Category: tracks

arms length in dreams (20220428c)

Arms Length In Dreams
20220421.0744, 20220424.2258

(G) I’ve seen good luck
I’ve seen bad
i’ve crashed (Em) big, i’ve (Cmaj7) stood tall

(G) but most days
just stand still
and don’t (Em) see much (Cmaj7) luck at (G) all

risks i (Em) take
sometimes time (G) out
What else can I (D) do? What else can I (C) do?
Sometimes I get (Bmin7) lost
in thoughts of (C) love
i’ve (Am) thrown away, (C) and only (G) knew

(C) Arms length in (G) dreams
Just / (C) beyond your waking (G-D) reach
Everything you (C) seek
Just beyond your (D) reach
just (C) Arms length in (G) dreams

Dreams are lies
you tell your soul
To keep life to keep life new

but they only come true
If you let yourself
let your self believe in you

Today I left
my bed unmade
unmade Until the afternoon
into this (Bmin7) City
of pain and (C) grace
i walked my (Am) self a couple (C) miles In my own (G) shoes

F C. G
F C G
F C D–C G

(C) Arms length in (G) dreams
Just / (C) beyond your waking (G-D) reach
Everything you (C) seek
Just beyond your (D) reach
just (C) Arms length in (G) dreams

Goes The Day [20220428b]

Written 20200418.1020

C F G
F C G

C F G
these days i wake in the same dream
F C G
where living is the flip side of life
Am. Adim7 Am7 D
where the future’s a memory of plans ahead
F G Am
where sometimes dying doesn’t mean you’re dead

F C G
gone gone gone goes the day
F C G
back back back all the way
Am Adim7 Am7 D
to a far far far off place
F G C
goes the day

empty streets, distant echoes
footsteps, indifferent neon signs
sirens, silence, lonely traffic lights
sounds of a world waving goodbye

Em F C
today aches for yesterday
Em F C
tomorrow’s just a someday place
Am G F
where the only answer, somehow,
Am G F G
is we all take the same exit out

Rainbow Needle / Tennis Thread


Words are my thread; music is my needle

I haven’t written too much on the internet in the last few years because I am afraid of what…

  • …was
  • …wasn’t
  • …will be
  • …is

This internal poll will be open for the rest of eternity, or until eternity runs out of time, power, or storage

To run out of storage is to run out of time. More storage means more memory, so more memories for your future feeds. The future opens ever wider with every cloud upgrade.

I had a colonoscopy yesterday. Lol if anesthesiologists didn’t exist.

To cede control of consciousness is the highest level of trust and faith.

Two other operations in my life required me to go unconscious: In 1987, I had all four wisdom teeth pulled, and in 2006, hip surgery saw an orthopedic surgeon remove a pelvic bone fragment that was shredding my right hip joint.

I didn’t know what to expect in 1987. Pretty sure the knockout drip was Demerol. I recall making it to 7 after being asked to countdown from 10, then waking up with chipmunk cheeks.

In 2006, the anesthesiologist for the hip surgery didn’t even bother to dare me to count down to zero. He just laughed, and said, “You’re under.” The last thing I saw, just off the inside of my right foot, was a winch with a big crank on top. Being pushed towards my foot. When I awoke in recovery, the surgeon handed me a sealed biohazard bag to let me see and feel, through the plastic, the bone fragment he extracted.

Those few seconds floating away under anesthesia, at the hypnogogic point of no return, where you’ve given away conscious hold on life, are terrifying in concept, but quite peaceful in execution. You are strapped in as the Space Mountain coaster climbs into darkness.…

continued...

Vampires In Love (live, solo)

My favorite new track this year. Written with Composer+Producer Masaya Ozaki (https://masayaozaki.com), in response to a call he received from a music licensing company for “summer songs about adventure and time.” Every once in a while, I write with no irony. Anti-confessional mode, you might say.

“Screw off, I’m happy.”
– Summer2021

lyrics
sometimes words don’t mean anything
with you i don’t need to speak
our future lies
across the great divide
and there’s nowhere i’d rather be

you’re my queen
you can lean on me
you’re my dream
nothing comes between

all the world can melt away
all the colors turn to gray
there’d still be nothing left to say but
you and me

baby can you see love is in reach
even where sunshine’s never in view
and in a thousand years
love never disappears
it’ll always feel something new

Clouds Over LA (Sarsaparilla Sessions 20210210)

A song written in 2018 in Laurel Canyon, CA. Performed this year in Lowell, MA (which we affectionately called Lowell Canyon while living there for 8 months in 2021).

LYRICS

time will not release
a missing puzzle piece
or faded memories
of deleted scenes

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

ok [sarsaparilla session 20210330, lowell ma]

Solo acoustic version of “ok” from Hola, Sayulita! (2010), and also included on my early-years greatest hits collection Your Song Is Beautiful: 2002-2012 (2012).

This performance is from March 2021 in the old Hood’s Sarsaparilla Soda factory, my temporary home Lowell, MA for the last 8 months. We leave Lowell for good in ~2 weeks on 7/31. I will be wistful about this place, but am also ready to return home to NYC, if only for a few months. Home is home, no matter how long you’ve been gone, or how long you can stay.

A couple days ago, my phone served up some video “memories” of a 2018 trip into Manhattan’s West Village. That night, I took an uptown F from Brooklyn, saw my brother play with his band at The Bitter End, walked a few blocks around Bleeker, and went home. It was just life as we knew it pre-covid, hopefully will know again. Maybe that’s why the images fit so well over this song of enduring friendship, no matter how far-flung in distance and/or time. The videos’ random appearance was my City telling me, “I’m still here, and I’m ok, too.”

The shot of the ambulance in the middle verse, is from covid times, fwiw, and the opening shot’s from a quick round-trip to Brooklyn two weeks ago to start moving back home. Cat is working on the latest final season of Dexter up here in MA, and it was hilarious to see the book that the show was based on sitting in a front-stoop giveaway pile on our block. The image of the book being let go, for me, cemented the fact our time in Lowell is ending.

That’s what times do, of course. Times end so that time goes on.

We’re ok.

LYRICS

You never know just how long you have
Before you go
Away

So take back life; hide it from view
It will only be us and
the wind

Times are down but we’re ok
Lines are down but we’re ok
We’re ok.…

continued...

The Resurrection of Uncle

westyreflector.medium mirror


That Old Guitar on That Old Guitar

Uncle, a 1934 Gibson L-1 flat-top acoustic, came to me via my wife Cat’s father, Steve, a stellar pianist and big band leader in Chicago. Cat’s great Uncle Ernest, Uncle’s original owner, bequeathed the guitar to Steve.

Uncle guarding Luna, May 2021
Uncle guarding Luna, May 2021

Cat & I found Uncle (in his original case) in Steve’s basement on a trip to her Chicago home. I tuned him up best he would, and strummed an open G major (the strings were a dozen years old, at least). He rang for less than a second before the bridge popped off. The sound of the chord was brilliant, however, and I took him back to New York, where the luthier of legend Paul Schwartz of Peekamoose Custom Guitars worked his magic (he is “The Moose” in the lyrics).

Paul has modded all my guitars, and also built me Fabien, an extraterrestrial Peekamoose M2 that’s the only electric guitar I’ll ever need if I ever need to have only 1. Definitely the one I’m grabbing, running from a house fire.

Fabien et moi
Fabien et moi

Uncle’s restoration process at Peekamoose involved a lot of micro-movements, acclimation periods, and clamps. And took almost 2 years.

The original bridge and half of the top’s bracing were not salvageable, and got replaced. Everything else is a time capsule, a literal message in box. The fretboard is still worn where Ernest spent most of his time playing (lower frets in open G tuning from what I can trace), and the flat-top’s 87-year-old finish reveals the most gorgeous cracks when the light hits it just right.

echoes of ernest on the fretboard
echoes of ernest on the fretboard
uncle's crack top
uncle's crack top

Uncle plays with the flawless ease you’d expect (and demand) of an instrument that was designed to be slung over the back of a blues traveller.…

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[live] 20201212.2


Set 1 ended w/ some transmission glitches, so an impromptu second set righted the wrongs.

SET LIST
02:00 Elizabeth City
08:00 This Time Of Year
14:00 This Canyon Drive
18:30 Sayulita

[live] 20201122 – The Return of Stryker West


My heteronym daydream cowboy Stryker West said it was high time for another country-fried set, so who was I to refuse? The covers here focused mostly on Texas, as tribute to a dear friend Taylor Rierden. Stryker neglected to play any Willie Nelson, however, and for that, he will have to atone with another set sometime soon.

SET LIST
00:30 – You & Tequila (K.Chesney)
04:50 – Love In This Land
10:05 – Jupiter + Tennessee
13:50 – I’ve Been All Around This World (J.Garcia)
19:05 – Don’t Touch My Willie (K.Fowler)
23:30 – Just A Little Insane
27:30 – Sunset Boulevard (C.Robison)
33:36 – Elizabeth City
38:34 – Sunday Morning Coming Down (K.Kristofferson)
43:16 – This Canyon Drive
47:50 – Down The Road (S.Earle)
50:40 – That Old Guitar

[vid] There Goes The Sky (escape from nyc version)

A fav song took on new resonance in late May when I escaped NYC for a few days, for the first time since December 2019. Performed in Bridgehampton NY, interspersed w/ footage from the heaviest part of NYC’s (1st?) lockdown from March to May.

Original Version on Sunrise Highway (2015)

Lyrics

I set out walking, just to find a friend,
Make a human connection in a world of pretend,
To share faith in the future, in the face of decay,
‘Cos when you can’t escape the night, every dawn is the end of days.

Walls get high,
Darkness amplifies,
There goes the sky.

You can understand, doesn’t mean you feel.
The hardest things to show are the easiest to conceal.
Actions can destroy more than words can heal.
God save us all when all the truths are revealed.

Walls get high.
Darkness amplifies.
There goes the sky.

[vid] Time Zero (LimeLight.live Sound Check)

06 Sep 2020.

Sound check on Limelight app. Unreleased track “Time Zero” surrounded w/ some loose texture and tone. Sometimes ideas that disappear for a a few years all of a sudden calculate their worth in retrospect. “Write it forward,” is a mode I know well.

LYRICS

Things got strange
Sequences rearranged
Machines crashed
Systems disarrayed

Take us back, take us back
Rewind the line
To when we knew love
for the first time!

Time Zero

Soundscapes
Beauty in the everyday
But light and wisdom
Are not the default state

Easy to lose your way
and lash out in blame
because some people you never shake,
some memories never fade

Take us back, take us back
Rewind the line
To when we knew love
for the first time!

Time Zero

Let the memories fade.

[sounds] Stripped State: Laurel Canyon Recordings

From January to June 2018, my wife Cat costume designed the Amazon 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 recorded a couple dozen tracks in our Gould Avenue house. My Gentleman of the Canyon adventure took me to a songwriting time zero, stripped down and raw, to that place where I just sat and thought and wrote and strummed. And listened. And learned.

This Canyon Drive video:
youtu.be/9M2kgtzeT6M

These tracks are destined for evolution. But for now, they float the aether in a simplest, stripped state, kicking up some glorious west coast dust for me. Who knows where we’ll meet again. Hopefully, in The Canyon.

BANDCAMP (SELECTED TRACKS)

SOUNDCLOUD (FULL SET)

[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

[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