Archive for the ‘accoustic guitar’ Category

freaks of nurture

July 9, 2008

hi friends! thanks for tuning in!

Freaks of Nurture

“freaks of nurture” is a poppy little romp through my last few weeks, and simultaneously through years of field work in the area of relationships and human interaction.


this was another song written from the “guitar.” this is often a good bet for me, if i give it time and enjoy playing the instrument. as a keyboard player and drummer, the guitar is both a nice break and an environment with welcome limits. the verse section of this song is a testament to that: very simple and melody driven. the “chorus” has a “strange change” that i think helps get its’ point across, even though the “nothing new under the sun” theory still applies.

for the geeks: i go to the the four chord for the chorus, but make it it IV, IV/I, #IV. what the hell?.

also for the geeks, or anyone who feels like singing along, the melodies in the verse and chorus start exactly the same way…with the same four notes, but in different keys! yay!! this is one of those “continuity” issues that i was really happy with.

after writing the core of the song on my back porch with guitar and voice and verse one lyrics (and coffee), i went to Ableton Live and laid down the fake drums and keyboard parts. i was going for simple, synthy, and a bit funny. i then added guitar, bass, and background vocals that were vaguely in my head from early on, but as usual, came together during the recording process.

WORDS (also known as “lyrics”)

whew…ok…well. this is another song in the “serious” category, which i’m getting increasingly comfortable with for some reason. while it’s understandably vague (i think), it stems from a short list of things:

1. the maplympics (july 4th weekend of events here)

2. girls

3. human nature, social verses innate

4. a funny compound plural noun coined years ago by my friend, steve williamson: “freaks of nurture”

5. a couple of recent dates i’ve had.

woah. dates? i won’t get into it here. but let’s say that i know some lovely people. this song isn’t “about” anyone but me ultimately, but touches on some of my “romantic” relationships, and the conflict and joy therein. in this song, it’s something that reminds me of how wonderfully humans are made (creationist theory), and how interesting and tricky it can be to operate as one (inherently).


thanks for listening! if you’d you find me interesting enough to send you updates about “song of the week” postings, please click HERE for the mailing list.

if you don’t, thanks for your patience.


“i can dream” – pop song number 2

April 1, 2008

hey kids! this week i’m posting another song i finished LAST WEEK, for my “write straight ahead pop tunes” project. this one’s the ballad of the two.

i can dream” (mp3)


wartime. a letter from home to a loved one overseas. we don’t know how long the soldier will be away, or how long he/she’s been gone. we get to know little bits about the current events here at home in the verses, with a focus on the simple, beautiful things we may take for granted. the chorus focuses on dreaming that you’ll be together, and that this soldier will be safe. this song was a stretch for me in a nice way. i went for the real life drama, love, emotion, loss, heart stuff…which i don’t often do, but also made it up. as the “characters” developed in my head the lyrics became easier to write, but i also got a couple suggestions and edits from family and friends. anyway, here are the lyrics:

ever since you left for war
everybody’s kind
tonight the johnsons treated me
to dinner and wine

i know letters
might not make it through
but i hope they get to you
and you write some too

and i can dream tonight
by the candle light
i love it that you love me

and far away tonight
by the morning light you hold
my memory tightly

and i can close my eyes and here you say:

“don’t worry,
i will hurry free
while you dream”

tonight the neighbor had another date
billy finally got time to fix the gate

when you get home
i’ll take care of your things
just think of me when it’s getting late

i can dream tonight
by the candlelight
i love it that you miss me

far away tonight
darkness turns to light
and suddenly it hits me

i may never see my love again

i worry
lover hurry please
while i dream

i can dream

i can dream tonight
thank my lucky stars i

i can dream


the b section (i can dream tonight) was the first thing i wrote of this, THEN the C section (don’t worry, i will hurry), and then the openning Verse Sections. i think these verse sections may the weakest of the three, but i don’t mind them being less interesting, and more text driven. the question then becomes whether or not the text is sober enough to drive (if you will), or interesting enough to carry the verses. i’m still not sure. i AM happy with the ending though, the tags, and the repetition of that B Section “i can dream” melody. i also am pretty proud of the “thank my lucky stars i dream” line. i think this really wraps up the piece for me, as seeing stars is one of those connections people can have from wherever they are in the world, making it feel a bit smaller, and being thankful that your imagination gives you hope. aw….

thanks for listening as always team.



legs over easy

March 19, 2008

legs over easy” (mp3)







cause there are just few things that you can really know.

six shooter

February 6, 2008

six shooter” (mp3)

i watched 3:10 to Yuma recently. and immediately began writing this song. i liked the movie, but was more generally inspired by the genre. i hadn’t seen a western in a while, and just love ’em. love love love ’em.

so, “six shooter” is my music for some version of the “final showdown” and/or “walk to the grave bravely” music.

i went for stringy stuff, guitars, etc. an effected piano that sounds a little tinny and scratchy, and a slow minor key progression, and some dirty-ass drums and other percussion. and bass. and whistles. and organ. and a church bell. those are all things that are in there.

well, i hope you enjoy this one. imagine it with me as a tall skinny dirty cowboy determined to do the right thing even though it may cost me my life. and everything is brown.


brown and dirty


January 24, 2008

Grace (mp3)

hey team,

okee. this song is titled in honor of my niece, the Amazing Grace Steinmeier. gracie called me a couple of times in the past week cause her mother let her, and just wanted to say hi and thank me for the songs i’ve been writing and encourage me to write another song and to come and visit. so sweet. made my week. she’s increasingly coherent and impressively polite in conversation, and these recent interactions inspired the content for this weeks song. well, these interactions along with her God given charm and sweetieness.


i’m honored that you’d call
big smile from baby doll
i see it through the telephone

i’m glad you like my songs
that you would sing along
this one’s for you per your petition (peticiown)

you’ll have a lovely lifetime
no color greys on gracies dime

if i could visit you
we’d dance around the room
and cook a meal and talk on telephones

you’d call me by my name
listen to “aeroplane”
i’d tell you all about chicago

we’d have a lovely playtime
no cloudy days on gracies dime


precious babies bring
life to things

fragile life


this is an unusually sappy and sincere song, coming from me. some explanation of said lyrics: Gracie loves to talk on the phone (real or pretend), and her favorite steiny song is “airplane”, which is up at somewhere down the list, halfway or more. so that’s the phone bit. cooking a meal goes back to one of the amazing christmas gifts she got from her mom and dad, an expansive plastic play kitchen.

the end of this song is the real sap…”precious babies bring life to things, fragile life.” this part is a bit about the life cycle. this is the point in the recording process where i had to wipe tears down and do a few takes…i had a hard time making it past the word “fragile.” and this song was pretty satisfying to record in that way. it’s a pretty personal one to me, in honor of a couple of very dear people in my life. Gracie and her dad, Dave. (holla!)


i started this track with drums and little beep boops and keyboards and harp, and added guitar lines that weave around each other. setting up a groove and some harmonic changes. i added bass in a weavy way too, and found it to be too complicated and scrapped it, opting for the now simple “anchor” bass part. i treated the little keyboard and harp parts differently after each verse. three times, a “chorus” of some sort happens, and each time, i opted for different chord changes under the same beepy boopy material, which i was pretty happy with. my attempt at not being so repetative. 🙂 that was half of the fun of this tune. the other half, was getting it to build at the end, or evolve from point A to point B. i feel as though i accomplished this in the writing, but not in the performance. i feel as though doing it with a live band would fix it…that dynamic evolution. this one is a bit static for me, compaired to how i hear it in my face.

thanks for listening.


busy body

January 11, 2008

busy body (mp3)

hey kids! welcome back.

here’s a song with the “asshole” word in it. yay!!

for this song, i used a borrowed upright bass (thanks ari!), two drum kit tracks, glockenspiel (bells), accoustic guitar, and one brief fake wurly track. the main goal was to groove with that awesome bass. super fun to play.

lyrically, i decided to make the lyrics super awesome. i went with the tested and true “write them in a notepad document while thinking about them and looking at them” approach, and wrote about feeling like a real busy body lately (months). it’s true, that i don’t handle boredom very well, and learning that about myself has helped me figure out productive (and a few non-productive) ways to keep the wheels turning. this song, lyrically goes after that bit of me. specifically referencing some recent events and situations. this is something i’ve gotten excited about in listening to last years song of the week songs; that they serve in some vague sense as diary entries, even if they’re cryptic or ridiculous. my free-associations tend to have a few recent real life references. i also mention some list of things about me, as this song is a bit of a “who am i now?” sort of entry. maybe a bit weird and neurotic but i can pull it off cause i’m amazing.

and then, of course, being a busy body, i thought the quick delivery of lots of words made sense.

the real point of the tune is to get sponsorship. i’m look’n at you k-mart! and you starbucks! throw me money. i’m name dropp’n all over the place in this song. i even say the word “buzzy.”

hope you like it

happy new week.

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