Naked and Humble and Rosy
the new record is being mastered as we speak. We did it over at Makin’ Sausage Music with my pal Steve Hamilton, and I think it sounds pretty damn good. I’m happy to announce that Colleen Hardy will be doing the artwork and design for it—stay tuned, folks: gonna have a pre-order up in the next couple of weeks.
As far as the coming weeks, I’ve got news: SteelBridgeSongFest. This’ll be the start of my third lap around these collaborative songwriting intensives. I never feel that I properly describe these things, and it gets more difficult to do so the dearer it gets to my heart—and that is exponentially and with each passing moment. Beyond the fact that I’ve made friends for life, beyond a week of song immersion is the core of the thing. The molten hot heart of these events is collaboration, and while I don’t understand it, I both fear and love it. Collaboration like a pumice stone to scrub off the callous unnecessary ego that grows when no one’s watching. Collaboration like Aslan’s claws on poor little Eustace, finally scrubbin’ off that dragon skin and coming out naked and humble and rosy. Whatever, metaphor: I’ll tell you the facts.
On Sunday we have dinner and then listen to the record from the previous year. After that, we stretch our legs and go down to the laboratory, where waits a whiskey bottle attached to the top of a tambourine. We stand in a circle and spin the bottle for groups of three—these wander off, and write a song. The song is done, pAt mAcdonald listens. If there’s a line that’s an uncomfortable mouthful, he’ll fix it. If the song isn’t actually done, he tells. If you missed an obvious rhyme—well, fear not. This revision step done, the song is signed up to record and recorded in queue as studios become available. The next day, it happens again (and again and again) until the end of the week, when we put on a show of all these brand new song babies at the Third Avenue Playhouse (please tell me you’ve been rehearsing all week.)
JUST going through the above-mentioned motions would be an invigorating experience, yes. But the real magic is in the writing. Three different psyches and lives and styles come together and try to find a common ground—this common ground is often just a decision to get outside of all previously tread territory. In these frontiers, perfectionism doesn’t know what to do—useless, it dissipates. Craft, analyze, rehearse, then let go, let go, let go.
The Secret Pistols will be up to play the festival part of things with me on Saturday, June 11th—venue TBA. Come hear a preview of the new record!
That’s all for now. More to come.