Tuesday, May 31, 2011


Resurrection '06

Resurrection '11

An added feature here at BurnBlogBurn today (and going forward): audio!  Slowly but haltingly my tech skills have crept up to the year 2006... the year in which I wrote the tune about which I'll be blogging today.

I managed to find the lyrics on March 10-11, 2006, and I dug up the very first demo I did of it, in my living room, in the summer of 2006.  It was the first time Jay and I worked together on anything and it was part of the batch of songs we tried for what would become Look Alive.

It didn't make the cut for Look Alive.

I demoed a different, more uptempo version for Things We Would Rather Lose.

It didn't make the cut for Things We Would Rather Lose.

Finally, I demoed it for In the Morning and I'm pretty sure we recorded it just because Jay was sick of hearing it demoed.

I only half-kid.

It actually fit the mood and theme of In the Morning pretty well so it made sense to go after it during the sessions... I seem to remember this was one of the last songs we did during the 3 days at IV... particularly noteworthy I think are Drew's keys (the Prophet!) and Darren's percussion.  I added an acoustic guitar and some weird electric overdubs with an eBow that build throughout the tune until they crest for the final chorus.  I enjoyed cutting the vocals very much because of where they sat in my range.

It's so weird to listen to the original demo version from my living room... in some ways, I like it best.  That living room session was a turning point for my entire musical career if not my life.  It was one of the first times I actually liked the sound of my voice on a recording.  It was recorded right after my ex-wife left.  Like the same week I think?  Or maybe the week before when a bunch of shit was going down and she wasn't coming home.  So the damage and vulnerability in my voice on the demo recording is very very real.  And touching to me.

Lyrically, it's very strange.  It's around the time I was just kind of writing things that grabbed me without much regard for what they meant, mysterious things that I think turned out to be my subconscious wrestling with unhappiness.

It seems to be a song about someone seeking things: faith, reassurance, comfort, love.  Security.

Funny that it took me until In the Morning to find it all and finally commit the song to tape.

Or maybe it's not funny at all.


Take this blood
For it's not mine
Take this sea
And make it wine
Take this mark
It's yours to wear
Take this cross
It's yours to bear

I'm on your side

Take this sand
It's yours to cross
Take this door
It's yours to lock
Take this air
It's yours to breathe
Take this heart
It's yours to leave

I'm on your side


Tuesday, May 24, 2011

(I Distinctly Heard You Say) Still Got You


So... yet again, a month-plus passes without a peep, marshmallow or otherwise.

But it's not for lack of effort, really.  I promise.

To wit, the efforts have resulted in:

Licensing In the Morning to 12 shows and networks, including: The new "Teen Wolf" on MTV (no, I'm not kidding: apparently werewolves are the new vampires) and a blanket license for any show on Discovery and its suite of networks.

This, is a good thing.

Additionally, there are efforts being made on our behalf to secure some additional advertising and movie licensing... more news as that comes in.

Individually, I've spent the last month wrapping up a really cool spring of Odyssey shows.  Already some nice opportunities lined up for the fall, including a September trip to Jackson, Mississippi, to perform at Millsaps College.

And finally, we are in the swing of triathlon season, having completed our first race at Galena this past weekend... both Andrea and I overcame some obstacles to finish more than 6 minutes faster than we did last year at the same race.  We were both really pleased and are looking forward to our next race in Lake Geneva next month, and then to the Chicago Triathlon in August for Andrea and the (gulp) Ironman Wisconsin race in September for me.

So... that's my excuse for not blogging more often.

And I'm sticking to it.

Now, on to a quick exegesis of the sixth tune on In the Morning... Still Got You.

This song turned out almost exactly as I heard it in my head when I wrote it.  I wanted something upbeat, rocking and loose.

I tried to walk a line with the lyrics between simple and profound.  I guess one doesn't need to walk a line between the two but... simple can very very easily be shallow, and I was hoping to capture something simple, elemental but ultimately meaningful.

The idea was to embrace this basic idea of being "okay" (which I've talked about in previous songs like Fading Days) but be able to simultaneously acknowledge some of the shit from the past.  And try to be a little... I don't know, maybe playful with it?  Wry?  Something... less than heavy.

So I peppered these lyrics with a lot of real life stuff from when I went through my separation and divorce...

Yes: I did sleep on the couch in front of the television for... two years.  Not because there was anybody in the bed I was avoiding, but because there was nobody and I needed the company of the blue light.

And that's okay.

Yes: there are streets that remind me of particularly difficult times, certain goodbyes.

And that's okay.

Because I've still got everything, all of my life, good and bad.  And out of all that shit grew the incredible life that I have today, with my amazing wife and family and friends and music.

It's essentially the antidote to the sentiment of Things We Would Rather Lose (and there's a "skyscraper hearts" reference to boot).

I think I also had classic Motown in mind... the line about "seeds" is an homage to The Onion Song on Marvin Gaye/Tammi Terrell... and the chord pattern/harmonic progression is a straight up Motown rip-off (c.f. C-Lo, F*ck You).

For the recording of this one, we wanted an early Wilco, live-in-the-studio feel... but first, the band had to banish a couple of my stupid arrangement ideas to the "overly-cerebral-songwriting" graveyard.  I had a modulation for the last verse and a couple other things which just detracted from the garage band feel of the tune as we ran it... so Drew deftly created the guitar solo chord pattern and the rest of the tune fell into place.  We initially intended to fade the end, but the band sounded so good on the outro, and the end is so fun (including my stupid semi-sarcastic G'n'R meets Gershwin guitar quote) that we kept everything.

I went after the guitar solos with a vengeance and the results were one fairly composed Allman Bros-esque result for the main solo and a semi-unhinged outro passage.  Very cool.

Finally, we went after some conversational vocals and Jay added backgrounds.  And we had it.



Can you tell that I've been down and out?
My heart's a bell and it's ringing, ringing loud
Been up all night and sleeping on the couch
In the blue light, just waiting and waiting and waiting and waiting now

Things change
That's okay
We're still here when the heartache fades
Still got you
Still got you
And nothing's gonna take it away

Now we dream of when it fell apart
How they beat, these skyscraper hearts
See the dawn following the dark
Feel the sun swallowing the stars

Things change
That's okay
We're still here when the heartache fades
Still got you
Still got you
And nothing's gonna take it away

Where the streets mark memories and goodbyes
We planted seeds which are growing to the sky
From the cracks in the pavement in our eyes
Coming back as proof that we survived

Things change
That's okay
We're still here when the heartache fades
Still got you
Still got you
And nothing's gonna take it away from me