I dropped by Chapel Hill hyper-local radio station WCHL 97.9 studio last month to chat with Aaron Keck about #Coronadrops, how those turned into making a proper record, and my summer of funrecovery from surprise heart surgery. We even spun (do we still say that about digital files?) three as-yet-unreleased songs from the new record, provisionally titled The Pains That Come With Age.
This will take approximately 25 minutes from your life. Enjoy!
It’s great to hear the songs for this album becoming an actual album. With an actual title. And actual performances from a bunch of great musicians –– some you whom you may already know and love from my other records, and a few lovely new contributors on board this time, and still some late game assists as yet to arrive in ye olde droppe box.
Despite the largely remote-recorded nature of this record, it hangs together surprisingly well, almost… well… live sounding. My singing is as great as ever. </rimshot> But seriously, everyone on their press tour usually says “This is my greatest work to date/these are my greatest songs/I am the greatest blah blah blah” and they mean it, but the odds are against them or else they wouldn’t have former glories great enough for them to end up on a press tour, amiright? Bottom line: As of this moment I am the least ambivalent I have ever been about making music, and for me that’s saying a lot. So thanks for your continued enthusiasm and patience. Hope to see you again sometime soon.
Here are five full weeks of the deluge of unreleased songs I released daily at the outset of lockdown. Most were old and unfinished, performance and/or production-wise, but there hopefully are a couple of bangers in there.
They are free to download as individual tracks, but when you download them as paid ”albums“ I get to buy Bakugan and Beyblades for my ten year old.
Here is a master page of #coronadrops: a whimsically-chosen series of previously unreleased songs—released daily(!)—until the quarantine is over, or until i run out of decent previously unreleased tracks, or quite possibly even die of this thing.
All of these tracks have explanatory notes in the individual song pages, as most are straight out of the archives warts and all and may require a little justification, although I have tarted up a few things when possible. There are even a couple of fairly recent things amongst the detritus.
Looks like we made it… to our fifth week. And things are starting to sound a little too ratty to air publicly (to my ears at least). But like the kids say, the songs are still mad decent.*
Week Five: (and a couple of post-facto stragglers)
you are welcome to play and download week five as individual tracks for free over here
Week Four: (“covers week” apparently)
you are welcome to play and download week four as individual tracks for free over here
Lovely article in this week’s IndyWeek by long-time Db enthusiast Brian Howe. Who’d have thought #coronadrops would lead to my first actual press coverage in a decade? Man, this awful year just keeps getting stranger.
As some of you probably know, I have Brontë lungs already weakened by a double-smoking-parent childhood followed a half-life of evenings spent in smoky clubs. Little known fact: I am also the wiktionary definition of the word sedentary. So I must confess I have sorta kinda been keeping an eye on this whole Coronavirus business.
For the past two decades I have oscillated between writing some pretty good pop songs, recording them in various contexts, generally hating said recordings and/or my performances, and then not releasing, or occasionally banishing said songs from my thoughts. Self-deprecation and insecurity are hardly unique amongst songwriters (or artists, in general) but I had somehow managed to turn it into a ridiculous, crippling trail of unfinished business.
But then I lost a songwriter friend to the Trump Virus. On Tuesday I heard he was on a ventilator. Wednesday, he was gone. And I couldn’t help but feel that there was still this constellation of ideas, melodies, hooks, words there in his mind and suddenly they were GONE just like that, in an instant.
And also kind of like that, I realized that I need to stop taking this stuff quite so seriously. I need to stop needing things to be perfect or great (or as close as I ever get to that, though that’s another conversation) and just get on with the work with whatever time I have left on this planet.
So I’m going to empty my drawers and post one unreleased song a day, for the duration of the quarantine, or until they start to suck.
I opened a house concert for my old friend and tourmate Michael Holt. This is the warts and all document, sneetched from Facebook Live. Super rough around the edges and straight from the heart. All new songs except for the opener and closer, this is “what I’ve been up to”, sort of.
from the album If It Feels Good Do It – A Sloan Tribute
It’s an admittedly highly interpretive take on the original, and I managed to sucker an amazing band into it: Josh Hicks on the sticks, Joe Giddings (ex-Star Collector) and Steve Della Maggiora on guitars, Frank Padellaro (you may know him from King Radio or the Scud Mountain Boys) on bass and Brandi Ediss on shouting.
And me on harmonies. Lots and lots of harmonies. Do you remember how Moxy Früvous’ Get In The Car basically ripped off the intro (and uh, general vibe) of Pen Pals? You don’t? Well, I sure as hell do!