April 27th, 2018

So I'm finally putting up some new recordings! I have been tracking a ton these past 8 months, but due to the inevitable back-end organization that comes with running your own label, it always takes a while before things are actually released. More on that in a bit. First, I'll explain what I'm putting out today.

After years of moving, resettling multiple times, and lots of work getting my head on straight, I found myself in an odd spot – it was the longest I'd ever gone without regularly recording. Fall of last year, I was done moving and trying to think of a way to get back in the saddle as a producer. When you engineer/produce all of your own material, it's very different from working with others. It's more difficult in a lot of ways. So I decided to do a series of cover songs to get my chops back up. This way I could focus on the production and arranging side of music without focusing so much on what I was personally trying to say. It was also a good way to learn my new recording space – my living room. Rooms are such a big part of recording that I always get the best results when I make time to get to know them. I've come to really like this one.

I gave myself a theme with these covers, as I always tend to do: I am only covering women, and I am basing my choices on voices/personalities that have struck me over the years. Most of these are nostalgic.

The first one I'm putting up is from The Cranberries, as an homage to Dolores O'Riordan. I was really sad when I read the news that she'd passed. The Cranberries were a private band for me. Some might call it a guilty pleasure. I came up in rock music. Bands like Nirvana and Smashing Pumpkins were such a huge influence, and a large part of why I picked up a guitar. Those bands quickly led to the whole world of indie rock, and it wasn't long before The Pixies, Sonic Youth, Polvo, Slint, My Bloody Valentine and the like took over. It was all my friends listened to by the time we were starting high school. But on my own, when no one was around, I also liked my pretty songs. Some of them were radio-friendly and therefore not cool. This is where The Cranberries lived for me. And while they were most known for Zombie at the time, I really loved songs like Linger, Dreams, Ode To My Family, Dream My Dreams. And I adored her voice. Very Irish, and it always felt so raw and direct to me. It still does.

I picked “Ode To My Family” because it straddles sentimental and somber in such a way that makes it hard to pin down. A lot of my favorite songs dance between emotions like that, and it's something I often strive for in my own stuff, so it made the most sense to me. I also remember seeing the video first pop up on MTV and I really liked the feel of it right away. The song is not an easy range for me to sing in, no matter what key I put it in. I also made myself track the vocals in a single take as a challenge, figuring it was the best way to mirror that raw and unabashed quality her voice has.

Here's a link to the result (Spotify):

https://tinyurl.com/yaamamru

I also put together a video from home videos of different eras, as a small nod to the original video:

Another rule I've made for this series is: for the artwork, I will do my best to look like each of the women I'm covering. I do not have the bone structure for drag (an artist friend of mine once described me, while working on my portrait, as a human potato … hahaha), so all of these will be a stretch. But I think laughing at yourself is important. Two of these in particular are going to be a horror show. You're welcome.

Here's my best Dolores:

Cranberries_OdeToMyFamily_CoverArt.jpg

This series was completed a bit ago, so I'm putting up a track everything other Friday. It'll be a fun lead up to my next set of releases. I have lots of smaller things coming out this year. Two EPS, some fun stuff around a re-release, as well as really launching Bear Machine next month.

I have a lot more to say on all those things, but I will do that as a separate post. I think this is long enough. I hope everyone is well.

R.I.P. Dolores.