The visual restlessly swirls between reality and fantasy, a thorny and psychedelic mind trip that mercilessly swallows the senses.
"The Albatross Song" got is premiere yesterday on a music blog called B-Sides and Badlands that's run by journalist Jason Scott. It's a wonderful read and I appreciate the extra effort Scott put into the review, doing some research on Noah Stryker's "The Thing With Feathers" that I had mentioned in my own comments and writing some very kind words about the song, its production, and the video. Please stop by and give it a read.
As is my want, I'll do a more extensive write up on the history of this song — it's origins and how its been performed over the years and realized as a recording. For now, I'm happy that it got it's moment to shine a bit ahead of the full album release, which is, now mere hours away.
In another (yet to be officially recorded and released) song, that like The Albatross Song, is derived from a book on natural history, this one being about an Octopus as its source material is The Soul of an Octopus by Sy Montgomery, I have a line "this infinite division of our attentions is not something which I'll adjust." This is me lamenting a bit about how balkanized our attention spans have become in the busy social media era where the true precious and rare commodities are our eyeballs and the chance to be what is immediately in front of them at the current moment. We're bombarded constantly by new sensory input, and the cynical algorithms of our age exacerbate this phenomenon by commodifying the reaction — hijacking our limbic systems and impulses with hot takes and click bait and whatever it takes to rise just for a second above the noise to be noticed. They say to live in the moment, but the moment is increasingly minute, shaved ever more razor thin.
So it feels like a fool's errand to create anything that's meant to have lasting value — that is designed to be repeatedly engaged with and revisited for new meaning and rediscovery. If it's not new, it's not interesting. If it's not already popular, it's not worth looking at. Fifteen minutes ago might as well be yesterday which might as well have been a previous millennium. And yet, here I am being a fool — the boy who clapped the hardest when Tinker Bell was dying — hoping that if I try, I'll be noticed.
Maybe the only way to win is to not play. But you're in the game no matter what you do — whether you like it or not. I can't say I've always put my best foot forward, but I have tried to create something. And I've hit the streets putting up flyers, chatted up strangers at live music events, and in general put way more effort than it ever feels like it's worth posting stuff on Facebook and the like (not to mention feeding the beast with ad money...ugh). If you ever want to feel insignificant, don't contemplate the universe, just post something on Twitter when you have less than 200 followers.
But I figure it's my one shot with this thing to make a splash and these songs are important to me.
So "At Home At Sea" drops tonight — for some perhaps past your bedtime. But if you're on the West Coast, it's a mere 9 PM. Perhaps you'd consider giving it all a listen when the time comes:
Check it out on Spotify or Apple Music or YouTube
A Closer Look at the Geographical and Other Data Coming Out of SoundCloud and Other Music Services
I recently indulged my need for storage space on SoundCloud and upgraded to their “Pro-Unlimited” package. It could be argued that I’ve got a fair amount of cruft on my account, or at least recordings that could stand to be redone, but for the sake of simplicity, I went ahead got the unlimited storage. This comes with the additional feature of more detailed reporting data, such as information about listeners on the city level. So I thought I’d take closer look at what I’m getting.
As someone who does in fact have a degree in Geography and still has a great love for the subject, the city data is particularly intriguing — if nothing else because I like to look at maps. My curiosity was particularly piqued by the fact that for some reason France was showing as one of the top countries. It’d be fun to have an excuse to visit of course, but mostly it was just interesting. On a semi-related note I came across the latest edition of what is probably my favorite board game "Ticket to Ride" this past weekend which is combination France / the Old West — this of course got me dreaming of trains and riding the rails in Europe again.
I do however have some issues with how SoundCloud presents this data. As is often the case with these sorts of applications, the data is marred by poor presentation and is made unnecessarily opaque. To make things worse, there seems to be pretty much no API available to get reporting data (and apparently no dedicated API support) — once again this is not untypical in my own experience developing such applications. The use cases for the APIs tend to focus on things like upload and playback.
That’s not to say those functions aren’t valuable, but to an independent artist, like any entrepreneur, data and trends about your listeners are invaluable. Location data is particularly important if you’re considering touring and trying to target locations that make sense to visit based on the potential audience that’s there. One must of course be mindful of the fact that this geographic data is likely to be imperfect because it assumes the client (i.e. the end user) is being “honest” about the location data they’re providing. My own personal data is not even terribly useful for that as it’s (sadly) a pretty small data set.
I’ll compare and contrast what SoundCloud provides with what I see on CD Baby (which I use for distribution) and Spotify, which likewise give breakdowns of the data based on listener location, albeit with a less interesting visual display. Basically the Spotify and CDBaby data is the same set, but it’s a little more “raw” in Spotify. I’m looking that those two because I have some actual data points to compare and they seem to be the most rich data wise. I know Bandcamp offers mapping info for a premium (which I'm not paying) and I haven’t even begun to look at other platforms like ReverbNation beyond a cursory look that suggests it’s pretty limited (only showing state level stats with no obvious promises of more if I pony up some cash). That this data is so balkanized across various platforms is itself problematic and worthy of its own discussion.
My primary complaint about SoundCloud’s presentation is that the data gets artificially and arbitrarily limited to the top 50 in various categories without a way of usefully breaking down data into regions — stepping from the country level to the city level goes from far too opaque a level to far too fine grained. It’s not terribly useful to know the total number of users at the country level when dealing with the U.S. But as soon as you step down to the city level, unless you really know a particular area, it’s just a flurry of names. Furthermore, when you are looking at the country level you can’t drill down into that country and see the cities therein. In the listing below you should be able to click on say, France, and see all the French cities. But you can’t. This seems like pretty simple change request given what’s already there.
Now, since I don’t know France well enough to get a sense where all the individual cities that were coming up in the city level data were relative to each other in case there was any pattern. Contrast this to what CDBaby does with the data it gets from Spotify and Apple Music by at least giving you a map — unfortunately I have very listeners in France on those platforms, so I’ll show my U.S. data instead. Since I’m from San Francisco, it’s clear there’s a bias to that location in my data (once again my number of spins is embarrassingly low, but this is the curse of the indie artist).
If you look at the “raw” data on Spotify on the artist’s page, you can see a list of top cities. As near as I can tell, CDBaby is aggregating on the metro level so some of the more granular detail is lost. I would say they are being rather aggressive as San Jose and Fremont seem to be getting lumped into San Francisco — even San Mateo is kinda a stretch (anyone who knows the Bay Area knows knows that traffic and bridges divide the region up into some pretty distinct and arguably isolated areas). That or certain data points get dropped from the mapping software CDBaby uses. I reached out and asked their support about this but I’ve not yet gotten a concrete answer from CDBaby as to how this works beyond their general disclaimer that “counts and location names may vary slightly between views due to variances in available geographic data" (that is the number you see at the country level tends to be larger than the totals for city data you see plotted as above). I'd of course love to have the raw Spotify data, but from what I can tell there's no public API for Spotify to do reporting (beyond downloading total listeners, streams and followers as a CSV)
So I took a little time to go into Google Maps and plot out the individual cities (done by brute force). Now realistically, this data set is tiny and not really particularly predictive. Better than raw listens would be to look a set of individuals who had liked or commented on tracks — which in fairness, SoundCloud does give you but there so few of those in my data it’s practically non existent so I’m just looking at plays — keeping in mind in SoundCloud a play just means the play button was clicked — you’re not getting any retention or drop off rate data as you would with say Facebook videos or tracks on Bandcamp.
In either case, the fact that the list gets cut off at given (arbitrary) number (50) and there’s no filtering at a country or regional level available means data points are potentially getting lost. This wouldn’t be so bad if you were looking at data on a country or regional level, but when we get to individual cities, it’s a bit problematic given the sheer number of municipalities in a given area that could realistically be considered to be part of the same “market." Now you can look at the data from a individual song standpoint, and that can get you more detail at the country level but it’s a bit cumbersome to navigate in that way and still likely to lead to some truncation of the data.
Ideally SoundCloud would actually map the data as I have done in this example so one is better able to get a sense of the geographical distribution of your listeners. Better would be to give a sense the way CDBaby does of proportional number of listeners at a given location (I did some rough color coding in my map). Short of actually presenting a map, providing the data for export such that it could be imported into a Google Maps or some of the 3rd parties that CDBaby uses would be much more helpful. This would be useful for stripping out locations where you have no particular interest in touring. For instance I had a random spike of listeners in Ho Chi Minh City and Saigon, which is kinda interesting, but if I was wanting to make sure I had the full set of French listeners, those data points are just noise when all I can see is the top 50.
I ended up doing the British and other European counties as well as the U.S. and France because I’m a sucker for these sorts of things. So you see a cluster around London, smaller cluster around Paris — just sheer population numbers alone would cause that. No big surprises — though kind of a little cluster in Pays de Loire, with more than one play in Angers for what it’s worth.
Predictably lots of data points around the Bay Area (made more clear when you zoom in) and then further south around L.A. which I've visited a few times (And I have "The L.A. Song" but that was released earlier than the time period that this data comes from). That I have some more listens from around Austin and Nashville (marked with ever so slightly greener pinpoints for the multiple listens) also makes sense given recent (and upcoming) visits to those places for music conferences and and SxSW.
Honesty this would all be a lot more interesting if the numbers were an order of magnitude bigger, but that’s also just me pining for a bigger audience. I will say, this is potentially a lot more detailed than what you will get out of Spotify, which doesn’t even make data past a timeframe available.
On a completely different note, the URL data suffers from not having anyway trim off irrelevant query string info in such a way that you can look at domains in a useful way. Any URLs coming via Facebook tend to have a unique identifier stitched onto them that artificially explodes the number of sources from which end users are coming (the FaceBook Click ID, or fbclid, paramater). This makes it quite difficult to ascertain the actual breakdown of where traffic is coming from.
As you can see, the data from Americana UK and Americana Highways is getting distorted by the fbclid URL parameter. Breaking down the traffic by that which came directly from a given source vs. that came through Facebook is actually an interesting datapoint (and there’s actually a whole other discussion to be had on that subject). But without something to correlate fbclid with, it’s useless noise that’s preventing me from seeing the full story. Ideally you’d be able to strip out query parameters when it makes sense — or just get the raw data.
An entirely separate problem is data that may be junk data. I’m not sure why an obscure live recording from years ago suddenly spiked one day, and I can’t seem to get any data as to where those plays came from. It could be it was featured somewhere, but I also worry that there are more nefarious happenings with bots (which do tend to descend upon new tracks in order to offer you more plays). Then there’s the possibility of people (or rather bots) using VPNs to spoof an IP Address from another country.
One notable bit of data that’s missing is any sort of demographic data. SoundCloud gives you top listeners, which could be useful for finding “superfans” but tells you nothing about broader trends such as age or gender. This is obviously because that data isn’t even in the user profile of SoundCloud account and would clearly not be available for anonymous users. In fairness, CDBaby only gives age (no gender info) which clearly is available Spotify.
Another useful thing to know would be where fans are who listen the most are located. Obviously now we’re getting into some potential privacy issues, but there’s a quite a difference between a lot of one off listens vs. individuals who listen repeatedly and having a sense where your tracks are getting repeated listens would indicate where the richer veins of audience lie. You could of course go off likes and reposts, being wary once again of the bots that tend to descend on new tracks to offer promotional services. You can at least reach out to listeners that are repeatedly listening to your tracks (though in my case, its often other musicians learning the song).
Anyway, that’s what I’ve learned and explored to date with SoundCloud. There’s a whole other realm of geographic data to be obtained a discussed when it comes to other Social Media platforms, Facebook in particular, who’s bread and butter comes from knowing everything about its users. YouTube would also be worth exploring, though an initial first glance suggests to me you won’t get deeper than state level data.
If I were to offer SoundCloud some unsolicited advice, as the title of this piece promises, I feel like at a minimum, SoundCloud could make a few modest changes that will make the data more navigable. Allow users to drill down or filter by country — and ideally add regional filtering. In addition or alternatively, allow the data to be exported so users can analyze it in other 3rd party applications to make better use of it.
I’m curious as to what other people’s experiences are looking at geographic data on different platforms.
And if you want to give me some more data to play with as I explore these things, or just listen to my music, there are some links below.
It's like pulling away from the maze. While you're in the maze, you go through willy nilly, turning where you think you have to turn; banging into the dead ends. One thing after another. But you get some distance on it, and all those twists and turns, why, they're the shape of your life. It's hard to explain.
An oft remarked historical fact about Cleopatra is that she lived at time that is closer to our time than when the Pyramids were built. This little tidbit is often used to emphasize the vast expanse of the history of civilization, which is of course still nothing compared to humanity’s existence as a species — a mere dusting of thin topsoil on top of a deep geological strata. But within the popular imagination, Egyptian history often gets compressed and conflated with the Hollywood imagery of Elizabeth Taylor and our sense of what happened when — be it King Tut or the fire that destroyed the great library of Alexandria — it all gets a bit muddled (if you are able to speak of Ramses II at any length or discuss the distinctions between Old, Middle and New Kingdoms, you are a more dedicated aficionado than most).
But time and memory can be like that within our own lives as well. Having worked at one employer for a particularly long stint, I’d occasionally get confused as to how certain people didn’t know each other, because after all they’d all worked for this same company. Then it’d be like, oh yeah — he left three years before you got here. It takes photo albums, or perhaps these days, Facebook timelines, to help give us some context our own eras.
The current moment is subject to distortion as well. The ebbs and flows of the clock, whether time seems to drag or be racing at a break neck speed is relative to the observer. Waiting for the day to end at the office when nothing is happening moves at a different rate versus being so inundated with tasks that you completely miss lunch and are a bit surprised when you see how late it is. And if you’ve fallen in love, the duration between rendezvous with your new significant other can feel like a lifetime.
But what is a lifetime? Well, if you’re Time Lord, like the good Doctor, you’ve got a baker’s dozen (or more, as it happens). He (or she, as it happens) has taken on many a new face and new clothes and entirely different personality over the course of his/her existence. But that can be a good metaphor for humans as well. We’re not the same person though the course of our existence — we lead different lives within our time on earth. Sometimes concurrently. With distance it’s easier to see the epochs, the transitions.
I had a specific bit of Doctor Who lore in mind when I was writing “Lifetimes Without You” — a bit obscure, a novelization of an adventure that never ended up being televised called “Lungbarrow” where the Doctor revisits his ancestral home. A lot of thankfully non-canonical lore got introduced like his people being birthed by being woven in “looms.” At some point someone is looking at the Doctor’s DNA, and being a Time Lord with multiple incarnations he had multiple DNA strands — one for each of his regenerations to date (just go with it). The person who’s looking at this remarks that he’s been “burning through lives quickly” or something to that effect. Which for those you know follow the program and try and think about the actual duration and durability of a given body that the Doctor has gone through… well… maybe don’t try and think about it so hard.
So that “burning through lives” — that stuck with me and I felt like there was something there. I just wasn’t sure it would work as a line in the song — would people get it it? This is one of those times where it’s a good thing that songwriting circles exist. I played it at one and someone pointed to that as their favorite line in the song, making it a bit of a "Hey Jude" moment for me (Mac said he felt like the “movement you need is on your shoulder” was filler but Lennon insisted he keep it as it was the best line in the song).
This same person also said that an extended verse about Prometheus and his torture via vulture pecking out his liver was a bit too visceral. So that ended up getting excised in favor of watching water drip, which someone else had remarked they said the song reminded them about. This actually is a lovely contrast to deluge of Igauzu falls as well as the Bosporous and Rubicon — the former waterway between the dividing line between two continents, the other a crossing of historic significance. Prometheus still makes an appearance of course, along with Napoleon, which feels very Dylan.
I’ve mentioned before the association this piece has with “Tea for Two” — the bulk of the piece being a fairly typical (for jazz, at least) ii-V-I chord progression with a bit of 6th and Major 7th goodness thrown in for contrast. It’s really the key changes that are particularly different, and here they become compressed into a short little turn around. It was the turn around that caused the song to really come to life in my opinion. That bit about the pyramids just sort of came out while muttering about through the chords progression trying to figure out what the heck to do with this bit that I liked harmonically but otherwise was a bit at a loss as to what to do with (sometimes an interesting way of developing lyrics is to just let yourself say random stuff as you play through something). I’m guessing the thought process can be traced back to “You Belong to Me” by Patsy Cline (which I know of through a Dylan cover) — “see the pyramids along the Nile” — but at the time it was a bit of a surprise to me. It certainly gave me a direction to go after that.
I have a soft spot for this song, but I guess it's not mainstream enough for songwriting competitions and the like. Fortunately singer-songwriter and classical guitarist Eugene Josephs was a fan of this one and he volunteered to cover it at the very first EGPhest — in his own musings he asked something along the lines “are they Gods?” in references to the protagonist and the object of his desire. Fittingly in that in the revival of Doctor Who, the protagonist has been labeled as “a lonely God.”
It’s also a favorite of Greg Yee of the Complements, and they've covered it as a soulful ballad. Alicia's into my tune “Girls Who Don’t Get the City” (off "Fish from the Sky") but I’d asked Greg to sit in at Doc’s Lab one night on Lifetimes and he became a bit enamored with it so they ended up doing both songs at EGPhest II (overachievers that they are).
Having this sort of vote of confidence from those artists is what in part led to me to decide that “Lifetimes Without You” should really be part of “At Home At Sea.” All songs have a history, and this one is no exception. I saw it as being part of a different set of songs in my catalogue and there was another song I’d originally thought would be in its place on the album, but with each album maybe being your last, one feels one has to choose the songs you really want to be out there and given a chance to be heard.
The ukuleles on the track were producer Ben Osheroff’s brain child. Originally some of those piano lines were done on a uke, but to get them to stand out, Ben switched up the instrumentation. Bringing in Eve Fleishman to do backing vocals, who like me is a fan of Blossom Dearie (who’s version of Tea for Two I had in mind) was a bit of a stroke of luck.
I’ve performed the song a bit more a slow burn, with a bit more emphasis on the heartache, but the album version brings out some of the sweetness and Americana Highways correctly noted that it is ultimately about falling in love and its grandeur as much as it is about longing. There’s, as usual, some personal history in the mix — some big dreams and expectations never got fulfilled from a particular life I led at one point. I did make it to the bazaars of Istanbul eventually, but I’ve yet to get to Igauzu falls, let alone make some grand romantic gesture there.
All that does feel like a longtime ago these days.
Anyway, you can find my name on the wall of the SF Jazz Center, those you enterprising to go hunt for it. The jazz center itself is no longer so new, of course, and I don't get there as often as I'd like these days but it’s well worth a visit if you get a chance.
In the meantime, maybe give this song a spin.
"At Home At Sea" gets it's fourth song premiere today with Glide Magazine featuring the track "An Alternate Route (To Your Heart)" on its website. This is the biggest publication to date to feature one of my songs. Of the track Glide says:
"...hear Phillips’ love of jazz music come through in the quietly whimsical piano and simple, emotive brush stick drumming and standup bass. Phillips has a quiet, loping vocal delivery that feels relaxed and confessional, playing the role of lounge crooner meets street busker. "
Read the full text and a listen!
It was somewhere in San Pedro de Atacama — probably The Valley of the Moon, when the song came back to me. It’d been years since I thought about it, and yet there it was, inexplicably. I’d written it under a different title ages ago. I never had more than a single line at the end of the chorus section and not the one I used.
I’d been in Providencia a few days before, a neighborhood in Santiago, for its eponymous jazz festival — my excuse for choosing to go to Chile when I did. This was something I used to do. Pick a jazz festival somewhere in the world and go to it. Just an excuse to to explore a place I’d never been before. I wasn’t able to get a ticket to the event itself, but on the other side of the river from the festival was a park where the locals were hanging out, catching the show for free. There were some vendors walking around the crowd that was camped out on the slightly terraced ground all looking towards the sculpture garden where the festival was being held. It was a pretty good view of the stage, albeit from a distance. One of the songs that stuck out was a rendition of “Its Only a Paper Moon” which seemed a bit funny to me because they were literally underneath a decidedly real moon, which to me had a distinctly yellow hue that I’d attribute to the atmospheric haze of Santiago. It was one of those moments that you want to capture somehow so I’d started playing around with just trying to get that down somehow as lines to a song.
So now I had some music to set these lines to — though they weren’t really behaving. But then again, neither does the chord progression, which towards the end of the verse has an odd key change that carries over into the chorus.. That was deliberate messing about at the time but led to an interesting sort of build up. I didn’t quite have the refrain yet, but I had in mind the fact that my attempt to take a photo of the moon and the jazz quartet with my camera phone had come out as basically a blurry smudge in the dark — hardly a satisfying representation of the experience.
I was doing a lot of the usual things you do in San Pedro — salt flats, geysers, the Flamingo National Preserves. It was all beautiful but it was a lonely experience. I met a lovely family from Brazil in the hotel where I was staying and there was the daily churn of tour groups where your thrust together with a collection of strangers for a few hours to share in a little adventure, but for the most part I was on my own. I was sending photos to someone back in San Francisco each day, and it was nice to be able to share the experience in that way, but it also felt a bit hollow.
While visiting one of the saltwater lagoons (with a salinity greater than that of the Dead Sea), I managed to get the moccasins I was wearing sopping wet and having failed to rinse them off properly, a thick layer of salt was left behind after they dried out. So that’s where the “salt encrusted shoes” line came from. It just sounded interesting to me, and once I had the full refrain, I liked the way the assonance of “salt” and “all” as well as “shoes” and “truth is” got embedded into the section along with the much more deliberate attempt to have rhymes at the end of the 1st and 4th lines of the chorus. It’s almost ABBA with “shoes” and “truth is” being close enough for government work. Getting the cadence of the last line to be anything other than a odd number of bars just didn’t seem to work, so I went with it and left it as a “bar five” as they say in the biz.
So the second verse became a collage of more things I was seeing an experiencing — the natural beauty of Chile’s northern deserts and the colorful but decaying urban beauty of Valparaiso. One could write endlessly about the murals and neglected architectural gems of Valpo or the ruddy desert palette of Valle de Luna, so I feel like I gave it all rather short shrift with all of two lines. But of course photos can never capture it all (and it’s a curated version of the experience at that), so I guess it works out.
Then of course one has to come back to one’s own reality and that’s the third verse. Which at first seems unreal. But ultimately we travel to come back. Hopefully having learned and experienced some new things and allowing us to look at our own world in a fresh light. I would argue there’s also something of ourselves we leave behind in the place we visited— that experience, which if you’ve had the luxury of traveling with someone else, you can reminisce about together. But otherwise what else was it besides the equivalent of a dream? Only more slightly more substantive because of the keepsakes we collected and the photos we took.
There is also a whole other subtext to the song and what and who it might be about that I think I will leave to the listener’s imaginations. There’s the literal carrying of a device (i.e. my phone) that allows me to share all these experience with the world, but I trust the emotional weight is such that it’s clear there’s another level to it all.
Aside from the odd key changes, there’s a lot of suspended chords and dissonant tensions (that MajorMinor7 in the chorus, for instance). This led to some gentle ribbing from Mario Noche when he covered it at EGPhest II, suggesting I’d given him an unusually hard song to play. He prefaced his performance with his own composition, a tribute to Jobim, and then launched into a bossa nova version of the song.
So when it came time to record and my producer Ben Osheroff wanted to do it as a bossa, bringing Mario into the recording studio seemed fitting. Prior to that we had struggled a bit as to what to do with the instrumental passage — I’d imagined it as more of a horn section, but so far we hadn't been able to make it work. Ben had Mario do some guitar licks over the verse section and between that and the piano we later added, the track came together unexpectedly well.
I was a bit surprised when the song got picked up for a premiere in Americana UK, but also glad that the track gets a chance to shine. It’s been released as a single now, so take a listen.
This year, the “phest” convenes at the The Secret Garden SF, a unique and eclectic performance space for all manner of artists to create and congregate in an intimate salon setting. Weather permitting, we’ll be making use of this lovingly tended gem’s enclosed outdoor environs — but sumptuously decorated indoor rooms are available as well.
I have put in the order for this year's rubber ducky part favors (butterfly rubber duckies, as befits the setting) but more importantly I've been busily reaching out to performers and building up a list of artists from all over the Bay — people I know from open mics and Balanced Breakfast. I'll be making an announcement at some point about this year's participants and I greatly appreciate everyone who's agreed to take part so far.
I get a lot of kudos when I tell people about the whole deal — inviting folks to cover my songs for my birthday — but it's not the easiest thing to do. I know people are busy, a lot of them traveling during the summer vacation months. And musicians are touring or have other gigs or other commitments — this in part why I wanted to do the event on a Sunday afternoon. I do my best to suggest songs that I think will work for the person performing as well as honor their request to do a particular song, though I'm also mindful of the fact that I'd like there not to be a huge number of repeats. I might enjoy it if everyone did their own take on "Sett'n My Own Pace" but maybe it's less enjoyable on the whole for everyone. And I do have this conceit that while there are handful of songs of mine that might be considered S-Tier, as the kids would say, there a whole catalogue of creations that I'd love hear someone else take a stab at performing.
There is of course some inevitable churn and turn over as things come up and folks can't make it — and I accept that as part of this crazy thing I'm doing, which is making a pointed effort to get what I really want for my birthday, a chance to hear other people perform these odd little ditties of mine. Rather than it be a huge ego trip, it's actually quite humbling. The level of creativity people put into developing their own interpretations or just the uniqueness of hearing someone else's voice is an amazing thing. But it does require a lot of asking, and following up, which is not something I necessarily find easy.
I chose to do it on the 4th this year because 1) it reinforces the "4" (the fewer numbers to remember the better) but more importantly, I'm trying to dodge the plague that is "Outside Lands" which is either competition or driving folks out of the city to avoid the crowds. I hope folks will swing by. I feel a bit odd about putting on a price on a ticket for a birthday show, but there are costs involved, and if nothing else it commits people to coming that much more. I'm trying to offer some budget friendly options early on to get people onboard, and trust me, this is not a money making proposition.
This year’s artwork is a contribution by illustrator Jesse Israel Art, who earlier this year collaborated with me to create a music video for my song “Lighthouse at the Edge of the World” which is a major part of the new album “At Home At Sea” (available July 12th).
Here's a black and white version of the artwork if you all want to color your own.
Post it with the tag #EGPhest to Facebook and Instagram.
...the password to the event is duckduckgoose
Both the music videos for the new album have been selected for the Audio Shoot Unsigned International Music Video & Film Festival which takes places July 6th-7th in Wexford, Ireland.
The video for the "Lighthouse at the Edge of the World" will be competing in the "Best Animated Music Video" category whereas "The Albatross Song" will compete in the "Best Folk Music Category." The festival takes place in Murphy's Barn a restored 17th century barn about and hour and forty minutes from Dublin. There will be live music as well as street food and craft beers as part of the festivities.
... slyly humours, sneakily affecting"
"At Home Home At Sea" gets it's 3rd song premiere of the PR campaign leading up its release on July 12th with the featuring of "All I Can Share Is Photos" on Americana UK, the UK home for Americana, alt.country and alternative.
This travelogue through Chile takes us from Santiago, up to San Pedro de Atacama and back down to Valparaiso in a few verses. Moreover it is about the vagaries of travel. Especially travel alone, with a broken heart. The recording features Mario M. Noche on guitar, who had previously covered the song in a similar bossa nova type style as part of EGPhest II. Aird writes "It’s singer-songwriter folk shot through with a cocktail jazz sensibility. You might hear touches of Vivian Stanshall, and thereby a frisson of the Bonzo Dog Doo-Dah Band."
Check out the full article and give this song a listen.
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