“The Gleaming Star Bright Tenants of the Sleepless Night”
is available as a download for whatever you want to pay (or not…) right here at this link.
So… recently I made an astounding discovery. I had lost my original tracks from some music I wrote a long time ago and released on a collection called “Turn”. I like the way that came out, but always wanted to do “a little more.”
Well, I found them!
And while I was at it, I took a new song, a couple instrumentals, and a handful of new versions of some of my old favorites and put them together, too…
You wanna hear them?
It’s called “The Gleaming Star Bright Tenants of the Sleepless Night” because really really long album titles RULE! I really like all these songs. They said things I thought were important and still do, they (hopefully) make you think and not just listen, and I have it on good authority that my lyrics here are too inscrutable and that is the reason I’m not a huge rock star. Since my favorite songwriters are masters of obscure lyrics and I don’t want to be rich and famous, I’m okay with that.
Most of these songs were written in my 20s and maybe 30s. Most of them are on “Rag: The Ghost of a Flea” or “Turn”, both available here. The songs from “Rag” that are featured here are all new recordings. The ones from Turn, as I mention above, feature the original recording with some new twists, totally new mixing and mastering and processing, but almost no structural changes.
I hope you enjoy them. Stream them at band camp or download them. Pay what you want, or not. Please do not give the files away. Rather… please direct people to the site.
I Give Leave*
Sometimes you just have to give yourself a break. If God forgives me, why can’t I… This is a new recording of a song I made more than 25 years ago. Those lyrics at the end… wow… I do get weird… (not sorry, though…) “Finish the teardrop smile. Stop and quiet a while…”
One More Time
I don’t think I’m very good at writing love songs. But this is one. I wrote this for Kathleen (obviously). I remembered those times when we lived 4 hours away from each other before we got married and how much I treasured the times when we were together. I still do treasure them, I just don’t live 4 hours away anymore. This is a brand new song. I actually think some country star ought to sing it.
There is hope at the end of most despair, but not all. If you get to the end of this song, you realize you’re going home, and that’s a good thing. Too many of us stop somewhere in the middle, where the catastrophes we create can leave us stranded. This is a song from “Turn”. The vocals and guitars and bass are from almost 20 years ago. The rest is new.
This song used to be called “Don’t Take Me”. I re-recorded it and gave it a real title. To be listened to in a hammock on a perfect 72 degree day when nobody wants anything from you whatsoever… Old song, all new recording. The seasons change… and so do we, but it’s all good…
This is a song about repentance, about changing your mind, and how hard that is, but… at the same time, how very much I think we all want, in the depth of our souls, to make the right choice. And yet, in the middle of that, sometimes God seems so distant that we can’t hope to reach heaven. (spoiler alert: Heaven reaches you, not the other way around…) Original recording from a couple decades ago with some new stuff added. But the guitars and bass are all original. Technical note for the guitar geeks: This is the only song I have ever written that required an alternate tuning.
Everything (This Time)*
I have always loved where this song goes. It’s a song about addiction and sin and where it leads. Sin sucks the soul out of a person a little at a time. Old song, totally new recording. There are way too many guitars on this track. And the lyrics are absolutely strange, even to me sometimes. I mean, what is a “crucible of need” anyway?
The First Day*
Sometimes the “first day” of something isn’t so fantastic… That’s kinda what’s going on here. This is an instrumental track, basically showing off the “ambient acoustic” guitar sounds I enjoy making. It’s only one guitar, one performance several different sounds. If you’re a musician and gear freak, you can go here to watch me play it as I was recording it. This is a brand new recording. “END OF PART ONE”
I admit it, I’m not as crazy about this song, except there are a few clever turns of phrase in it and I love the guitars, so here it is… Old song, old recording, but the drums and bass are new. Turn was trying to tell a story more than anything, in a way. And this was the point where the protagonist wanted to change, but couldn’t yet. I originally gave it a happy ending, but I’ve removed that here. It really didn’t fit. Thank goodness for digital editing.
Rule number one in making an album that people might actually listen to: Don’t give two songs the same title. Oh, well. Old love song, some new guitar, but mostly just the old recording re-mixed and re-mastered.
This is one of my favorites. It’s a song to the devil, and it’s where the title of the album comes from. I debated using the word “damn” in there, but if the devil’s gold isn’t damned, I have no idea what actually is (originally I recorded it both ways but didn’t use the “damn” version). And really, who’s brain doesn’t have a back door… right…? Old song. all brand new recording.
This song was inspired by Eugene O’Neill and his depressing plays, especially “The Iceman Cometh”, “Hughie” and “Long Day’s Journey into Night.” If you are depressed by the end, then I’ve done my job, but please don’t stop here. Longing to be whole is only a starting point. Old recording, a few new sounds added.
The Way Home
Sometimes a life just changes. One way or the other, we don’t stay the same. The life-changes often feel like being “born again”. I don’t know if that’s because being born again is wired into our culture by now, or that when Jesus used that image to explain God’s realities to Nicodemus it just was the best metaphor. But it’s not a metaphor. It’s real. So this song is about conversion, about finding God, about becoming a whole new person. It’s an old recording with a BUNCH of new instruments. I think one of the guitars, maybe the bass, and the vocals are all that’s original.
There Is No Time
This is it. This is the song that I have been told by someone who knows better… that it is no good whatsoever. It’s too difficult to figure out what’s going on, the language is inscrutable, the image of death is too depressing. Nobody would sing it. Nobody would buy it. So sing this at my funeral if anybody is up for it. It’s one of my very favorites. It is inspired by the individuals I’ve seen who, as they were transitioning from Earth to Heaven, showed us a little bit of that metamorphosis even before they left, especially my dear mother, who will be gone 25 years very soon. When I wrote this song many years ago, I had not yet heard of John Wesley’s ideas on “entire sanctification” I don’t think. There’s a little bit of that here though. This is an old recording with some new “schmaltz” effects in the background, but almost everything is from the original recording.
End of the World*
I did this on Inauguration Day and that is all I’m going to say about the quasi-meaningless title. Once again, it’s a single performance on one instrument through Helix. You can watch me record it and learn more about the cool Helix stuff here. “END OF PART TWO”
Incidentally, the songs that have a * next to them prominently feature the amazing Line 6 Helix (it’s also on almost every track in some sense, but especially these). Helix enables me to make my guitar sound very other-worldly in ways I’ve been searching for for decades. NONE of the synthesizer sounds on this recording are actually synthesizers. The piano is digital, the drums are digital, everything else is vocals, guitar and bass. That spacey synth you hear everywhere is guitar, thanks to Line 6 and Electro Harmonix (Mel 9 and POG 2). Also, I’m not sure I’d be nearly as inspired to play guitar if it weren’t for Tom Anderson and his amazing Crowdster Plus 2 and Atom CT Guitars.
Peter Hamm will return in “Folk Mass”.