Lights Down & Unreleased 2007-8
Among the many places I recorded and co-wrote, Virginia was one of them. I spent some quality time in the countryside outside Charlottesville writing with a great songwriter named Chris Keup. We sensibly threw gasoline on tree branch piles, tossed horseshoes too close to our heads and went for long walks ignoring the many “No Trespassing” signs along the way. When we weren’t causing trouble, we wrote songs. His studio partner Stewart Myers had an entire room stacked floor-to-ceiling of vintage keyboards and we spent hours plugging and causing, yep, more trouble.
We recorded in an old Civil War-era house on the banks of the James River, where Mennonites had tilled the fields. Rumor has it that it the original owner of the house, a famed Confederate general, committed suicide on site and his ghost sometimes hung around the sessions. I never saw his ghost, but the drums sounded amazing .
“Edge of the World” was written in Philadelphia, in a back room of ‘The Studio’ with a young engineer named John McGlinchey. This studio was legendary, having recorded D’Angelo’s Voodoo (one of my favorite albums), Erykah Badu, Mary J Blige, The Roots… it was epic. Sometimes we worked out of Questlove’s room who had an amazing vinyl collection, and wrote songs that to this day I still adore. I remember that is where I met Amos Lee the first time, and we drove out to a random party in the outskirts of Philly, and all the while I wondered whether we’d actually make it back :/ We did. Thanks, Amos.
“Summerlove” and “How to Let Go” were written in Los Angeles with another fantastic songwriter named Dave Lichens. He told me the only joke that I can actually tell without ruining (Why does Snoop Dogg need an umbrella”- For drizzle!!) and we played so much Wii Tennis during tracking that I couldn’t lift my arm for a good four days. I love these songs so very much.
“Fetish” was the first song that Jeff Trott and I ever wrote together, at his home studio in Manhattan Beach, CA. Jeff went on to produce “Carefree” and is one of my mentors and most favorite people in my life. If you ever meet him, ask him to show you his Yo Gabba Gabba dance.
We did a scorcher version of it, but thinking I might put the fear of god in people, I went with the funky version recorded by the amazing Mike Bradford, aka the Mad Genius, and we went on to write gems such as “Trouble” and “Headache” amongst solving all the world’s problems while watching the Spike Channel. I think Mike actually might have invented the ionic compound chart. More from Mike later since he needs more than one blog post.
The photo was taken in New York City by the fabulous Taylor Crothers in the loft of leather designer Jordan Betten’s Lost Art Studios (amazing). It was my first “real” shoot and as you can tell was completely against a hair stylist. I obviously had no idea what I was doing. Yet we had so much fun!
I hope you enjoy these songs as much as I enjoyed working with these masterminds.