During last week’s show in Oshkosh we tried out a new song. I think this was only the second time we’d played it in public. I started writing it two years ago in a motel room at the edge of Bayfield, Wisconsin, thus the Hayward and Trego references.
Here’s an unmixed rough recording of the performance. My favorite part? Listen how the band carefully carries me through the bits we’re still working out. Especially on final chorus where you can hear Chris counting for me. Makes me grin. They’re good and I’m lucky to have them.
I’ve got most of the songs for the next album written, it’s just a matter of finding time to get back in the studio. Workin’ on that.
More Long Beds music here.
Thank you everyone who came to the Jazz Festival yesterday (we’ll do it again tonight). My head felt like fiberglas insulation soaked in 90-weight motor oil but the band and Geoffrey were right there to bear me along, also I think the head stuff helped me get in character. And naturally nothing charges you up like a live audience. That piece at the very end, with Geoffrey and Claudio trading back and forth…got to watch it from ten feet away in the wings and was flabbergasted by the flow and feel of it. Masters.
Sometime on the road a long ways back, singer/songwriter Drew Nelson gave me a journal. Few months back, Grammy-nominated jazz pianist Geoffrey Keezer asked me to collaborate with him by writing a narration for a piece he had written. I started scribbling in the journal. Then I started typing up drafts and revising them. It’s about a footloose character who stops by a particular place. Last night we rehearsed the piece for the first time, tonight it’ll debut here.
It’s one of those days where I’m deeply grateful for every goofy twist and turn my life has taken. Had a lot of help along the way.
Debuting a new piece with Geoffrey Keezer at the Eau Claire Jazz Festival this Friday and Saturday (schedule and ticket info here). Never done anything like this, just me standing there in my boots reading while Geoffrey and the jazz cats do their thing. The piece I wrote is about a military veteran and a muse and a bridge, and it’s called “Old Guys Surrender the Jukebox,” and it starts like this:
OLD GUYS SURRENDER THE JUKEBOX
The warm air hits me like a beer belch
As I step inside the Joynt
Outside it’s cold
Not scarf-and-sweater cold, not mama-knit-yer-mittens cold;
Deep freeze cold, death star cold. Ted-Williams-cranium-in-a-tank cold.
A real nose-hair snapper.
I stop and stomp—it’s how we make an entrance around here
Knock the snow out, knock the feeling in.
Place feels right tonight,
The cue-ball click, the floorboard creak,
The peanut shell crackle underfoot.
The cheap taps, the shot-glass rap, the chaser,
The rattle of the till, the scrape of change, the hey-dere yah-hey
And back above the bar, a simple neon fact: “No Light Beer”
As I am long-term teetotal I find this
Neither a discouragement nor an encouragement.
“O’Doul’s,” I tell the barkeep, “and keep’em comin’”
Then I tip him three quarters and say, “Ach, one’ll prolly do’er.”
They’ve tuned up the Jazz Festival website, it’s easier to figure out the ticket situation. Very eager for this event as it is so different from what I’m used to doing. I wrote a thing about a veteran and a bar and a bridge and a woman and it has a lot of short little lines which might fool me into thinking it’s a poem, and then there’ll be all those jazz people doing inscrutably groovy things…
Can’t remember if I posted this, but it’s a fun one, wide-ranging and includes treadmill references.
In studio recording the audiobook version of Coop. Snow’s piled up to the dang eaves, so it’s been a mood-booster to read the chapter about hay baling. The excerpt below refers to the time I made my daughter harvest her own timothy hay to feed her guinea pig (after I discovered the pet store sold it for $18,560 a ton). If you don’t know of Fred Eaglesmith, know this–he is the realest sort of real deal:
You won’t find many hay-baling songs out there, but Fred Eaglesmith wrote a dandy called “Balin’ Again,” and there’s a line in there about a man surveying his hayfields while having an imaginary conversation with his father. Sure could use your advice on how to raise a couple kids, he says, I’m tryin’ to raise ’em just the way you did.
So I’m thinking of Fred as I watch my poor daughter again a week later, snipping more timothy and, yes, weeping. The things we do to the children.
Will it pay off?
I don’t know.