Fadograph of a Yestern Scene will be Crooked Timber's second CD. The title comes from a phrase in James Joyce's Finnegans Wake; most of the songs have something, however vaguely, to do with time, temporality, eternity, the past, the future, nostalgia, memory, and that sort of thing. We'll be posting free sample tracks here as they become available.
All of the samples are 64- or 128-kbps .mp3 files. If you'd like to order a copy of the CD (when it's available) for $10 (including postage) and get the full-resolution versions plus the cover art, jewel case, and so forth, please contact Scott Ryan.
Here are nine, in incomplete versions with temporary vocals. Although they're not fully produced yet (and even the parts that are there need some tweaking), there's enough here to give you something to listen to.
Fadograph of a Yestern Scene—So far on this one I've put down the rhythm guitar, fretless bass, octave mandolin, banjitar, and a scratch lead vocal (no harmonies yet, but they're written).
County Road 29—And on this one I've put down the rhythm and lead guitars, fretless bass, octave mandolin (doubled by an ordinary mandolin on the instrumental break), and a scratch lead vocal.
Bad Coffee—Possibly the single meanest song I've ever written, this was more or less inspired by a long-ago occasion on which a crazy very-much-ex-girlfriend tracked me down for a favor after I was married to someone else. I'm on guitars, fretted bass, mandolin, and vocals.
Laura—An old widow near the end of a long life, with memories and photographs. Parts are very loosely inspired by my own grandmother, but not the widowhood; my grandfather outlived her. I'm playing rhythm and semi-lead guitars, fretted bass, mandolin, and octave mandolin—and singing, although the vocal track needs to be redone. (I've also made a couple of minor changes to the lyrics; the ones posted on the song's page are current.)
Zombie Mutant Cyborgs of the Wasteland—I loves me some postapocalyptic movies, and since we had a time-travel song on our first CD, why not another? Also, in keeping with the themes of the CD, it doubles as a little fantasy about teachin' them dang young whippersnappers what real music is, dag nab it. Lilla pitched in on the lyrics. I'm playing rhythm acoustic guitar, banjitar, and fretless bass, and singing lead and harmony vocals. All of these tracks are probably keepers (though in need of a bit of tweaking), but there's percussion (and Lord knows what else) to come.
Little While—The ne'er-do-well brother-in-law (or son, or daughter, or old friend) drops by for an unexpected visit. So far I've recorded only rhythm guitar, fretless bass, a "placeholder" guitar solo that isn't very good and will be redone, and scratch vocals.
Wanna Go Home—The instrumental break is designed to accommodate a solo that hasn't been recorded yet. I'm on guitars, fretted bass, and vocals, plus a bit of "percussion." (It's a plastic file box that happened to be near the desk where I was recording. I held a microphone in it with one hand and whapped it on the bottom with the other.)
Hey Now—So far I've just put down the guitar, fretless bass, and a scratch vocal on this one.
Ten Thousand Miles—I wrote this one while my then-fiancée Lilla was still living in South Africa after her first visit to me in the US; we were quite literally some ten thousand miles apart, keeping in touch via email and Skype as we waited for her visa application to be processed. As it turned out, I was able to visit her in SA for a couple of months because my job as a software developer could be done remotely and my employers were kind enough to let me do it that way. We held betrothal ceremonies in SA and in the US, one for each set of friends and relatives, and I played this song at both of them. So far I've recorded only the basic guitar part and a couple of provisional vocals.
And here are two demo/test/"proof of concept" recordings from previous sessions on different, less capable recording equipment, some of which are being redone from scratch although I plan to salvage what I can from these older versions:
Barefoot John—Pay special attention to Rob's percussion on this track; he's playing a wooden stool with a pair of drumsticks. He's also playing a shaker egg; I'm playing guitar, mandolin, octave mandolin, fretted bass, and tambourine.
Bourbon Whiskey—I like the overall feel of this track, but too many parts of it are sloppy and the sound could be better. I'm playing guitar, slide guitar, mandolin, and fretted bass.
Here are the lyrics to the remaining song on the CD. I've started to record it and a sample is forthcoming, but there's no audio on the page yet:
The Ballad of Burnin' Vernon—I've had a single line of this song in my head for over thirty years now, and I just recently got around to writing the rest. It's the true story (with some imaginative embellishment, but as far as I know I haven't completely fictionalized anything) of a fellow in my hometown who burned the Easter Bunny in effigy. He did the same to Santa Claus a year or so later, an event which I personally witnessed.
I think I've decided against including this one, but I'll leave the lyrics up for now anyway:
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