Here are the songs:

Joyous Noise on a Busted Banjo

#1 August 16, 2021

Pancakes on a Busted Banjo

#2 August 30, 2021

Pedal Down

#3 September 13, 2021

Snake Ate My Radio

#4 September 27, 2021

Boom Boom Ticka Ticka

#5 October 11, 2021

Oddballs, Old Friends, and Weird Folk

Should this be #6?

These are all the stories related to the record.

September 14, 2021

I am currently putting out “official releases” every two weeks.  I am old school and love listening to a whole record. However, dripping singles from a full album is a really nice approach from a workflow standpoint.  

The next track in the Busted Banjo series is called Bugs.  Two days ago when I was talking to Hannah, I mentioned my arrangement plan for the song.  She made an unmistakable face and said, “are you sure?”  The seed of doubt was planted.  

I spent a lot of time in the studio trying to force a square peg into a round hole.  The track was bad.  None of my tricks worked to salvage the song. I spent all day working on it and in the end I decided to blow it up and start in a new direction.  It might work.  

The interesting question is, when did this track become a disaster?  Was my original arrangement always going to be the square peg?  Did it spiral when the seed of doubt was planted?  

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September 8 2021

I love songwriting.  I love talking about songwriting.  I love telling stories about songwriting.  I have been searching for a format that allows me to talk about songwriting in an accessible way.  I think I’ve found something that might work.  It is called “Brother Jack’s Song Stories.”  

If you want to hear a long, rambling story about how I wrote my song called Pancakes, here it is.  

Brother Jack's Song Stories : Pancakes are Romantic

Watch this video on YouTube

It has been suggested that my songs are fine but my stories about the songs put them in context and make them important. I think this is true for everything.  The things that happen to us are not as important as the stories we tell.  

I’ve got a lot more stores and some of them might even be true.  

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Brother Jack's Song Stories : Pancakes are Romantic

Watch this video on YouTube

September 7 2021

I like to think that I am an absolute, spontaneous creative that constructs my art from scratch at every step of the process.  The truth is that I employ some templates.  I have some go-to moves.  For vocals, I have a pre-saved standard for my EQ, I use a vocal preset on a warmer plugin, and I typically add some saturation.  

I was recording some accessory parts for my new arrangement of Boom Boom Ticka Ticka.  I had not listened to the vocals since I recorded them two weeks ago.  I was really impressed with the way the vocals fit in the mix.  For a song like this, I would normally turn the stank knob way up because these vocals need some grit.  I checked the channel because it sounded so good and I wanted to see what I had done previously.  There was nothing.  It was a completely clean track.  That’s right, no filter needed.  This was all me.  

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August 29, 2021

It’s hard to describe how awesome this felt.  My kid helped me create this art.  For this arrangement of Pancakes, I knew I wanted this handbell sound on the break. 

As some backstory, her grandmother gifted these handbells to her granddaughter as a Christmas present ten years ago.  Don’t judge me.  I know they are technically a toy.  They sound perfect.  A set of handbells are a tricky instrument for an only child.  You can really only play two bells at a time.  There is not much that you can do with two bells.  Good news, now she has some siblings and we can take this bell choir on the road.  

These handbells were exactly what I wanted for the sound on the break.  It was incredible to sit down and work out this part together.  The sound was perfect.  More importantly it was something very special that we did together.   

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August 22, 2021

I have been working on a new project called Busted Banjo. You may have heard me mention it. It has been my main focus lately and I’ve written about it consistently. I have been leaking out the finished tracks before they are released. It’s very sneaky. You can listen to them here. This is the best part about being an independent musician. I don’t have to answer to any grump in a suit. I am my own boss. I can do whatever I want to do with my music. Stick it to the man and listen to Pedal Down. It is track three on Busted Banjo.

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August 16, 2021

I may have previously alluded to a shift in my musical approach in the studio for the new project. I’ve always strived to be creative and to think outside the box with my sonic choices. For the Busted Banjo, sounds are getting really wild. As previously documented, the arrangement for Joyous Noise demanded that I play a tiny blue drum kit. The bass requirements for the track were even more extreme. When I listened to the rough mix, I knew I needed a low end that sounded like vrump – vrump – vrump. I began ransacking my studio looking for something that would make that sound. I continued grunting, vrump – vrump – vrump, as I tried to match that sound. I needed an instrument that could sound like vrump. The solution became obvious. I was already making the sound. With a minor wave of the magical digital wand I could have exactly what I needed. All right, everybody sing with me now – vrump – vrump – vrump.

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August 15, 2021

My first single for the Busted Banjo project drops tomorrow. It is an arrangement of my song called Joyous Noise. It’s all about finding joy in really annoying sounds. For example, the repetitious chirping of the early morning birds that remind you to be grateful for another waking day. I have been approaching the studio a little differently for this project. I’ve always had a thing for arrangements. I have always known how I want things to sound. I can hear it in my head. In the past I have used the instrument and players most readily available to create some reasonable facsimile of what I hear in my mind. For this project I am working hard to not limit myself. I am chasing the sounds as far as I am able. I am banging, thumping, grunting, and discovering whatever method I can find to create the sound that I want to hear. This song needed me to play a rudimentary rhythmic pattern on a tiny blue drum kit. Don’t judge me, I used a big boy chair.

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August 6, 2021

I have a song called River Jordan. It was originally on my Judgement project. For a while I have wanted to record a new arrangement of the song with a dirty slide banjo part. I recorded my dream banjo part on my busted banjo for the new project. All summer it sat waiting for some spit and polish. I dropped in some vocals last night. My phrasing on the chorus is completely different than how I always play the song. I tried over and over to make it work. I could fit all the words in but it just felt weird. I can’t change it without starting from scratch. I contemplated trying to force it but made an executive decision. We are scrapping it and moving on to something that doesn’t feel weird. I will record my dream arrangement some other time.

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July 26, 2021

I finished the artwork for my new Busted Banjo project.  Drawing is a new thing for me. I am not good at it yet. I am doing it a lot and trying to get better. I wanted to share all of the iterations of this project.

The project is called Busted Banjo.  I think you can see where I was going with this.          

This one is slightly better than the first iteration.  

This one is worse. It looks more like a hobo with a bag and a stick instead of a banjo. 

I decided to switch to just sketching a broken banjo. There were many attempts to get to this point.  There are several things about this that are not good,  It looks a little bit like a broken leg spewing blood.  

I finally figured out what I wanted to draw.  It’s bright and sunny.  It looks like a banjo.  It sends the message that it is a broken banjo.  There is an awesome letter Z in the center.  I love Zorro.  The banjo head is a little bit lumpy and not circular enough.  I could do better.

This is the winner.  I am satisfied.  This is the Busted Banjo. 


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