Monday, June 29, 2009

On The Floor

Popular superstition is a pretty interesting phenomenon.  As many of you know, my brother and I have relocated to Long Island City.  We're living on the "14th Floor".  At first glance, whether it be at the mail or at the door which reads "1408" you'd think. . well probably nothing.  But, introduce yourself to the buttons in the elevator and you might take notice that there's no 13th floor.  The floors advance from 12 to 14 rather inconspicuously.  So much so in fact, that when I was introduced to a girl in Pat's building who also lives on the 14th floor she said she had never noticed.  And why would you? 

Excuse me, but this is just the most ridiculous practice in the history of humanity.  I hate to break it to everyone, but contrary to what it says on my door and the door of every other apartment on this floor, we live on the 13th floor.  Doesn't bother me very much.  I'm rather at home with it as a matter of fact.  I'm not concerned with the dangers of admitting that I live on the 13th floor.  I'm more concerned with management's attempt to pull the wool over my eyes and sell this to me as a 40 floor building when it's actually 39, and trying to trick me into believing I'm one floor higher than I actually am.  It's apparently an effective ruse.  I've taken notice of every building with an elevator and 13 floors or more.  Shock of shocks, none of them have a 13th floor.  Or, more accurately they all have a 13th floor but not a single one is named as such.  I flat out disagree.

Moving on.  I spent most of the day with the following lyrics stuck in my head:

And you won't have to worry no more. 
No you won't have to wonder again,
About how this song or story ends,
About how this song and story will end.

That's the closing lines to "From A Balance Beam" by Bright Eyes.  That song is awesome.  I've been listening to it pretty consistently for at least the last 5 years and I dig the fact that it's got such staying power.  I love the fact that music, as a whole, is relatively timeless.  Hearing that song brings me back to a place in my life that I haven't been for quite some time.  Having an opportunity to relate the lyrics of songs I fell in love with as one incarnation of myself to the period of my life I find myself in now is pretty special.  Having the things you love grow with you is something to behold and something I appreciate about music above most other things. The words to that song were just on repeat in my head all day.  On the subway, off the subway, up the stairs down the stairs, lock the door, unlock the door, pay the meter and so on.  I actually hadn't realized that I knew all of the words to the song until today when I "sang" it in its entirety, and got stuck on that last phrase which frankly just captures the essence of most things.  

Don't wonder, don't worry.  Eventually you'll find out the ending.  And all the whispers will be quite clear.

Peace Love and Vocal Harmonies

Friday, June 26, 2009

So it goes. . .

The generational shock wave that was felt yesterday as news filtered through of Michael Jackson's death, shook me in my flip flops.

The text message came from Mr Brian Holtz, who is responsible for laying down the bass line when we play Billie Jean.  It seems particularly funny to have added that song to our set list on Tuesday night as something of a last minute call.  In fact, it was (in my opinion) one of our best performances of the song to date.  Whatever the case may be, his talent and indelible mark has been left on music for the rest of time.  Everywhere I've been over the last 18 hours has been playing one Michael Jackson song or another, and people are traversing the subway humming the guitar line to Beat It.  

It's interesting to consider just how many active performing artists were influenced directly by his career.  Even with all of the oddities and bizarre behavior, the body of work that he produced over the course of his lifetime is undeniably phenomenal and something to be revered.  One of the things I've come to appreciate most over the last day is just how much everyone, and I do mean everyone appreciated his music.  You just like Michael Jackson. Whether you readily acknowledge it, or are even readily aware of it. . You like Michael Jackson. He's singing your song.

I'm not sure "sad" is even the right word to describe my disposition.  I'm surprised, and I'm hoping that one day the only thing he is most remembered for is his otherworldly talent as a songwriter and performer.  That's frankly all you can hear on the radio anyway.  

Peace Love and Vocal Harmonies. . Yee hee hee

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Joss Stone. . .

Are you serious?  Check this out.  Watch the whole thing.  This is precisely the type of thing that makes me want to pick up a guitar every morning when I wake up, and fall asleep every night holding it.

More to come.

Peace Love and Vocal Harmonies


Cover This

So I recently re- visited the Garden State soundtrack with my brother in the car on the way to a gig. I'd say that in the years since the last time I listened to the whole thing straight through, my appreciation for the score of a movie has increased significantly. Additionally, my familiarity with the meaning of "covering" a song has also changed drastically. 

This soundtrack features Iron & Wine "covering" The Postal Service's Such Great Heights.  The reason for the quotes is that there is a marked difference between playing a song the way it sounds (covering it), and playing a song the way it sounds to you. That difference is something I'm not sure I'd have ever had so close an attachment to if it hadn't been for the last two years of playing other people's songs on a nightly basis the way they sound in my head. I think that would be best identified as a reproduction. Samuel Beam (of Iron & Wine) reproduced Such Great Heights in such a way that caused me to question, and very carefully consider the way songs sound.  I always wondered why his version came out so soon after the original, but now I think I get it.  What does a song really sound like?  Is it something you hear in your head or could it be something you hear in your heart?  

I like to picture Samuel Beam playing the guitar at his kitchen table eating Cheerio's and listening to college radio trying to write a song.  As he sits, the DJ announces a new track from The Postal Service called Such Great Heights.  The song plays and he looks up from the notebook he's scribbling in, drops his spoon into the cereal, splashes milk on himself and sits with his jaw agape at what he's hearing.  The song playing on the radio is the song he has been sitting at his kitchen table trying to write.  

Fanciful though that recreation may be, I have to imagine it was something similar.  And whatever the case is, that's how I like to picture it.  The Iron & Wine version couldn't really be any more different from the original, but still manages to stay true to the feel and intended meaning of the song (whatever that may be).  Samuel Beam heard it and immediately knew exactly what he wanted to do with it.  He had been waiting his whole life for an opportunity to put together a song that would make him feel complete, and then found it while eating Cheerio's and playing the guitar.  I like to imagine how that must have made Ben Gibbard feel. Someone feeling so strongly about a song you have written, that they just absolutely need to put their own spin on it.  It's crazy.

I got to thinking also about what songs I feel so strongly about.  Lately is most assuredly a song that I feel that kind of kinship with.  Use Somebody, too.  Those are both songs that I remember hearing for the first time, and wishing I had written.  I felt like it was on the tip of my tongue until it was reverberating in my ears.  And my heart.  And my soul.

That's the way it all looks to me.

Peace Love and Vocal Harmonies

Monday, June 8, 2009

Best Buy 6/5/09

Thank you so much to S.E.G. Presents for putting us up at Best Buy this past Friday on 23rd St at 6th Ave.

Check out the video:

Peace Love and Vocal Harmonies

Sunday, June 7, 2009

Lucky Number 7

What a crazy week it has been.  Six of seven gigs in the bag and one left to go at The Playwright in Times Square tonight.

Everyone that has come out to see us this week to sing a song, or just have a drink and relax deserves a big hug and a handshake.  We've been on the move like crazy, and are just getting the summer started.

Wherever you go, we'll be there waiting to sing to you.  I promise I'll write more later on or tomorrow before next week's insanity starts.  Hoping to see y'all out at a show.

Peace Love and Vocal Harmonies

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Not To Worry. .

Very special thanks to Sr Miguel Cervantes III for taking video of Not To Worry at BBQ Inc this past weekend.

Anyone with any pictures or video are more than welcome to post and tag at their leisure.  We love a digital High-Five when we can get it.

Peace Love and Vocal Harmonies