176. Edie Disappearing


Emily Factoid #456: Sometimes when I do a song I like to keep the headphones on as I type so the mic can pick up the clicking of the keys.  That’s what’s happening right now as I’m typing.  Okay.  Stopping.  Now.

I had a friend once a long time ago who was very wonderfully strange.  My other friends never really got to meet her because I didn’t know her for very long… a friend-summer romance… you know those?  The friendships that come at you like a bowling ball and then leave you like Danica Patrick at NASCAR.  In any case, it was a huge impact on me, and I still think of her from time to time, and she shows up in my songs every now and then.

This is a sketch of her that I need to make longer and revisit with a bridge.  I call her Edie because, unrelated to my friend, I knew a really awesome-kinda-crazy-awesome lady named Edie once: she always wore sunglasses, even inside buildings, and fashioned every day for herself an enormous beehive hair-do.  Oh, Edie…I liked Edie.

Lyrics are based on a word salad technique I got from Jocelyn: mainly improvisatory.  I have been listening to war-era radio recently.  I heard a song the other day that was a repetitive call and response sort of… I can’t remember the song, but the genre was heavily used in the kind of new “pop-folk” that was integrating the scene at the time.

This is first take!  Why worry about it!?  Bless you, my child; hope your day is fantastical!

Edie Disappearing

175. Slosh, slosh, slosh


Native American Boy Carries Water Pails © Joseph Schwartz/CORBIS

Visit to the veterinarian yesterday for Lacey, and yes, I am posting late!  Posting late!  My apologies, my friend: I have no good excuses other than just being busy.   (Well, the vet trip was a bit traumatic, but the doctor isn’t fun for us either, I suppose.)

Here we are… and now I must be off to look at a van with Jeremy (guitarist for Pearl and the Beard), as we are in need of a van for tour, and he has found one to test drive.  Let us hope there is no dried vomit hidden in the back seat that we overlook… yikes: kids and those car trips.

Writing: Theme of bells and uke and bass all inter mixed with one other in a conversation about what to do and what to say.  No arguing, but discussing.  There is a difference between arguing and discussing!

It’s slurpy and sloshy and swishy like water in a bottle… that’s because it is: a water bottle for a drum.  Back and forth, back and forth.  Slosh, slosh, slosh.  I close my eyes and see a little boy with two big pails in his hands, struggling to keep them straight and then it starts to rain and rain.  The roads are muddy… everything, even his shoes are sloshing and sloshing: struggling to get home with enough water in the buckets by the time he gets home.

Hope you are staying cool… it’s a hot one out here!

Slosh, slosh, slosh

174. Everything Rhymes with Pee and Poo (Johnny Cash/White Stripes Study)


Choose your Region!

I would like to make public, before I go into a song about poo and pee (and since we’re talking about bodily functions and getting all personal anyway): I have Silent Acid Reflux Disease (what!? Disease!?) or LARYNGOPHARYNGEAL REFLUX.  It makes me wake up feeling horrible and makes me sick, sick, sick.  It’s also affecting my vocal chords which is stressful.  So, I am starting a new, scary, life-changing diet: I have to eat REALLY healthy!  Ahh!  No tortilla chips, fried food, acidic juices including orange juice, grapefruit juice (my favorite!), red meat, butter, chocolate (!?), cheese, eggs, caffeine, soda and PROCESSED SUGAR- NOOOOO!!! GOOD BYE GUMMIES!  FOREVER!!!



Johnny Cash’s genius and awesome song called – One Piece at a Time

White Stripes’ song – Hotel Yorba

(okay, maybe some Violent Femmes)

Emily’s Theory #344: Everything Rhymes with Poo and Pee.  Everything.  There is a huge list of things that rhyme with poo and pee.  You can even rhyme things that don’t seem to rhyme, for example: dog – pee – doggie; pomegranate – poo – pomegrantoo. Yes. True.

Emily’ Theory #2: Try to fit woo, hey, or yeah in as many songs as possible (within reason).

This is the second take, and I’m on my way out back home from Connecticut, so no need to be picky (Jonathan says not to be picky on a song about poo and pee.  I say it’s the one reason to be picky…)

I am having a frustrating time with this new mic I have recently acquired, so I apologize for the poor recording quality.  There are a million different settings on this thing, and I have yet to figure out how it works exactly.

Everything Rhymes with Pee and Poo

I was out on the lake, Lake Pocataupog
Lovin’ my  stay with my fine lookin’ dog
I was pleased I was there and wish you were too
Cause I’m rhyming with pee and I’m rhyming with poo
Out with my fine mercury 75
When out of the blue that mercury died
Middle of the water with nothing to do
So now I’m rhyming with pee and I’m rhyming with poo
Everything rhymes with pee and poo
Just give it a try, you can do it too
Everything rhymes with poo and pee
Just give it a try and you will see
Out there all alone just sittin’ on my ass
When a purring 3-6-0 cut through the glass
Drivin’ that boat – a fine red bikini
She’s got me rhyming with poo and rhyming with pee
Next thing I know we’re driving to shore
I ask her her name and she says, “What for?”
I say, “I sure like your boat and since mine’s out to sea,
Let’s do some rhyming with poo and rhyming with pee…”
Everything rhymes with pee and poo
Just give it a try, you can do it too
Everything rhymes with poo and pee
Just give it a try and you will see
Do shoe glue stew blue, flu, kung foo, two, chew, screw, clue, Kalamazoo
Everything rhymes with pee and poo
See, tree, flea, plea, key, bee, banshee, Bruce Lee, bourgeoisie and a hysterectomy
Everything rhymes with poo and pee
Everything rhymes with poo and pee
Everything rhymes with poo and pee

173. Lovers in the West (A Study on Truncated Extreme Real Hyperbole)


Mom? Is that you?!

I am in Connecticut this weekend doing a recording session and performing a little…so this is actually only about 45% of the entire song.  I thought I would wait to post it and finish it, but in about 2 minutes, the place where I’m staying will be invaded by a going away party (I’m staying at a little cottage on Lake Pocotopaug as a favor from a some very kind friends!).  So, I have recorded what I have finalized for you to hear and then I will finish and repost the finished song.

So, my dad is actually from Malad, Idaho and my mother is actually from Hyrum, Utah.  I thought I might experiment with taking truths and spinning them out of control.  The first verse starts more in realism: my dad’s place of birth and his family – he has one sister and several brothers.  My mother, however, though born in Hyrum, was not left by gypsies or cared for by wolves anywhere near the sea (though I can hear my dad’s voice now saying, “We’ve been trying to keep it a secret for years! Who told you?!”)

The further the story goes the more outrageous the twisted actual facts will get (hopefully), but we will see.  You never know in cases like this where things will go.  I apologize for the incompleteness, but work calls!

Choruses can a be a real bitch sometimes.  But sometimes they can come really quickly.  This chorus I just pulled out of thin air and didn’t want to think about it since I can see myself doing so and taking forever on it.  And I had this goal to do something different from I might normally do… Let’s get this thing done!

Recording:  There is a motorcycle that drives by IN TUNE WITH THE SONG- HOW COULD I REDO IT AND TAKE IT OUT?!  PRINT!

Stay well and happy Saturday to you!  I still have not seen the second Iron Man and secretly keep planning to see it at a weird time in the middle of the day.  There is nothing quite like seeing a movie in the early morning and then walking out to go to work thinking to yourself, with the rest of the day to your pleasure: “Yeah, that’s right: I just saw a movie.”

Lovers in the West (working title)

My father, a beggar from Malad, Idaho
Potatoes and Barley were all that could grow
Sister, brothers were fine company
He said, “Now this is the life, just perfect for me.”
My mother, from Hyrum, a mysterious past
Left by the gypsies outcast of outcasts
Cared for by wolves in a cave by the sea
She said, “I’ll will my own way, just you wait and see.”
This a story of lovers in the west (Or – “this a story of lovers in the western states” – which I kind of prefer because it’s funny and weird)

172. You Do What You Gotta Do (a capella)


#1 My equipment has been packed up for a weekend away (I’m doing a recording session up north.) so I recorded with internal mic on my mac.

#2 I waited for a guy to show me a van (Pearl and the Beard needs a touring vehicle) and he never showed. LAME-O!

One take, no sound check, late leaving…

And how are you today?! It’s hot here!  HOOOOOT! (that’s not hoot… it’s hawwwwwt.)

#3 You do what you gotta do.

Roll the bus over it’s a
Roll the bus over it’s a
Roll the bus over it’s a
It’s gonna hit your child right in the face, yeah!
Roll the bus over it’s a
Roll the bus over it’s a
Roll the bus over it’s a
It’s gonna hit your dog right in the woo!
Roll the bus over it’s a
Roll the bus over it’s a
Roll the bus over it’s a
It’s gonna hit your face right in the face!

171. One-Armed Man (The “La” Song)


Samuel Doles, a son of Thomas and Harriet Rhinehart Doles. He was a one armed man and always posed himself in such a way to keep that fact from being obvious in photos.

One of my favorite songs ever is Can’t Get You Out Of My Head by Kylie Minogue (Proud to be guilty of it!)

I have always want to do a la la la la la song…there are a lot of sweet-ass songs that have “la’s”, and here are a few:

Nadia Ali did Rapture

Goldfrapp did Ooh, La, La

and could one forget this pearl: Inner Circle – Sweat

One-Armed Man

I’ll wear your tie, you wear my dress

Knit me a fine white, crooked vest

Shoes fit so tight with tailored pants

Hold tight we will with these two hands

And we sing

It’s blue tonight where should be black

Stars and the suns will not come back

But we will dance beneath the sands

My dress for you, my one-armed man

And we sing

And dance, we will hold tight two hands

Just me and you, my one-armed man

170. It’s Lunchtime (And Against My Better Healthy Judgment, I Would Like Something I Don’t Have In My House)


UGGGGGHHHHH.... soooooo gooooood. So many pictures of this food...

This is near to be the quickest while at the same time being the dumbest (I mean, awesomest?) 365 song yet (the song has to be quick and dumb at the same time in order to qualify for this honor.  It can’t be dumb first and then quick later or vice versa).  Minute 1:47 is my favorite moment.

I grew up eating Kraft Macaroni and Cheese  – None of this stupid homemade junk.  What’s that?!  Now that I’m grown up, when there is nothing to eat in my house, I usually crave it (though I don’t eat it now due to incredibly top-secret, very sensitive political and personal reasons.)  If I’m really hard up, I’ll do a run next door and get some Annie’s Mac and Cheese which is a pretty good organic alternative, also knowing I should be eating the broccoli that’s just sitting there getting bad in the crisper.


What’s in your fridge that you should be eating?  Want to write a song about it?  There are no rules and there is no dumb.

It’s Lunchtime (And Against My Better Healthy Judgment, I Would Like Something I Don’t Have In My House)

169. The Scent of a Woman


It occurred to me today that I am almost half through.  Sometime around the 182nd day I will be at the mid-point.

I did a violin pizzicato piece a few days ago.  It got me thinking about the violin and how I under use the one I have.  It is probably the cheapest (quite literally) violin one could own – my dad got it as a gift for me and says it cost him $15.  It is shiny black with green purfling. It is weird and lovely.

Writing: These few seconds took me a few hours.  In a huge way, it is improvisational… or at least heavily based from improvisation.  I started played the opening line, playing around with motivs and direction, and, because I play the cello, I had to learn how to play this violin, which was made more difficult by its lack of set up (it being so inexpensively made).  The second problem came when I had no idea what I was going to do past the opening or where it was going to go.  But things came little by little as I went.  It was just taking longer than I have available to me today.  Funny enough, listening to this as a “sample” section, at :45, I can hear it going on and on to a totally different place and then ending where it actually ends up anyway.

Reference: English composer Ralph Vaughan Williams.  He has been one of my favorite composers since I started playing the cello over twenty years ago.  If you have yet to experience his music, I would recommend The Lark Ascending (linking you to Hilary Hahn performance of the piece.  Not my favorite of all time, but still very beautiful), Fantasia on a Theme by Thomas Tallis, and any of his choral works.  Unbelievable.  He was a poetic composer, and I highly recommend him.  (I might politely suggest you listen to the posting first and then link to Vaughan Williams: he put this posting to shame in nearly every way…)

Being the kind of cello player I am by nature, this automatically makes me a very heavy-handed violin player, as you can hear.  But I hope you can hear the intention past the crunch.

Pearl and the Beard is playing the Knitting Factory tonight in Brooklyn.  If you’re in the neighborhood, please come by!  It would be good to see you… also: Pearl and the Beard is going on tour in July to the mid-west.  Are we coming your way?  Dates are here: www.pearlandthebeard.com

The Scent of a Woman

168. September 1913 (W.B. Yeats)


William Butler Yeats

I have to RUN out the door, but I will paraphrase the song today:

I have been reading as much writing as possible so I might improve my own brain.  This is a poem by W.B. Yeats. I find his work so lyrical.  It’s really beautiful.

This is a study.  The bowed (arco) cello parts are improvised.  The vocals and pizz cello part were recorded simultaneously.  This is the second take I did of this.  I did a dry improvised run on this poem and took ideas I got from that to the second take.  I had my own agenda as far as  melody and other accompanying parts go.  I tried to stray away from tempting habits.  (There are two or so lines of this poem that just list names which I didn’t take the time to prepare, so that part is actually kind of humorous to me: just singing a list of names and trying to get them all in!)

September 1913

What need you, being come to sense,
But fumble in a greasy till
And add the halfpence to the pence
And prayer to shivering prayer, until
You have dried the marrow from the bone?
For men were born to pray and save:
Romantic Ireland’s dead and gone,
It’s with O’Leary in the grave.

Yet they were of a different kind,
The names that stilled your childish play,
They have gone about the world like wind,
But little time had they to pray
For whom the hangman’s rope was spun,
And what, God help us, could they save?
Romantic Ireland’s dead and gone,
It’s with O’Leary in the grave.

Was it for this the wild geese spread
The grey wing upon every tide;
For this that all that blood was shed,
For this Edward Fitzgerald died,
And Robert Emmet and Wolfe Tone,
All that delirium of the brave?
Romantic Ireland’s dead and gone,
It’s with O’Leary in the grave.

Yet could we turn the years again,
And call those exiles as they were
In all their loneliness and pain,
You’d cry, ‘Some woman’s yellow hair
Has maddened every mother’s son’:
They weighed so lightly what they gave.
But let them be, they’re dead and gone,
They’re with O’Leary in the grave.

167. Sure, We Got Beaches or You’re Such a Beach


Jocelyn Mackenzie constructed this starfish house for the tiny star fish we saw in the tiny tide pools on the beach. I’d live there for sure.

Look at those beaches!

BEACHES! On beaches there are shells that have been picked up by birds and dropped on the ground to get the food out.  These shells came from near Biddeford, ME the last time I was there with Pearl and the Beard to play a show at Hog Farm.  We spend the next day at the beach, and it was wonderful.  I have put them in a glass vase where a few of them have broken into little pieces.  Here you can be witness to their debut in the 365.

I have an arsenal of favorite sounds.  Just a few of them are:

Someone else’s keys dangling from the ignition
Walking on Lava Rock
Seashells clinking together
Record scratches
Someone else’s really old windshield wipers on their really old car
Old people’s voices (really old people)
Thunder from far away
Hard heeled shoes on all different textures of pavement
Beans being sorted on our kitchen table by my Brazilian roommate in Pittsburgh
Long nails on a keyboard
Fountain pens scratching on paper

Sure, We Got Beaches (Or You’re Such a Beach)

And you?  Since I had a birthday, I thought I might include just 2 of my favorite sounds into a piece for you to hear.  It hypnotizes me, but it certainly doesn’t have to do the same for you.  What sounds do?

166. Everyday John (John Houx)


Today is my birthday. It is also Kathleen Turner, Paula Abdul, and Lou Gehrig’s birthday.

Johnny Houx

This is John Houx.  He is a sick songwriter.  Sick.  (This is my most favorite of his songs.) I first saw him in 2008 when I first started playing out in New York.  He performed with his guitar set high upon his chest and no shoes.  He may still perform like this.   He has been gone for seven months on a long tour across the united states and has just returned with long hair, no sleeves and one pair of pants.  John Houx, for me, has been a quiet symbol of my time here in New York: I’ve probably known about John longer than any other musician I’ve met in New York.  This is probably why I was super nervous to write with him – he’s a kind of symbol of great songwriting and experience for me –  and, as things go, my brain froze.  Unfortunate.  But it was a great afternoon with someone I really like and respect, so I won out in the end.  I also told him that this song we would write would be my birthday song.

It was my inclination, as I had some trouble starting, to write a song about John Houx himself.  I asked him what the first thing he did when he woke up was, and he replied, “I tell myself to write down the dream I just had before I forget it, but I always have to pee and then I end up forgetting it anyway.”  We also discussed the fact that he only has one pair of pants (one pair of “social” pants… the kind of pants you don’t paint in.)

And, as a side, John Houx has committed to include a stained glass, statue or mosaic of a mermaid (tail can be any color and no shells: just boobs) in the house he is going to build for himself.  Can’t wait to visit you.

Well, here it is… a song about John Houx, his pants and… what else? Azerbaijan.

This is the third take. Done!

Everyday John

Nature calls
Lost so many dreams
Down those swift streams
Everyday John
Which side’s he on?
The waking yawn?
Or fake beyond?
Oh, John
Put your pants on
Go 23
Greens are all your ever gonna see
Hey, John, arise!
You’re 40 days unclean
Hey, John
Where have your pants gone?
At a loss for words
Surrounded by so many screaming girls
But you’re the one for me
Just you, and Houx and a million cups of tea
Oh, John
Where have you pants gone?
Oh John

165. The Dust Shall Bow (Jonathan Clark)


This is,  95% of it, a song by Jonathan Clark. I did very little for the actual writing process other than help a little with the words, help arrange, add back ground vocals, mix and edit.  (That suddenly seems like a lot, but Jon really gets the credit for the meat of this song, though editing was another matter entirely.)  Jonathan was hesitant to take on so much of the work, but I forced him to sing it by himself and play the guitar (which was a last-ditch effort for a slide guitar sound made with a porcelain cup.)  This is basically his first run through, and I had to do a lot of cutting, copying and pasting and sound work to make this take on Jonathan’s vision for the song.

Jonathan has asked to type a little about this song.

Here he is:

I am a music lover and listener.  I am constantly soaking in music and occasionally something seeps out.  Sometimes I want to be lifted up on a finely woven mountain of sound by a good Sufjan Stevens song.   Lately I have been fixated by sparse, simple tunes rolling in the dirt such as those by the White Stripes and the Black Keys.  Listening to those artists eventually led me the artists that inspired those bands, especially Son House.  When you listen to Son House it’s like drinking a big glass of his unfiltered soul complete with sweet, bitter, kindness, suffering, all poured into a dirty glass for your consumption.

I started tossing around this tune a few weeks ago and today Emily helped me bring it to life.  All I can say about the process is that when I walked away after finishing recording I was frustrated that I could not present it the way I really wanted to.  I left for about 20 minutes, feeling really disappointed about the outcome.  When I came back and heard the song I was presented with a little EHP crafted miracle.  She had edited and molded the mess into a coherent song.  She was a little disappointed with quality of the sound, but for me it is exactly what I was looking for – rolling in the dirt.

The Dust Shall Bow

You open up your eyes and you realize
The woman that you love has materialized
Lift up your face in a new place
Don’t know for sure but you’re fallen from grace.
In psalms I read, the Lord has fed
Those who serve him, their souls ain’t dead.
But I don’t mind cause the girl is mine
She lifts me to heaven cause she’s do divine
I know  there’s nothin’ really stoppin’ it
You sneak up from behind and you get right on top of it.

164. First, There Was The Word


This is also named Ketchup.  Because that is what I am playing.  Soon to be Ontime.

Violin and voice.  Haven’t even touched this violin in months and months and got it out today.  I’m happy with how this exercise turned out because, for being generally an improvisation, it has some timbres I’m appreciating.

Today is Thursday.  I got my sewing machine out to up-cycle a vintage dress I have… it looks more like Frankenstein’s monster now, but I’m going to wear it anyway.  It is a badge of shoddy seamstressing that I will wear proudly.  And you?

First, There Was The Word

163. Bells for the Nighttime (Study in Major and Minor Thirds)


Photo courtesy of Richard M. Dishman

If you don’t know anything about music theory, it’s okay… major and minor thirds are those notes that sound really harmonious and complimentary to one another when played together: one of the most used harmonies out there, I say.  The most basic example would be looking at a piano and playing any two white keys together with only one other white key in between (although you can play thirds with the black keys, too!): you’re sure to hit either a major third or a minor third.  Major and minor just mean the quality of the notes together.  You can look at major as being “happy” and minor being “sad” sounding.

Bells!  I haven’t played those in a long time and thought I’d whip them out…

Bells for the Nighttime