Judging a Song By Its Cover?

My digital distributor did!

TURNS OUT CD Baby didn’t like having Google’s logo on my cover, even though it was technically fair use under copyright law. Ok, fine. I went back to the drawing board and came up with a better design anyway. So there. The new image looks more like a three-dimensional digital pad and the word “Enlightenment” is much easier to read. After all, that is the cosmic joke of the cover concept.

Here it is, new and improved:

If you haven’t yet heard Searching for Something, it’s a hoot. At least, I think so. And at only 90 seconds, a minimal chronological investment.

So much wisdom. So little time…

Mixed Results

Third time’s the charm…

IN RECORDING lore, an audio mix is only considered complete when the lid closes on the mix engineer’s casket. And if, like me, you’re not actually an engineer but just an eager wannabe learning as he goes, that’s even more true. So, here we are with version three of Don’t Hear Nothin.’

In the first mix, the drums were entertaining but too frenetic. Second mix, sans drums, the remaining guitar tracks’ dynamic felt too consistent to support the dramatic build of the song. Third mix, I added synthesizers and other tweaks recently honed from audio training manuals and videos. Voila!

“This time,” said Goldilocks, “the porridge is just right.”

As you can probably tell, I really like this song and want people to hear it. I think it captures our dilemma: The media’s pandering and the resulting indifference of the masses to an escalating existential crisis along with the rising activism of a small but growing minority. And, I think it could be helpful in both awakening those sleepwalking masses and energizing the awakened. It’s been one of my most viewed YouTube videos. That’s encouraging.

If Don’t Hear Nothin’ is meaningful to you, please share it with your friends. It might make a difference. And, as you know, time is running out for that difference to matter.

Thanks for listening.

Remixing Nothin’

When Less is More

THIS WEEK, a friend suggested removing the drums from the mix of “Don’t Hear Nothin,'” which had been part of the recording since I’d laid down the scratch track. Never occurred to me. So I did. Wow! So much better.

I’d also come to dislike my vocal performance. It was wearing on me, feeling at times forced or disjointed or even harsh. As luck would have it, I’d just received an expensive (for me) mic in the mail especially for vocals. What better time for a test!? Here is the result. Give it a listen:

Don’t Hear Nothin’ V2.

I think it passed—the new mic sounds less raspy on aggressive notes and smoother all around. And I think my performance is more even. Meanwhile, the lyric really stands out without the drums. I hope you agree. Let me know what you think.

Yes, this is my final answer.

Why I Wrote the Song

It’s fairly obvious that our national media ignores climate change. A report from Media Matters quantifies this for coverage of the Camp Fire that recently incinerated Paradise, California. In their wall-to-wall coverage of every aspect of the disaster—the explosive visuals, the unprecedented loss of life and property, the inconceivable human suffering—ABC, NBC and CBS spent less than four percent (4%) of their time on climate change.

Yeah, sometimes you don’t hear nothin’

Solstice Song Just Around the Corner

JUST IN TIME to celebrate the season! I’m in the midst of recording a song set, combining an original with the classic Silent Night. I hope to have it ready to release in my newsletter next week.

Can’t freak out about climate change all the time…

Don’t Hear Nothin’

Sneak Preview

JUST IN TIME to celebrate, or ruminate, the mid-term election, my Song of the Month for November will be a remake of “Don’t Hear Nothin.'” The original ending never felt right, so I recently fussed with it for a week or so and think I finally got it. I’m in the midst of recording the studio mix. As  a teaser of sorts, this will be the cover…

You might say I’m on a climate cataclysm tear these days. You’d be right. I don’t understand our apparent indifference about something we are causing and can still somewhat correct if we’re willing to change. That seems to be the rub though: change. Although most Americans are at least dimly aware of what’s happening, collectively we’re like a deer in the headlights, unwilling or unable to make a decision to change direction.

I’m reading a book called “Don’t Even Think About It,” by George Marshall exploring the psychology behind our insidious climate denial.  It references Earnest Becker, one of my intellectual heroes, who wrote the Pulitzer Prize-winning “Denial of Death” in the ’70s. Google it. His theories about how we behave when faced with death mirror exactly what we’re doing collectively with climate change: an infantile regression into tribalism, rage and defiance. Sound familiar? It seems our cultural taboo about facing and accepting death is literally killing us.

Will we wake up in time? I have no idea. I’m awake. And it feels lonely sometimes. If you’re also awake—and maybe you all are but just don’t talk to me about it—you can let me know or better yet, wake up somebody else. Time is running out.

Meanwhile, a song is coming that might make some small difference. If you agree, please share it.

November Post Script: I just posted the song on YouTube

Marching with Chatty Cathy

Photo courtesy The Inlander weekly newspaper.

THE WOMEN’S PERSISTENCE MARCH in Spokane last Sunday was another unexpected success: An estimated 6,000 participants, remarkable for a mid-sized “island” surrounded by an ocean of rural red. Great speakers, great music and a great opportunity to spread the word on the Chatty Cathy 2.0 music satire. Unlike our current congressional princess, Chatty Cathy is being well received. In just a few days, she’s garnered over 300 views on YouTube—an impressive 20% return on the flyers handed out. And on Facebook, she already has over 2,500 views and 60 shares. For Spokane, that’s viral!

Friend Rick Biggerstaff after handing out the first Chatty Cathy flyer at the Women’s March.

IT’S HEARTENING to see the response, inspiring the hope that Ms. McMorris Rodgers’ disingenuous, faux-approachable “Cathy” brand is morphing into a more authentic “Chatty Cathy” mindless repeater of blatantly dishonest talking-points. If facts don’t matter, if video evidence to the contrary doesn’t matter, maybe satire will.

For those who have not yet seen the video…

Thanks for all your support. Maybe now I can get back to my own, more authentic Songs for Seekers!

Slip Away Lyric and Chords

CD-SQ-SlipAwayFOR MUSICIANS, here is a basic version of Slip Away along with a PDF file of the words and chords. I recorded this using a classical guitar for backup, but obviously it can be accompanied by any guitar, harp, piano or similar instrument—or simply sung a cappella.

This is an MP3 file. If you’d like a CD-quality track, click HERE.

Words and chords to SLIP AWAY.

I hope you find this helpful.


The Story Behind the Song

CD-SQ-SlipAwaySLIP AWAY represents a fundamental turning point in my life. Before my mother’s death, I was working as an advertising creative director who was beyond burned out—and had been for years. I was so burned out, I had no inspiration left to imagine what might come next.

Then, my mother was diagnosed with inoperable cancer. I wrote this song for her, but something always came up when I wanted to play it. Then, I was with her the day she died and was able to sing it as a round, over and over, as she lay in coma. The impact on both of us was profoundly transcendent. That experience led me to hospice. In hospice I discovered chaplaincy. And in chaplaincy, I discovered a calling to work with the dying and their families, which I followed up to my retirement in 2015.

LINK to download a FREE Slip Away MP3 file

Continue reading “The Story Behind the Song”