Pittsburgh in the Summer (Pearl and the Beard ON TOUR)

Waiting to play in West Philadelphia... it brings out the best. Funny enough, the song for the day came quite shortly afterwards...hmmm

Well, here we are on our second day of tour.  We will be in Pittsburgh: old haunts!  Seeing as it’s 10 am, and we’re in Philly at the moment, we need to get on the road, but I will have some down time (and hopefully internet!) to post the song for yesterday that I wrote and catch up for today’s song as well!

We are playing at the Smiling Moose in Pittsburgh tonight and then head off to Cleveland on Monday… TOUR!

You can keep caught up on our tour shenanigans at www.pearlandthebeard.com.  We’re doing a short video each day to document the day’s travels.

Okay: on the road we must get, but will be posting soon!

EHP

185. Ode to A Tandem Bicycle

DAY ONE-HUNDRED AND EIGHTY-FIVE

This is Karen Poleshuck and her dad. This is the freakin' awesomest picture. Is this 1984? Or Williamsburgh 2010?

Today, Karen Poleshuck, the co-writer of this song, has written about this song (see below!). I met Karen at SUNY Purchase a few years ago, and since then I’ve seen her go through roommates, occupations, hamsters, and finally settling on a really cute dog.

Karen is the Executive Director of Academic Music Seminars, and they are holding several Saturday brunch-time benefit concerts in July.  I will be performing on July 31st in support of this great non-profit.  About AMS:

Founded in 2008 by musician and educator Karen Poleshuck, we are passionately committed to the belief that music can be a transformative power in children’s lives, both in improving their education and test scores, and in helping them gain a greater appreciation of artistry and creative expression.  It is our goal to offer expanded educational opportunities that does both of these things to schools throughout Northern Manhattan.

At the show on July 31st, I will be playing a bunch of my songs, but also playing this song that Karen and I wrote.  There will be kids there and homemade maracas (that the kids will make themselves), so Karen and I wanted to write a song that would encompass an important educational tool: literacy.  We decided to compose an ode.  (Karen will talk a little bit more about why we chose a tandem bicycle).

Here we go!
But you know what this song needs?   A little celloness… oh, and a full brass band, but you get the idea…

Ode to a Tandem Bicycle


I ride my bike around the town
I ride my bike without a frown
I ride my bike all day you see
Except the days when you’re with me
We ride our
Tandem bike!
Just the two of us
Tandem bike!
We don’t take the bus
It’s a treat, you’ll see
Cause when we ride our bike
It’s just you and me
The wind in our face
We leave the world behind
I’ll pedal fast
You pedal fast
We pedal fast
With one bike for two
One direction we must choose
I’ll pedal fast
You pedal fast
We pedal fast
I’ll pedal fast
You pedal fast
We pedal fast
I’ll pedal fast
You pedal fast
We pedal fast on our…
Tandem bike!
Just the two of us
Tandem bike!
We don’t take the bus
It’s a treat, you’ll see
Cause when we ride our bike
It’s just you and me

A Note from Karen

It looks like I’m about 4 or 5 in this picture, so it was probably closer to 1987-88. Although, I suppose it’s cool that this is your 184th song, so feel free to leave it up as is 🙂

I know that I’m not alone when I say that I fell in love with Emily Hope Price the very moment I first heard her play. I’m honored to share today’s entry with her and I hope that you continue to follow her on this incredible journey she’s taking. Emily and I became close friends right around the time she started doing her first open mic shows in NYC and I was first conceptualizing Academic Music Seminars. We both have come very far with these endeavors in the last few years and I know that for me at least, it is in large part due to her incredible friendship and endless support. When she first told me of her plans for this blog I was thrilled about the possible collaboration opportunities to come because of the seamless connections to be made with Academic Music Seminars. To me, my favorite part of this blog is not just hearing her fantastic music (I get to see her live all the time), it’s the way she gives us a peek into her process. Why did she choose a particular word or how did she come up with a concept for a song? Everything is laid out for you to read.

Today we discussed many options for a song. The main goal was to have it coincide with the AMS curriculum for somewhat of a shameless plug. The mission of Academic Music Seminars is to provide a high quality interdisciplinary music education program that builds literacy, math, science and history skills through the exploration of art, movement and music to the underserved public elementary school students of Northern Manhattan. One idea we played with was to talk about recycling and how it’s a useful tool in music as well. How many awesome covers have we heard Emily do over the year? It’s important to me that the connections are organic, and we just weren’t in the mood for it, so we moved to literacy pretty quickly. This is a very compressed version of a few lessons we would do in a classroom in which we would talk about what an Ode is, play our version, and have the kids write their own as well.

What is an Ode? According to Wikipedia, an ode is typically a lyrical verse written in praise of, or dedicated to someone or something which captures the poet’s interest or serves as an inspiration for the ode.

One of the most famous Odes is Ode to Joy, made famous by Ludwig van Beethoven. The melody is taught to beginners on almost every instrument, but it is rare that they are told what the melody is about. Ode To Joy (German: An die Freude) is an ode written in 1785 by the German poet, playwright and historian Friedrich Schiller, celebrating the ideal of unity and brotherhood of all mankind. (Translation of the full poem here: http://www.raptusassociation.org/ode1785.html). It is best known for its musical setting by Ludwig van Beethoven in the final movement of his Ninth Symphony (completed in 1824), a choral symphony for orchestra, four solo voices, and choir. The Beethoven setting is the official anthem of the European Union.

(Great clip that came up when I searched for Ode to Joy) http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xpcUxwpOQ_A

What do you think is worthy of an ode? We played with a few ideas, but we both felt that we needed to be equally in love with it if we were to write the song together. Our cellos were the first obvious choice, but I think we thought it would be a little too easy (and cheesy?). We both love our dogs, and swimming. We thought money was worthy of an ode, but didn’t want to get depressed with our lack of it. I don’t remember who first came up with biking, but it was the first thing that came up that we both love and were excited to write a song about. The bike didn’t become a tandem until after Emily sang through the whole intro, and I told her it was how I first learned how to ride a bike, as you can see in the picture above. We talked about why we love biking. Emily loves the speed, I love the feel of the wind in my face, we both love the escape of it. We really wanted to work into the song something silly about how we had to agree on where to go. I’m really happy with what we came up with, and I’m excited to play with the instrumentation for the upcoming concert.

Speaking of this upcoming concert, if you love Emily Hope Price, her show on July 31st at 11am at the Jumel Mansion is going to be a fantastic place to see her play outside of a bar setting. Like she said there will be activities for kids, but it will also be a fantastic time for adults as well. She’ll be playing some songs that we know well and a few songs from her 365 Project.  Bring a picnic blanket, food, drinks, dogs are welcome on leashes too! Check out our event page to see more details and find out about the two previous concerts at the same venue. Thanks for listening!

184. High Noon (instrumental)

DAY ONE-HUNDRED AND EIGHTY-FOUR

I had such hopes for today’s song in terms of composition, but my schedule takes me elsewhere… and my refrigerator has completely stopped working.  Not a good thing for the high 90’s temperatures we’ve been getting here in New York.  When it’s hot: it’s hot.  When it’s humid: it’s worse than hot… it’s Hell.

I have no idea who made this, but it's awesome.

Emily’s Theory #14: What We’ll Do In Hell

In Hell, they will require us to do the following all day and all night long: FOREVER:

1. Math Story Problems

2. Filing Alphabetically and Numerically

*3. All the while we will have to ride in New York City subway cars packed full of people with no air-conditioning

*This was actually different at one point, but I don’t remember what it was, so I figured this was the next worst thing.
I went to the dentist yesterday after a long bout of avoiding it… but checked out clean apparently, so I’m feeling pretty good about myself (though I secretly think he must have missed something.

It’s been so hot here, I wanted to do a “Heat at Noon” song.  This has words, I think, but I will think on that.  I’m really enjoying playing with this kind of folk-ish uke at the moment.   Though I don’t play it as well as I could, I will keep practicing!

Hope you’re stayin’ cool yourself!

High Noon

183. The Half Way Song (DOWNLOAD ME!)

DAY ONE HUNDRED AND EIGHTY-THREE

Hello, Half way Song.  How are you?


That’s right.  Half way.

I am offering this cover as a song recorded especially for you.  I’ve gotten requests for it and finally decided this would be the perfect half-way song to work on for the day.  If you like it and want it, download it.  Give it away. Spread it around.

Bjork – Come to Me (Cover)

182. Come To Me – Bjork Cover (Half Way Song)

HOORAY HALF WAY!!!

182. Lady, My Lamb

DAY ONE-HUNDRED AND EIGHTY-TWO

Golan Heights

Pearl and the Beard is going on tour ON SATURDAY and coming to a midwestern town NEAR YOU!

We are teaming up with some incredible people (Anna Vogelzang and Holy Ghost Tent Revival just to name a few)… and I cannot tell you how excited I am to hit the road.  I think it’s a want to see new people and things… (oh, and let us not forget THRIFT!!!)

So, I have been writing a song today about a sheep… or a lamb, I guess.  This entire song started with this line, and I didn’t even end up using it:  I have a straw hat and it was fitted for you.

Initially, I wanted it to be quite dark and old, but it just wasn’t coming together.  In my mind, I saw a far away place (Israel of all places…) out on an open plain covered by a deep starry sky.  Soon, a storm comes.  The speaker is the man to the “Lady”.

I decided that the sound that a lamb or sheep makes is very forward sounding in the throat, and I tried to imitate it somewhat, however, I could only attempt it a few times as it’s a bit uncomfortable, and  I’m unfamiliar on how to do it correctly.  (I am totally abusing the etymology dictionary on this song: I love it!  And you can dedicate a word to someone on it!  Nice.)

Recording: As far as the vocal goes – a few weeks ago, Pearl and the Beard played a Joe’s Pub festival, and, performing right before us, was a Balkan woman’s quartet called Black Sea Hotel.  The way they were singing was really intriguing to me so I had that in my mind.  John Houx was also a huge reference for this song as well.  His voice is just awesome.

This is the third take and, though I wanted to add cello, I stopped at just a few vocal overdubs to save some time.  Always a work in progress.  I was unsure how to end it, but wanted to record it – so the very, very end is a bit improvised lyrically, but it fits the purpose quite nicely for what this song was meant for today.

Be well!  I hope you are easily staying cool if it is hot where you are and, if it is cold where you are, I envy you completely!

Lady, My Lamb

(Headphones/speakers recommended rather than internal laptop speakers)


Lady, my lamb
He bleats tonight
Face deep in the sand
Won’t you cure us all, cure us all tonight
Mouth, wide, full of coin
Face into the storm
Cries to hear his own voice
Singular violent and warm
Please, brother please
This gamut you will sing
Keep this lovely tune
Into the night, will ring
Please, brother please
Keep this lovely tune
Please, please, brother please
I will see you soon

181. Hot Volcano

DAY ONE-HUNDRED AND EIGHTY-ONE

Sometimes my schedule isn’t conducive to writing AND recording… but day 179 DOES have a song.  I started a song called Hot Volcano a few weeks ago which I handed over to Pearl and the Beard.  We finished it on day 179, but, ALAS!, we couldn’t record on day 179…

So, until I get a proper recording of it, the lyrics will just have to do.  HOWEVER, if you come to Pearl and the Beard’s Mercury Lounge show THIS FRIDAY at 8:00, you can hear it LIVE for the first time EVER.

Stay cool!

Hope you are well!

-EHP

Hot Volcano

Take me down, down, down
To the old volcano, down, down
Tie me up, scoop me out all hollow
You’re bad, oh, you’re bad,
Hold me down (down down)
Make the ropes dig deeper
Yellin’ Alleloo-loo-loo-ya, Ya got me laughin’ at the Reaper
You’re bad, Oh, you’re bad
And I like bad
(Hot Kazoo Instrumental Solo)
You’re coarse
But like water my body needs more
Knew no evil like you here before
Go around one more time
And never, no never, you stop
My hands are tied
But it’s no bother
I feel a rumbling coming up
And I might just fall in lava