102. Drowning The Hyrdodome


Instruments used in this song:

1. Toy Organ: I bought this on ebay for way too much.  I thought it was going to be something it wasn’t which led me to neglect it for over a year.  I keep meaning to find a purpose for it.  It’s really cool, but very specific in its sound, so I’ve had trouble really introducing myself to it.  It also has an extremely loud fan which you can hear switch on and off.

2. Paper I: A crisp white piece of paper with some lyrics on it that I crumpled up a few times throughout the song. As it got closer to the end of the song, I ripped it up into strips, crumpled them up and let them fall to the floor.

3. Paper II: A crisp white piece of paper with the word “Lyrics” written in the middle of it.  I ripped this into strips in the very beginning and crumpled the strips up throughout the length of the piece.

4. Vocal I: I don’t really find echo effects that interesting, but for today’s purposes, why not?  This is a humming vocal line.

5. Vocal II: Narrator.  I chose only narration for Vocal II to read, not character speaking lines.  The words are taken from “Tom Swift and His Deep-Sea Hydrodome” by Victor Appleton II.  I have started swimming 4 days a week mainly because I would like to be a mermaid.  Mermaids need to know how to swim well.  By the time I start on my second lap of the breaststroke, I feel like I’m just dunking to drown myself.  I’d much rather just spend the entire time completely submersed underwater just swimming around instead of hearing this in my ears, “Splash-gasp-dunk-splash-gasp-dunk-gasp…” over and over again.  All sound is consistently distorted and suffocated.  It’s the same when I’m doing freestyle.  I really like swimming, but it’s almost more aurally repetitive than running (“slap-slap-breathe…. slap-slap-breathe…”).  Did you know they make mp3 players and headphones you can swim with!?  I should really save up and invest in something like that.

There was very little preparation in finding a voice I was happy with and you will notice that the quality changes from beginning to end.  I like how it opens, but it’s hard to maintain that kind of voice when I didn’t have a specific idea in the first place.  I just wanted to try something different today.

I am trying to free my mind melodically and sonically.  Songs or pieces like this become a way of exercising and finding new sounds I can use later…

What I learned: The Organ isn’t bad.  The paper effects gave me some ideas I wouldn’t have thought of before… I will be using some of these new ideas in the future… (Like: the sound stickers make, etc.)

Drowning The Hydrodome

101. Heart ‘N’ Soul (Señors of Marseille)



♥ The Wednesday Morning Commercial Break ♥

Graham, Vlad, and Matt

So, I live in New York City.  I often mention how many awesome people I meet, and this happens to be yet another installment of “Awesome People Emily Meets”.  I met The Señors of Marseille at a Pearl and the Beard show a few years ago.  Graham Bishop and Matt Swope were playing at a bar with us called Coco 66.  After we played, Graham walks on stage with a huge (and I mean HUGE) bottle of Champagne and proceeds to toast to his mother and sister (who were in attendance in the audience).  They play an awesome show, if you can catch them.   When I met them, they were a duo, but it wasn’t long until they added Vlad on drums… Shows are always entertaining AND you can download their entire new album for FREE for a few days here...www.thesenorsofmarseille.bandcamp.com

I have done some cello stuff for some of their songs before… so, I thought, since it’s a Wednesday, it’s day 101, and taxes are due tomorrow, I would post a collaboration we did together a while ago while I’m working on a few new songs today.  This doesn’t totally count as a 365 because I recorded this with them last year (in their apartment), but it is a collaboration so it counts as half a 365 (whatever that means…).  My plan is to post a legit song again today for the 365, but I kinda want you to hear these guys because they’re great musicians, they have a unique sound, and they’re really great people.

Here you go.

Heart ‘N’ Soul

100. Death and Taxes (Nothing More Certain)



I started doing my taxes at 7:30 am today.  I finished them at 4 pm.  Something you might want to note is that I’m in a slump.  Songwriters go through these things, however, but we don’t really see or experience them as a listener.   Through this project, you get to hear it.

It’s okay.  Really.

I wasn’t okay with it when I first realized it was happening, but I have to be okay with it now.  I wonder if it’s because a lot has happened recently to distract me, and certainly crunching numbers all day doesn’t help to create and post a song today.  Nonetheless, here is my labored song..

Writing: Jonathan is such a help to me.  We sat in front of the computer (you should know I was complaining the whole time about how I couldn’t think of anything to do or say…) and he pulled out a bunch of different ideas that might get me going: a strangely awesome book called “Tom Swift Jr.: Tom Swift and His Deep-Sea Hydrodome”.  The captions for the illustrations are hilarious: “The intruder dealt the repelatron a smashing blow, then whirled around and attacked Tom.”  After some messing around we moved onto the “Bon Iver” method.  I have no real confirmed reason to call this method thus, though I believe I did read somewhere that Bon Iver has written this way: mumble and have someone (or yourself) write down what they (you) think you’re saying.  So, that’s what Jonathan did.  He has a good ear for what people might be saying (most of the time it’s totally random and weird like in ACDC’s song Dirty Deeds, he always sings it as, “Dirty Deeds and the Thunder Cheeks” instead of “Dirty deeds and they’re done dirt cheap”.)

The uke part itself is pretty improvisational… though I wish I had prepared myself better… in improvised instrumental part means the melody is pretty much improvised, too.  It’s a good and bad exercise…

I was quite frustrated with the instrumentation… accordion? Cello? Baritone Uke?! Ahh!! NOTHING.  In the end, I just sat with whatever was in my hand.  I don’t mind the words, but I purposely distanced myself from a melody requirement.  The pressure was off because I’m so late and became so judgemental and critical.

I didn’t end up really getting into the writing mood (at any rate) until Jonathan left the room to take a nap (he noted this out loud to me as he was drifting off in the next room…).  That says something for sure… can you write with someone else sitting right next to you?

Recording: Several versions of different kind of songs were done with different instruments.  This is the last recording of the last instrument I tried.

What I learned/things to ponder: Patience. Procrastination doesn’t help anything, even if you’re doing taxes.  Focus matters.  How do I get focus back on the task at hand when I’m so far from it?

Personal Side Note: A huge surprise came knocking at my door today… some dear, loving and supportive friends sent me flowers on my one-hundredth day of the 365.  I couldn’t have felt any cooler (and admittedly undeserving) of such an incredible surprise…Thank you Melanie and Jason!

Death and Taxes (Nothing More Certain)

It’s the kind of kid that takes it, water in my eyes I floated to the top
I picked up what I can’t buy here, put them in a dog hole, she’s going down, she’s going down
Oh, she’s in my head, Oh, she’s in my head
There’s nothing more certain than death and taxes, Neighbor sat for the whole show
I said it’s nothing, I said it’s nothing who can know?  You’re the guard.  It’s sentinel got down in seven-hundred
One hundred times the pace, and we will march it, here we go.

99. I Got Permission (Mr. Patrick)


Yesterday I talked about Master Lee and Mr. Rick Patrick.  Today’s song involves something very awesome.

There is a huge cathedral here in New York called St. John the Divine.  Mr. Patrick pulled some strings so we were able to get the proper permission to perform and record in this awesome place.  We wound our way around the out side of the cathedral and entered in the side door.  I had been to the cathedral only once before and had totally forgotten how huge this place is.  (St. John’s can hold 15,000 people.)  I was instantly anxious.  Even though we had permission to be there, what if someone tried to throw us out?  I thought we would just play in one of the side rooms (which are also very beautiful), but Mr. Patrick walked right up to the center section (pictured here in a photo I found online):

We unfortunately didn't get a picture of us performing (though some eager tourists did). We played right here!

We were approached three times and asked if we had permission to play here, to which Mr. Patrick calmly replied, “We received permission to be here from…”  And they left us alone though advised us to make it fast.  Though we had limited time (less than a few minutes), I really think we captured something really awesome.  I felt like we were stealth bombers.  We set up everything very quickly and pushed record.  The space was beautiful and the added energy helped in the improvisation, I think.  I stood about six feet behind and to the right of Mr. Patrick while we recorded.

About the performance:

Mr. Patrick has been telling stories for years and years and has also been studying guzheng for some time now.  He brought his guzheng to St. John’s, and we improvised this piece for the 365.  I hope you enjoy it, as it has brought us much happiness.  What a cool opportunity for me to play and record in this space.  Thanks, Mr. Patrick!

I Got Permission

98. Suite (Master Lee)


When I came to New York to come to school, I expected my life to be nothing extremely different from what it had been anywhere else.  Sure, I’d meet new people and experience new things, but I really wasn’t prepared for the kind of people I would meet in New York City.  The second I walked into the Sidewalk Cafe for the first time in January 2008, I introduced myself into a life of people and music that is so colorful and so full of richness that there are times when I really don’t believe it could exist.  I met Mr. Rick Patrick and Master Lee at Sidewalk Cafe in those early winter months of 2008.  They really are honest men, fascinating storytellers, musicians, and all around good people.

Yesterday, I dropped by Mr. Patrick’s house and did a bit of recording with storyteller (also a juggler, comedian, musician) Master Lee.  I met him some time ago through Mr. Patrick (a musician and storyteller who will appear in a collaboration tomorrow).  We set up the mic in Mr. Patrick’s beautiful Harlem home, played around with the positioning and recorded it about 4 times before we really felt like it was finished.  I played the cello standing next to Master Lee (I found myself wishing I was sitting as I forget playing classically comes with needing more balance than what I play now…).  There are sections of Bach Suite Preludes and improvisation as well.

Master Lee and Mr. Patrick perform everywhere.  Not only do they perform, but they started a monthly storytelling event called Talkingstick.  (They have been in the New York Times as well…)  Talking Stick takes place in the Rubin Museum of Art.  The Rubin Museum of Art is a nonprofit cultural and educational institution dedicated to the art of the Himalayas.  I’m including a video link to number 98 of the Talking Stick here: http://blip.tv/file/1310511/ Talking Stick is a wonderful way of fusing art and music, and I would encourage those of you in town to attend!

About Talkingstick, in their own words:

Talkingstick was founded to give the truth a safe place to be told. We speak to universal truths by telling deeply personal stories, stories that changed our lives. We have learned there are guidelines to help us achieve this goal. They are:
– Tell the truth
– Speak from the heart
– Go deeper
– Mix the tribes
Speakers include storytellers, poets, comedians, writers and musicians. We’ve been to the Friends Meeting House, Tibet House, St. Mark’s Church, Bowery Poetry Club, Rubin Museum of Art, the Cathedral of St. John the Divine and Taliesin Spring Green. Talkingstick events float between locations because these truths belong to us all.

Master Lee and Mr. Patrick are fascinating people.  I am honored to present you with a 365 installment from each of them for the next two days.


96. Girls and Boys (The Electric Cello Study)


Almost day one hundred.

Typed in "mega band" into google image. Awesome!!!

I was listening to the radio yesterday and they played Dave Matthews Band.  It made me think about the Mega Band. Now, I consider a Mega Band huge; a Mega Band is a band that will go down in history as being powerful and known to most of the general public.  Who are Mega Bands, you might ask?  Well, since I’m typing, these will be subject to opinion obviously:

Mega Bands might include:

The Beatles

The Rolling Stones



Led Zepplin

You get the picture…There’s really no criteria other than the general populous recognizing a band’s name.  As I was listing “greats” in my mind, I had a discussion with some people about who they thought were “Mega Bands”.  We then tried, using our shady criteria, to list “Mega Bands” who had females; either all female bands or female leads of some kind.  We discussed the Yeah, Yeah, Yeahs (Karen O.), but do they fall under the “this band will go down in history as all time Mega” category?  In any case, I had a hard time thinking up a Mega Band fronted by a female.  Heart?  Heart is fronted by Ann Wilson (with guitar by Nancy Wilson).  Not only are they two super hot rock and or roll chicks, but they kick Mega Band ass.  However, would you consider Heart a Mega Band?  It’s hard to say because what is one person’s Mega is another person’s Micro.  (I grew up on Heart, so they’re pretty Mega to me: Barrraacccuuuudddaa!!!!)

We addressed the topic of Solo Mega’s, too.  Bruce Springsteen, Prince…ummm…?  Then we talked about female Megas:  Is Bjork Mega?  She’s a girl.  Barbra Streisand?  She’s a girl, too.  Why not throw in Madonna (she’s pretty certifiably Mega, actually.)  I can find more women who fall under the general category of Solo Mega.  Why’s that?

Now, I understand this all depends on your definition of Mega.  More specific criteria to judge might be:

1. Longevity: how long has the band been around?  Where would Nirvana have gone if Kurt was still here?

2. Hotness of the Mega: How hot is or was your Mega?

3. How well has your Mega aged?  Do they just look like old version of their former self or a shrunken head?

4. How many Christmas albums has your Mega released?  This qualification is very important, so please count carefully.

I could go on, but I digress…

Anyway, I watched the documentary It Might Get Loud today over lunch. It’s great and entertaining, and CRUSH on Jack White.  This made me think again about the Mega Band concept.  Why were these three guitarists chosen of every guitarist available? (Other than the fact that Jimmy Page was the associate producer…)

The song today is from a bit I did all about experimenting with distortion. I have  tiny practice amp that has a single distortion knob on it.  I rarely use it, but I turned it all the way up today.  It is recorded live.  This is a smaller end-section of a larger whole that I recorded today.  It was done in one take and live.

I played a Pearl and the Beard show last night and met some very nice gentlemen who let me borrow their pedals: an octave pedal!  I’ve decided I’m going to get one.  It’s awesome. In the wake of feeling very rock and roll, three songs until the end of our set, my C string burst right in half.  I thought instantly, (literally: instantly) of violinist Itzhak Perlman.  My grandmother loves to tell me the story of how he was playing a solo concert and broke a string (or all of his strings or something or other) and played the rest of the concert on his one remaining string… that story has yet to be completely confirmed, but I’m not doubting he could do it: the guys a genius.  Well, considering that the string I broke was my lowest (C string), it made it difficult to think that solution would be possible, let alone effective.  So, I just tuned my remaining strings down a 5th (making my next highest string, my G string a C.)  It was sketchy, but I think it worked.  I felt really rock and roll.  Yessss!

Lesson learned: Be your own Mega and have a great day.

Girls And Boys

95. Hai Neinish kirnin Aritch (Language study!)


Good day.  I am preparing myself to move… It’s time, I think.  I don’t know where I’m going, but I hope it will be somewhere close!  I will keep you updated.

Today’s song is a study in language as I have yet to really study this aspect.  I took French in high school and the first year of college.  I never got really proficient at it, unfortunately.  I think it’s a beautiful language.  Since then, I learned one sentence in German (“Storage room key, please”) and a few words in Spanish (that I can’t even remember right now.)

Ever heard of Sigur Ros?  It’s fascinating to me that this group has become so well known throughout the who world but doesn’t write in English (though there are hundreds of examples of well-known bands who don’t sing in english).  See for yourself: http://www.sigur-ros.co.uk They write and perform unbelievable music.  I hope you like them, if not love them.

Writing/Recording: So, today, I have written a song about little boy and a huge wrecking ball sung in anti-english.  I based the tune from a few very ghostly memories of some Armenian, Romanian and French folk songs I’ve heard in my time here on this earth.  The sound you hear at the beginning is played with my cello bow scraping up and down the strings and then plucked later on.  It was a live and very quick recording since I wanted it to feel more like a traditional folk song I picked up from my great grandmother or something…

I had a good time composing this one: it was fairly quick after a few frustrating attempts at something else. I made a melody mistake towards the end, but the jump was confusing and difficult with the lyrics being so acrobatic.  I think it gives it character.

Songwriting is a form of fantasy: Do I really speak a language or am I just wishing I did so bad that I actually can speak one in the context of a fantasy world?  What is a language anyway?  If you’re the only one who speaks it, is it still a language?  Or does a language have to be written down for it to qualify?  I have two examples: Jorane (who I think I’ve talked about before). If you don’t know her, you do now.  She is a French-Canadian cellist who decided, at a relatively older age, to pick up the cello.  She practiced and practiced and started singing at the same time.  She’s now Canadian’s version of a cello-playing Tori Amos.  She’s the only one who has been able to play arco (with the bow) solo and sing at the same time and convince me it can work.   It makes me want to do it, but I’m also convinced it just won’t work for me.  You can hear and see what I’m talking about in this video of her song Ineffable.  She makes words and sounds up when she sings.  (This song’s also entertaining: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DjZr-SMy8Kw&feature=related

My other example is a friend of mine who created an entire language on he can speak and wrote his entire life history in words only he can decipher.  I have mixed thoughts about this aspect of it, but I felt it was quite genius of him.

Because I am preparing to move, I am doing a lot of cleaning and throwing away.  It’s hard to let things go, but I must get to it or it will get too late.  Pearl and the Beard have a show tonight, and I think I would like a Bubble Tea: if you don’t know what these are, introduce yourself.  It’s like gummy balls in the bottom of your favorite shake.  It’s so good, it’s almost gross.

Hai Neinish kirnin Aritch

94. I’ve Come to a Stopping Point (Improvisation No. 3)


HOLY MOLY!  WEBSTER HALL DEBUT SHOW TONIGHT AT 7:30 PM!  (And it’s five bucks. That’s gross awesome.)

I should thank my lucky stars that this is only (formally) improvisation number three, when I’ve had many occasions to do many more than that.

Someone noted the other day that I don’t really have a huge amount of new loop songs.  This is true partially because I find the loop pedal a bit limiting.  Without proper equipment, you’re obligated to stick to the line you created in the very beginning unless you’re sneaky or not-so-sneaky.  I had been tuned down for a different new acoustic song I was working on and decided to include a loop song today for the 365.  This is recorded live (obviously: as you hear human coughing and dog breathing throughout).  I generally don’t go back and critique any improvisations I do, which is a shame mainly because I can learn a lot of things I can improve or change.  In this case, this particular improvisation isn’t particularly graceful, but I took tiny risks vocally I think.  Didn’t over think anything.  I’ve decided to be braver and attempt to post it without hesitation.  I will do it here, feeling like I’m exposing too much of the muck I normally wade through and cast aside in order to post.  But, the more I create, the more I appreciate pieces I hesitate to show you.  It’s a way of exploring different insecurities: Why don’t I want to post something I feel is sub-par?  Why don’t artists put demos on their CDs?  There are many reasons, I’m sure, but I would wonder if one of them is to keep you, the listener, from questioning the artists’ ability or skill.  That’s why we put forth our best face or sound, as the case may be.  Someone said it this way, I’ve mentioned this before: There are going to be 365 songs.  Ten of these pieces might be formal CD worthy.  The rest?  Trials, bad days, uninspired days, unappreciated gems even, etc., etc.  I’m just showing you everything before it even hits the ground running.  I have days where I question my decision to do it this way.  But I’ll trod on.

Hope you are well today.

I’ve Come to a Stopping Point

93. Ode To Delta No. 2 (or Delta, Delta, Delta)


This has been quite a day.  I will just paraphrase for you:

  • Woke up at 6:30 am.
  • Ran to airport to arrive there at 7:30
  • Rushed to our plane at 8:30
  • Gate checked my cello
  • Sat on the plane for an hour to de-ice
  • Watched It’s Complicated with Alec Baldwin and Meryl Streep (not at their best, mind you. I regret I had earphones on me.)
  • Also watched 2 episodes of Jason Schwartzman’s HBO series Bored to Death.  (Was glad I had earphones on me.  It’s silly stupid, and I liked it.)
  • Landed at 3:30 and sat on the plane for an hour in a line of other planes.
  • Learned that, without surprise, they took my cello to baggage claim despite having a pink “gate check” tag on it.  The whole point of gate checking my cello and expecting it back at the gate upon arrival is to save me and them a lot of hassle, but they get all ornery about strollers vs. instruments and often take it to baggage claim anyway.
  • Found my cello disappeared somewhere between the plane and baggage claim and spent three hours in Delta’s lost luggage department seconds away from tears or a heart attack as they continued to tell me they had lost it and didn’t know where, not only my cello, but all of the oversized baggage had been taken.

I also learned, while waiting, that they had put the oversized baggage on the carousel and it had jammed somehow.  The jam had caused the delay.  Now, imagine Emily Hope imagining her cello the cause of the jam, and it being crushed and pulverized, despite her cello encased in blankets, clothes, and Karen Poleshuck’s awesomely strong cello case.  Panic increases.

Three hours later they wheel my cello out, in fine condition, apologizing and telling me they will give me more mileage for my trouble.  I’d rather just be guaranteed a free cello seat every single time I fly, but our relationship hasn’t reached that stage of intimacy, obviously.


I attempted to post a song this morning but with all the running about, I find that I had to wait until now to post the song for the day.  I simply had to forego my original plan and write an Ode to Delta, since, on my trip to and from Utah, they were so wonderful as to lose my cello TWICE.

There is an omnichord in this song.

There are three Emily vocals in this song.

Jonathan is singing very quietly in the kitchen while he makes us our first meal of the day: at 7:14 pm.

Ode To Delta No. 2 (or Delta, Delta, Delta)

Delta delta delta
Can I help you help you help you
Once is twice as nice to lose
The things that mean nothing to me
But twice is twice as nice
And I’m so glad to be the reaper
Won the card and played the game and
Now I’m three times as thankful so
Delta delta delta
Can I help you help you help you
Delta delta delta
Can I help you help you help you
Love, I love you
Love, I love you
Ease, it’s easy
It’s easy to love you sooo
Delta delta delta
Can I help you help you help you
(whisper: Delta, I love you)

92. All The Good (Or When You’re in a Buick) – Julia Mecham


Julia Mecham

Julia Mecham is a dear friend and a great songwriter.  She is a particularly amazing guitarist as well.  I’ve known her for a long time, and, in fact, she has been part of the 365 already as an example of an ode.  We did an interesting exercise last night for a new 365 song.  Coming home from visiting with friends, I stopped by Julia’s apartment to write.  She has roommates and it was already 11 pm.  Waking roommates the day before an early class might not have been such a friendly idea, so I invited her into our borrowed tan 2002 Buick Royal to write a song.  She sat in the back, I sat in the front, and Jonathan was in the driver’s seat (such a patient man).  It became our little universe of non-judgmental song-writing.

The Exercise

  1. The car is a totally different world from where we just came: it is a peaceful, perfect, ego and insecurity-free zone.  School and work don’t exist in the car.  There is only you, us, and me.
  2. We each alternate in writing a line.
  3. When singing the song, we sing the other person’s line.

Writing: We started writing this song at almost exactly 11 pm and finished at almost exactly 12 am.  After alternating writing lines back and forth, passing the computer around each time, we found we had to do a bit of juggling with them, so they aren’t necessarily in written order, but it might make it a little interesting for you to guess who wrote what.

Julia played the uke in a guitar tuning (top 4 strings).  We spoke casually about the meter, but I wanted Julia to come up with something organically and then I’d base the melody from what she created.  (Yes, I consciously borrowed a piece of this song for the opening line melody.  Subtle, yes.  Admittedly, there’s a little bit of Mr. Mischievous, too.  If you can’t steal from yourself, what good are you?)  I woke up early this morning and put a quick bass line with cello on it, but lost the time to do anything more.  I’m late in posting because I couldn’t find internet (what an excuse!).  This is a draft, obviously, but I think this has potential to be an interesting song, at the very least a great memory in a tan Buick Sedan.

Recording: Yep. In the car. It was a little awkward, but it worked. I must also comment on the fact that writing and recording in a strange and unfamiliar space helps a lot in the creative process.  It reminds me of the song I did with Lady Lamb in a cemetery in Portsmouth, New Hampshire back in January.  Such a memory as well!

All The Good (Or When You’re in a Buick)

The north wind’s on your breath again
I can taste the dirt on heels of hands
Spit it out with the tip of your tongue
Your spare tire I will be
Tens on tens of revolutions
Made all of glass and man-made parts
Please, oh please, I’ve lost all the good
Leave, oh leave, never thought you would.
A soul of cellophane taken in the wind
Will lose its way but find it again
Someday standing on the shoulders of gray.
Please, oh please, I’ve lost all the good
Leave, oh leave, never thought you would.
Please, oh please, I’ve lost all the good
Leave, oh leave, never thought you would.

91. It’s Easter (At the Hurtado’s)


That’s right. An Easter Song with an 8-year-old Sam Hurtado and a 3-year-old Stella Hurtado, Jonathan on BANJO-UKE! (TRUE!) and back up vocals with Tom Hurtado!  (You can hear Stella scream at the perfect time, and Sam adds his own colorful lyrics.  Already a song writer. Excellent!) We are staying with the Hurtado’s while we are in Salt Lake: they are very good friends to us and have helped organize the shows here.  Simply amazing people.

I will post more about this song and add lyrics, but we are on our way to a feast of goodies and easterly things… so, I will say to you who came to the SLC shows this weekend:

THANK YOU!  It was an amazing experience, and I had the best time.  You are the best!

It’s Easter (At The Hurtado’s)

90. My, You Are A Pretty Thing


Good afternoon, as it is: The Afternoon.

Image from The PepsiCo Gardens in Westchester, NY


Avenues Yoga, 68 K Street!  8 pm! Buy tickets online!  http://www.avenuesyoga.com/?page_id=109

Shameless Promotion over.


I thought I’d try something a little different: Showing with sound how I feel on the inside.  I’ve been talking to an artist friend about Dada and art.  I took a Degenerate Art class in my master’s degree study, and we addressed the whole art for art’s sake idea.  I still don’t know how I feel about it personally, and honestly, sometimes it is frustrating when I don’t understand what I’m looking at or hearing, but I try to appreciate it.  It’s a really fascinating conversation to have with an artist or art history professor, which is what my friend happens to do for her job.  Of course, she knew more about it than me, and ripped me a new philosophical new one.  Oh well, it’s still fun to banter about it.

How do you show someone how you feel on the inside with sound?  I’m not sure, and I guess that’s why I tried it.  It’s interesting because you can hear my cello pop as I turn the pegs down low, low, low, like it’s going to break.  I love sound that is disintegrating and popping of its own accord with very little or no help from me.

I talked about Tom Waits last night at my first SLC show, so I suppose he had some kind of influence stylistically, but he’s very melodic, so the influence is very small.  I understand this won’t make the cut for a CD, but that’s not necessarily the point of the 365.  I mean, a song worthy of more attention and perhaps future use is nice, but exploring is important, too.

A show tonight and then I’m done and back home to New York!

My, You Are A Pretty Thing

I’m going back
I gotta claim on mine
I gotta climb in my heart, climb in my heart
Gotta climb, Gotta climb
Gotta climb outta my heart, climb
Gotta get out of her heart
Gotta get out of her
Gotta get out, gotta get out
And mine’s the way

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

88. Panguitch Soundscape


On our way to Jonathan's father's funeral, we stopped by the family's homestead, one of the very few homesteads remaining (see: Homestead Act). The family has kept it in good shape and it's still up and functioning. I even used the out house! Yesss! This is the front door. I recorded the cow bell (pictured here) and other extraneous sounds.

Good day there and here.  I have spent the last eight hours or so with my friend Anne-Marie and spent the night at her house.  She has arranged some songs of mine (Love Song and Miserole) for women’s choir for my show on Saturday here in Salt Lake this weekend.  I came to her house for a first time rehearsal, and it was awesome.  I think it’s going to be really awesome, and I’m excited for people to hear it.

I also had a rehearsal yesterday with Steve Keen, the accordionist of The Klesbros who will be playing on Friday’s show.  He plays gypsy music with a 17 year old singer/dancer.  In his own words, he described her as missing the part in her brain that makes her care about what other people think of her as a performer.  I know I’ve mentioned this before, but a huge part of this project is aiming to destroy the part in my brain that deals with that stuff.   It’s one thing to pretend you have artistic freedom within your own creative space and quite another to really believe it in your core.  Maybe I’m revealing too much about myself here, however.  But I think I have a greater chance of ridding myself of the insecurities by making them public: kind of like telling all your friends you want to quit smoking or lose weight.  Maybe you’re more apt to succeed.

A good example of carefree performing would be: Little Dragon.  Pearl and the Beard opened for this group some time ago in Boston.  I remember watching the lead singer perform: she was a great performer; more subtle than some I’ve seen (I mean, she wasn’t doing leg kicks or anything), but awesome.  This band is awesome live.  I loved it.  AND if you’re in Salt Lake, they are playing on April 6th at Urban Lounge.  If you are free, don’t miss it.

And since we’re talking about examples, I really feel like a “no fear” mentality not only applies to a live show, but to writing as well.  Bjork, Karen O of the Yeah, Yeah, Yeahs, Lady Gaga, Jack White of The White Stripes (and a million other projects), David Bowie, the list goes on (I grew up watching Dolly Pardon and really liked and admired her).  But I question my own examples, actually.  These are all very dynamic writers and performers, but is dynamic the only quality that exemplifies a freedom from self-doubt and criticism?  Certainly not, and I understand everyone has their problems to deal with, but this very short list of performers are quick examples of a deeper idea of letting go of that part of myself that holds me back.  The times I’ve taken risks musically (both in writing and performing) are the risks that might not be the most successful on paper, but the ones I’ve learned from the most, and, I’m guessing, the ones the audience appreciated more.

The interior of the homestead.

Today’s song:

Jonathan’s father requested he be buried in Panguitch, Utah.  This place is a far cry from New York City.  The only noises were passing cars and cows.  Sounds are fascinating.  Some times people who live in big cities and go out to open spaces react really violently to the change.  Here, I’m creating a more busy space within a place that is the total opposite of busy. The sounds I captured in Panguitch are doubled, tripled, and quadrupled and scattered on top of one another.

Panguitch Soundscape

Number 3 tub