The insanity of lyric comprehension

The talking heads would write lyrics on strips of paper and randomly put them together, thus some of the lyrical nonsense it led to, but part of the bands charm.

I played “Let Me” on Saturday night for a couple (because it’s “their” song) and later they remarked how odd it was that “their” song was in fact, a break-up song.

Is it?

I don’t think it necessarily has to be.  It could be interpreted as a plea to stay together.

This is the insanity of lyric comprehension, and the charm.  Unless you’re going to sing something as literal as “I ran my car over your front lawn” well then, they’re might be room to “attach” your own mood, situation, or feeling to a song.

If everyone hears or sees something different, maybe that’s when art is the most potent.

This or that?

I stopped competing in the music world a long time ago (think music awards for genres and the like).

Why do it when I can spend my energy listening to the people who listen to me and tell me what they think.
(Steve makes a fine example below)

Evan, Finally, belatedly downloaded and listened to the WAV of Burn. I love this record. What I’d always been hoping for, but too reticent to ask you for: guitar-centric, Evan-only singing, bass guitar!, awesomely clean production. And the new songs so good. I’ll email additional thoughts this week, but I’ve got a ridiculous signal chain (Mac -> Apogee Duet -> Beyerdynamic A20 -> Sennheiser HD 650 headphones), and Burn sounds so good! And those perfectly clean, just barely breaking up guitar tones, oh man.. 🙂

Great jazz saxophone player Paul Ahlstrand sends out very, very entertaining emails that put the “music world” under scrutiny and give great belly laughs at the same time.  Paul got nominated for a Boston Music Award this year, and below was his take on it:

Usually when you get one of these missives from me, it is to invite you to a gig that I am doing, but not this time.  I am writing to let you know that for the second year in a row I have been nominated for a 2017 Boston Music Award in the category of “Session Musician Of The Year.”  The Boston Music Awards are kind of like a local version of the Grammy Awards but with a chintzier swag bag. (The last time I went to the BMA’s, my swag bag consisted of a couple temporary tattoos, a tiny bottle of hand sanitizer and a gift certificate to Condom World) I’m humbled to be nominated by my peers even though I find the whole idea of competitive music to be silly especially in this category. Very few people get to see me do this sort of work.  It is often anonymous. How is the winner determined? Is there a sight-reading competition thereby eliminating guitarists in the first round? Perhaps some test of stamina where a megalomaniacal record producer forces the nominees to play the same passage over and over for no apparent reason and the last nominee to storm out of the studio wins?  Nope.  Random people just vote for you whether they have heard any of the projects you’ve worked on or not.  If hell freezes over and I somehow win this stupid thing, I promise not to officially change my name to: “2017 Boston Music Awards Session Musician Of The Year Paul Ahlstrand.”  Here’s the link if you feel like voting for me (voting end on 11/1 at 10am):

Paul’s great (his honesty is brutal and refreshing).
Steve’s great (he took the time to write me because he loves “Burn” so much).

The question of “this or that” is always relevant when you have to choose whether or not to spend your time making art for people, or trying to get everyone to vote for you.

Mine would be black

We have so many ways of communicating now and such a high rate of misunderstanding.  It’s a text, an instagram, a reply to a Facebook comment, email and IM, and without a solid understanding who’s at the other end it can get challenging when gauging humor.

A few years back I posted this photo on Facebook and had a massive amount of traffic show up, mainly congratulatory in nature for “making it” “owning a bus” “being that famous” and every version of that you might imagine.

It was silliness.
Half the people viewing skipped the caption (I was posing in front of Rusted Roots bus, -band from the 90’s) because we were opening for them.

I went back and corrected as many statements and answered as many questions as I could but it showed me that the people who support me imagine that I would have such a bus someday.
But, this can’t be mine.

My bus would be black.

Saturday December 2nd is the last show of the year…

This Saturday the band is in RI @ the Narragansett Cafe (more commonly known as the “Ganny”).
25 Narragansett Ave, Jamestown, RI 02835 GoogleMap



Out Of Control

“I went searching for redemption, when all my hope fell right through the floor.
Hitch a ride on the wind, you told me you don’t love me anymore.”

Find it Here

5 Things about me you didn’t know.

I tend to remain quiet about my extra curricular activities.  So for intimacy’s sake, I give you: “5 Thing about me you didn’t know.”

  1. I played guitar at Wally’s in Boston  on Monday night’s for almost 3 years as the somewhat music director for the Boston Music Circus (now defunct).  I do miss this band consisting of Mario Perrett on sax, Chris Anzelone on drums and Randy Bramwell on bass.
  2. I booked a music venue in Lowell MA for just over 6 years (The entire time they were in business, over 1300 shows).  It was a lot of unforgiving work but it allowed me to build something special in that community, and thankfully it’s demise had nothing to do with slow business or lack of interest.
  3. My famed jazz guitar once belonged to Duke Robillard, as far as I know he wants it back and he’ll never get it.
  4. I was a long time student of the great Charlie Banacos, a man worth reading about (although there’s not a lot of literature on him), and also a man who made great teaching method models (although you’ll never understand his teaching unless someone explains how to use it).
  5. I represented the “Count Us In” an overseas voting tool for soldiers who might have been excluded in the 2008 election (I was doing a tour of Nato Bases in Spain and Portugal).

Lyrics with feeling

Right now for me is all about writing lyrics.   Lots and lots of lyrics.
And while re-thinking a few things, I’m simply making some things I do better.

I like the notion that you can read lyrics and they can stand up on their own without music.  I also like it when the music pulls you into the lyrics even if you discover them after the fact.

After chugging away at words I’ll put it down for a minute and go back and listen to something “simpler?” but that might be “all” feeling.

Check out the lyrics on this one:


When the internet goes down

Losing power for a day or two always reminds me how much we’re connected to the “brain” (internet).  I’ve got digital recorders, cassettes, mostly CD’s, 3? iPods, 2 laptops, all with music.   I am also on Spotify but I’m just getting around to it.

I sent an mp3 to a fan who always listens to me on spotify and couldn’t access his account because of a power outage and wrote me an email about it.

I simply sent it to him but it would be time consuming to send it to everyone.

Click Here and download it if you’d like to have it to (for the winter ahead).

Waiting On A Rainy Night.

“Let’s Burn Everything”

A song title as a metaphor for starting over.

Many things that worked before, aren’t working anymore.  This seems to me to be a unanimous decision.

There are systems in place, all kinds, political, financial, and “personal belief systems” that simply don’t work in the new world.

And, “We’re all on our way somewhere” so why not burn the old and create the new with conversations, study, and maybe some music too.

Starting over isn’t easy but we do it anyway.

It’s good to share in the new world.

Here’s some words written to me from someone about “Let’s Burn Everything:”

“The meaning of Lets Burn Everything shows that you can start over if you are brave enough. I had been through a lot in my life and my life still has a lot to put me through. I lost everything except what I could stuff into my Dodge Caravan.
I had to start over. Hind sight i lost my son because of my ex. There is that no so easy part. And I tried to keep him in my life but my ex won after 6 years in court and all the horrendous fights. Life goes on and I will die if I do not have resilience. Hope lies in my now. I live. Am alive, waiting for my sons return when my exs poison wears off. He is 20, I have not seen him in 5 years. Thats would tear any man who loves their children down.

When i hear that song it reminds me who I am. I am a grandson of a Cossack, son of a ww2 hero and wounded firefighter, a man built for battle. Lets burn everything, love stands, the essence of who I am rises from the ashes. I keep moving, an unstoppable force.”