There is No Free Lunch - BONUS TRACK

So true!

There is no free lunch
in this world of prompts
so erase that thought from your book

Written and recorded around the time of the Errors Intact EP. Full of Roland Juno and some scrappy guitar work. I was surely influenced by Andy Cohen on those guitar solos. He believed the emotive guitar solo was not dead, he may still believe that.


Thanks for the Stammering - BONUS TRACK

The banjo was a Sovereign 4 string. I was working on weekends for an ephemera collector. On of his obsessions was Hawaiiana. He would go to auctions throughout the week prior and I would clear out his car. Posters, books, coins, stamps, radios - things some would call junk but to me it was inspiring. They said he never lost a bid at auctions but that did not mean he was always right on target. One Sunday I was clearing out the car and found the Sovereign and asked what the story was. Story was short - for some reason he thought banjos were Hawaiian. Once he discovered that was not the case, he let me have it. Years later, after I had upgraded to a Goodtime, I sold it to Paul from Sunburned.

I just rediscovered this song while digging through some other unreleased songs. The equivalent of a hidden bonus track for me. It is curious to me how as a songwriter, I can put so much into the writing, performing, and recording of a song (relative of course) and then is vanishes from my mind. But as soon as I heard the first notes of this, the whole thing rushed back from that dusty corner of my brain. But don't ask me to perform it for you....


Pour the Batter

A lot has happened here since my last post. I am a now father of a beautiful baby girl, with the initials F.A.R.

So, Pour the Batter is a great way to signify this glorious event. My wife was always confounded by this song. She has said to me on numerous occasions, I can't believe you made this song. And that sums up perfectly how I feel about the birth of my daughter: I can't believe we made that baby girl.

(up next are some more bonus tracks and then on to the 2006 split CD, "Folk Me, Laztana")


This Thick World

Previously I wrote about this song HERE when it was on the Error Intact EP. But now it comes out less drowsy bedroom pop and more properly realized mope-soul.

So maybe that is why it feels a little more desperate. The walking bass and the weary viola talk to me saying, "yeah but" and "what about". I am glad we did it again even though some of my lyrical twist s are less than direct:

Hawaii is an island
No man is a shed
sloppy and soaked
I've bitten my bread

I was thinking about the phrase, "You've made your bed, now lay in it". And I thought that biting your bread was an equally understandable metaphor - You've bitten your bread, now swallow it. Again, phrase coinage rears its confusing head.


I Fell at the Opera

On family reunion trip to the Catskills in 2004 I went horse back riding for the first (and last) time. After about 10 minutes of vague "lessons", I was suddenly on top of a 8 foot tall monster of a horse. Totally gripped by fear, I tried to concentrate on keeping off the ground and keeping this animal calm. Through the tree-lined paths I am sure I saw a brown bear stalking a doe. Perhaps this was an odd fear induced hallucination.

I can train a bear
to follow behind

a doe, a doe, a doe

The idea of falling at the opera, tripping up when you are supposed to be staying cool is interesting. I suppose there is always worry that when I am expected to be a certain way, the real me won't be able to be held back - the guy who slips on the ice at the opera.

Production notes:
Jim once again scores with a smart banjo line throughout, plus the unleashed end romp. Casey Dienel plays her piano with a soft touch that leads in to a playful blooming at the end. Gregg Porter's drum are sure fire - get how he smacks one beat down in the middle of silence in the last break before the end glory. Classic.


Drank the Lake

I did what I shouldn't have done
When I touched the sun

Kind of like Pandora's box. Sometimes we all do things even though you know they'll turn out bad - but you cannot resist. The sun looks harmless enough. I was trying to push away from purely self referential songwriting. At some point I began thinking of more universal ideas that would speak less abstractly to listeners. I think this is on that path - less "woe is me" and more "woe is we".

I can't help but hear a major Alejandro Escovedo influence on this one. The band was enjoying playing the songs in a louder way and this track is just meant for the full band treatment. David's rolling viola is actually two simultaneous tracks thanks to Jim's brilliant mixing concept. And Jim's solo is a tasteful burner. Anyway I had been listening to a bunch of Alejandro's stuff around the time of this songs emergence and this is like BMR/Deer by way of Alejandro and the Stones.


Unfantastic Few

There is a chance this could all be too much. There is also a chance that this "honest" world I am writing in and around is all artifice. Thing is, I am so wrapped up in it that I can't tell the difference any more. I had this thought last night at the show at the Red Door. Perhaps because it was such a great and attentive audience. Thoughtfully listening to my words. I was totally in a fog also but maybe that was impending fatherhood or maybe I was just too high on caffeine. Nevertheless, I had this thought that my songs are all about the same thing and they are altogether too serious - as I was playing this was going on (never a good idea to be thinking about other things while performing) in my head. A few people afterwards told me the set was beautiful and then I understood this is going just right.

Went from 10 to tense in an instant when
I was 12 I wasn't well
Drink a cup full of grounds and dust
and think of just how you felt

Not much more I can say about this then.


This Yellowed Yield

This is a true story - the first lines:

It makes you realize you're alive
you wash your face with your glasses on

This fascinated me when it happened. There is an understanding you get by doing something so utterly absurd. So that is when this song began. The "yellowed yield" being the yield like that of a dying garden (see "Up Twice" and the line "the garden has hardened" for reference). There is hope when you step in a puddle sometimes, just as there is hope when your garden turns the corner into winter. In fact, I was just listening to Tom Waits, the Black Rider and the line in the song "That's the Way", where he lazily and barely sings "that's the way the potato mashes" - this is where I am coming from. It may take the will of 1,000 owls, but we all get by and sometimes we try and sometimes we just barely survive.


Winter Will

I'll smear his name, while you defend
A season that's indecent

I am always writing about the seasons. Their inevitability prompts comfort and dread. If you met winter at a party, you might not want to talk to it. You'd think to yourself, "what a prick, this winter is". New England winters are mountains to scale and they make my mind into a precarious avalanche looming over an unsuspecting hiker.

Production notes:
This was written for a Christmas/Winter compilation that Jon Solomon meant to put out in, I don't know, 2000 or so., but never did - too bad. I don't know if he accepted it or not, but I sure enjoyed writing it. It was another chilly song written in stifling attic apartment heat. Djim played a charming banjo part on this and I played his classical guitar in a most unclassical way. There are at least 3 other versions of this song around my house - I will try to dig those out for comparison.


Some Business & An Interuption

Here is a note on the set-up of this blog. My concept is that I will not post for download whatever my newest release is. In this case it is my bands S/T 2007 Cd, The Underpainting. Which is still available in its limited edition from Catbird Records. The packaging has wonderful art by Matthew Feyld and is hand printed by Ryan Catbird. I highly recommend buying the limited edition stuff...they are special pieces of hand done art. I mean downloads are great and all but hard to hold in your hand.

So this brings me to the survey of sorts. I am planning on releasing a limited edition CD this year (maybe a full length, maybe an EP, maybe on my own, maybe with a label) and am trying to gauge interest in beautiful limited edition releases. Looking for an e-show of hands here. Please drop me a line (bmr (( @ )) brianmichaelroff.com) or leave a comment, anonymous is ok if you must, and let me know. The good news is when I put this thing out it will unleash the Underpainting as a free download, so a ton of interest will certainly light a fire under me.