One Day at a Time

May 13th, 2010

I first heard this song through the floor boards of my house in Ann Arbor that I shared with seven other people. Matt Lurie and Andy Thompson were working on an arrangement of this song based on the Flatlanders’ cover version.

Years later I got really into the early recordings of Willie Nelson. (I strongly recommend his early demos recorded for other singers, which were released on this complilation a few years ago. Sample 1, 2 and 3.) This song also dates from his early career, although I’ve never heard a demo of it.

In a world is full of precautions and plans, this song captures the restless free spirit and its nuances in so few lines. Matt Lurie and I once discussed the audacity and brilliance of a line like “Don’t ask how long I plan to stay – it never crossed my mind. I live one day at a time.” Who needs to pay taxes when you’ve got songs like these?

This recording is a quickie done in the basement a few years ago, but I feel good about the looseness of it. One take of live guitar and vocals, one vocal overdub and one guitar solo overdub.

One Day at a Time (written by Willie Nelson)

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The Opening Chapter of Openness

May 9th, 2010

I have a desire to share the things I record, but I have trouble determining when things are “acceptable to share.” For the past few years,  I wanted to only present “finished” songs to others, which meant that I barely shared anything, even though I’ve recorded lots of things that are decidedly unfinished.

I’m hoping to stop worrying about that with this blog by posting demos in progress, rough jams, cover songs, episodes from my long-in-progress podcast, and whatever else I feel like sharing, starting with my rawest and most personal form of demos: journal songs.

Back in September of 2003, right after I graduated college, I started doing them. The idea was that I would sit down in front of a microphone and spontaneously record an improvised song about my day, every day. The “every day” part didn’t last, but I had some good streaks going. I’ve done quite a few since the first one – maybe 100? I’ve never counted, but every time I’ve stopped doing them I eventually start again. Many are unlistenable pieces of garbage, others are fairly enjoyable and even eventually turned into “real” songs. I probably won’t post them too often, but I think it’s interesting to force a song to come out of you with no preconceived planning whatsoever. Maybe I’ll post some old journal songs from time to time, but right now I’d rather post brand new songs as they happen.

Whether the anonymous “people” read this blog or not, I really don’t care or expect it. But I do think it’d be a nice way to share new recordings that have otherwise been unheard with a network of pals. So, friends, here we go. Hopefully you’ll see new recordings here fairly regularly. One at a time, starting with this one.

Journal Song: April 20, 2010
Many of you probably already know this, but Emily’s sister Carey and her boyfriend Adam had a baby girl named Lucy on April 22 at 2:16am. The night of April 20, I recorded the following journal song. At that moment, we had just left their house, where she was having contractions at 6 minutes apart. These were later revealed to be Toni Braxton fake outs, however, when Emily and I left we thought it was the real deal and that it was going to happen that night. That’s really all the setup you need.

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