On Tuesday morning, I think it was, or maybe Monday...just before the news broke that Levon Helm was in his final hours, I got home from work and picked The Last Waltz off of the DVD shelf. It was about the half-dozenth time or so that I've watched this great Scorcese-directed concert film of The Band's farewell concert in 1976.
Levon Helm in 1976 (still from The Last Waltz)
I have trouble with poetry. It's the foundation of what I do as a lyricist, yet so often when I try to read poetry, whether classic or contemporary, I just can't connect with it. The language often comes accross to me as ethereal, pretentious and removed from daily experience. Maybe it's my problem, I don't know. But I'm always happy to find a poem that I can connect with on first reading.
So, on the occassion of a freakish cold snap that started out yesterday morning as rain and ended up as a late-October snowstorm that lasted all day, as if Fall has been cancelled this year, I share with you a poem by T.S. Eliot that I stumbled upon in a book this morning.
I've posted 5 new songs for free download. They're free because they're the first new songs I've written since 2007 and I want to just go ahead and complete the cycle of write-record-release without having to get wrapped up in a new album project right now.
The recordings are straight-ahead solo acoustic performances, just guitar & vocal with no overdubs. It's a quieter approach this time and I've found that these songs work best late at night or very early in the morning, or maybe on cloudy & rainy days. These are the conditions under which the songs were written, after all. Don't take 'em to the gym or to the park on a sunny day...it won't work!
Each song title is also is a link to a lyric sheet that includes a little blurb about each song.
Songs are here. I hope you enjoy!
I’m moving back to New York this week after 7 years in L.A. When I get settled on the other coast I’ll finish mixing those 5 new songs I promised some months ago and I’ll post them here for download.
I was in a certain mega-bookstore chain this morning (doesn’t matter which chain…there are only 2 left in the world and they’re both the same) when I heard a song playing on the in-store sound system that convinced me that the end of Western civilization is indeed at hand.
It was one of those cut-and-paste, let’s-take-a-very-famous-oldie-hit-and-put-fresh-“beatz”-under-the-original-vocal-track-of-the-rock/jazz/soul-icon-and-call-it-Art (and make lotsa $$$) sorta things. Kinda like what Kenny G did to Louis Armstrong and what some other low-lifes did to Billie Holiday…but only worse.
This was Elvis Presley’s original vocal track for his version of “Blue Suede Shoes” put to, yes, a crazy new beat but also to some real cheese-smokin’, hot harmonica licks and –I kid you not- scratching. You know, like you used to hear on Run-DMC records 25 years ago?