Tidying Up

surprise-me-studio
 
For my wife’s birthday last year, I bought her the book “The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up” by Marie Kondo.  I had read several favorable reviews and it felt consistent with where we were in life.  It seemed like a good idea.  As soon as she opened it, I realized a book about cleaning was not the best birthday gift.  She vowed to seek revenge via all of the methods outlined in the book.
The whole family has fallen in love with the gospel according to Ms. Kondo.  The bulk of this topic is too broad for a single post. Purchase the book and do what she says.  The general premise involves discarding everything that does not bring joy to your life.  You keep only what is important.  If something doesn’t inspire joy, get rid of it, trash it, shed the dead weight.
We have been purging our lives as aggressively as infant twins will allow.  There is a freedom found in eliminating unnecessary stuff.  As per her instructions, we started last winter with clothes, books, and paperwork.  Things got a little shady in the spring because we had babies.  We are back on track and have aggressively purged more clothes, books, and paperwork.  It seems hard to get passed these first three steps, I guess one of us should finish the book…
I have moved onto my studio.  I began sorting through stacks of loose paper inscribed with earth shattering lyrics, mountains of composition books containing the rantings of a mad man, and piles of CDR’s labeled “master.”  Most of this is crap.
My first real recording project was in 2002,  I had just finished college and completed most of the tracking during my second senior year.  It was a great learning experience and I had very high aspirations regarding its eventual worldwide success.  It was five whiney songs written about five different girls that had broken my heart.  In hindsight, the heartbreak was probably all my fault, but that’s not good songwriting material.
This project is old. It doesn’t even sound like me.  Who is this whiney guy? It’s no wonder those five girls broke his heart, they got tired of listening to slow sad songs.  Needless to say, this project no longer embodies who I am as an artist and it certainly does not bring joy to my life.  I knew in my gut that it had to go. However, this project was from a definitive time in my life  and a significant part of my progression as an artist.  I listened to this album trying to decide what to do with it.  I forgot to mention the boxes of unsold CD’s stored in the basement.  I concluded I would be embarrassed for people to hear it now and I pitched them all into a big black garbage bag.  They are now in a landfill.
The one positive has been that I rediscovered this song.
 
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I played through all five songs to see if there was anything salvageable.  This is the only one that isn’t a total break up song.  It was about a positive relationship.  The lyrics were more or less directly from a written correspondence with a really important friend.  Please don’t judge the quality too harshly.  I am a little embarrassed to include the original but thought it was important as a frame of reference.
This new version is banjo and baritone guitar.  Once I found the right key, it took 3 takes of vocals with banjo during nap time.  I dropped in some jangly guitar to fill in the bottom end.
 
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I know this won’t change the world but it felt like a perfect song for a fall day.  It is important to get rid of all the old junk that is holding us back, but it is sometimes nice to reminisce about forgotten times.  Does anyone still write letters?
I feel lighter and more free now that I’ve put a close to that chapter of my life.  It was fun to relearn an old song, like visiting an old friend.  I am really looking forward to many new songs.
 
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