Snippet. Sketch. Draft. Before I started analyzing some of my favorite film soundtracks from recent years, I would have immediately categorized Cask as one of those things. Now, I hear this as a cue for a film score. Friends have often characterized my music as being visual and encouraged me to try to get into scoring work. Growing up, I listened to movie scores from John Williams, Jerry Goldsmith, Elmer Bernstein… almost all orchestral, multiple themes, big arrangements. Iconic works in most respects. And they were always what I thought of as modern “classical” music. But there was an entire … Continue reading

Toys in the Attic

I was on the phone last night, catching up with a friend, and we talked a lot longer than either of us expected. When we finally hung up, it was 10:15 pm. Only 1 hour and 45 minutes for Song-A-Day, because I was determined to go to bed by midnight. There were no latent song ideas or lyrics floating around, and it had just started snowing. Perfect. Falling snow. A snow song. Impressionist stuff. Always fun. The snow was fairly sparkly when caught in the light, so I went to a sparkly sound. Bells. The three note ostinato that starts … Continue reading

Whatever You Pour, I’ll Drink

This song started as a joke. Mary was making herself an after-dinner drink. “Can I make something for you?” “Sure!” “What would you like?” “Whatever you’re pouring, I’m drinking.” I then commented that that could be tonight’s song. We both laughed that it would be a good country song title, and I flirted with the idea of taking another stab at the style. I had a good time writing I Tried to Feed Her Kale last year, but by the time I got into the studio, my mind had changed. In part, it had changed because I was quickly inventorying … Continue reading

Piece by Piece

Is there something more opposite than 180 degrees? Could we maybe add a fourth dimension? Because that’s what happened with this song. I had started writing a bog-standard 80s synth-pop song. I had a drum pattern going, worked out the bass line, and was writing the first verse when Piece by Piece popped into my head. I’ve learned to follow these distractions when they’re strong. The first time I did so resulted in ABEND, which a lot of people have said is their favorite track on my first album. Writing the Song When the first verse came out, I thought … Continue reading