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”

Ropin’ the Wind with Garth Brooks

Back in 1992 I was introduced to Garth Brooks by a friend from Texas. I hadn’t really been a huge country fan before then. My friend was staying with me at the time and wanted to watch the Country Music Awards. I was hooked after hearing Garth Brooks perform. Today, though I don’t listen to even new country much, I still love to listen to Garth Brooks.

In the summer of 1992 Garth came to San Diego, California, where I was then living. Continue reading “Ropin’ the Wind with Garth Brooks”

FAWM Over. We Win.

ebruary Album Writing Month is officially over for 2009. And I officially won.Which means I wrote or co-wrote at least 14 songs during the 28 days of February. (You’ll see on my FAWM profile that it lists 19; it’s actually only 18 because one is listed twice but I don’t want to lose the comments on my original post.)

February Album Writing Month is officially over for 2009. And I officially won.

Which means I wrote or co-wrote at least 14 songs during the 28 days of February. (You’ll see on my FAWM profile that it lists 19; it’s actually only 18 because one is listed twice but I don’t want to lose the comments on my original post.)

This year I discovered the double harmonic scale, which makes everything you play sound all Arabian Night-ish. I wrote two Arabic-sounding songs (my most ambitious musical endeavours to date) and collaborated on another.

I wrote a German drinking song. In German.

I wrote a Mexican dance song. In Spanish.

I played a jazz guitar improvisation, my first guitar improvisation ever.

I did my first FAWM music video.

I also did, as I have every year, some country, some folk, and some swingabilly.

And now, I’m tired.

John Boy Drum

just discovered the Calman Hart’s The John Boy Drum is available at CD Baby.Up the River, If I Die in a Nuclear War, Barrel of Rain. Astonishing stuff, musically and lyrically.

ICalman Hart's 'John Boy Drum' just discovered the Calman Hart’s The John Boy Drum is available at CD Baby.

Up the River, If I Die in a Nuclear War, Barrel of Rain. Astonishing stuff, musically and lyrically.

Get yours before it disappears again.

Much Too Young

ll men act younger than they are. Not all deal with obsession in life.The lyrics of “Much Too Young” from Garth Brooks’ first album are about a rodeo rider, but it’s really not about the rodeo. If you’re going to live a life of obsession and passion, make sure you partner up with someone who understands your passions, or loves you enough to support you without understanding.


AD” border=”0″ align=”left” />ll men act younger than they are. Not all deal with obsession in life.

The lyrics of “Much Too Young” from Garth Brooks’ first album are about a rodeo rider, but it’s really not about the rodeo. If you’re going to live a life of obsession and passion, make sure you partner up with someone who understands your passions, or loves you enough to support you without understanding.

Otherwise, like the storyteller in “Much Too Young” you may find yourself getting no answer when you call home for the second week straight.

The song’s reference to the late Chris LeDoux is credited by many for a serious surge in his popularity. I know it’s the first time I heard of him, and I’m glad of it.

Then Your Clothes

espite the fact that I still don’t own his entire catalog, I’m saddened by Jude Cole’s apparent decision to record others’ music instead of creating more of his own.This morning as I was taking Russia Saturn to work Jude put a smile on my face with my favorite track off “Start the Car”—”First Your Money (Then Your Clothes)”

Despite the fact that I still don’t own his entire catalog, I’m saddened by Jude Cole’s apparent decision to record others’ music instead of creating more of his own.

This morning as I was taking Russia Saturn to work Jude put a smile on my face with my favorite track off “Start the Car”—”First Your Money (Then Your Clothes)”

A simple tale of misguided affections is accompanied by simple but effective music. One of the first things that struck me when I was learning the song was that the bass (my starting point) isn’t doing anything other than the root note of each chord: bom, bom, bom, bom instead of a rockabilly shuffle or alternating country bass or some complicated rock riff.

The album’s opening with the crunch of the title track strongly reinforces the laid back country feel of the rest of the album. “First Your Money” has the same kind of wryly amusing lyrics you might find in the work of Brad Paisley or even Roger Miller:

 My mom said, "Son, it won't last She'll be gone when you're out of cash." Hey, Mom, I need a ride back home

and later

 We stopped to wish upon a star She stole my breath; she stole my car

And one more:

 Oh, no, love ain't cheap There's a tollbooth up on lover's leap

Just as “Start the Car” is aggressive without being angry, “First Your Money” is more about lessons learned than some tragedy about love gone wrong. For my money it’s a better message.

Quality Shoe

e finally got Mark Knopfler’s “Ragpicker’s Dream” and started wearing it out. It’s not really a concept album, since the songs aren’t really interrelated, but Knopfler’s ties to movie soundtracks are evident in the overall feeling of depression-era America. Though it contains some sad (or angry) songs, it’s not a depressing collection. Most of it feels just plain fun (it’s hard not to smile during the last verse of “Devil Baby”, a paean to circus freaks; in fact, it’s hard not to smile just writing that ridiculous sentence.)Three tracks get played over and over, when I’m not playing the whole album: the single, “Why Aye Man”, a western swing thing called “Daddy’s Gone to Knoxville”, and a tribute to Roger Miller’s unique musical style, “Quality Shoe.”

We finally got Mark Knopfler’s “Ragpicker’s Dream” and started wearing it out. It’s not really a concept album, since the songs aren’t really interrelated, but Knopfler’s ties to movie soundtracks are evident in the overall feeling of depression-era America. Though it contains some sad (or angry) songs, it’s not a depressing collection. Most of it feels just plain fun (it’s hard not to smile during the last verse of “Devil Baby”, a paean to circus freaks; in fact, it’s hard not to smile just writing that ridiculous sentence.)

Three tracks get played over and over, when I’m not playing the whole album: the single, “Why Aye Man”, a western swing thing called “Daddy’s Gone to Knoxville”, and a tribute to Roger Miller’s unique musical style, “Quality Shoe.”

Seen as a modern rock song from the leader of Dire Straits, “Quality Shoe” makes no sense; it really is about a pair of shoes. Seen, however, from the perspective of the album’s 20s/30s feel, it’s a simple sales pitch, back when all you had to do to sell something was explain to someone who trusted you why it was a good purchase (a bizarre marketing technique which might actually work, even today.)

After my 936th listen, I realized a connection to my own music. Though I pitch myself as a swingabilly writer, half or more of my tunes are heavily influenced by a complete immersion in Roger Miller beginning some time before my memories do.

Thanks, Mark. And thanks, Roger.

Still Haven’t Found What You’re Looking For? (8)

nother lazy post based on searches, and my best guess at what you were looking for.In no particular order:

Another lazy post based on searches, and my best guess at what you were looking for.

In no particular order:

  • “dido my love is gone” – still one of my favorite songs; here you go
  • “another carsong” – I’m writing one; does that count?
  • “doesn t mean i don t love you” – oh, good
  • “i changed the lock on my front door” – Lucinda Williams’ song with no chorus
  • “imogen heap” – ah; I’ll have to borrow rush’s CD and write about this amazing performer
  • “kid” – my least favorite Pretenders song. For some reason, one of their most popular. Must be me.
  • “parting glass” – a lifelong favorite from the Clancy Brothers and Tommy Makem, featured in “Waking Ned Divine
  • “squirrel nut zippers evening at lafitte s” – great jazz, featuring the luscious voice of Kathleen Whalen. Possibly a unique album.
  • “te hoe poti i tahiti” – I am at a total loss; I know no Tahitian music whatsoever, except for the collaboration between Chet Atkins and Mark Kopfler (on ‘Neck and Neck’) playing ‘Tahitian Skies