40 (Reagan)


Tascam 464 Portastudio
W. Farragut, Chicago, IL
W. Summerdale, Chicago, IL
W. Argyle, Chicago, IL

This may be my favorite recording. The lyrics are clever and consistent and the music is simple but interesting. I still enjoy playing all of these songs and they regularly end up in my sets.

I had a tough time recording this album since I was finishing a Computer Science degree at DePaul University and had an unemployed roommate and all I wanted to do was record in private and get these ideas out as soon as possible so I could be admired for all the unique and creative ideas I thought came up with. These lyrics are deliberately more religious than the first two albums. I wanted to create something more mature and personal. A lot of Christian influenced music is exclusive and cold (on purpose) and this was my first attempt at trying present my views in an accessible and universal way to music I would listen to if I didn't write it myself. The production is a minimalistic and folk influenced reaction to the ideas that came out in Bush and meant to bring more attention to the lyrics and melodies than in previous recordings. I really enjoy dual-vocal, call-and-response type lyrics and I am proud that I could write some of my own. I purposely wrote Sow, Ring, and Reflection to include Maid Marion and relieve myself of vocal responsibilities.

Flight is a good example of me breaking my own rules. The Rule is: Never write about emotional current events because they always end up cheesy and forced. Well, in this case always was changed to usually. I am really proud of these lyrics. I even put these words on my first web page (before I had written the music). The hymn-like music just came to me one day and there it was. This song is also on my first compilation appearance on VBM. I should have used trained singers and a real trumpet player. I had a great vision for Sow and couldn't execute it the way I wanted. But it is still a great song that I spent a lot of time on. It took on many forms with lyrics that changed often until I settled on this one. When I was finished recording and cleaning up dead space on the tape, I accidentally deleted the very end of the percussion part. I was so angry I wanted to break things. I decided to drop a cup full of loose-change to mask the blank space instead of recording the whole part over again. The drumset part at the end was recorded at Auckland Bach's house on his drumset. I like how Ring is centered around one chord. I used an upside down snare drum (because the top was missing), ride cymbal, and floor tom for the mimicked drumset part. Reflection is my first traditional three-finger banjo and folk style arrangement. I like it a lot but sometimes I am embarrassed to play it because I think it is too cheesy. Devil Death had to be redone so here it is with a better pace and breaks. I recorded it in the upper part of Maid Marion's garage and you can barely hear birds in the background if you listen close. I thought this was cool until I remembered that they were in the background of a couple of Damien Jurado songs. Cowboy also had to be redone to make it more listenable. I sing the line, "land called Wisconsin" as "land o'er the Mountains" now to make it less personal. I meant to record this version that way also but forgot. I love when the slide guitar and keyboard combine with the banjo uke. There was a time when I wanted to feature at least one banjo, banjo uke, slide guitar, acoustic guitar, electric guitar, bass, drumset, percussion, keyboard, etc. part on each album but now I just do what I feel is best for the songs (or maybe I'm just lazy). Sentences has a nice picking pattern that goes from major to minor equivalent. The lyrics are just as vague as Ring which I like because they can apply to anything.