33 (Truman)


Tascam 788 Digital Portastudio, HP Pavilion dv1000 with Lexicon Alpha, and whatever was used at Carterco
W. Winona, Chicago, IL
W. Cermak, Chicago, IL

This one is a purposely banjo led collection of tunes. Some of the songs were actually written on guitar first but then reworked for banjo. In some cases I wrote the words or tune first and then added the backing chords. Other songs were completely written on the banjo and then words were added to match. There are some three-finger style songs and some clawhammer songs. There are some songs in open G (and moved down to E), standard C, double C moved up to D, and open D (and moved up to E). None of this was on purpose. It just happened to be tunings that I was practicing and then ended up writing songs with. Most of these songs are in a trio style or at least started out that way. The idea is that three people could play these live exactly the way you hear them. A couple of them break this rule on purpose. I originally wanted to get the Rhodes in there again but the piano seemed to fit better. Then for continuity it got added to more places that would have been guitar in the past. I also should never been in charge of mixing down all of the past recordings so I finally got someone else to do it. The whole thing was mixed down with Jamie Carter where he had good input on the final output.

Ailments Part 1 & 2 is a lyrical concept that I wasn't sure would turn into anything but then it came together. I believe there could be more verses but I didn't want to develop them right now. There could be more parts in the future. Usually the banjo is played fast. I wanted a slow melodic banjo style ending so there it is. It is played on a long-neck banjo with the capo off. This is the only song with electric guitar. Get A Witness is an example of double C tuning using the clawhammer technique. But actually the words were written first and then the banjo part just came naturally out of the syllables. It actually is a great solo song but I couldn't resist adding the drum/bass alternative trio effect. Layers is a story song in standard C. I am always interested in whether a song works unaccompanied and the material made it even more necessary. The middle instrumental part was actually written years ago and it seemed to fit well and become the bridge between the two sections of lyrics. There are actually four recorder parts. I almost wanted to not put any processing on them to prove that they were not synthetic. This is the only song with acoustic guitar. Sawyerwood is a parody of Sourwood Mountain with a piano and drum solos instead of some other kind of break that would normally be fiddle or something. Straw Union is just more messing around in open G. A banjo and drum duo without the bass for a change of scenery. I don't have a problem with Unions. They just aren't necessarily the answer. The Employer. The Employee. The Advocate. We are all greedy. Finished is an open G clawhammer rip-off of "(The Ring on My Finger is) Johnny Give Me" modified enough to make it sound like a new song that you feel like you've heard before. A banjo and piano duo for another change of scenery. I felt like redoing Calling both to get a better quality recording and to experiment more with the banjo/piano theme that found itself into this project. Watering is open D instrumental deemed not worthy of needing lyrics. Maybe I could have waited to see if something worked out. Or maybe I still could. I decided to call it "Watering" when I wrote the piano part. Then later it was raining while recording the piano part so I wanted to capture it but I didn't have the correct microphones for that kind thing. But then it started hailing so it was a lot louder. JLAH was scared and almost stopped playing.