Sunday, September 7, 2014

"The Day Remains the Same"

I've been a lazy blogger again ... what's new?

I recorded "The Day" like a month ago and am finally now just putting it up. Corey wrote the music and I the lyrics. Arrangements have changed over the course of several bands and styles, including the iphone-in-the-garage style.


Saturday, May 10, 2014

"Mouthful of Cavities" (Blind Melon)

This Blind Melon tune has been one of my favorites for years and years and years. Something about the timbre of it is just right for that ... poignantly melancholy state of mind. "Mouthful" is also fun to play. I enjoy its little walk-downs and especially the rhythm of the slide from C to D.

The problem is the late Shannon Hoon has a much higher voice than I do, and no matter what--nearly every one of Blind Melon's songs is just out of my singing register. Go up a little, down a little--hard to get my voice to sound right with their music, which is a bummer because their tunage is rather outstanding, I think. I love playing and listening but the song's just aren't easy for me to sing.

As for this recording, it sounds like my low E is a little high. I didn't notice it at the time. Alas. It's all for fun anyway.

Wednesday, May 7, 2014

"Fall Down" by Toad the Wet Sprocket

This next installation is another cover song -- and it's a request! I've been trying to alternate original material with cover material, but really--so much of my creative energy is devoted to writing that I have little left for music. And, I'm really terribly bored playing the old material, some which is recently old, some of which is ancient old, and so my drive to drop in originals is waning.

So, lyrics to "Fall Down" by Toad the Wet Sprocket, my second Toad cover. As far as I can tell it's like the vast majority of their other songs--not too complicated and rather catchy. Per my usual way I took some creative liberties with it but maintained what I think is still the meat of it. The ending I blame on the red I was drinking at the time. I didn't really see the volume coming, and then poof! it was there, and I went with it.

I think the Toad has a new album out or soon coming out? I'd be curious to see what they're up to after like ... 20 years.

Sunday, April 13, 2014

"Landslide" by Stevie Nicks / Dixie Chicks

Every so often my better half says, "Hey -- there's this song I want to sing." And then I say, "But my guitar only plays (played) one country song, and so ..." But since "Landslide" lyrics isn't originally a country song, it seemed like the right choice for this week's upload.

It's always a pleasure to do things with Jena -- work, play, you name it. And performing "Landslide" wasn't any different. She sings around the house more than I do, and now that such singing is on YouTube, it will last forever.

Sunday, April 6, 2014

"Issues with Time"

This weekend's tune is "Issues with Time." I don't recall the origins of the song at all. There is a lyric, however, that reminds me of an old college girlfriend, and "Issues" may or may not have anything to do with her. Hard to say. The lyric is "I've bent down crippled / trying to raise a sun..." and my girlfriend's last name was Sunner. So, there may be a connection; they're may not be.

Chord-wise, like too many of my originals, this one is probably unnecessarily complicated. I have no idea what the two chords are over the verse--probably some kind of B and A, but of a jazz nature. The rest isn't a secret although the timing might be. It usually is. If I recall, during the breakdown my old drummer used to play in 4, knowing the guitars were not in 4, and somehow when the music returned to the lyrics, we were all back where we needed to be. Polyrhythms, baby.


i’m lost—all in your eyes
they’re  such—sweet disguise
i’m lost—all in your mind
you see only color blind

when i look at you—something strange over my body
another body left behind
i turn around to find you—sitting on a park bench right there
with the cigarettes and wine

in time—i will see your eyes, see through your lies
in time—should I forget your name…
each time—that i forget your name…
in time—should I forget your name
each time—that i forget your name

i’ve bent down crippled—trying to raise a sun
she’s been a bloody yellow one
and she says—that she don’t want to shine
she would rather be left to dry

but i can’t carry her—i am but a man
i have no reality but what i see
and i can see the faces of people come and gone
every face has something gone


Tuesday, April 1, 2014

"Pray Your Gods" - Toad the Wet Sprocket

I've been a big fan of Toad the Wet Sprocket for years. They write good songs that are pretty easy to play, that have pleasing melodies and what not. And their lead singer has a nice voice and can really sing in the pocket.

As for "Pray Your Gods," I take a few creative liberties with it, but they're minor--really just to make the tune congeal for me as a one-man-and-a-guitar thing. (Plus, when you don't look up the tab and let your ear do the playing, there's bound to be some ... creative differences ...) My finger picking isn't the best, but I don't let that get in the way. Each time, whether my fingers are fat or not, I enjoy playing the song.

Sunday, March 23, 2014

"Craig's Song"

This week's tune was written by a good friend of mine, thus the eponymous title. I contributed the last verse, perhaps some other words here or there, but other than vocal/guitar styling, I can't really claim the song as my own although over the years it feels I've turned it that way.

The song is basically a mash of two two-chord songs with a little play on "Em" and "A" in between. It's got great energy, and I've always dug the words, especially the opening verse.

As for Craig, I'm not sure if he was a wise man playing a fool or a fool playing a wise man. It never really mattered. I knew with Craig that I could depend on what mattered most. And it remains that way. I thank him for the tune.


Every dying eye in this room
has got a fix on me and is seeing through
their magazines and color books...
I don't know how long I can stand

Every time I take a few
I find I got a few more left to lose
and your stealing me with your eyes and greedy looks...
I don't know how long I can stand

Didn't anybody ever tell you
that good things--they never stay the same
didn't anybody ever tell you
the only constant thing is change

Every other time I look at you
I get the feeling that I'm getting through
but I don't even know if I care...
who are you kidding anyway

And every time I try to try
I see you hanging in my sky
and I want to make you just go away...
who am I kidding anyway

Didn't anybody ever tell you
that good things--they never stay the same
didn't anybody ever tell you
the only constant thing is change

Sunday, March 16, 2014

Zombie Apocalypse

"Zombie Apocalypse" has very little to do with zombies. Really it's about any paranoia, any myth of fear under which we attempt to umbrella our lives. I think there's no secret to the advent of zombies and end-of-times movies, books, tv shows in the last decade or so. Apparently there's also no lack of related songs.

The tune itself is new. It was conceived as a jam song, so it really would be best with electric, full-band, nice extended jam in the middle. But a single acoustic gets the idea across. Probably it's yet in draft form.

Lyrically I don't have much to say about it except I like the "they" in the song. It's so ambiguous. It's "them," you know? Them. And the they changes. They/them could be understood to change, anyway. When I jotted them down, I didn't think about it.


They say it's getting closer
It's feeling pretty scary
It's almost 'cross the river
It's feeling pretty heavy

C'mon, I think it's time we get on outta here
You know we've gotta get our shit together
We are supposed to meet them at the rendezvous
Yeah, yeah -- at the rendezous

Look at all these people
They're clogging up the highway
Don't look in the mirror
You're never going to make it

Images are closer than they appear
Everywhere I look they're closer closer closer
Do you think they'll ever make it to the rendezvous
Yeah, yeah -- the rendezvous

The truth is what you make it
We're always on our own
I've got a funny feeling
We're not in Kansas anymore

(rendition of the chorus)

Sunday, March 2, 2014


This next installment is one for which I can't really take much credit. It was written by my buddy Corey (of RSR and Ellison Station fame) and his girlfriend Monica. She wrote the lyrics, and he came up with the chord progression to follow. I'd like to think I've put my stamp on it, however, by making a few modifications here and there, altering the style a bit, and by adding the title. Typically when Corey brought a song to the band, as the singer I was given creative liberties and with such inevitably flavored it to my own tastes. That was the MO in general, though. Somebody brings a song in, and then the rest of us go to work on it.

Originally "Albatross" was a bit minstrel-like, maybe akin to some of the pop trend we've seen in recent years by groups like Mumford and Sons. At least when Corey first brought it to the group, that's what I thought of. My tendency is a bit moodier than that, a bit more melodic. Corey had some cool riffs that went along with the progression too, but they felt forced, and I cut them. That's always tough to do, but attachments don't fly when you're trying to help something become what it wants to be. To my ear, "Albatross" just isn't a riffy song. It's a folk song of one nature or another.

As for lyrics, I thought they were awesome, and the changes I made really were to suit my singing/playing style more than anything else. A wonky rhyme or syntax maybe. Of the original version I especially liked Monica's leap in the first two lines of the second verse. I don't recall her exact, original wording, but I dig her move from being anchored down to "wounds deeper than the ocean." There's no narrative connection, but the lines are tied by language--anchor, ocean. It's cool.


10,000 years or more, she said—I've been lost of flying
Far above my wings are spread—higher and higher I climb
Hold me down, hold me down—I can't float anymore
I desire to be on solid ground—won't you hold me down

All this time I'm looking around—for someplace to anchor me down
I've got wounds that would not heal—deeper than the ocean
Hold me down, hold me down—I can't float anymore
I desire to be on solid ground—won't you hold me down

From the clouds to the forest floor—I need you to touch me down
In your arms I will fold my wings—and I'll be safe with you
Hold me down, hold me down—I can't float anymore
I desire to be on solid ground—won't you hold me down

Sunday, February 23, 2014


So this little nugget comes from a ways back. It's a simple 3-chord tune, really, with a little flavor added. The title "8:00" was given to it by a friend of mine--the drummer in my group at the time--Andrew Wilshusen. I was never very good at deciding on titles, and Andrew named most if not all of the songs for the band.

Other than that, I have little to say about it. The first line is a quote from William Faulkner. I'm not sure anyone knows for certain what he meant. I'm not certain what I meant. Unlike some of my originals, I don't think I've ever disliked this one. Others...


I drink for the pain. I've got bad blood in my vein and in my heart.
I smoke what I can. I've got yellow hands and a space between.

I need a little wound. Everybody needs food to stay alive.
I need a paper hole brought up from my soul, so I can write.

But Mary doesn't want to know it's true.
Every song I write belongs to someone new.
Fallin'...fallin' through.

She says I lie. I can go away and die.
Then her eyes look down. She begins to turn around and apologize.
I just play this song. It don't take too damn long, not to sing.


Monday, February 17, 2014

You know my name...

So, my first musical selection, "You Know My Name," comes from Chris Cornell of Soundgarden fame. And of his own fame in his own right. The tune was the theme to the last James Bond Film, Skyfall.

I've played a few Cornell/Soundgarden songs in the past. Often I don't care for his solo work quite as much. It's a bit too pop at times, even a little cheesy maybe (I'm thinking "Sunshower," for example). I'm more of a Badmotorfinger fan.

Anyway, my wife suggested my last band learn this, but we never got around to it. I think this iphone recorded version turned out just fine. The opening vocal is a bit flat, but you know--my guitar was probably out of tune anyway. As it is, I'm not trying to emulate Cornell (but you can find plenty of that garbage on YouTube). Just trying to play his cool song in my own way.

Saturday, February 15, 2014

And now for some music...

Wow. It's been over a year since my last post. It's not that I wouldn't prefer  a more literary life. I would. But until I finish the great American novel, I don't see that happening. And then I still don't see that happening.

So anyway, prioritizing means the blog gets shoved by the wayside most of the time. When I do have good ideas or when I run across poems I'd like to think about a bit in prose, I'm usually too tired too worry about it. But lately I've been asked by North American Review blog to blog a bit for them, which was a cool, thoughtful, and appreciated offer. And yesterday for Valentine's Day my wife gave me a cool leather-bound journal
and requested I fill it with haiku. I had taken up a similar project a few years ago when my mother gave me a small notebook made from (not with) recycled elephant poop. I called the collection "hai-poo" and returned it to her when every page was filled. That was actually a lot of fun, and I learned a bit about haiku along the way.

So with the NAR asking me to write a "The Art of Ecstasy" for their site and with my wife asking me to persistently keep a record of haiku, returning to the blog seemed a natural addition. But since I don't really care to invest the time to blather on about poetry, I think instead I'm going to periodically post some music. Some new, some old. Some covers, some originals. And of course I'll embed YouTube.

Now I do have some philosophical problems with this. I really hate most of the stuff on YouTube and much of what such a site entails. I mean honestly--most of what anyone needs to know about human existence can be gleaned from the annals of scatalogy past, present, and future. Very little needs to exist ad infinitum per the multitude of hard drives on which the internet survives. I do like all the education YouTube offers, but seriously--most of us having nothing to say or show. It's not true that everyone has a voice and that it should be heard. I don't exclude myself from this predicament.

But as a poet and a musician I am foremost an exhibitionist (aren't we all?). And so I find myself occasionally posting my foolishness online: YouTube, a blog, the infrequent and quotidian Facebook post (I fear how much energy is wasted in its various forms to house Facebook posts until eternity).

And with that being said, I intend to update "Present Everywhere" with regularity again, not with highfalutin pomp about poetry, but with semi-decent music, mine and otherwise.