Song Sketches has got to be one of my favorite musical experiences outside of DWAB. I think that part of the reason was that we never had any of the "pressures" of being a band—having to practice regularly, having to set up shows, trying to sell records and so on.... Instead, we mostly just hung out together, and while hanging out, we created some cool music too.
Another thing I really liked about Song Sketches was the way we let our songs transform. As I was working with two other extremely talented people, (Brian and John), I knew I could bring in a half completed song and with their help, we would modify the song—adding to it and taking away from it—until we had something cool fleshed out. In fact, this process is what prompted the name "Song Sketches." Our songs were not complete until we formally recorded them, and even when we recorded we were adding significant changes.
Often, we documented our practices, recording them onto minidiscs. From these minidisc recordings, we compiled two CDs worth of "outtakes" or "rehearsals" or, as we prefer to call them "sketches." Many of the songs were eventually recorded more "professionally," but as is usually the case, there were a few that didn't get completed. There always seems to be a time conflict involving these things.... I had to go off to China to teach English for a while, and things had changed by the time I got back... people were living elsewhere... times conflicted... you know the story.
While I was in China, I often talked to my Chinese students about what Song Sketches meant to me, because it was a lot more than the music. It was a lot of sitting around with two of my best friends, in super old, comfortable couches, or having burritos, or drinking coffee together. And interspersed in there, we played music, and when we played, we really listened to each other, and that made the connection so much stronger....
Click on a CD to go to the download page or to find out more about it.
At some point I plan to take the completed songs and some of the selections from both "sketches" CDs to compile a final Song Sketches CD. It's in the works.... I promise....
This is the print version of: