Ten By One
This is my debut album, recorded in 2002 and released in May 2003. You can find the mp3 files here, or you can buy the CD from CdBaby.
You've heard of the "one guy in his basement" approach to making an album? Well it's true here, even the basement. I wrote all the songs, played and sang all the parts, and did all the engineering and mixing, with the following exceptions: My daughter Amelia played cello, performed voiceovers, and wrote the first-person narration for "One By One"; and my daughter Madeline has a brief voiceover in the fadeout of "Signs & Wonders."
If you like what you hear, you can show your support by sending me a donation using the button below; buying the album from CdBaby; dropping me an email; or telling your friends about me. Thanks in advance for your support.
Cycles A modern alt-rock song about repeating patterns in weather and the human condition. Originally the second song on the CD, this is what I should have led off with. I think this song has the most modern arrangement; I think it could get into rotation on commercial radio with the right marketing and distribution. This song has five verses but no chorus -- I was playing with different song forms here, and the lack of a chorus underlines the idea of repetition. This song has a two-part harmony lead solo, and both parts were played at the same time instead of overdubbing.
Signs & Wonders A hard-edged blues/rock song about how odd life is and how we pretend not to notice. I like the first lead solo on this song; I think I nailed it, both in the way I played it and the guitar sound I got. Nice electric slide on the intro too. This is the song most men pick as their favorite on the CD.
Early Warning This is a more retro-sounding blues rocker. Jonny Lang meets Del Shannon at the Cavern Club. I often introduce this as a "dysfuntional love song." Relationship not going well? Endless talking doesn't solve anything? Wait till she steps out, then change the locks on the doors. I like the gravel I got on the vocal in this song.
Knock On Wood This is a country-punk macarena about deciding not to be a jerk anymore. Oopa! I think this is the only song on the album where I double-track the lead vocal. It's a standard pop trick, and I do it on the first two lines of the chorus to make it jump out.
Six O'Clock Big Pop. A chronological love song about a moment of reflection at the end of a day together. The vocal crescendos and long held notes really give me a chance to push my voice, and I'm afraid it shows some rough edges here. Too bad I couldn't have gotten Josh Groban as a stunt vocalist. Nice electric piano work; I also think the lead solo is pretty well done, not the same old blues riffs.
Still Not Quite Over You A straight country ballad about lost love. This is a fairly stripped-down arrangement: Three acoustic guitars, drums, and upright bass. No real lead part or ornamentation. I would have loved to have pedal steel guitar on this song. I decided to go with a "less is more" arrangement so you could feel the ache in the vocal.
One By One This is the most ambitious song on the album. It's Big Pop, in the tradition of Al Stewart or the Moody Blues. The original third-person storyline about a young woman's struggles has been supplemented by a first-person narrative from the woman's point of view. My daughter Amelia wrote and performed the second storyline, as well as performing the cello on this piece. Great job, Amelia! You really took this song to a new place. Nice piano and organ work on this song. The lead vocal was a one-take scratch vocal I put in for reference. As I built up the song, I realized it had what I needed, so I kept it.
I'm Falling Now Falling off a cliff as a metaphor for the uncertainties of adulthood. This has a country-on-downers flavor, with acoustic slide guitar. I was trying to channel R.E.M. when I was writing this How did I do? This is the song most women pick as their favorite, Maybe because I'm showing my vulnerable side. This is also the only song with vocal harmonies. I love harmonies, but I struggle enough with pitch that they're a real challenge for me. The spoken vocal at the end was ad-libbed.
Shut Me Down A pop song about the feelings of numbness and disconnection that come from a long relationship filled with baggage. Dude, wah guitar and three-part harmony leads! How 70s! Freakin awesome! This song was included in the benefit compilation "The War In Our Backyard: NW Artists Against Domestic Violence."
How Do I Know More introspective pop. Who am I? Why am I here? Why does the chorus sound so much like Neil Diamond? Nice string arrangement on this song. Like everything on this album except my guitars, Amelia's cello, and about half the bass parts, it's a synth.