Tuesday, May 3, 2011

New Blog Location

My blog has moved! After much design, muckraking, pandemonium and procrastination, it's now back on my official site,



Thanks for your support and interest,

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Are You Lonely Tonight, Mrs. Claus? - new song

Happy holidays! I've made a new recording of a new song, "Are You Lonely Tonight, Mrs. Claus?" I used my rapidograph pen to make some illustrations and write out some of the lyrics, thus this Youtube video. I hope you all have a happy holiday season and a beautiful 2011. If you like this, please send a link to your friends.

See you in the new year with new songs and more shows!


Monday, November 22, 2010


Scene on trampoline: Dad, highly cautious, aware of risk, bouncing while attempting to encourage/manage fun of: physically disabled 13-year-old, highly cautious, somewhat wobbly, tentatively having fun whilst hyper-aware of: jumping-bean-like 3-year-old careening wildly beneath & among knees of the first two. Yes, pigpile ensues, some tears, full recovery.

Sunday, November 21, 2010

The Numbers Don't Make Sense

The numbers don't make sense. That's one reason life seems so frightening in a media-drenched world. We see a clip on Youtube reflecting one crazy incident and because none of us can really understand the concept of "one in 250 million" we naturally think that this disturbing stuff is happening all the time everywhere. Fear and anxiety are viral. Evolution has gifted us with a vigilant nature always on the jumpy lookout for sabre-tooth tigers. Thus the ease with which the media corporations keep us jumping.

Please continue working on ways to make peace and love more viral. :)

Sunday, November 7, 2010


I've been posting a lot on Facebook and Twitter lately (for 6 months) because my website is in the middle of a redesign. Well, if it's a middle, it's a long middle. The new website is a kind of blog design but I had a "big idea" for how to make it an interesting and simple site, and of course this big idea has caused the process to go long. I'm hoping it serves me and everyone else well!

But meanwhile, I keep thinking, "Oh, I'll get back onto my blog when my new website is finally up." Thus the long delay between recent posts.

I call this "standing in my own way," and I do it once in a while. I experienced it profoundly a few years ago when my "Free Life" album was done and ready to be released and then got delayed over and over by the business machinations which moved my label from one parent company (Universal) to another (Warner Bros) to another (Sony.) During that time, I stopped writing new songs for myself to sing for about a year and a half, somehow thinking that the about-to-be-released "Free Life" needed to come out before I resumed my songwriting. It was as though "Free Life" was in front of me in line at the airport and kept needing to send its bags and clothes through the metal detector, and I waited politely rather than realizing I could just walk past.

Anyway, despite my non-blogging, I have dropped that bad habit for now in my songwriting, and am in a great flow of ideas and melodies for my second solo jam. Many tracks are recorded. I'm using a crazy-making method of playing all the instruments myself, and having all the band discussions and arguments alone. I'll put some of the songs up when they're ready, I'd like to share them in advance of the record's eventual release. And by the way, the new website looks good and when the design issues are 90% fixed, we'll put it up.

The recent Semisonic shows in Minneapolis and Denver were really inspiring and fun. I hope we get together again soon.

Friday, May 7, 2010

Storyhill Album "Shade of the Trees"

Okay, I am going to semi-toot my own horn briefly and say I love listening to the recently-released Storyhill album I produced, "Shade of the Trees," as much as anything I've ever worked on. Maybe because it gives the impression of "just happening," and not being worked on at all. Maybe it's got my fingerprints all over it, but if so, I don't see them. The guys in the band, John Hermanson and Chris Cunningham, challenged me to help them make the most stripped-down and intimate document of their music yet, and the plan we came up with was utterly minimal - just the two of them, live in studio, no overdubs, both voices singing together with two guitars and sometimes one. My plea to add pump organ was ruthlessly quashed by Johnny. Wisely so.

(So I bought a $50 pump organ and am adding it to all the songs for my new album instead. But that's another story.)

My mental image for the album was to make a super-detailed and painfully intimate record which almost sounds like they opened their laptop, pressed "record" on GarageBand and just started singing. But then secretly if you listened on a real stereo you'd hear the guitars vibrating in the air, you'd hear every bit of drama in the performances, you'd hear what The Postal Service jokingly called "the shrillest highs and lowest lows" in their song "Such Great Heights." Turns out, making a great sounding recording of two guys in a room is not as simple as it sounded. Whew. But we did it, with some serious help from engineer Brad Bivens during the tracking and mastering engineer Richard Dodd. My method in mixing the album: distortion, just beneath the threshold of hearing, applied liberally and with variety.

Okay, here's a link to a performance from the record (yes, we used the performance from this clip on the album, and you can hear filmmaker Tommy Stone's feet creaking on the floorboards more than once,) called "Dangerous Weapon." Eyes closed, inside the song, two voices sounding like one. I love these guys.

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Happy Valentines Day and a New Song

Hi All,

Happy Valentines Day!

I've spent most of the winter in Minneapolis, snowed in and writing songs for myself. It had been a hectic and fun two years of touring and collaborating with various brilliant musicians, but the time had come for me to get into my own head, alone, and see what music was there.

I wasn't sure what would happen, but a lot of songs came out.

The recordings I've made so far of these new songs are very simple, usually just voice and guitar, maybe an extra piano or pump organ here and there. Sometimes not. I've done mostly brand new songs and a few from the past year and a half or so.

Here's a clip of one of those songs, "Everything Green." Tommy Stone, a filmmaker from Minneapolis, came to the studio where I work and filmed me recording it. Then he made this.

(Click the image to see the "Everything Green" clip)

I am sending this song to you all as a Valentine's greeting. Maybe you'll want to forward the link to someone you love, someone for whom you wish all good things. I would like it if you did. Please pass it on.