Civil Twilight

This is my first go at producing for another songwriter.  I met Carey Seward at the Fox and Goose in Sacramento.  Carey’s from Alaska and I was immediately struck with the quality of her songwriting and the uniqueness of her material.  She was only here for a short while so we chose to record two songs, Civil Twilight and So You’ve Been Told.

Civil Twilight was a term I’d never heard before.  It’s “is the brightest phase of twilight, when the sun is less than 6° below the horizon.”  It’s legal to drive without your headlights on in civil twilight.

Lyrics:

Winter sure was long and dark I felt the freeze in every part
fire burned down to the weakest little ember.
You can see right through me caving in and I wonder
what happened to all my friends
I’ve been down that hole since last November.

But I can hear the river ice a breaking
smash me up and carry me away
Icy water naked freezing shaking
with empty hands and debts I just can’t pay

Well the sun has turned it up to civil twilight
the dark ain’t gone, just waiting in the hall
so let summer burn it off, no I really don’t want to talk.
we can leave the lights off til the fall.

Verse2
Biking to the riverside the sun so bright nowhere to hide
we both are plump and pale and scared of other
supposed to have something to say but my mind is blank I’m not okay
I need meat and fire and beer and all my brothers.

For the orchestration I wanted to create a simple warm sound which I obtained with two alternating cello lines, one plucked and lower and the other a more legato line on top.  I wanted crisp clean cymbal sounds, a water dropping type of effect and a simple vocal harmony to reflect the awakening of spring and the fragility and tenderness of this piece.  I kept the bass sweet and simple as well.

Producing for another artist was a wonderful experience and gives me some options for what to do with myself further down the road.

Thanks Carey!
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Carey on Soundcloud

Carey on Bandcamp

Carey on Itunes

The Institution

The struggle of all working artists who haven’t broken through the surface of their craft’s domain is the day job.   All those years of music education to be a secretary… and have a bed to sleep in, a pot to piss in, and maybe with enough hard work, you’ll manage to break through, but at least you won’t be sleeping on the street somewhere dreaming about the would have could haves.

Some dreams die easily.  I’m not going to be a famous dancer, doctor or a National Geographic  investigative journalist which were dreams that lit up like a firefly and burned out fast.  But I do have a particular set of skills that have grown into an ability from a teeny tiny little mustard seed and that ability continues to carry the root of who I am and what I have to offer.  That’s where this song comes from.

Flaming needles prick the darkness, hosed down halls that house the heartless, two pills in a paper cup, liquid soul, drink it up.

The Institution describes the cognitive dissonance I feel in my day job.  It doesn’t even matter what the day job, so it’s not tied to my current organization of employment.  I know I’m not the only one….