89. At the Paunsaugunt


Good morning 2:37 am, how are you?

It is so late, I have yet to sleep, I have a show coming up, and I’m performing on the radio at 9 am (KRCL in Salt Lake City) in a few hours… all of these really good justifications for staying up until 3 and posting for the 365.  I’ve felt I’ve been a bit out of it lately, especially for the 365, so I feel I need to apologize mainly to my past self that expected more, perhaps a bit unrealistically, of the present-future EHP.

All self-depreciating comments aside, I have written a quick song tonight (this morning) which I’m considering playing live on the radio today… though I can totally already tell I might chicken out.  The chances of me waking up at 7 am to remember what I had done at 2:30 am are slim, but I might try it.  Ever try singing at 9 am?  We’ll see.

Jonathan is helping me put together all the CDs for the shows.  I hand make all the CDs I sell, so it’s very time-consuming.  He’s exhausted, but still going, and I am here typing.

Writing: The purpose of this was interesting for me.  I very often, and almost always, let the melody dictate the lyrics.  I’ve noticed recently songwriters and composers who let the words dictate the melody.  I have actually recorded cello parts for quite a few of these kinds of writers and, I’m telling you, these are hard songs to catch onto right away for me.  They follow unpredictable line patterns because they aren’t obeying the written melody but the written word.  It’s fascinating what these kinds of changes can do to the melody itself.  I think I have done such a thing, but never consciously.  That’s what today’s song is: a conscious exercise in allowing the words to take a more prominent role in deciding where the melody goes.  I had two of my lyric note books in front of me.  The first half of this song was written in a few seconds right before I recorded and the second half (the soldier part) was a section out of one of my older note books I have brought with me.  I recommend to everyone, regardless of your profession, to have a blank (or lined) notebook in your possession at all times.  You just never know: grocery list, a letter to your grandma, or you might run into me without a piece of paper.

And Paunsaugunt… well, the word I had been stuck on was fascination (speaking of: Fascination Street by The Cure: get it, listen to it, love it.).  I turned to Jonathan and said, “First word that comes to you right now…”.  That word was Paunsaugunt.  I had to ask him what he was saying five times before figured out he wasn’t saying: “Hauns is compt”.  Read about the Paunsaugunt Plateau.  I owe Jonathan a million different really cool words that are in my songs.  He’s a fount of weird and random information.

I referenced this image in the opening line and in the crow line.  I took this when we were in Bryce Canyon for Jonathan’s father’s funeral.

Bryce Canyon

Yet again, tuned the baritone uke all weird.  The strumming pattern I tried was a conscious idea in thinking about Elliot Smith’s busy guitar style.  If you haven’t heard of him, you really should.  Though he is not longer with us, he continues to inspire many.

Recording:  We are staying with dear friends while we are here.  They have two lovely kids who are sleeping down the hall, so I had to be much quieter than I probably would have been, but I think it works.  I also had to use a cloths hamper for a mic stand: I also think this helped… how could it hurt, right?

At the Paunsaugunt

At the Paunsaugunt she waits until she’s underneath
And the crows with feet and nails in cracks will circle round
Took the time to stop and see the face she’ll recognize
And they will breathe together
Should it be that I don’t find you send the soldiers out
In all honesty will I surrender
And I’ll have you home, you will never tender
And collide
In my dream I saw the river flooding, on the ride
As the owl is sick and rising high
And she’s gone, and she’s gone as they go
At the Paunsaugunt she waits until she’s underneath

5 thoughts on “89. At the Paunsaugunt

  1. Emily, I was introduced to your beautiful voice on KRCL friday morning. I loved the song “More Easy Than Good or Jesus Saves”. I realy wanted to see your weekend shows here in SLC, but had to work. Any SLC shows in near future? I think you are a rare talent! I haven’t been as struck by any musical artists since I firt Tim Buckley. If you are familiar with his songs would you ever concider covering any of them? He also was such a rare talent, and I bet you’d per form his songs beautifully! Big Thanks!

  2. Hi, I heard you this morning play Gloria on the radio and thought you said you were playing in slc on sat night… but I can’t remember where at ;(

    you’re performance was amazing btw, please post somthing about where you will be playing!

  3. What a beautiful song! I hope you did sing it on the radio. Emily – you… how do I say it? You are amazing. Thank you.


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