31 (Hoover)


Zoom R16, Cubase AI 6, and whatever was used by All City Mastering
W. Winona, Chicago, IL

I consider this to be my most "folk" album yet. I probably could have forced bass guitar and drums into some of these but decided instead to focus on playing everything in one take with no edits. My personal goal was to play these songs without messing them up too much and hopefully create something listenable. I probably could have done the whole thing with solo banjo but I ended up adding guitar and percussion in places. Each track of the guitar and/or percussion songs were recorded separately but still in single unedited takes. I recorded most of this stuff after 10pm and often after midnight. So it was both good and necessary not to have loud drum parts. I reluctantly went back to mixing this material down myself since the songs were not that complicated. I had a tough time agreeing on the balance between the vocals and banjo but I wasn't using any compression or limiters so there are places that bug me. Hopefully it is all still listenable and entertaining.

I am the most proud of Lazarus of Bethany. I think it is a catchy unique tune and the lyrical content is historical and repetitive and poetic. It is based on the John 11:1-44 passage and is only a retelling of the story. Don't try to pull any hidden message or metaphor from the lyrics. The banjo is in D tuning clawhammer style but had to capo down a step to C to fit my vocal range. I wrote Change wondering if it is still possible to come up with a relevant "bum and hobo" type theme. I only had one line so I had to flip the words around to make the song longer with a second verse. The lyrics are a little silly but completely true and my favorite part is that the music actually sounds like someone shaking a cup. The banjo is G tuning clawhammer style. Colic is a public service announcement and a dance but a little too clever. I like songs that have the word "baby" in them but really mean "baby" as in a very young child, especially one newly or recently born (see Polite To Stare from 32). The banjo is in G tuning three finger style. Delivery is already a dated folk song since now you can now have hourly delivery. The instrumental solos are kind of strange all by themselves but I left it that way in keeping with the banjo centered theme. JLAH was disappointed that I used her yelling vocal track and not the nice harmony that she wrote. The banjo is in G tuning capoed up a step to A in the three finger style. Potholes is another one like Change where I thought I would never use these short poem ideas or even be able to add music that sounds like the words. They both could have turned into really bad childrens songs but I think the rhythm changes make them interesting. And for both I matched up words with already existing licks. And in both cases I matched on the instrumental parts and then wrote the lyric backing parts as new pieces to glue everything together. The banjo is G tuning clawhammer style. Secret Question is a little too clever but still worth it. This one is just a victim of me combining unused lyrics with unused licks. The syllables fit so it didn't matter that it was really short. The banjo is in D tuning clawhammer style. Ringtone is also a little too clever and difficult for me to play. I would love to hear this song played really fast and maybe with a fiddle as well. The lyrics are another attempt to see if it is possible to not write cheesy folk music based on current technology. Why is so easy and cool to write a song about trains while nobody can write an interesting song about computers or handheld devices? The banjo is in D tuning but capoed down a step to C in the clawhammer style. Whats for dinner? is based on a live performance by Charlie McAlister heard on a "no talent boom-boom" cassette. The lyrics are all the things that Lars says. There were a lot of percussion tracks on this possibly ruining the song or maybe making it more interesting. The banjo is in D tuning capoed up to E using the backwards Pete Seeger style developed for Fifty Righteous on 32. Riffles and Currents was originally a kind of lullaby practicing different picking patterns but I wanted to do something with drumset and bass on this recording so this is it. It is in the "trio" style instrumental following the tradition of Harvestmen and Watering. I didn't have as much time with the drums as I would have liked but it was good enough. I always hope to do more with the electric guitar but then end up going really simple. The lyrical ending is based on "We're in the Same Boat, Brother" by Lead Belly. The banjo is in D tuning three finger style.