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I was working on a mix and it occurred to me that making Weird Folk is kind of tricky. If you are making dance music, you pump the bass and nothing else matters. For pop music, you make the vocals hot and put it over a squashed mix with a straight-ahead beat. Country is the same as pop but with an accent. All of the indie genres include unintelligible vocals with washy guitars and jangly drums. Weird Folk requires a great groove like dance music but it is limited to traditional instruments. The groove has to make you want to move but can’t interfere with the words. The vocals have to be clear and about something important like pancakes. Weird Folk needs a great groove but not too much and it has to achieve an indie vibe without getting washed out. If it was easy, everybody would be Weird Folk.
I go walking late at night I imagine that I could be anything that I like I could be brave, I could be strong I could be mean, I could be powerful In this game where I could be anything I could be anyone but I’m never me I got frail bones and rotten teeth Bend don’t break I walked through some fires Left with scars and purity I want to strike a match and burn it down I need a fresh start, something shiny and new Everybody feels like they are never enough Everybody feels like they can never measure up I’m scared sarge; We all are, soldier In the dark you can count your tears I got frail bones and rotten teeth Bend don’t break I walked through some fires Left with scars and purity Never let them see you weak Grit your teeth and bear that weight Show your strength but not too much now Never appear too aggressive and never ask for help Always apologize for the sins of our fathers So hard to know who I’m supposed to be I got frail bones and rotten teeth Bend don’t break I walked through some fires Left with scars and purity
The idea was to write some verses about basic human brokenness. It practically wrote itself. Poetic verses outlining general failures flowed forth like water. I don’t think I have ever written a song faster than this song. Life is hard and there are so many universal pains. The hardest thing about writing this song was cutting it down to an appropriate length. Many failures were excluded and abandoned during the writing of this song. It’s OK if you are not Ok.
I’m having trouble coming up with anything to write. It snowed and I shoveled. Now, all I can think about is my back pain. My shoveling-induced back pain is not worthy material for a Daily Dispatch. But then we had some fried peppers with dinner and my overwhelming heartburn is competing with my back pain. This is good enough for a post. It’s like a pro-wrestling cage fight. Two musclebound problems bludgeoning each other for supremacy. Which one will be my figure four leg lock? My money is on the heartburn.
I got my guitar back.
The bridge on my main guitar recently popped off. I’ve been playing this guitar since the Christmas of 1999. We’ve been through so much together. I wasn’t confident that it was salvageable. I made peace with the possibility that it couldn’t be repaired. I even bought a replacement. A friend recommended a guy and he was able to get me on his workbench fast. In under two weeks, I have the guitar back in my hands. He performed a minor miracle. The bridge is perfect and he even resurfaced my frets. This genius made the old girl seem ten years younger. I’m so happy to have my guitar back, as good as new.
I’m sure that you’ve heard stories about mothers who get superhuman strength in dire circumstances. A normal-sized woman can lift a car when their offspring is in danger. That’s how I feel about ice cream.
I have twins and they are seven.
“Hey Pops… Why don’t I know any of the bad words? I think I should know all of the bad words.”
“I think it’s great that you don’t know bad words. This is OK.”
“I should know the bad words. My brother knows ALL of the bad words.”
His face turned a strange green color. His sister had thrown him under the bus. He found his courage and attempted to dig his way out.
“That’s not true, I only know one bad word… Want to hear it?”
This idea first appeared during the spring of 2021. The pandemic was ending but we didn’t know it yet. Things were weird. Most of my songwriting during that period focused around mental health topics. There is a title scribbled down on my list of potential songs. “It’s OK to Be Not OK.” My intention was that this line would serve as a chorus and the verses would simply be a list of all the things that could go wrong during a regular day. I didn’t continue with the song because a list of things that could go wrong was much too long. When I started working on my current project, I felt that this song could be a perfect end for the record. There is no sentiment more important than this. Everyone feels broken and we all think that we alone feel this way. We all get defeated sometimes and it is ok. If I never write another song, I want to make sure this one gets finished. That massive list of things that could go wrong needs to be shrunk down to the length of a song.
Today is Fat Tuesday. It is the day before Ash Wednesday. In the Christian tradition, you are supposed to give up rich food for Lent. I am not sure how to adequately define rich food but I’m fairly certain the pancake is a perfect example. The goal of Fat Tuesday is to use all of the fat, sugar, and butter in the house to avoid temptation for the next 40 days. Just to be safe, eat some pancakes today. While you are at it, make some pancakes for somebody else too.