My last post on this site was September 16, 2012--a long time in blogland, and kind of long time in regular land too, though it feels like I just wrote it yesterday. And yet, if a child was conceived the night that post was written, his or her parents are likely preparing for said child's arrival in the next few weeks. School kids who were just getting settled back into the swing of their studies are now anxiously counting down the days until summer vacation. By my crude calculations, had I elected to forsake all my other earthly duties including sleep, I could have listened to Bob Dylan's Nashville Skyline 13,140 times since I last posted on this blog. No small chunk of time, especially when you choose to measure it in uncharacteristically brief Bob Dylan albums.
As it stands, I've listened to Nashville Skyline maybe once since then, and have slept a ton. Really, I have no good excuse for my absence--in blogland, I've found, there are no good excuses for being an inactive blogger, though I always do like it when my extended periods of inactivity happen to coincide with some other creative endeavor which understandably consumes large chunks of time (i.e. writing a book), thus allowing for just the kind of easy scapegoating I don't have to fall back on this time.
Or, not really anyway. Truth is, I have been busy exercising some creative muscles, only this time they're of the musical rather than lexical variety. I have been an inactive musician for far longer than I've been an inactive blogger, so it would stand to reason that many who have stumbled across my writing over the last several years would have no reason to know my storied history as a disenfranchised stalwart of the Peoria, Illinois music scene (as it is), so I will describe a little bit the nature of this project.
Most of these songs were written between 2007 and 2011, with minor amendments made sporadically as I felt the songs warranted them. I have rehearsed most if not all of these tunes over the years with an assortment of my musically gifted friends, all of whom contributed (or would have contributed) much more interesting things to them than I came up with on my own here. I still hope, someday, when lives are less hectic and synchronizing the schedules of multiple grown, employed, married parents isn't nigh on impossible, that those projects can come to fruition as originally planned. To that end, I do not consider these "finished versions" of these songs, nor do I consider this collection of material a "new album," per se. It is, as the title states, a collection of demos--a document rather than a product, a means for these wayward, lingering songs to be archived as written works.
That said, I am proud of the songs and of how they turned out, especially as they are the first real recordings I have ever made entirely on my own. I recorded them using a studio mic that I borrowed from my brother--it's a nice looking silver thing that plugs into the computer and has a few buttons on it, which is pretty much all I know to say about it. Suffice it to say, I am not a gearhead, and in general do not understand any of the technical aspects of audio engineering. I did, however, make an honest effort to learn enough to make these recordings presentable, and despite the pops and cracks (and one odd inexplicable digital glitch), I think they are at least that.
I have uploaded them to Mediafire at 320KBPS MP3, and they can be downloaded here:
Arts and Leisure Demos
2. I Was a Sculptor
3. Art Rock Rhumba
4. East Missouri
6. New Radios
7. Theodore the Bat
8. Famous First Words
9. Civilization Blues
10. Bound For It
11. Baby Bird
You can download the individual MP3s one at a time via this folder here.
All the vocals and instruments were performed by me, and were most often recorded on Sunday nights after the kids had gone to sleep and my wife had gone to her aunt's house for their weekly visit. The only instrument I used was acoustic guitar, because it's the only instrument I own. I owe a kudos to Dan Myers and Charlie May, as many of the arrangements they helped formulate for the first seven songs have carried over in some capacity to these recordings. I owe a second kudos to my brother Brian, both for the mic and for the guitar I've been using for the past few years. And I owe a third kudos to Jason Lamb, my long-time musical partner, as the "sound" we refined over the years is always swirling in the background when I compose--specifically, here, when recording the harmonies, I always had that sense of "what would Jason do?" informing my feeble attempts at accompanying myself.
I have no real desire to make any money off these recordings, nor do I have the compulsion or the patience to try to "promote" them the way an artist trying to make a career for himself ought to. That said, I like the idea of them being out there in the world for people to enjoy, so please share them with friends if you like them. I have more songs floating around in the on-deck circle, which I will probably record in similar fashion in due time, but with these in the bag I think I'm going to try to re-shift my focus back to writing for a while, maybe even make a blog post or two. No promises, though.