On Staff

November 25th, 2007 |

We’ve been in Dallas, Georgia for the past few days visiting Angel’s family for Thanksgiving. I thought it unwise to announce this on a public blog being that some might interpret it as an invitation to stop by and take our stuff. Of course I’m not talking about you.

This was by far the most miserable Thanksgiving ever.

On Wednesday I worked half a day and picked Riley up from school early to take him to the doctor to have his “bug bite” looked at. It had started out about the size of a mosquito bite and within five days it was the size of a golf ball. It turned out to be a boil from a staff infection. It needed to be lanced and drained. Now. So I helped hold him down and tried to whisper comfort into his ear while he screamed at the top of his lungs for what seemed like 15 minutes straight. Good times.

Angel and I also have to be treated for staff which involves rubbing an ointment inside your nose with a Q-tip twice a day for seven days. Nostrilicious.

On Friday at about 4:30 AM I woke up with diarrhea (my old friend) and nausea so bad that I resorted to the old stick-your-finger-down-your-throat trick to induce vomiting. This didn’t really produce the desired result considering that I had just drank two full bottles of water to keep myself from puking. A little water came up but that’s not exactly what was causing the nausea.

The incessant vomiting did finally arrive on its own. The diarrhea continued. The fever came. The everything-hurts thing came too. If there really is such a thing as the 24 hour stomach flu, I had it.

Saturday afternoon about half an hour into our trip home Riley says “I feel like I have to throw up”. His face is completely white. Panic ensues. The he says “I have to go poo poo”. Panic continues. Angel grabs a trash bag and puts his face in it as I speed towards the next rest stop. By the time we reached the rest stop Riley was skipping and singing on the way to the bathroom like nothing had ever happened, which in fact, hadn’t. Just a false alarm I guess.

So we’re back home now. I still don’t feel right. It doesn’t seem to matter how much ice cream I eat, I still feel kind of woozy. Oh well. I’ll just keep trying.

Thanksgiving

November 21st, 2007 |

I’m probably not going to have time to blog for the next few days so I wanted to go ahead and say something while I have a few minutes.

I’m thankful to God for breathing life into me about a year and a half ago. He’s given me hope. He’s given me a future. And He’s promised me eternal life. I look back at the changes that He’s brought about in me and I’m completely amazed. I’m so thankful that He’s given me a Godly wife and has surrounded me with a Christian family. I’m thankful for my son who is so smart and talented and funny. I’m thankful for all the people who prayed for me year after year even when it looked like all hope was lost. I’m thankful that God has given me the gift of music. I’m thankful that we serve a God of mercy. I’m thankful for my slavation. Thank you Lord. Thank you.

Happy Thanksgiving everybody.

LOST

November 19th, 2007 |

Did anyone notice that Lenny Kravitz’s piano was out of tune last night on the American Music Awards? Check it out.

After my last post my brother Taylor said I should do a blog about season 3 of LOST. For anyone who has never seen the show let me just say that you have an amazing opportunity right now to get caught up. Season 3 is about to come out on DVD so you can go ahead and rent season 1 and season 2 and by the time you need season 3 it’ll already be out. That means you won’t have to do like we did and crawl the dark alleys of the Internet trying to find your next LOST fix.

Season 3 was the best season yet as far as I’m concerned. I felt much less manipulated this go around. More was revealed and many questions were answered which was very satisfying but it still leaves you wanting more and asking even more questions. We finally have some sort of idea about what is actually going on. What a novel idea.

SPOILER ALERT!!! If you think you might ever be interested in getting into this show please stop reading now.

In the last episode of season 3 the first time they showed Jack on the plane with the beard I told Angel “I’ll bet this is after they get rescued.” I never, ever, ever get that stuff right. I didn’t realize Verbal was Kaiser Soze. I didn’t know what’s-his-face was dead in The Sixth Sense. I didn’t know that Fight Club was going to turn out to be an imaginary friend movie. But I got this one by George. So then that begs the question, how far in the future was it? Was it season 4? Will they never get that far? Will the writers strike strip us of our will to live?

If anyone is wondering I despise Pushing Daisies.

Is That Song Expired?

November 15th, 2007 |

It’s looking like I won’t have any more songs to release until after the first of the year. I have two more songs that are relatively close to being finished but there is some software I need before I can finalize them both. Santa, if you read my blog, hook a brutha up. Solid.

I have this huge backlog of songs that I really want to finish. There’s quite a bit more than an album’s worth. It’s like this gigantic to-do list that looms over me reminding me that I’ll never get caught up. I’ve been trying for about ten years to get back to a place where I am recording today the song I was writing yesterday. There is a freshness and an immediacy to that scenario that is so hard to capture when you’re recording a song you half-way wrote almost two years ago.

That was one thing that bothered me about being in a band, knowing that the song I just finished writing will probably not show up on an album for another two to three years. There were very few things that bothered me about being in a band but this was a big one. (I’ve talked to Dino about this problem so this is not really news to my former bandmates. And please don’t think that I’m going to start spilling any guts here about the bands I’ve been in. I loved those bands. All of them.) Now I feel like getting caught up is priority one.

Some of these songs have been around quite a while. Some of them were written for The Formula Kid, a couple were written for the project Brian McClelland and I talked about doing a while back (pre-Christian post – sorry for the title oh gentle reader), one was written for church, one sounds like AC/DC, one sounds like The Zombies, no make that two, just, whatever, it’s all very cool I promise but the stuff I’m most excited about right now is the stuff I’m writing right now. And I want to be recording that right now. Pfft. Whaa!

For those of you following along at home Angel and I are officially caught up on the LOST front so bring on the easter eggs.

Those Crazy Evangelicals

November 13th, 2007 |

There’s been a lot of talk lately about The Golden Compass: the kids movie written by an Atheist. So I read a little bit about it last night and checked out the website and all that stuff. The wee pesky innerweb then led me down a rabbit trail that landed me right in the middle of a “What do you really know about the Bible?” quiz on an atheist/agnostic website. I took the bait. I got 26 out of 50. I think that means I’ll squeak my way into heaven.

This quiz sparked a long conversation between me and Angel, who only got 21 questions right, which gives definitive proof that she is a wretched sinner and will most certainly not inherit eternal life. Our conversation centered around the emphasis (by some non-believers) that is placed on evangelical Christians believing that the Bible is to be taken literally and how ridiculous it is to believe such a thing. I think it would be more accurate to say that evangelicals take the Bible literally where the Bible is meant to be taken literally. For instance, if I were to take the Bible literally I would believe that Jesus is a gate, that the Kingdom of Heaven is yeast, and the Devil is a big red dragon.

The quiz we took made it very obvious that reading a Biblical phrase out of context and taking it at face value can completely rob it of its meaning. It was hard for me to tell if this quiz was using some sort of hyperbole to make a point or if it was really just a complete lack of any sort of understanding whatsoever. Would these people really believe that I traded my macarena shoes when reason brought the raging blues? Or would they see that there’s a deeper meaning to that line. The Bible talks about people having eyes but they do not see, they have ears but they do not hear. This really became obvious to me last night.

One more quick thing about taking the Bible literally. There are times when it should be and times when it should not be. I gave examples of when it should not be but I do believe that Moses parted the Red Sea. I do believe that Jonah was swallowed by a huge fish. And I do believe that the walls of Jericho came tumbling down. Just for the record.

Wilco on Austin City Limits

November 10th, 2007 |

Last night Riley had his first official sleepover. His friends Ethan and Nicolas came over to eat sugar and have (what they thought were) covert sword fights. The bloodshed was kept to a minimum so I assume Ethan’s and Nicolas’ parents will let them come back.

Angel had gotten her flu shot earlier in the day so by the time the boys were asleep she was pretty zonked. We sat down to watch TV for a few minutes before going to bed and I saw that Wilco’s 2007 Austin City Limits performance had just started. I was elated.

I know that I’ve spent a lot of time singing Wilco’s praises but let me just sing a little longer. I can’t overemphasize how important I think this band is. Everything they do sounds totally phenomenal to me from the guitar tones, to the snare drum sound, to the vocal harmonies, to Jeff Tweedy’s sorry excuse for a lead-singing voice. I love it all, except for one thing. Their songs aren’t very good. And that’s usually the most important thing right? Yes, it is absolutely the most important thing.

It is my opinion that approximately twenty-five percent of Wilco’s songs are actually good songs. The rest are just vehicles for the band’s incredible sound, musicianship, and overall vibyness.

It is so rare for me to like a band that doesn’t consistently write good songs which is partly the reason I think Wilco is so important. If you want to learn how to write good songs there is no shortage of great albums to learn from. But for learning absolutely every other aspect of being a great band Wilco is it as far as I’m concerned.

Wilco has three electric guitar players. This isn’t exactly a rare thing. If you ever watch live country music concerts it seems like three guitarists in the union minimum. But with a lot of the country acts you see all kinds of guitar players on the stage but you only hear one of them and that’s if your lucky. Oh you’ll hear plenty of the dude playing fiddle in the tight leather pants but not the guitars. But with Wilco they make use of every guitar and it’s a beautiful thing. And the addition of Nels Cline on lead has catapulted the band into the realm of just ridiculous.

I could go on and on but check out this video of them playing ‘Impossible Germany’ on Austin City Limits. Check out the awesome use of the three seperate guitar parts. And don’t forget to listen for the snare drum. It’s like a pillow made of whipped cream.

The Office and Chunky Guy

November 8th, 2007 |

You got your The Office in my Survivorman! No, you got your Survivorman in my The Office. Everybody watched The Office tonight right? Michael went into the woods to do his own version of Survivorman. That was sweet. Two of my favorite shows coming together as one. The only thing that could have made me any happier would have been a game show where a huge cast of characters answer general knowledge questions while trapped on a mysterious island in the middle of a New York taxi cab.

End of thought.

New thought.

Have you ever taken a “before” picture? I did recently. Before I saw the picture I thought that I probably wanted to lose about thirty pounds or thereabouts. After seeing the picture I decided to just go ahead and slit my wrists.

Read this and then come back. I’ll wait.

I’ve put back on about half of the weight I lost when I was so sick and it’s time to address that. I had never taken a “before” picture before. So I put on some shorts and had Angel take a quick shot. Wow! Now that’s what I call incentive.

My goal is to lose a pound a week for the next four years. Wish me luck.

Riley Sings ‘Sin No More’

November 7th, 2007 |

In an attempt to get the absolute maximum amount of mileage out of ‘Sin No More’ I want you to hear this mp3. I’ve mentioned before how long it took me to master the fingerpicking guitar part in that song. I practiced it around the house so much that Riley was able to sing the guitar part to the entire song. I thought it would be funny to record him singing it. So I did. And it was.  A couple of seconds of that recording ended up in the final mix but here’s the rest of it.

Click here to hear Riley singing Sin No More

‘My Dancing Days’ – Available for Download

November 5th, 2007 |

‘My Dancing Days’ is the second song from my new record ‘I Have Walked On The Moon’. The working title for this song was ‘Macarena Shoes’ but I realized that having ‘Macarena’ in the title of a song would almost certainly lead people to assume that the song was going to be silly. This song is not at all silly. Maybe having ‘Macarena Shoes’ appear in the first line of the song is only slightly less risky but I think people will quickly see right through the metaphor. At least I hope so.

I think these first two songs probably mark the far eastern and far western stylistic boundaries of what this album will cover. So not having a context for these two songs may make them seem like they should never appear on the same record together but you’ll have to trust me when I say that maybe you’re absolutely right. Whatever.

My Dancing Days –Click here to download the CD quality wav file – 22 MB

My Dancing Days – Click here to download the 192 Kbps mp3 file – 3 MB

‘Sin No More’ – Acoustic Version

November 1st, 2007 |

A little less than a year ago I started learning how to do the thumbpicking technique used on the acoustic guitar part in ‘Sin No More’. It’s hard. It’s very hard. It’s so hard and I’m so ecstatic that I can finally do it but I’m rather bummed that the guitar part couldn’t be more prominent in the mix. I worked on that guitar part incessantly for six months.

If I were a film maker instead of a musician this would be the equivalent of me shooting the most expensive and elaborate car chase ever seen only to cut it down to a ten second montage because I realized that it distracted from the plot.

If I were a film maker I would however be sure and put the entire thing in all its glory on the DVD with full commentary and behind the scenes footage.

So that’s what I’m doing – except for the commentary and behind the scenes footage. This is an mp3 of Sin No More with only the acoustic guitar and the vocals. It was mixed with no regard for musicality. I just want people to hear the guitar part that I thought would be so vital to the song and turned out to be more of a distraction from the melody than I had planned.

So here it is. Click here to download the mp3.