Category Archives: sounds


[music video] This Canyon Drive

Figures that living in Laurel Canyon for six months would inspire one of my best tracks. Special place. Will return with more permanence someday.


[track] The Space In Rain

Rainstorm / 20170717
Bridgehampton, NY
Close friends’ house, Cottage bedroom
improv on a 44-key upright Grieg piano, un-tuned, sticky keys
iPhone w/ a Shure MV88 lightning condenser sitting on a windowsill


[track] The Last Time Up Ahead

this one’s for the ones who stop to think
this one’s for the ones who always knew
this one’s for the ones who see the absurdity

this was a place we lived in peace
a place we lived in silence
a place we lived together in light

the last time
is cloud nine
and you won’t know
you’re dead

but the saddest time
is the first time
you see
the last time
up ahead

how many days can you see through things
how frayed is a soul made of string
how many ways can a memory bring you down

what happened all the power burned out
what happened all that’s certain’s in doubt
what happened all the love turned it back on us

there’s no one around who doesn’t think they know
nowhere you’re left to be, no place left to go


[track] Canyon Songbird Dream #7

i believe in my dream
I believe in my dream
in my song, i believe you’ll see
all the lives we are to lead

searching for answers
is a waste of precious time
destiny doesn’t ring the bell,
doesn’t tell you you’ve arrived

songbird on an electric line
only knows he’s incomplete
caught up in a lookout for love
all his faith on endless repeat

may never know magic
of a returned call
but he never sounds tragic
never sounds small


[track] Paper Streets [20180601.1]

You came a long long way
just to find nothing
on the other end of a promise
from the other side of the sun

the road was mapped but never real
still the dream of a long gone man
now foxtails push up through cracked cement
and long abandoned plans

Paper streets always burn.
Paper streets always burn.
On a bridge to nowhere,
you never know where to turn.
Paper streets always burn.

Doesn’t matter where you’re from
when you see the world from the sky
Broadway to Magazine to Sunset Boulevard
They all draw the same line

You have to put your faith in strangers
or else this is a lonely life
but sometimes people are wicked and cruel
we’re not wired to be nice

I lost a fortune to a dream
but at least it was my dream
some people lose their fortune to a faith
in the world as it seems


[track] Canyon Bees, Birds, and a Chicken (20180509.1)

“A bee, a bird, and a chicken are hanging out in the Hollywood hills…” sounds like the start of a joke, but it’s just a field recording. The bees are pollinating a perpetual-blooming Echium Candicans (“pride of Madeira”) flowering shrub in our Laurel Canyon Garden, while a mockingbird, a scrub jay, a few other birds, and a chicken across the street join in the chorus. Live iPhone recording via a Shure MOTIV MV88.

Echium Candicans
pride of Madeira
subshrub invasive ornament
Spanish nectar
going-steady bees
soda jerk two-straw shake
canyon hillside date
10 minutes drive
from a retrofit-rail-car diner
off Sunset


[aired] Between Stations: Yellow Dog Blues Backstory

Enlightening walk-through by Mississippi writer Suzassippi with some fantastic photos of the actual location where the “Southern cross the dog” in W.C. Handy’s Yellow Dog Blues.

In 2014, the Disquiet Junto participated in an NPR Studio360 project to record modern versions of Handy’s track in honor of its 100th anniversary. My track, Between Stations, “won” the event, and I ended up on air with host Kurt Anderson and musician Marc Anthony Thompson.

The Blues makes us aware of how the universe perceives harmony through our ears. Its “source material” is not so much sadness, but a universal alienation. Everyone fears loneliness from different directions. Handy’s song says to me, “There’s no use for home where you always lose who you are,” which was the launch point for my recording. Suzassippi lends wonderful visual, grounded context to all the tracks she highlights, and quotes me at the end of her article.

via: Suzassippi

Back a number of years ago, I first read about where the Southern Cross the Dog in a Farm Bureau magazine quiz. I had never heard of it, and it was an intriguing story about the town of Moorhead and the junction of the old Southern Railway system and the “Yellow Dog”–commonly thought to mean the Yazoo Delta Railway.

Winner: Westy Reflector cover of Yellow Dog Blues. Of it, the judge Marc Anthony Thompson said “I just wanted something that I really liked to listen to.” Westy Reflector said “no one in the story is in a fixed place” and “blues was never fully about composition as an end, but about a rich community of shared source material.”

My faves: All of which, “I just really liked to listen to.”

Ari Swan cover of Yellow Dog Blues.

The City of Light cover of Yellow Dog Blues. I liked that he repeats the refrain ‘Southern cross the dog’ as did the original Handy heard.

Addieville featuring Sara Murphy cover of Yellow Dog Blues.


[track] Every Light Leads (20180426.1)

all you’ve got is a feeling
and what i got won’t show
b/c our visions of love
only intersected long ago

gonna go where every light leads
if it only takes me round the block
i don’t care
at least i’m searching
at least i’m driving
where you’re still aching
to get somewhere

first time i knew luck was
the first time we laughed at the same truth
but there’s only so many lies
you can sell yourself and still pull through

“burning a bridge” burns one ahead,
not one already crossed.
those things you leave behind
are, anyways, already lost

lenses
filters
living as if reality
mirrors
windows
living as if we really see


[track] Quiet Nowhere (20180426.1)

the smarter you are today
the more you live in shadow
never giving up all you know
‘cos it’s

quiet nowhere
la la la la la la la la la
it’s quiet nowhere

to long for someday soon
is to long for days gone by
they’re both parallel paper streets
through a

quiet nowhere

the sound of things falling is the same sound
as things rising into the air
time spent afraid of what you might hear
well, that’s a quiet nowhere

that feel when the world lets you down
that feel when old friends freeze you out
when you’re seen as wrong when everyone’s not right

it’s quiet nowhere


[track] Love Your Self Any Way (20180426.1)

we were young
you were younger
never were to be in love
i should’ve known better
every price has a one

you wanted the world to burn
vanish into points of no return
‘cos hardest to learn
you never could say
love your self any way

afraid of truth
living in shadows
is no way to move through life
in the end, in this haunted future
you set yourself alight

saturation turns to gray
where there are only beautiful days

you found only
darkness in sunshine
you saw only one
way out


[sounds] Stripped State: Laurel Canyon Recordings

From January to June 2018, my wife Cat costume designed the series adaptation of the podcast Homecoming that shot in L.A., so we decamped Brooklyn for a 1930s cottage aerie perched halfway up Laurel Canyon. I bought a knock around Seagull guitar at the perfect scaled All-In-One guitar shop in Koreatown, and figured I’d have the Gentleman of the Canyon adventure I always dreamt. Over the six months, I took a trip back to my own songwriting time zero, stripped down and raw, to that place where I just sat and thought and wrote and strummed. And listened. And learned, embracing every mistake as an intention…


[track] Wonderland (20180418.1)

Mattie was the kinda girl
who saw the end of the world
every time she opened her eyes
Roger was the kinda guy
never turned down a ride
figured “the end of days is just down the line.”

the price you pay
counting on judgment day for love
is to waste the light away
wide awake
wishing on the dark
(in Wonderland)

they found an acre and a half
halfway up Wonderland
in September 1973
they spent a few years
thinking the end was near
and cut down none of their trees

their earth gave way on a red flag day
right around 1982
they held on fast
against a backdraft
into the black they flew

they always thought of each other
as first time lovers
in an endless secret rendezvous
but sometimes living a life of desire
leaves you dreaming of fire
in a state of always almost coming true


[track] What’s Left Of You Is Here (live, 20180313)

I knew everything of you
in how you said your name.
On our way to points B unknown
from whatever points A.

I will never need to know
how the shadows fell across your face
In that place you used to be
Before you escaped

To California. for untold revelations, on a self-sent invitation. What’s left for you to fear
in California? Your train is the station. Your dream of vindication.
What’s left of you is here.

“Maybe I’m out here on a lie,
but it’s only a lie to the skin I shed.
What’s left of me here
is the truth.”

There’s gold inside us all
But we just pass each other by
Because you gotta wash away the dirt
To find what’s not a lie

That’s California. unknown elevations, sends no invitations. What’s left for you to fear in California? Trains are the stations. A dream of vindication.
What’s left of you is here.


[track] It (20180412.1a)

I wanna blow the doors off of everything
just because I can
I got no direction
I don’t care much for a plan
I’m gonna do it just because I can

I wanna call the world out for what it is
just because it can’t
I got a few ideas
that I know that it can’t stand
I wanna do it just because it can’t

I wanna make this life as simple as you say
just because it’s free
I got a few years left
and they’re still ahead of me
I’m gonna do it
just because


[track] Clouds Over LA (20180412.7)

time will not release
a missing puzzle piece
faded memories
don’t know what you mean

you can’t watch a sunrise
through someone else’s eyes
if they never see you
in dreams

clouds over LA dance alone between skies

distant freeways shimmer
traffic as rivers
red and white ribbons
valley to sky

lost friends reappear
in dusty windshields
as evening light hits
California 5

clouds over LA dance alone between skies

drifting the night
suspended from life
shadows of every last good bye

clouds over LA dance alone between skies


[sounds] canyon morning

March 15, 2018 at 12:44PM
via IFTTT


Canyon Morning [20180314]

a laurel canyon dawn: guitar + sunrise + birds + distant traffic

slow and loose channeling of Tony Rice’s interpretation of Shenandoah


[track] Jupiter & Tennessee (20180313.4)

She said, “Pull off at Exit Two Eighteen.
Let me out, I’ll find another ride.
I just don’t know where the time has gone,
and I’m tired of these freeway signs.

“Your stories make me laugh,
but your songs make me cry.
I don’t think I can live that way.
I need someone not so low, and maybe not so high.
I’m tired of living years every day.”

Between Jupiter and Tennessee,
stars collapsed on me.
The moon faded to eternity
between Jupiter and Tennessee.

Memories make a dotted line,
as if in between there was no time.

Things that feel long ago,
in light years are just yesterday.
No regrets where the mind never goes.
Sad times just count the days.


[track] Counting (20180310.3)

What if we could ride all the waves
What if the world was safe
for everything we are
What if we could exchange
Every turn we’ll ever take
For one true North Star

Counting on lightning
Counting on dreaming
Counting on sleeping sometime soon
Counting on one plan
Counting on another hand
(and I’m still) Counting on counting on you

What if we could live on a cloud
above the rain
where stars are the only lights
But you need stable ground
your wings need a break
You carry me through the sky

Sometimes the faster you hold on
To each other
The faster you drift apart
Together


[track] Riding the D with Casey and Bob (20180310)

RIP Bob Jacks