USSS: oddbod

Why isn’t oddbod famous? Proof positive that talent and fame are not connected. Tim “oddbod” Conway is one of the finest songwriters and performers I’ve ever heard. His new songs at FAWM turn into a mad rush to comment. A week in, his first song Instamatic has nearly a hundred comments from other songwriters who are supposed to be scrambling to write 14 songs of their own. Continue reading “USSS: oddbod”

Just a Couple of Kids

The youngest smallest smartest kid in my High School classes was tough. In the middle of 1st grade, they moved me to 2nd grade in the little 2-room country school I attended.

Volga and Range both had 2-room school houses, with 1st through 3rd in one room, 4th through 6th in the other. About 10 kids in each grade; 60 total in the school. We moved in after the school year started so I had the last seat in the 1st graders. When I was promoted, I didn’t even have to move my desk, I was just the first seat in the 2nd graders.

Bullying was a big part of my life when I was younger. Continue reading “Just a Couple of Kids”

What if the Light at the End of the Tunnel is Just the Headlamp of an Oncoming Train?

After repeated listenings to Cream’s Born Under a Bad Sign a few years ago I went to my music room to play around on my bass. Rather than trying to copy Jack Bruce’s bass line, I played what it made me feel like.

Speeding it up a little and moving down and back up a few times, all I needed was a brief refrain at the end, a turnaround between verses, and it felt complete.

What if the Light at the End of the Tunnel is Just the Headlamp of an Oncoming Train?

A rockabilly shuffle on the drums is loads of fun, but it’s hard to keep up if you’re not practicing regularly. The drums seem to have survived most of this trip.

When you commit to writing 14 songs in 28 days there’s a bit of a time constraint. When I started recording the springy lead guitar I realised that, though it was recording, it wasn’t coming out of the amp, and it wasn’t coming through the computer to my headphones. I could hear a tinny little noise straight off the strings on my Stratocaster, but even that was muffled by the headphones.

Knowing I could do it over, I soldiered on.

I didn’t do it over. This is what I sound like playing lead guitar when I can’t hear myself. Maybe I should try it more often.

Blues without harmonica seemed wrong. Then the piano started complaining about being left out.

I’ve written a handful of short verses which I might record some day, but if Hoagy Carmichael’s Stardust can survive as an instrumental for more than a decade, this one will be okay.

Standing in the Lonely Light of the Silver Moon

usic tends to be visceral, skipping past our filters, needling its way to the real stuff inside. Michael Nesmith does this to me more than most musicians. Listening to ‘Silver Moon’ right now I am struck, once again, by how completely his early solo work affected my perception of music. To this day, nearly all my songwriting is aimed at crafting my own Joanne or Silver Moon.

Music tends to be visceral, skipping past our filters, needling its way to the real stuff inside. Continue reading “Standing in the Lonely Light of the Silver Moon”

Middle Cyclone and the Mockingbird

npredictability seems to be Neko Case’s goal. Middle Cyclone is a cohesive package, no worries there, but until the last song rolls by, you cannot know what’s coming next, sometimes even in the same song.Mockingbird to the Morning is the song that gets stuck in my head; especially the moment in the second verse where she leaps to a note a full octave higher than you expected, then again coming out of the instrumental break.

Unpredictability seems to be Neko Case‘s goal. Middle Cyclone is a cohesive package, no worries there, but until the last song rolls by, you cannot know what’s coming next, sometimes even in the same song.

Mockingbird to the Morning is the song that gets stuck in my head; especially the moment in the second verse where she leaps to a note a full octave higher than you expected, then again coming out of the instrumental break.

Yet another song about loss, or found, or confusion. Seems to be a mood I’m in.

Easily Bruised: Who isn’t?

anadians seem to suck me in. I’m a lifelong fan of both Neil Young and Gordon Lightfoot, and continually discover others from the great white north. My latest discovery is Matthew Barber, and Easily Bruised.There’s a powerful feel of the Jayhawks in Bruised and not a little anguish. Or wistfulness. Or just plain pain, I’m not sure.

Cc” border=”0″ align=”left” />anadians seem to suck me in. I’m a lifelong fan of both Neil Young and Gordon Lightfoot, and continually discover others from the great white north. My latest discovery is Matthew Barber, and Easily Bruised.

There’s a powerful feel of the Jayhawks in Bruised and not a little anguish. Or wistfulness. Or just plain pain, I’m not sure.

Sometimes I’m not sure whether I like songs because they make me feel better or because they allow me to let some of the old pain leak out, leaving room for more worthwhile emotions.

You can hear Easily Bruised at Barber’s website. Maybe you’ll figger it out yourself.