Back to from Where You Came
Assessment: My mother told me that she was allocating some of her inheritance for me to record a CD of my songs. From the start, I realized that, though I didn't have to, it would be nice for the record to serve the interests of more than just myself. Therefore, the songs that ended up on it were significant to other people. For instance, 'To Fall' is a song that I probably wouldn't have recorded if my mother hadn't encouraged me. I also would have ended up in a different studio if my father hadn't vouched for Guitar Sound in Coleman. Both recommendations were good decisions in the end. The album was recorded, produced, mixed, and mastered and the album art was laid out in a grand total of 55 hours. Not unthinkable. Bad Company recorded Bad Company in six hours. But seriously, 55 was only really a start and I would have taken 250 if I had the money and time. I believe the effort is the best I could do in 55 hours. If I had more money, more time, wasn't a smoker, read more and knew more about music, I think it would have been better. Hillsdale is a rotten place to play music in. But then again, so is New York. The project isn't and really can't be about making money or becoming popular. I had to tell some stories. Those stories may at times come across as heavy-handed, maybe a little critical, and perhaps they weren't fascinating stories to begin with. With exception to a couple tracks, all the songs were rewritten at least a couple times, if not three or four. It's a habit. I write, rewrite, then abandon them after a time. I rewrote several songs that aren't on the album, so I hope you'll get to hear them at some point. They either didn't cut it at the time, were not developed enough yet, or both. All the songs without exception are personal. Lyrically, I would say I'm equally derivative of two musicians: Ryan Adams and Sufjan Stevens. Both are brilliant writers and they both taught me how to write stories that aren't necessarily about you, but certainly affect you in some way. On the other hand, I sound nothing like Sufjan and only somewhat like Ryan Adams. My musical influences include but aren't limited to the following (in no particular order): Lyle Lovett, Devendra Banhart, David Bowie, Bob Dylan, Daniel Johnston, Neil Young, Bruce Cockburn, Gordon Lightfoot, Wilco, Uncle Tupelo, Whiskeytown, Joanna Newsom, Jens Lekman, Destroyer, Rich Mullins, Modern Praise and Worship (unfortunate and unavoidable), Dougie MacLean, Matt McConnell, Russell McConnell, Don West, Tim West, Mark Wampfler, Marion Keith Byrd, Lamar Felter, Dave Malinich, Sandra Beyers, George Widiger, Larry Williams, Dan Miloch, MxPx, Craig's Brother, Stavesacre, and my mother. I would like other people to say I sound like the Rolling Stones or maybe Jackie Wilson. But that'll never happen. No pitch adjustment (auto-tune) was used in the making of this album. No modulation at all was used on any instrument. In other words, there are bad notes here and there. Word of honor: I stole nothing but the following items in the making of this album... ...the verse chords for 'The Fall' are similar to those of Bruce Cockburn's 'Look How Far (the light came),' and that was only at first. The chords on there are somewhat different now, though the principal is still the same. The melody is much different as Cockburn simply speaks during those chords. ...the line 'till a sweet apple grows from a sour apple tree' from 'Lunita' is lifted directly out of 'I Wish My Baby Was Born' the author of which is unknown. Uncle Tupelo does a nice rendition of it, and that's where I heard it. ...the main hook from 'Lunita' is from the wordless meanderings of the background singers on Bob Dylan's 'Brownsville Girl.' I haven't actually listened to the song since I wrote it, so I don't know if it's actually the same anymore. ...the simile in the first song, 'Sunlight Dialogues,' is from my friend Jonathan Ault. It went like this: 'Listening to her talk about her problems was like being full grown and trying to swim in a kiddie pool; you don't want to be there doing it, you are getting absolutely nowhere, and it is incredibly shallow.' ...the title 'Sunlight Dialogues' is also the title of a book by John Gardner. It's a decent read, but I recommend Grendel and Dan Silliman would probably recommend Freddie's Book as well. Any other similarities are probably coincidental. Jonathan Ault wrote the liner notes. They were pretty good considering he wrote them in half an hour or so. I edited them for content. I find there are only a handful of people whose opinions I consistently take seriously. For one, I listened to Jonathan Ault and Matt McConnell. Jonathan particularly helped me in the rewriting process and his literary thoughts show throughout. I rarely listen to a lot of people, including my closest friends and family. It's a bad habit. Sorry. I certainly never listen to most people, because their opinions on my music are always so strange. Not that I get a lot of bad comments necessarily. They are just always bizarre things I never notice. For instance, if you think I take too long between songs during my set, that isn't something I really care about. If you really like the shirt I wore at such and such show, however, I will take your opinion quite seriously and probably wear that shirt for at least three or four more shows in the future. If you think such and such song should have been on the album, that's okay. I probably will agree with you. But you know that part in Mulholland Drive when the director wants to use this one actress for the part, but the mafioso guys make sure he chooses someone else? Well, that's what choosing songs for this album was like. It wasn't completely up to me. My top five favorite songs from the sixties are as follows: 1. 'Your Love Is Lifting Me (higher and higher)' by Jackie Wilson 2. 'One of Us Must Know (sooner or later)' by Bob Dylan 3. 'A Day in The Life' by the Beatles 4. 'Helter Skelter' by the Beatles 5. 'Good Times, Bad Times' by Led Zeppelin from the seventies: 1. 'So Far Away' by Carole King 2. 'Worth Believin'' by Gordon Lightfoot 3. 'Life on Mars' by David Bowie 4. 'Simple Kind of Man' by Lynyrd Skynyrd 5. 'I Got a Name' by Jim Croce from the eighties: 1. 'With or Without You' by U2 2. 'Sunday Bloody Sunday' by U2 3. 'Video Killed the Radio Star' by the Buggles 4. 'Most of the Time' by Bob Dylan 5. 'This Charming Man' by The Smiths from the nineties: 1. 'Revenge' by Whiskeytown 2. 'Hard to Get' by Rich Mullins 3. 'Old Friend' by Rancid 4. 'Fifteen Keys' by Uncle Tupelo 5. 'We Will Not Be Lovers' by the Waterboys.