Together?

Great Expectations

I've Said Too Much FINAL

First things first.  While this is the most recent song written for this record, I cannot recall how it started to come together.  I know it began with a title, then somewhat of a concept that changed over time.  Then the idea of writing about community – people actually interacting FOR REAL, not online in the interwebs in pretend-world.

But most important – I stole the first three words, “It’s kinda funny”.  While hashing out the riffs, I got an old Kiss song in my head.  The riffs are in no way the same.  But the song, “Two Sides of the Coin” came to mind.  Specifically Ace’s line, “It’s kinda funny…”.  So I took it and used it throughout the song.  If he wants, I’ll buy him lunch.  Lunch will be more than I’ll make on the song, so….  Ace, this is my public invitation to lunch.  I’ll buy.

But nothing fancy.  I mean – it’s lunch, for the love…

What of the song?  I had another song in it’s place on the record.  I was done with the record – but not that song.  I’m still waiting on a blistering solo from my buddy for it.  So I needed to replace it.  I came up with this.

Maybe if I buy Ace lunch, he’ll play the solo?

I wanted this song to be light, as I talk about the alternative to hiding behind our keyboards.  Putting ourselves OUT THERE.  We’re given this great gift of life on earth, with other people.  What if we were actually IN THE MOMENT?  What would that look like, huh?

And it’s a fun rock song.  I hope you like it.  And Ace – that invitation is always open…

Great Expectations
It’s kinda funny how lonely and sad we are
When we’re surrounded by a virtual sea of people
It’s kinda lonely, just being the only one
I’d be less lonely if I’d only find the
The other onlys who are also lonely
And maybe we’d all be the lonely onlys together   

 It’s kinda funny how we talk and talk and talk
But never think to walk the walk
Cause that might take a little more than talking
And we might run into some people walking
And God forbid we ever walk the walk together 

 And in the end if I’d only said
Hey nice to meet you, maybe we’d be friends
And isn’t that what we’re made to be, together 

Great Expectations

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I’ve Said Too Much?

I’ve Said Too Much

I've Said Too Much FINAL

Title tracks are often anthems of some sort.  I would not say that is the case here.  It’s probably my least favorite song on the record.  But I do like the harmonies.  And I do like the subject.

Not the best job selling you, is it?  🙂

I forget when I started writing this song.  But I wanted to parlay a bit of the conundrum of what social media has done.  Especially in this day and age, where we are all seemingly “on edge”.  There is so much strife in the world.  We have a president nobody seems to want.  We have division over whether he’s a righteous man, or “chosen by God”, or just a common thief.  We have justifications for his actions, or hers, or yours, or mine.  We have judgement, condemnation, celebration, congregation, separation, justification, self-gratification – every form of “ation” you could think of.

And it’s ALL magnified today.  You can’t get away from it.

But you don’t really have to enter into it.

So there is a false sense of “safety”.  “I can say anything I want now.  The guy on the other end of the screen isn’t really real.”

We are dehumanizing ourselves, slowly but surely…

Or worse – we’re silent.

I’m silent….

Because I’m afraid that you might not like me.  Or maybe I don’t like you, and I don’t think you’re worth my words.  Or maybe both?

And we’re afraid.  So afraid…

What if this happens?  Or that doesn’t happen?  What will happen to me???

So this is my convoluted confession.  I’ve gotten so wrapped up in not getting wrapped up, that I’ve avoided any sort of risk of entanglement.  I’m comfortable.  I’m lazy.

I’ve said too much…  By saying nothing…

I like the funky solo.  Don’t you?

I’ve Said Too Much

I’ve said too much
By saying nothing
And doing nothing
And being nothing I said I would

I’ve done all I could
To push you away
And keep you at by
So have a nice day
But please don’t stay here
In my space…
In my heart…
In my mind

I’m sorry if
I offend you
Or neglect you
Or make you feel you don’t belong

I’m sorry if
You don’t believe me
Or don’t agree with me
Or don’t like the way I say
The very words that set you free
From your shame
Or your pain or your death

I’ve said too much
By saying nothing…

I’ve Said Too Much

This Town Is Not For Me

This Town Is Not For Me

I've Said Too Much FINAL

This song…

When I set out to write songs for a new EP, after finishing my last record, I really was looking to put something loose and fun and light out.  Last time, all the songs were written or chosen from some sort of personal perspective.  Not depressing, or dark  – but deeply personal, as many were written to or for people I love dearly.  So I wanted to write songs with “no care in the world”.

That didn’t happen.  And this song kicks it off.

As happens often with me, it started with the title.  My wife and I were planning a short trip to Nashville.  I’d never been there, and being a wannabe musician, I was super stoked.  But the one thought that kept creeping in was, “This town is not for me”.  It’s a town for established and struggling and striving musicians and songwriters, of a caliber and skill level I could never dream to match.   Not a big deal – I’m content with where I’m at.  Just stating a fact – “This town is not for me”.

So I set out to write this light, loose, fun song about how I don’t fit into Nashville.

It didn’t work, and I ended up writing about how I’ve NEVER felt I fit in.  From childhood, when I could never seem to be old enough to sit at the adult table, or was too young to hang with my brother, or I was seemingly the last chosen on any sporting team (I was bad.  I mean, really, really bad, at any sport)…

To my teenage years, where suddenly I felt awkward, even around family members who had done nothing but show me love and grace.  I remember even thinking to myself at family functions, as a relative approached, “Don’t come talk to me, don’t come talk to me, don’t come…  Ah nuts!”  Sweaty palms, group/crowd anxiety, unable to strike up or maintain a conversation (I still have this issue, as an old man)…

To high school where I was the quiet, forgotten kid in the hallways, who didn’t fit in with jocks or dirtballs or smartie smarts, or theater kids…

To “college years” – where I didn’t DO college but took a shot with music.  I actually felt somewhat like I fit in, most of the time.  But I was the butt of many jokes (I was the bass player, after all 😉 ).  I couldn’t write songs as well as the other guys, so I sorta just – didn’t…

To adulthood – everyone else had their education, their well-paid jobs, and their lives together.  I didn’t, or didn’t think so anyway, because I chased my dreams and it left me sort of – “behind?”  This is a lie – but I believed it, whole-heartedly…  This bred a sense of discontentment, which caused me to act out in not so smart or adult-y ways…

To even life in the church.  I’m part of a church family filled with people who have lavished love on me, in a way that surpasses those who had lavished love on me throughout my life (We’re talking about a lot of love lavished.  A lot of love lavished…).

To my family today.  My wife, my kids, my wife’s kids, our grandkiddos – I  cannot express enough how loved I am!  I mean, it might make you puke.  And I’m not sorry.  I do want you to know this kind of love – but I’m not sorry if you puke a little.  🙂

And this kind of love, is what we should know.  It’s what we WILL know, in the end.

And yet – I can feel so alone at times…

This song was me reaching into those dark places, where I feel so lonely, where I think, “I don’t belong here…”

I did not intend to write this song.  But I wrote it.  I have asked myself, “Why write this?” “Do you really want to share this?”  –  For this, and other songs on this record (It’s actually sort of a dark record, conceptually).  The only thing I can think of is, I’m not the only one.

I know I’m not the only one who has or does deal with that sinking feeling, “I don’t belong here”.  We see it all over.  Most of us (maybe all of us) have felt this way.  And we’ve been impacted by it in our communities, our workplaces, our churches, our politics, our social media, our schools…  The feeling of loneliness so often causes us to react in not so wise or not so admirable ways.  Which can then set us into  tailspin of “I don’t belong” (Or worse)…

I don’t say this, and I don’t share this, to get into any sort of pity show.  Or to depress us.  Or to shame us.  I say it so you know, you are NOT alone.  There IS hope.

Sure, I don’t belong here.  None of us do, really.  But I do belong.

At the very least, it turned out to be a pretty song.  I love playing it, and it has seemed to resonate with listeners.  Hopefully it will with you as well.

This Town Is Not For Me

This town is not for me
I don’t belong here
Though I’ve lived here my whole life
Nobody knows I’m alive

This crowd is not my own
I don’t belong here
I’m just another face
And I feel so out of place

But the memories of yesterday
Wash over like a tidal wave
And the things I’ve long forgotten
I just make up along the way

I was too scared to put it out
Or my weakness might show through
And it’s too late for me now
This town’s not for me

I’m older than I was
Past the prime I never knew
Still some times I long for younger days
When we went where the wind blew

And we never though of dying
We were kings of that hill
But the times are different now
This town’s not for me

This Town Is Not For Me

The Musicians

I’ve Said Too Much

I did most of this new record myself.  The few exceptions were:

  • I asked my internet friend Toby Wilson to play pedal steel and dobro on three songs (“This Town Is Not For Me“, “Hell Is Chrome“, “You Will Find Him On A Mercy Seat“).  I found him on Fiverr, while working on my last record.  He’s super easy to work with, and delivers top-notch stuff VERY QUICKLY.  If he weren’t in England, I’d figure out how to hire him to play out with me, no question.BTW – you can find Toby on Fiverr, and hire him for your own project if you so choose.  You will not be disappointed!
  • I hired a bunch of guys from Nashville to put together the backing track on “Go Easy On Me“.  As with Toby, I had worked with these guys last time.  I LOVE what they do with my songs!  If I had money to toss around, I’d hire them as well (long/short, if I were a rock star all of these guys would be my band).Joe Gilder is a super cool guy, who helps up and coming producers, engineers, songwriters, hone their craft.  Check him out, if you have any sort of need like this.

    So Joe has been setting up these recording sessions, where you can hire out these musicians to play on your track.  You send them a demo, maybe a chart, and they put together drums, bass, guitars, keys – a complete song.  I haven’t really had a NEED for this – but they definitely are an upgrade from what I can do myself.  And it’s kinda helped me “up my game” on the ones I do myself.  While I don’t think I could continue using them on a regular basis, I am super stoked with what they’ve done for me!  Thank you Joe, Jason Roller, Matt McGee, Tim Horsley and Steve Peffer!  You guys rock!

So the new record is out, pretty much everywhere.  Go get your hands – or….  ears? – on it!

Bandcamp

iTunes

Amazon

Spotify

 

I’ve Already Said Too Much…

I've Said Too Much FINAL

I’ve Said Too Much

When I make a record, I am almost always trying to tell some sort of story.  Each song is doing so – and I would hope any songwriter is trying to communicate with the listener in some way – but I try to collect songs that tell a greater story of some sort.  I can’t say I do it perfectly.  In fact – I will say I do NOT do it perfectly.  But that is my desire with each record.

This one, “I’ve Said Too Much”, is attempting to tell the story of the human condition.  Whether one agrees with my worldview or not, we can all agree that each living person thinks and feels, breathes, consumes and produces, has a mix of joys and sorrows, etc.  Every human being in some way desires and seeks love, identity, value – to know THEY are valued.  Whether that be narcissistic or not, depends on how much value they put in being valued?  That last part was me attempting to sound smart.  Doesn’t work, so let’s move on…

I do believe the human condition really isn’t THAT different from person to person.  In this story, I’m talking to things such as depression, self-esteem, self-centeredness, pain, failure, loss, redemption.  One in particular, is depression, whether clinical, chronic, or a season in one’s life.  We have all  been there, to some varying degree.

Why bring this up, or talk to it?  I don’t bring it up, pretending to be any sort of expert (I’m not), or assume I have all the answers (I don’t), or even presume I know what you are going through (I simply can’t.  I can empathise – but I cannot pretend to be where you are emotionally, spiritually, physically, mentally, at this moment).  I bring it up, with hopes to encourage you – as I try to do with almost anything I write – that you are not alone, and YOU MATTER.

Yeah – you.

No, I’m not talking about him.  Or her.  Well – I mean, I AM talking to them as well.  But really – I am talking to you.  You know what I mean…  Another attempt at smart-soundedness.  Sorry…  😉

I’ll go through the record, song by song, as I have in the past.  For now, please enjoy my latest offering, and we’ll see you very soon!

Love, T.

I’ve Said Too Much

Thoughts and Prayers…

Don’t stop thinking. Direct your thoughts toward, “How can I help?” If even the loved one, co-worker, neighbor, who is scared or hurting or fed up. Can I listen? Can I bring comfort? Can I sit with you?

That won’t stop the next killer. But it might make the ones around us know they matter. Just a little?

Don’t stop praying. In fact – START praying! I’m willing to bet many who offer “thoughts and prayers”, did just that. Three whole words, typed out, or copied and pasted. That’s it…

Maybe we should pray. For real. For bondage to be broken for so many who are held captive to fear, hatred, shame, discord, pain, loss – all the things this world and the devil have to offer. All the things Jesus came to set us free from.

Start praying. You don’t have to tell me. Just pray for me? And I can for you?

And if you see no value in praying, ok. I understand, really I do. I can’t expect you to understand. But I pray for you, even more. Cause I love you, and thought of you held captive by all the world and the devil have to offer, breaks my heart…

So tell me – how can I help? Thoughts and prayers don’t help end the slaughter. Our government won’t help. Facebook fights don’t help – and I bet you agree, they do more harm than good, at least in our raw, emotional state. So tell me – what can I do for you? Right now? I probably don’t have anything real and tangible to offer the families of the victims (short of money – I can do that). But what do YOU need? Right now?

2017 – My Year In Music

Wow!  I put out a lot of stuff this year.  Here is a bit of a rundown of things I did in 2017.

2017-03-The Great Thought Thinker Joe Pyeweed
The Great Thought Thinker (Joe Pyeweed)
.  I was blessed to get to work with the ultra-talented Joe Pyeweed again, on the Great Thought Thinker.  You are blessed to be able to hear it right here.

cassette-1
Old Dogs
.  I spent some time re-working and re-recording old songs from my old band, The Moondogs.  I did about 8 or 9 songs, and whittled that down to an EP.  You can listen to it here.

A couple cool things about this one:  First, I did a cover of Kiss’ “Tears Are Falling”.  That’s pretty cool in itself.  But two, I put this out on cassette.  And three – I put this out on 8-track!  Yes, 8-track, and yes, you do want one.  You can get yours here if you want to spend your Xmas scratch.  The 8-track actually has a few extra songs (the ones that did not make the EP, but were still fun), and some special things to even out each of the four sections.

2017-16-i must become less REMASTERED
i must become less (REMASTERED).  
So I made this record in 2015, with a lot of help from dear friends.  I was super proud of it.  It was one of the first ones I did using Cakewalks’ Sonar again (I was a longtime Cakewalk user, switched to a digital console device – but went back because of ease and flexibility that Sonar gave me).  It was also the first one where I submitted my songs to people to help “edit”, or really co-write.  Really, my dear friends Nathan and Joan Boyer did the, “This doesn’t flow, that’s not proper english” with my songs.  It was super helpful, and a lot of fun!

But after a couple years, I wished the mix was better.  But I was too lazy to go and fix.  So I called my dear friend Tony Preston, and he was gracious enough to make my “ok” mix sound amazing!  Give it a listen here!

And as an added bonus – here is a special remix of the song “Show Me Your Glory“…

2017-17-3000...
3000…  
This song was written from the perspective of one of the 3,000 nameless children who are aborted every single day.  I wasn’t interested in politicizing this issue of abortion.  But it really is either an issue of the rights of the mother, if that child is not a human being, or the rights of the child in her, if we are talking about a human being.  Science tells us we are dealing with a human being.  We all know this.  Why do we deny it?  So I wrote the song, to try and further that conversation.  You can listen here.  And every stream of it, I donate to to an organization called New Life Family Services, specifically to a program called “Conquerors”. This program is designed to minister to women who are hurting, due to a past abortion. You can read about them here:

www.nlfs.org/services/conquerors/

2017-25-The Only Childs
The Only Childs.
  Man, this was fun!  I got together with my dear friends Tony Preston and Alex Sutherland to try and write some songs.  Tony was a longtime bandmate – he was in The Moondogs with me for years.  He and I started a band called OnceBlind.  Alex joined OnceBlind when Tony left, and he and I ended that band.  So I thought, why not us three try and do a special “OnceBlind” project.  We changed courses a couple times, and ended up with this nice little EP.  We used Tom Carlon and Steven J. Parenteau, who were the bassist and drummer in The Moondogs, as our rhythm section.  And Tom’s daughter Anna lended her amazing voice to one of the songs.  It was really cool and fun!  We’re hoping to do a show or two in 2018, to have a little fun playing these songs.  You can listen to it here for now.

Future-2-If I Could Leave This Place
If I Could Leave This Place.
  This record, was a culmination of songwriting throughout 2017.  It started with a request from my nephew, who was in the Marines at the time.  “Can you write me a song?  Make it a Country song.”  I did not make it a country song, but I did in fact write him a song.

Then I started writing songs for other loved ones.  I put together a dozen or so, and put this record together.  It’s probably my favorite record, mainly because it’s so personal.  I hope you enjoy it as well!  Give it a listen.

Some notables:

  • I hired out musicians from Nashville for one song.  Actually I ended up using them on two versions of the song.  Pretty cool!
  • I did a Beatle cover, which is scary.  But it turned out alright.
  • I did a cover of one of my dear friend’s songs.  Jeromy Darling is a gifted songwriter.  When I couldn’t pull out a true worship song (they all sounded cheesy, like the stuff you hear on the radio), I asked if I could use one he had already written.  He’s a lovely human being, and of course said yes.  My friend Anna (Tom’s daughter) sang with me on it, which sounds amazingly, hauntingly beautiful.
  • I hired out pedal steel and dobro from a guy in England, named Toby Wilson.  Super talented!  If you need any work, he’s your man.

Whew!  And if that wasn’t enough, I recorded some backing tracks for a few friends on their songs, and I put out a couple singles to end the year, “You Are Beautiful” and “You Will Find Him On A Mercy Seat“.  Both will be on my upcoming release – yes, I have a new release in the works…  I just can’t stop…  Which brings me to 2018 plans:

  • I’m still working on my double-double album.  Two double-albums, each will be somewhere between 15 and 30 songs long.  A concept album, based on the Bible.  Think of it as a non-theologian writing and arranging songs around the books of the Bible.  One will be all old testament, and one all new.  I started this in the spring of 2016, and I still have a long way to go.  But it’s chugging along!  Hopefully done by end of 2018, God-willing.
  • This new record of mine, should be out by spring.  I just need a couple more parts added, then mix it.  I kinda dig it.  It’s a lot more “simple” in nature than my last.  It’s also a bit more dark.
  • I have a few songs slated for another EP, that will probably rear it’s head in 2018.  Hoping to do these songs with some dear friends.
  • I plan to do a few shows throughout the year.  Time-permitting, more than I have in the past couple years.
  • Maybe start working on a new Only Childs record?  We’ll see.
  • I am working with Alex Sutherland on his solo debut.  It’s going to be primarily a country record.  I’m super stoked for this one!
  • Lastly, I’m hoping to try and get some work as a producer, helping people make the best record, song, demo, whatever, they can.  We’ll see how this goes.  If you are someone who could use some help, hit me up!

Suffice it to say, 2018 should be musically pretty similar to 2017 for me.

Here’s to a wonderful 2018 for you, and may God bless you abundantly!

T.