scandalous conversations
Cagey Clownfish with insidious affectations
Like love is
A lot like love is
Narwhals delighting in extroversion
Dasyatidae!  Dasyatidae!
Monstrous Barnacles!
Behemoth barnacles!
Sea creatures in perilous situations

44. Ohio (G. Capecelatro)

Guy Capecelatro III. I sure do like you.

I recorded these loops I created for Guy when I was visiting Portsmouth, New Hampshire in mid-January, and he sent me the result of the collaboration today.  I love it, and I hope you do, too.

“It is tonight that I remain thoughtful about the future, as my past has been reflected back at me suddenly if not even a little sadly.” -A.E.H.

Ohio –

Guy Capecelatro (producer, engineer, vocals, everything) EHP: cello loop

I like saying the word Ohio she said
Ohio Ohio Ohio
I just don’t’ think I could live here
The light was just getting witchy
As the sun dangled barely above the line of trees
That speckled the horizon
It won’t be long he said
Head resting on the headrest
We just need to get her healthy again
Stay with me

43. The Wreck of the Hesperus


Samuel Stolpe is a wonderful, old friend from Utah who is now living with his beautiful wife in DC.  I consider Sam a person in my life who has helped me cause a little bit of a stir when it comes to intelligent thinking and speaking, meaning he’s such a thoughtful person and incredibly intelligent, but, also, he is the person who introduced me to Jonny Greenwood of Radiohead; I’ve been hooked ever since.  Sam has collaborated on a song with me today.

The Wreck of the Hesperus

Boat, boat, boat sunk my boat sunk it
Deep, deep, deep couldn’t find it, couldn’t find it
Look, look, love love I’m tempted, love I’m tempted.
You, you, you will know, but you will know me
Float, float, float open sea with no direction
Sleep, sleep we will sleep for now and come back smiling
Leave, leave, leave you in the morning bleakness
Gone, gone my boat the sea did swallow
Oh love, I will call you brother then
And when all our wills have brought us bread, we’ll spend it, spend it
To this broken house you’ll bring me home
Make divided, lo, a place that we called whole
Walk, walk, walk all the soldiers to the river
Push, push them to surrender, they’ll surrender
Gone, gone their eyes, gone their eyes forever
Tie, tie their hands, their feet with feathers
Oh, see (the sea)
Boat, boat, boat sunk my boat, sunk it
Deep, deep, deep couldn’t find it, couldn’t find it
Look, look, Love, Love I’m tempted, Love I’m tempted.
You, you, you, you will know, but you will know me

Writing:  Sometimes not thinking can be the best way to get things out and not get bogged down.  It was late when we started this, and I was exhausted.  Pretty much the only initially conscious thing I did with these lyrics was decide on using repetition.  I love repetition: it’s interesting and can be powerful, though I’m not sure how it comes across here yet.

On an interpretive note:  Though Sam sent me a rough track of this guitar part a while ago, I didn’t have time to look over it and work on lyrics or a melody, so, as I mentioned, we did it all tonight.  I wrote the lyrics very quickly, while nearly falling asleep, too, so I feel they were a little stream of consciousness, admittedly.

(I always thought songwriters wrote every single word as they went with purpose and with deep intention as they created.  Maybe the “good” writers do, but this isn’t to say I wrote this carelessly and without meaning or direction.  Many times I find my songs need to be completed first and then their intention takes shape afterwards (Gloria – day 3 – was formed in this same way whereas no. 23, Z for Zacharia, was the total opposite of this – the story was shaped as we went).  My subconscious surely had a hand in what was going on by me shutting off the judgements of my conscious mind.  Every song for me has a deliberateness all its own that might come at different times.  Personally, songwriting is more than the beauty of the timbre of the instruments, but the timbres of the words I’m choosing and how they create a rhythm and a color sonically, too.  One other point: these songs, particularly this one, are written in such a short time frame, they don’t go through an editing and perfecting process again and again over weeks or months, though I might do in the future.  I think of it as that extended project I’m writing for my AP English class or something: learning as I create to produce at a higher quality within less time.)

We had to add one line to the chorus, so I had Sam read it to decipher what going on.  It was uncanny what he pulled from it without any prompting from me at all, as I have recently been very thoughtful over these very theories with which he concluded.  I have asked him to say a little bit about his experience writing this song:

Sam Stolpe:

Emily and I started working on this a while back via the godsend iphone must-have app four-track.  She pulled together the rest of the song with the lyrics here in D.C., which felt so perfect with the mood I was trying for with the guitar… it reminds me of the idea that our experience is fundamentally unshareable, as close as someone else might desire to be, it’s impossible to really fully connect.  Not that this is intended as some kind of ode to solipsism; I like to think that there are connections that we don’t realize.

Did you ever see that old Ingmar Bergman movie Through a Glass, Darkly?  This song reminds me of it… “For now we see through a glass darkly, but then face: now I know in part; but then shall I know even as also I am known.” 1 Cor. 13:12

These lyrics have communicated, at least to Sam and me, the idea that relationships with people, though some may be connections of a varied kind, in reality, are still just individual experiences.

(In an attempted explanation of his theory: most of the deeper aspects of connections with people occur without our conscious minds being aware they are happening which suggests we are totally independent from other people, not actually needing the validation we think we need; that it’s not other people that are creating our need for closeness: it’s us.  What if we got rid of this need and simply experienced other people for who they really are, not what we need them to be for us?  This “glass darkly” idea- like when you look through a window at night with the lights off as opposed to the lights on: you don’t see your own reflection but what is truly beyond the glass.)

Sam and I talked for a long time after finishing the song about feeling the want to be “needed” and “appreciated” within a connection with another person and that connection is only a reflection of our own self; in a basic sense: selfishness.  It is an exercise of “being awake” that is most valuable, we concluded, and that will help us see beyond the reflection of ourselves we so often put onto others and help us truly see, without bias, insecurity, selfishness, or judgement the person to whom we are communicating.  We also addressed the idea of “recognition”- meeting someone for the first time and it’s like you’ve known them before.  It’s all very interesting and frustrating at the  same time… it’s also a bit difficult to describe all we talked about here, but it gives you a general over-view.  It was wonderful and amazingly appropriate timing.

Recording: Sam played guitar and wrote all the music.  I wrote lyrics and melody (though Sam helped with chorus!)  We recorded guitar and vocals simultaneously.   I love recording songs like this!  I would say that if I’m going to record and write these in one day, I want to have myself start thinking about the way I’m singing things and planning phrasing out more deliberately.  I would have liked to have a few tiny things in the vocals change and disappear stylistically in this song in particular.  (This is just me being picky.)   I will be more conscious about this just as an exercise in consciousness.

I hope your Valentine’s Day has been very restful…It is 2:41 am, and I sometimes type these in near pass-out tiredness, so typos are everywhere and often!  But more importantly, I’m so glad you listen and come here.  Thank you!

42. I Don’t Want To Be Alone Tonight – A Valentine’s Mantra For a Lonely Gambling Man (Pearl and the Beard)



My dad surprised my mom with an early 20 foot Valentine in the snow. It says "I love u Lowie, Pooh".

Pearl and the Beard got together the other day for a rehearsal and wrote a very special Valentine’s Day song.  It is in A-B-B rhyme scheme.  Jocelyn is playing the spoons.  Jeremy is playing the guitar.  Emily is playing the cello.

Please tell someone you love that you love them today.

You are not alone.

I love you.

All the time.

(And you know who you are.)

I Don’t Want To Be Alone Tonight-

A Valentine’s Mantra For A Lonely Gambling Man

(Pearl and the Beard)

I don’t want to be alone tonight
Fourteen miles on down to Omaha
Thirteen nights I’ve starved for your delight
Dozen times I’ve thought of you tonight
Snake eye’d boots I’m here to roll the die
Ten on black and throw my money down
Nine more lives, I’m burning through this town
I don’t want to be alone tonight
Seven numbers can I call you love?
Half a dozen scenes I’m dreaming of
High 5, High 5, High 5 – Tonight’s the night
Four, four, four down on the floor
Three’s not a crowd
Two, Two I feel it, too.
I don’t want to be alone tonight