Posts tagged with #music


I came back from Austin City Limits fest late one night and put down a bassline1 and it all eventually led to this pretty off-brand song for me.

I wanted to do something more electronic for funsies, and started playing with the bleep bloop machine just because it felt so out of left field to my naturally folky/singer-songwriter style, but then I got attached to it and ran with it. And here we are! Bleep bloop bloop.

I also got to put one of my favorite quotes from Mad Men in here (2:20), and I’m real glad I could turn rewatching seven seasons of that show into something good.

  1. It’s not even the one on this track, it’s just how it started. 


A work in progress song that sprung to life after binge watching five hours of Mad Men (I’m rewatching the entire series).


I came across a letter that John Steinbeck wrote to his son Thom in 1958 on the subject of love, and thought it was pretty great.

I loved the sentiment and the wording of the last line of the letter, which inspired this song.

And don’t worry about losing. If it is right, it happens – The main thing is not to hurry. Nothing good gets away.

I’m pretty happy with the song, overall, because it feels like it can stand alone as a folky number that doesn’t need much else. I didn’t spend a ton of time on this recording—all I did was set up a couple of mics, strap on the ol’ guitar and harmonica, and get to sangin’ for a few takes. This was the best one.

This is easy compared to something like Take What You Need, where the song didn’t feel right without bass, drums and other guitars, and I spent forever messing with it until it felt right. That can be fun to do and fulfilling in its own right, but it’s also pretty nice to have the roots of a song present itself one day, and have it feel pretty complete not too long later.


This is a departure from the my usual songwriting subjects, and instead it’s about life, man. I’ve been kicking this one around for a while, but it arrived mostly complete late last summer.

I can imagine how I want to work it up and where some killer harmonies/ooooohhhs are going to live when/if I properly record it, but right now this is me after midnight some night just putting it down straight up1.

  1. with speakers feeding back a bit, unfortunately. 


Beginnings and ends of relationships are creative boons for my songwriting. Overall, I’m happy with how this turned out, and it has a couple of lines I really like, even though I stole one from Emily Dickinson and paraphrased it. Great artists steal, amirite?


Man, I like this one a lot. I’d say it’s the catchiest thing I’ve recorded thus far, but some friends disagree. This one has been around since 2012 or so, and I’d tinker with it on the piano from time to time but it wasn’t until last weekend that I decided to put it down.

The act of taking a song from a rough sketch to a fleshed out work is without a doubt my favorite creative hobby. I completely lost track of time working on this, and spent all of Saturday and most of Sunday in my home studio putting it down, improving it, trying different things, and overall just having the best time. That’s where I’m happiest.

If other people enjoy the end result, that’s a nice bonus. And getting recognition for something that came from you is always nice. But I’m thankful that this isn’t my livelihood right now, and I can write and record for me. If it pays someday, even better.

But even if it doesn’t, it’s not going to make me stop.


They say that you can’t hold to the past
They say that time moves so fast
They say I’m fool, for dreaming of you
But sometimes, you wish fleeting would last

I’ve been working on this song forever. I started it in 2013, and it just wouldn’t come together. I went through a variety of recordings, got my good friend Mark to record the bassline which got it real close to feeling done, and then I just let it sit there.

I recently rerecorded some parts, and I’m finally feeling good enough about it existing to let it out. Yeah!

Today I published my Facebook page, which is where I’m gonna start sharing more tunes, demos, etc. Have you liked it yet? LIKE IT, and find songs and things all up in your Facespace.

This is how I felt today, inviting people to like my page.

I don’t have a recording of the stress leading up to that point.


I tacked this on to the end of that social media essay I did, but I think it deserves to stand on its own because I really like it. And other people seem to, also, so maybe you will, too.

I’ve got another verse worked out that I haven’t recorded yet, so we’ll see if that sees the light of day. But for right now, this is it. Short and sweet.


Most of the songs I’ve written are about love/breakups/etc, so writing a silly funk song was a pretty nice change of pace. I was just messing around on the keyboard and yada yada yada this came out.

I don’t want no heath food
I got my collard greens
Come down to Shreveport
Or down to New Orleans

The bayou’s not in Oakland
It’s not in Illinois
You’re talking baseball
But I’m not taking score

WTF? Does this even make sense? It doesn’t matter—I like it.

If we get together
well you’ll see what I mean
I don’t want your health food
I got my collard greens

These next two lines are a direct quote from a tennis coach I had in college who yelled at a foreign-exchange student whom, from what I remember, kept moving away from the middle of the court.

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Let’s not obsess over the details, but several years ago, I somehow ended up with a folder full of voicemails on my computer. Most of them were from my brother (Roger) and skimming through them, I thought it was pretty funny that they all sounded so similar: “Jeff, It’s Roger, [message]”

If there’s one person’s voice in the world who I know, it’s my own brother’s. So the fact that he always announced who was calling cracked me up.

I had these voicemails for years, and always thought I should do something with them. When his 39th birthday came around I felt a little inspiration, and started with the simple idea of just joining them together.

But that wasn’t enough, so I thought I’d just put a simple repetitive backing part behind it. That seemed better, but I felt like it could be more.

A few days later, using all the time allowed (up to a few minutes before his birthday dinner), I ended up with what you heard above.

His reaction? Unbelievable. On the floor, gasping for air, especially at 1:00, and at 1:30 when the guitar came in and it was clear that these messages were not stopping.

I posted it a couple of other places, too. On MetaFilter music, it ended up getting featured on their monthly podcast, which was awesome. Here’s the clip where they talk about it:

And then, it blew up on reddit, and ended up getting 14,000 plays.

I don’t know if I can ever top this as a birthday gift.


I tried to write a blues song, and I might go back and improve it, but this live demo is good enough to stand alone for now.

The lyrics are pure fiction, originally meant only as placeholders.

Well I saw it comin’
But I walked right through that door
Well I saw it comin’
‘Cause I’ve been here before

Well they say “fool me once, shame on you” man
“Fool me twice, won’t get fooled again”

Hat tip: George W. Bush for that last line.

Oh, mama you, doin’ the same thing you always do
And here I am, doing the same thing, too

Well I’m gonna leave ya
And move back to Tennessee
I’ll take my dog, my guitar, and dignity
Well I’ll do alright, woman, but you’ll do all wrong without me

Do wrong lady, do right man
When I get back west, I’m gonna start all over again
Well that’s all right mama you—doing the same thing you always do
And here I am, doing the same thing, too


This melody popped into my head one afternoon and I didn’t have any lyrics for it, so I started paging through my Evernote for lyrical scraps, where I came across the first verse, which I’d written a couple of years back.

Like a pine tree trying to hide its needles,
Like a ginger pretending he’s blonde
Well that Saturday, when I slipped and told you how I feel
Ever since then the feeling’s been gone

I also found another completely separate lyrical scrap:

Well you say you’re classy
but it’s just a veneer
you’re independent
as long as I buy all your beer

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Wrote this almost 10 years ago, but finally got around to recording it and finishing it. The lyrics changed a bit, but the sentiment is the same.

My oldest friend, Mark really nailed the guitar solo in the middle, too.


Roger Waters can write a melody. That’s what made this song stand out from the rest on the Final Cut, for me. I rearranged it a bit, and left out one line.


I’ve always loved this Pink Floyd song, and I like the way this turned out pretty well.

I wanted to make the ending a bit more definite, so I cut the line about Gohill’s boots.


About a dramatic relationship.

This song took some effort to complete, and musically it still feels a little dry, but I like some of the lyrics.

There ain’t no remedy for this affliciton
I’d classify this love as addiction
I can’t seem to make it pay
The bill gets bigger each day

Read the rest of this

The first real thing I’ve properly recorded, and probably my favorite that I’ve posted publicly.

I’m pretty into the rhodes keyboard solo in the middle, and the whole drum track (not such a bad sound for one pretty cheap microphone on the floor) but most of the lyrics are pretty throwaway.