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  • 1MC : In the Summertime

    It’s Saturday morning – Pull Up the Covers
    Throw open the windows and sing along with this one minute cover song.  Originally recorded by Mungo Jerry this song is called In the Summertime.  

    or you can watch it on Instagram right here.

  • Let’s Go (So We Can Get Back)

    I just finished reading a book called Let’s Go (So We Can Get Back) by Jeff Tweedy.  I don’t think I would recommend it to everybody but it was a life changer for me.  Jeff Tweedy is one of my favorite songwriters.  Like any good autobiography, it has plenty of childhood material. There is lots of stuff about songwriting and the creative process. There are great stories about being a musician and touring.  He talks about addiction and recovery.  I think the heart of the entire book is generational mental health problems and learning to live with anxiety.  It made me feel better and I am going to read it again. 
    
    What is the difference between an autobiography and a memoir?  
  • Kisses to the Bone Pile

    I’ve been working on a new song called Kiss and Mean It.  I brainstormed several ideas.  One idea involved the biological response the body undergoes during a kiss.  Another idea had to do with a pathological fear of intimacy.  The option that I spent the most time with involved an alternate ending for Romeo and Juliet.  I worked hard on this song but it’s not working.  My most recent iteration sounded familiar.  When you begin stealing lines from 80’s pop hits, it is time to quit. I don’t want to give up on the song but these verses are not good.  It’s one of the best choruses I have ever written.  I don’t know what to do with this song but I think it’s headed for the bone pile.  It will be ready and waiting when the right time comes around.   
  • Romeo Bails

    Wednesday Words

    Romeo says 
    Hey Juliet
    Are you sure this is a good plan
    I know all about those passionate kisses
    But this seems like a lot
    I’ve been thinking about taking a trip down to Venice
    I wanted to see what’s going on down there
    This has been great… really…
    But I gotta go
    
    This was an attempt at a verse for my song-in-progress called Kiss and Mean It.  Don’t worry, it was immediately obvious that it was not good.  
  • 1MS : Naked Eyes

    My wife and two of my kids have blue eyes. My baby girl has eyes the same color as mine.  She looked me in the eye and said, “Hey, we match… except mine are white on the edges and yours are red.”
    I have a new one minute song out today. It’s about eyes.  
    
    
  • Peppers and Fairies

    A friend gave me a couple of green bell peppers last week.  My garden doesn’t contain any pepper plants.  I love peppers but they give me awful heartburn.  It seems more prudent to avoid the temptation.  I’m grateful for the kindness of friends.
    My twins are convinced that they love red peppers but hate green peppers. They have seen and been aware of the green peppers sitting on the counter in the kitchen countless times in the past week.  Overnight, the magic happened.  When green peppers get ripe, they turn red.  It’s nature and it’s beautiful. This morning in place of the green peppers, red peppers were sitting on the counter and their little minds were blown.  They were so excited about the red peppers and they kept asking where we got them.  Of course, I told them that it was the work of fairies. 

  • Joyous Noise From An Old Rooster

    I was playing at a music festival.  Like all good festivals, it was a field in the middle of nowhere with a stage in the middle.  There were tents everywhere full of sleepy music lovers.  This particular field in the middle of nowhere had a neighbor with chickens.  When those sleepy music lovers finally crawled into their tents at the crack of dawn, the old rooster began to crow.  I had the privilege of being the first act on the second day. I grabbed my busted banjo and me and that rooster made a joyful noise.  Hey, all of you sleepy music lovers, wake up.  

  • Bone Pile

    The bone pile is a gruesome place.
    It’s where a good song idea goes to die when it is too painful to actually write.  
    It’s where a particularly poetic line wanders aimlessly without form.  
    It’s where a great hook is doomed to repeat on loop, over and over and over.
    It’s where a lonely bridge jumps into oblivion.
    It’s where a traumatic urge, a humorous itch, a perfect turn-of-phrase, and half of a perfect melody all wait for divine inspiration.  
    It’s song purgatory. It’s the island of misfit songs. It’s a stack of messy notebooks. It’s hope and potential waiting for an opportunity.  It’s the bone pile. 
    
    I always have a notebook nearby to scribble ideas.  It could be one line, a title, most of a song, a chord structure, or a melody.  It could be a complete song that is not very good but seemed important at the time. I try to be consistent with the notebook but inspiration is rarely premeditated.  There are many scraps of paper, odds-and-ends, and even a piece of toilet paper tucked into the bone pile.  When a notebook gets filled, it goes on the shelf and a new notebook is started.  Don’t ask about a specific type of notebook or writing utensil.  It doesn’t matter.  Currently, I am using a small notebook because it’s easier to tuck into a pocket or a bag to ensure that it’s always on hand. The important thing is that it is paper.  I have tried typing onto a screen at various points but the results have never been good.  Ink is fine but a pencil provides more freedom, permission, and forgiveness.  
    
    As long as there are fresh ideas, I follow them.  Whenever I sit down to work and find myself without a new idea, I turn to the bone pile.  It’s amazing what a clean perspective can do for an idea. I’ve had a number of my favorite songs claw their way out of the bone pile.  You never know what you will find in the bone pile but it’s guaranteed that the cupboard will never be bare. You can always find some tiny morsel on which to gnaw.  
     
    The following is a list of my songs that have spent time on the bone pile (updated as necessary):
    Broken and Beautiful
    Cosmoline
    Ghosts
    Whistle At the Sky
    Lost Cause
    Kissing Tree
    Old Hymns
    Lion Tamer
    Thanksgiving Day
    The Locket
    Where I Go
     

  • New vs. Familiar

    I was working on a batch of cover song videos. There were three songs on my to-do list. I had never played two of the songs and it had been a long time since I had played the third. It became immediately obvious that attempting unfamiliar songs was inefficient (stupid).  I swapped this list for three different songs that I already knew very well. I avoided a lot of stress and saved hours.  
    In our culture, you can be ostracized if you don’t try new things. Humans have a natural inclination to choose familiar and comfortable instead of taking the plunge into a novel experience. I understand the sentiment. I don’t want to miss something that may be amazing just because it is unfamiliar. However, this attitude can be dangerous. I often feel guilty if I am not constantly doing new work. It’s easy to get stuck on a treadmill, chasing new things and catching nothing. I don’t want to sacrifice the songs that I love for something different simply because it’s a new thing.  
    Do you ever find yourself constantly chasing the new?

  • I Start With A Calendar

    I have been working on a series of one-minute songs. The goal is that this video series will align with “current trends in media consumption.” You can read more about this series here and here.  I think the majority of creators in my field start with an idea, make a video, and then post it. That would never work for me. I am a creature of routine.  I start with a calendar, define a rigid (and unattainable) schedule, and work to fill the slot. This might be because I watched far too much television when I was growing up. You could always count on your favorite show being there for you at the same time every week.   
    For a while, I was making a series called New Song Nooners. I got some great feedback from people that liked this series and enjoyed hearing me ramble on and on about a new song.  However, it was impossible to sustain a weekly series focused on new songs. That would require a lot of new songs.  One Minute Songs filled the void left by New Song Nooners and by default it got slotted into Wednesdays at noon. It never occurred to me that there could be a different or even better time. According to the metrics provided by the robots, this is not the best option for my “content to receive engagement.”  I don’t know what that means or if it matters.  But it seems like a good enough reason to adjust my pre-ordained schedule.  One Minute Songs will now happen on Tuesday mornings. You probably won’t notice.  This whole thing made me wonder about how many aspects of my routine are completely arbitrary.  Maybe tomorrow I will drink my coffee at 7:40 instead of 7:50.
    I hope you are enjoying One Minute Songs.  If you have any suggestions that you think would make a great one-minute song, reply to this message and let me know.