Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Week 26...


In all honesty, I never thought I'd make it this far. Like I said in the intro to 52, I am not a very disciplined person. Maybe I've taken some steps in the right direction, though. Stay tuned this week. I will be having a Half Way Party Contest. 

This is my friend Joe.
I have an old friend named Joe. He's a pretty great guy. For years, literally years, he has wanted the two of us to cover Queen and Bowie's "Under Pressure." I thought 52 would be a perfect place for our version to reside. Joe used to play in a band named the Radio Silence. He also filled in for One Amazin' Kid, for a stint. I first met him at our old church. He was this long haired, skinny kid who had a feather hanging from his Peavey Predator. He took guitar lessons and I'm pretty sure he wanted to be a shredder. Thankfully, he matured into a tasteful player and a great songwriter. It was nice getting to reconnect with him for the weekend; even though his son, Noah bullied my littlest sweetheart, Isaiah Jane. Noah is now banned for life from ever trying to date one of my daughters. 

I recorded the Radio Silence several times. The last time, I remember stopping during one of the vocal sessions to ask about the inspiration behind a song called "Graves." For some reason, it kept resonating with me. Joe cracked a small grin and sighed. He said, "Well, It's kind of about you." We had both gone through some rough times due to relationships ending. I was touched by his silent and sincere support. I don't know if he would have ever told me about the song if I hadn't asked him. I am truly glad I did. 

Well, Joe, we did it. I hope it exceeded your expectations. I hope the whole world enjoys it. 


     Recorded June 21-25, 2012. Guest vocals by Joe Lieb. If you listen closely near the end of the song, you can hear some sleigh bells. I sampled these for Joe's old band back in the day and have purposefully used them on every recording I could. All of the sleigh bells on my Christmas record, And Winter, are these very bells. Because Christmas is not Christmas without sleigh bells. Thanks, Joe, for making Christmas what it is today!
     "Under Pressure" written by Freddie Mercury, Brian May, John Deacon, Roger Taylor and David Bowie.

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Week 25...

Honor Rose tryin' to look fat.
Growing up, I heard a lot about Elvis Presley. My mother has always been a big fan. I remember her telling me the story of where she was when the story broke that he'd passed away. She was in a supermarket. They announced the news over the intercom system. She and everyone else in the store were crying.

This past Friday was my mothers XXth birthday!! She's a super stubborn broad, I'd say, but I love the stuffing out of her. She loves her kids and all 19 grandchildren, (I am responsible for 26.315% of them.) I thought I'd honor the day she was born with the sweet tune, "Love Me Tender." Happy birthday! I love you, Roberta Lee!



     Recorded June 16-18, 2012. Yesterday, while I was working on vocal ideas for the song, I had a thought. I called my older brother, Levi to see what he was up to. I made him drive over and sing the lower harmony part. I thought mom would like that. Don't worry, I paid him with a homemade gourmet lunch. 
     "Love Me Tender" written by Ken Darby.

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Week 24...

This was Justin's reaction to either my singing or guitar playing.
Not really. He's way too nice to be honest about it.
I recorded a Radiohead song for week 4. I thought I might do another one. I mean, it's been 20 weeks. That's enough time in between, right? 

When asked about your favorite Radiohead album, the cool and correct answer is OK Computer. More often than not, my answer is Hail to the Thief. I love that stinkin' record. Yeah, it is weird, but I'm down with that. "Where I End and You Begin" was the song on the record that stuck out to me the most. It's eerie, dark and chaotic. It drives all the way home. It is a song I can get lost within. 

I was hoping to do this song for week 4, but I knew I wanted to collaborate on it with an old friend of mine. He was unavailable the first go around, but not this time. Justin Huey turns whatever he touches to gold. From the time he was a teenager recording in my studio, to the times he played the late night talk show circuit with his band, Steel Train, he has been sharing his gift with the world. He is one of those musicians who does it all: guitar, bass, piano, voice, et cetera... You know, the kind of guy who makes you a little bit green with envy. So, it was an honor to do a little long distance collaboration with him. I sent him a very rough mix and away he went. He filled the canvas with colorful synths and piano. I love knowing that I never have to manage his ideas. He is always tasteful and solid, musically and personally. Funny story... My first copy of Hail to the Thief was a burned prerelease, given to me by none other than Justin. That is a good friend, right there. I bet he doesn't remember that. 

Let us know what you think, won't you?



     Recorded June 9-11, 2012. Justin Huey recorded synth and piano at his home studio, then sent me the files. Listen closely for my sons, Lucas Grey and Christopher Avery showing off their counting skills early in the song. They made it all the way to seven. I'm a proud papa. 
"Where I End and You Begin" written by Colin Greenwood, Jonny Greenwood, Ed O'Brien, Phil Selway and Thom Yorke. From the album Hail to the Thief.

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Week 23...

This week, I thought I'd revisit a song from my old band, One Amazin' Kid. At the end of our time together, we had a bunch of songs that we were playing live, but hadn't recorded past the demo phase. This was one such song. 

I wrote it after having a conversation with an old friend. Our paths had separated along the way. We reminisced on old times and talked about our lives apart. We both had our share of struggles to deal with. I was dealing with the aftermath of my divorce and was trying to figure out how to start over. He was dealing with drug abuse and depression. He talked of feeling completely alone and turning to drugs and alcohol to fill the void. The conversation left me mourning for him. I walked away from the talk with fresh eyes and a new perspective. Even with all I was going through, I felt the complete opposite. My void was filled. I kept saying to myself, "the past is in past. Grace covers all. Life has worth. Why doesn't he see it?" I could never seem to find the right way to say these things to him, so I put it into a song. 

"Rest For the Weary" is one of my favorite songs I've ever written. The lyrics mean so much to me. I hope you find something in them for yourself. Tell your friends about it. It would mean the world.



     Recorded June 1-4, 2012. My old drummer Kevin McClain and I started tracking this in October, 2009, but never finished it. Those drum tracks had been sitting on a defective hard drive for a few years until my amazing neighbor kindly showed me how to retrieve the files! Kevin has recently been touring Europe with his new band, American Aquarium. Check them out if you get a chance.


Morning breaks, sweetly
Lift your face to the glory of the skies
It burns away the faults of yesterday
Open up, Blessed
Your heart aches and your soul was left to die
But don't believe you've been forsaken

We can be golden
We can feel innocence again
On this search for every reason
To give this life one more chance
We can be golden
We can forgive ourselves our past
Broken still
I feel it coming 'round

A mourning song begins
Strengthening before the shadows even fall
And it's become the thorn in your side
Open up, blessed
Joy awaits where hope is found
And the lights there are blinding

We can be golden
We can feel innocence again
On this search for every reason
To give this life one more chance
We can be golden
We can forgive ourselves our past
Broken still
I feel you coming around

Your burdens are fatal to hold alone
So you can rest them all on my shoulders
For tonight, lay it on me
For tonight, bury it in me
The winds blow colder with every step you take
But you, my friend, will never be alone again
For tonight