"FIRE SEASON" was one of the first songs written for "DANDELION", and one of the last to be completed before recording. Co-written with my good friend, Chris Holcombe, the arrangement came to me at about 3 in the morning one night as I heard a fire truck screaming by our condo in Glendale during the summer of 2008. A search for beauty in the midst of chaos. Love the way this track turned out, thanks to Steve Barton on guitar and ebow, Chuck Mancillas on drums, Jesse Stern on bass, James Tan on Violin, Jake Gideon on additional percussion and effects and yours truly on piano, acoustic-fuzz guitar, and misc trinkets.
This re-imagining of the "GOLDEN STATE" track was released exclusively on iTunes in late summer 2008, and was the first thing I recorded and released after my treatment and recovery from cancer. I always appreciated the poetry of contrast in this case - the frantic life and perspective I had pre-illness (as evident on the original recording), juxtaposed with the reflective and almost peaceful nature of this version. Sarah Scarlata on drums, a beautiful Jake Gideon mix and a Jason Wormer mastering. All portion of the proceeds from the sale of this single go to the Make-A-Wish Foundation.
One of the best times I've ever had in a studio - case of beer, bottle of tequila, a box of kazoos and 12 of my best friends wrecking havoc in front of the mic. Good Times. :) From the album, RELEASE.
Turning Toward The Sun
Written with my good friend Steve Barton during the depths of my illness, this was the first song of many written specifically for DANDELION - it was my prayer, my resolve, my promise. Steve and I actually wrote this one over email - bouncing ideas back and forth until the song was done very quickly in just a few replies. In the end, the song owes the most to Greg Jamrok's majestic string arrangement - recorded live with the basic track in the room, St Mark's Episcopal Church in Glendale. From the album, "DANDELION".
James Tan - Violin, Laurel Diskin - Viola / Photo by Cathy Schott
James Tan - Violin, Laurel Diskin - Viola, Daniel Mulliken - Cello / Photo by Cathy Schott
There's something about this song that seems to speak to the "AH-HA!" moment an artist discovers one day, when they realize the music game isn't gonna be as easy as they'd hoped. But thankfully, I'm in the best of company out there and there's a good bit of scotch left in the cupboard. :) From the album "GOLDEN STATE".
Simple Life (Bossa Nova Version)
This is the bossa nova instrumental version of SIMPLE LIFE that I recorded exclusively for use in the music video - it has not been heard without picture until now (which may have been for the best, but what the hell). All sounds (save for the vocals) were created on my 1986 Casio keyboard.
May The Sunrise Keep Us Warm
Life has a funny way of anticipating itself. This song was completed just before the launch of GOLDEN STATE, and actually debuted live at the release party in September 2007. Flash forward a year later, and we're recording the tune in a church with a string quartet. I'm blessed with many beautiful friends, family and spirit in this life - this song remains a testiment to that, the warmth we find in the deepest winters.
Too Far Gone
At the end of my chemotherapy treatment, my folks oh so kindly flew out to California for a week to watch the kids so Michelle and I could get away and celebrate our remission diagnosis (oh happy day!!!). This started out as a little lullaby for Michelle and I - written the day before we took off to Tahoe for a spell, but the songwriter in me took it slightly left of the truth (and a little more dour). But the exhale of that moment is definitely still there...
Seasons Turn (4-Track)
Recorded mostly live to 4-track cassette w/ Steven Wilson in the living room of my then empty new house on May 10, 2010, this is an alternate take on the opening track to my most recent record, "Dandelion". Recorded and mixed by Jake Gideon. Available as a FREE download for a limited time.
Simple Life (Too Poppy Remix)
In early 2009, I started a 6ish month series over at Too Poppy, kind of an audio and visual residency - we raided the vault and pulled together a few exclusive offerings every month, along with a new 'living room' acoustic performance video. This special acoustic remix of SIMPLE LIFE was created specifically for this series. I cracked open the original SIMPLE LIFE session, pared it back and added a few new bells and whistles (including a backwards music box, glockenspiel and percussion). The original (and more rockin' version) can be found on GOLDEN STATE, now available on iTunes.
Annie's Song - Web Exclusive
This is a very special little tune my son Tyler and I wrote together one afternoon after my youngest, Annie, was born. That's Tyler singing and he wrote almost all the words :)