an eddy in the bitstream

Day: September 9, 2021


It was Molly Maher who referred to our house on Burns Ave as the Big Pink, after The Band album. The initial paint color when we bought the house was definitely Barbie Butt Pink. What a great old house in a great location. We had this carriage house too, which was essentially a two-story garage with a third story up top with wood paneling and this real “cabin vibe” that of course all my musician friends immediately recognized as a prime recording space. In theory.

In the dozen years we lived there, lots of aspirational construction and repair went into that space, and there was definitely some music playing and recording done, including at least one House of Mercy Band session and some demos for Pocahontas County. In the end though, it was unheated, which made for a limited window in the Minnesota year when we could reasonably hang out there, and definitely not sound-proof, which made for a limited window in the day when you could reasonably record anything without background car and park noise.

There was a time after my kids came on the scene, probably around 2010 but I can’t exactly remember, when I would occasionally escape to that upstairs carriage house space and plug in my electric guitar and noodle around. The sliding glass door was western-facing and in the afternoon you got this sunny sunray dusty vibe with all the wood walls and the park vistas out the door. This song came out of that time, and when I was recording it this last winter here in my basement office in Kansas, playing that little chord progression with the B minor took me back to those sunny Minnesota afternoons in the spring and fall when the park was green and I had just a little time to myself.

Ready for the Fall

Back in 1998 I was living in Georgia and I got lonely for all my friends in Minnesota. During that year I wrote a lot of songs because that’s what (some) lonely people do, especially lonely people doing a lot of driving and spending tons of time alone.

In 2020, like a lot of people with time on their hands, I decided to revisit some of those songs that had never gotten recorded before. Inspired by the process of recording music again, after nearly 20 years of not recording my own songs, I decided to (slowly) make my way through the shoebox of old tunes and see if they still made me happy to play.  Some of them do.

I’ve been putting the new recordings up here as I finish them.

I’m also going to write up some notes about each song, since one of the things I like to know when I listen to an album is details like when and where a song was written. A little context helps frame my experience.

“Ready for the Fall” was written in 1998 right after I moved back to Minnesota, around Labor Day. Something about the wordplay of autumn and lapsarian and some struggles that my family was having at that time. This was a song that we recorded in the winter of 1998-99 for the first House of Mercy Band album (the “white album”) but our version never quite hit what I heard in my head. This version is closer, and I am grateful that Chris Larson contributed harmony vocals on it, as he and I used to sing it together in those days.

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