Number One Issue

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All new music by:
Peter Holsapple, Freedy Johnston, Laura Cantrell, Jody Harris, Peter Blegvad, Kate Jacobs, Freakwater, Dave Schramm, & Victoria Williams

Live performance by Laura Cantrell (with Dave Schramm); conversations with Laura, Dave, Jody Harris, Kate Jacobs & photographer Ted Barron

Presented by: Nicholas Hill

Peter Holsapple, Oh My (I Gotta Write a New Song)
written, performed, recorded by Peter
(Hospital Music, BMI admin. by Bug Music)

Freedy Johnston, Neon
written, performed, recorded by Freedy
(Trouble Tree Music, BMI)

Laura Cantrell, Wave Those Tears Away
(in studio live performance, w/ Dave Schramm)
written by Laura with Robbie Fulks
(Thrift Shop Songs, BMI admin by Bug Music/Lorne Rawl Music ASCAP)

Jody Harris, Mister Control
written, performed, recorded by Jody; Copyright Control Jody Harris

Peter Blegvad, I Had a Dream
composed by Peter, produced/arranged by Andy Partridge who also played bass, mellotron & some other things. Peter sang/played everything else (including saz).

Kate Jacobs, Girlfriend
written, performed, recorded by Kate
(Small Pond Music, BMI)

Freakwater, Mockingbird
written and performed by Catherine Irwin and Janet Beveridge Bean. Jim Elkington helped record the tune and played mandola.

Dave Schramm, Ghosts & The Grey
written, performed, recorded by Dave
(Hot Stove Music, BMI)

Victoria Williams, Fall Experience
written and performed by Victoria (vocal and long neck banjo), Jeff Fiellder guitar, Isobel Campbell cello and background vocals, and Jim the engineer background vocals

Conversations with: Laura Cantrell, Jody Harris, Kate Jacobs, Dave Schramm & photographer Ted Barron

Engineered by Gary Arnold at Gary’s Chop Shop, NYC
December 10, 2009

Songwriters’ comments:

Peter Holsapple on Oh My (I Gotta Start a New Song):

I’ve never experienced writer’s block like the one I’ve just tried to ramrod through with this song, which is all about ramrodding through writer’s block.  The wonderful opportunity afforded me last year by my friends at The New York Times online to write about songwriting made me consider what I had done somewhat automatically for thirty-five years prior.  Describing how and why I did what I did to make a song appear seemed to demystify the process, made me self-conscious and wary, and demagnetized whatever internal music ions that had caromed around freely beforehand.  I couldn’t start, much less finish, a song for about a year and change.  When Kate approached me about joining this group of songwriters, my fear that I was done for nearly capsized me into thanking her and declining.  Instead, some tiny spark said I’d better do it, and that I’d better write a song.  So I wrote a very ‘of the moment’ batch of lyrics, even more so than “Here and Now” had been.

This song is true confession time, expounding on my catatonic writing state, in an effort to dislodge the logjam and get going again.  I think most every songwriter worries that his or her current song is the last one to come down the pipe.  With any luck, this one of mine is merely the chemical agent that cleanses the system I’ve been fortunate enough to possess for years.  And while it may not be the best song I’ve ever written, I can happily say it’s the most recent one.

Kate Jacobs on Girlfriend:

My first song for the club was a production challenge—which is why it is so acutely low-fi. I always depend on my friends for engineering, arranging, and playing my songs, but this time I decided to try it alone. It was fun. Whatever a multi-instrumentalist is, I am the opposite of, so every embellishment had to be vocal which is why there’s an awful lot of oo la la here.  The song’s a little weird, the recording a bit of a mess—perhaps that’s a fit since it’s about the weird messiness of the human heart—that grey area that I usually go to for writing. It owes a little debt to Peter Holsapple’s She Was The One which has the wonderful lyric, “when she left, she took all the fun,” acknowledging that some people have more talent for fun than others.

Catherine Irwin of Freakwater on Mockingbird:

I have always been pretty crazy about mockingbirds. They are kind of scrappy. They are really territorial. They will sometimes chase cats out of their own backyards and they always have sort of an ”I will fuck you up” look on their faces. You can talk to them and they will make fun of you and they sing all night long.

Last summer a mockingbird flew in through the back door of my house and landed on my bed. I was pretty freaked out, mostly because of the eye-gouging beak thing but also because of the daggery lizard-chicken claws and the generally crazy blood-thirsty behavior of franticly flapping trapped birds. Maybe it’s a rare thing for birds or bats to get tangled up in a person’s hair, but that doesn’t mean that it isn’t ever going to happen.

Oh, I forgot to say that the mockingbird pooped on my bed. That psychedelic purple mulberry poop.

I am not one of those annoying people who are constantly searching for meaning and who are, consequently, constantly finding it, but this event did strike me as potentially revelatory. Through the rosy lens of my ego-mania it seems as if I have perhaps at last been chosen.

Dave Schramm on Ghosts & the Grey:

Not my usual gloom and doom. Kate was surprised (pleasantly?) by the cheerful, downright romantic, gist of the lyric. I suppose one reading could have it my own version of Our House, but more familial.

As for the recording, unfortunately it’s all me. When there’s more than just a single voice and a guitar or piano I’d always rather there be other personalities involved. To generate difference and perspective and produce THE UNEXPECTED. But what can ya do. This one’ll serve. I think perhaps a future version might come to life with a small combo all playing live to 2-track. We’ll see. Also it might be a bit slower, this version sometimes seems breakneck. Sometimes not.

Ted Barron is a photographer and publishes the music blog, Boogie Woogie Flu. He is a recovering record collector, and discusses a recent relapse at the Salvation Army in Williamsburg, Brooklyn.  His photographs can be seen at Daily Pixel: Twenty-Ten.