Archive for August, 2016

Dupont Back Porches – Track by Track – 2

August 30, 2016 1 comment

Track 2 – When the Four Winds Blow

coverWhen in doubt, steal the title of a Fats Domino song. I did change “Let” to “When” though, so it’s not like I’m not creative.

Found this melody on the piano one day. I can barely play, so whatever I come up with is gonna be dead simple. Three or four chords, and slow enough so my fingers can catch up with my brain. So…really slow.

I was thinking of my nephew when the lyrics came….he was going through some heavy shit at the time. He came out of it tougher than he went in. Pretty proud of that kid.

I like the images here…even though I’m not quite sure what they mean…..

 Flames jump the water / looking for something to burn

I look in my rear-view / to see if you’re there…

The building blocks left from the sins of regret

Pretty sure this is the first song we cut. I remember heading down to the studio that first night. It was December, and my wife was putting up the Christmas decorations when I left the house. I had a head full of ideas, enough Diet Coke to get me through a civil war, and absolutely no plan, so I felt totally prepared. I was just hoping Bret didn’t think I was crazy.

I played him the piano demo I recorded on my Iphone….then went in and sang and played the song live with my acoustic…one take. Bret added some understated piano fills and some harmony to the bridge  (and got his first inkling that singing harmony with me wasn’t gonna be easy…as I’m incapable of singing a line the same way twice). I love the way his mandolin makes its entrance here. It cuts like a knife.

In our first pass at a sequence we had this song kicking off the CD.

You can purchase a copy of Dupont Back Porches here.

Notes on track 1.

Categories: Uncategorized

Dupont Back Porches – Track by Track – 1

August 27, 2016 Leave a comment

Track 1 – Ben Franklin Bridge

coverWrote this on the out of tune piano in our dining room. I had recently read a Rolling Stone magazine article about the city of Camden, New Jersey. Not the most functional city in the US, obviously. Makes Detroit look like downtown Disney. But still, if you are a middle class suburb dweller from Philly, it’s an excellent place to buy good, cheap drugs. And since many of its areas are so sketchy even the cops won’t patrol them anymore, getting arrested is the least of your concerns. My Dad used to revel in getting lost. And he’d seek out the most dangerous areas in which to do so. So he found himself asking for directions when mired in the bowels of Camden. Dude ended up stealing my Mom’s necklace, but before he did he gave letter perfect directions. I think my Dad said something like, “well, ain’t that America.” Or maybe that was someone else, I’m not sure.

One of my favorite bands is Marah….who came roaring out of Philly around the turn of the century. They have a great song called “Walt Whitman Bridge”….so I couldn’t go there. Lucky for me there’s another one.

Me and Bret were running the song down in the control room and he hit on this little riff on the guitar. Sounded cool to me. But I had Van Morrison’s “Caravan” on the brain, having been listening to it on the way over, and I suggested we sing the riff instead.

Hence….”na na…na na na na..” We sang it one time, live with the harp breaks included. Bret got so inventive with his phrasing (otherwise known as “making it up as you go because the songwriter gave you 90 seconds to learn it”) that when I sing the song now, I sing it his way. The only overdub was Bret’s mandolin sweetener.

You can purchase a copy of Dupont Back Porches here.

Categories: Uncategorized

And though we may chose different paths, I have a pretty good idea that our destinations are the same…

August 23, 2016 Leave a comment

Summer hanging on. Heat hangs like a vine on a chimney….but people are moving faster now. School beckons. And the growing up (or growing old) continues, or commences, depending on where your head is at.

FullSizeRender (1)Football is nearly for real….which means lifestyle changes for some. Weekends that were once made for something else, have now reverted back to the natural order of things. Vacations, if you were lucky enough to have one….are likely over by now. We just returned from a 3 day dash to the beach….where we gazed at the Atlantic Ocean together, as a family, for maybe the last time. Kids are getting restless, ready to move on. My oldest girl starts college in 3 days. Close, but not close enough as far as tears go, but 90 minutes away still means the house is gonna seem a bit empty….and a bit quieter….than I’m used to. Nobody makes me smile so hard as my Alyssa does….and my loss is only somewhat salvaged by the fact that it will surely become the Moravian College community’s gain.

My baby girl starts high school at the same time….so the new life events are doubled. My Kiera is brilliant, beautiful, and bound for glory. Nobody works harder at making things look so easy. At times she makes me so proud I start feeling like a balloon in a room full of pins. So I’ll stop gushing before I rupture something.

IMG_0524I’d wish both my girls luck but they’ve proven to me over and over that they don’t need it. Their sturdy character will get ’em past whatever obstacles this world might toss in their path (…and of course I’ll be there with a sledgehammer, just in case).

The days are getting shorter. Me and Kiera went searching for sunset pictures at the beach 2 nights running and mis-timed it twice, watching helplessly from traffic the last night as the sun dove into the bayside horizon. Another 2 green lights and we would have made it. Ain’t that the way life is sometimes though? Some nights the straightaways are simply filled with late yellows and early reds. One good thing about the sun though. It’ll give you another shot. And that’s about as fair as you can hope for these days.

There’s no school for parents. You fumble and stumble through and try to do no harm. If it feels wrong it is wrong, and if that’s the only thing you stick to as your kids grow up I think you’ll do Ok. As the father of 2 stunning girls I’ve certainly been rolled more times than an Idle Hours bowling ball…..but there were times when I held my ground, and it was these times that made me a father. It’s shit easy to be your kid’s friend. Not so much being their Dad. But they know this now, and sometimes (through clenched teeth) will even admit that I was (maybe…sorta) right all along. I’d take on an army for both of them, but that doesn’t make me special. It just means that I take my duties seriously enough to earn my pay. And to paraphrase Mark Twain, my girls, who once considered me the dumbest man alive, are now amazed at how much knowledge I’ve seemingly gained in the last 3 months.

It’s so easy to be cynical, it almost seems cheap. We seem to tear down instinctively, out of fear. We build up only upon reflection. Maybe what we need is more time for that reflection. Less mad dashes to and fro, less 30 second snatches of the 24 hour news cycle, less device clicking and more eyeball to eyeball. We all know that to understand each other we need to walk in each other’s shoes. So why don’t we take the time to lace each other’s up?

I’m as guilty as anyone. I try and I fail and I try again. I walk and I fall and I try like hell to get back up before somebody runs me over. But I get so preoccupied with my own journey that I don’t recognize that you’re on one too. And though we may chose different paths, I have a pretty good idea that our destinations are the same. And that they involve our children.

We should commiserate more, no?

In a bit…


Categories: Uncategorized