Siren Sweet 16 is Rebecca Jordan

“Sitting in the silence with me and my unspoken words” is the opening line for Rebecca Jordan and Marc Swersky‘s perfect song, Unspoken Words.

Unspoken Words is, among other things, a song I wish I wrote. Enjoy.

Although the song is filled with light and the slightly shuffling groove on the verses gives it an upbeat feel, Unspoken words also has an underlying sadness.

“Love gets left behind if you don’t speak your mind.”

The easy-going acoustic guitars and conversational country alt vocals on Unspoken Words lead me to believe that Lucinda Williams and Michelle Shocked are among Rebecca Jordan’s influences.

After today, I’ll count her among mine.

Rebecca wrote Unspoken words with songwriter and producer Marc Swersky whose influences are obviously many.

I mentioned Marc on day 5 of Sirenstories, he and Gedeon Luke wrote Going Up together, and Marc produced Going up as well. Mark also produced Home in a Bit which I posted a few days ago, a great song by Open til Midnight, and I assume he produced  Unspoken Words.

Marc is a multitalented musician, and a he’s a huge music fan. He has to be, he makes music for a living. When he read about my idea for Sirenstories, he wrote me a note and told me how much he loved it. I’m so grateful to Marc for turning me on to so many wonderful artists in the last couple of weeks. Marc, keep the music coming!

The chord changes in Unspoken words, at around 2:40 are making me miss my guitar so much, I’m going to have to end here today. Thanks for the inspiration Rebecca and Marc. I’m off to see an old friend.

And you Listeners, I hope you’re on your way to Rebecca Jordan’s website. Click on the pic.

Week 3 of Sirenstories Starts with The Summarily Dismissed

My first reaction, right now, as I listen to Your Salve for Sorrow for the first time is, oooohh  . . . what have we got here?

The Summarily Dismissed has given us a song that’s sending me back through time and making me think, I CAN’T WAIT to stop typing so I can post this tune on a the fb page of a certain friend of mine who luuuuvvs this kind of music!

Here’s what the artist says about the song:

“The second single off the brand-new album “To Each!” by The Summarily Dismissed is Your Salve for Sorrow, a classic R&B-style mid-tempo tune with an Al Green-style groove.”

The Summarily Dismissed is the brainchild of composer/lyricist/keyboardist Ari Shagal, and the album consists of 11 of her original songs, featuring Matt Lomeo and Ferima Faye on lead vocals. Lomeo takes the lead on Your Salve for Sorrow, with Faye and Shagal providing backing vocals on the chorus. Let this infectious groove get into your head and into your soul!”

Your Salve for Sorrow has definitely gotten into my head! I’ve heard the tune a few times now. It’s one of those songs that gets better and better with each listen.

Thanks so much to The Summarily Dismissed for sharing Your Salve for Sorrow with Sirenstories. The song put a smile on my face.

Click on the pic to visit The Summarily Dismissed on fb.

Brielle Brown Ends Week 2 of Sirenstories

A song that starts with acoustic guitar is always going to grab my ear, not only because I love the sound of acoustic guitars, but because for me, hearing an acoustic guitar playing at the beginning of a song is the equivalent of  hearing the words, “Once upon a time . . .” at the start of a story.

No matter how many times we hear those words, we always want to hear what comes next.

And so the sweet acoustic guitar playing at the beginning of Brielle Brown‘s lovely song We Both Know immediately drew me in.

But even as I was enjoying the music, I was asking, what’s next? Because, since there are a million songs that start with acoustic guitar, it’s also like starting a conversation with a promise. The promise goes like this: “I can start my song with this guitar part, because not only is it a beautiful guitar part, but because I’m setting you up for something just as good that will follow.”

Brielle Brown doesn’t disappoint. When she sang the lyrics,

“You and I and the headlights . . . ”

I was right there with her in the car.

As soon as I heard that opening line, my mind said, classic. The first line of We Both Know put me right in the story.

I’d love to know if it does the same for you.

Brielle Brown‘s voice is new to me and yet it’s familiar in a wonderful way. Shawn Colvin crossed with a country singer who catches my ear while I’m driving along spinning the radio dial. Okay, punching the preset stations or the seek button. But you get it.

“You and I both know,

I’m still learning how to love you . . . ”

We Both Know is sweet and powerful at the same time. My intuition tells me that Brielle Brown is the same way.

Click on the pic to learn about Brielle Brown and hear more of her music.

Home in a Bit

Home in a Bit starts with an electric guitar. A simple riff. A good riff.

So good, that just for a second, I thought maybe there was an old Rolling Stones tune I hadn’t heard. Something from the Little Red Rooster era, but less bluesy and . . . I don’t know, recorded in a cleaner studio.

I really knew it couldn’t be the Stones, because I think I’ve heard every Rolling Stones tune ever written, but it made me very hopeful that I was about to discover a great new band.

When the vocals came in, and I heard that just like the guitar, they sounded slightly gritty, or maybe, ‘real’ is a better word. An aural impression of Jack White flashed through my brain.

As I listened to the unadorned edge of the singer’s voice, I realized that not only did I like the sound of his voice but that he was—thoughtful.

“Should I be, withholding?

. . . expressive when inspired . . .”

Ah, a sensitive guy who sings.

I’m hooked.

And suddenly the whole song changes, and becomes infused with hope. The production leans towards poppy—comes close to that boy band sound, and I mean that in good way—but keeps a dark sounding edge.

Then I realize the song is a love song, and the singer is comparing his love interest to an angel, and saying that this person is “his wish.” Ooh, the band is swoonworthy.

Halfway through the song I had to know who the band was (the tune was uploaded by someone who’s user name is a number) so I clicked on the track. I saw the band name, Open til Midnight and clicked on the url that Mr. Numbers had thoughtfully provided, along with the fact that the band is from NYC. On the site I found, among other things, including free downloads, these great pics from a live show.

Okay, so, I’ve been trying really hard not to say it, but . . .  these guys are, you know, hawt. I feel like I’m allowed to say that because, well, just look at the pics. And, confession time—if you don’t already know—I write YA novels, and well, these are the kinds of guys in my books. Seriously. Cute musician boys who are angsty and swoonworthy.

I’m really tempted to put an excerpt from one of my manuscripts right here, to show you what I mean but, I have something even better. Click on Mick.

The video shows that not only was Mick once über hawt, but he also loved creepy stuff, like . . . YA paranormal novels.

Special thanks to Open til Midnight who got someone to upload their song Home in a Bit just in time to make our weekend last an extra day and who I know will forgive me for goofing around a little and calling them hawt ;) I’ll definitely be adding Home in a Bit to one of my writing playlists. The best way to write a certain kind of guy is to have his voice in my ear.

Click on their photos to find out more about Open til Midnight, looks like they’re playing soon in NYC. Go see them. You know you want to.

On the Twelfth Day of Sirenstories . . .

I went with Anne Carley to Vinegar Hill.

Anne Carley appropriately calls Vinegar Hill a “Story Song” but I’m pretty sure there’s more than one tale being told in this deceptively simple tune that on first listen, sounds sunny.

Vinegar Hill seems simple on the surface, it opens with a lovely guitar riff in that hands you an invitation to kick back and relax. When Anne’s sweet vocal comes in, light and innocent, you think you know where things stand.

So, if you want to pour your coffee and squeeze your oj while a summer breeze blows through your open kitchen window (not sure why I keep seeing sunny yellow kitchens with country curtains during the last couple of tunes on Sirenstories) and pretend there’s nothing suspicious about this song, then read no further, just enjoy the music.

But  someone who refers to her music as “Brechtian tintype chamber-pop” probably isn’t going to write something simple, and sure enough, after one or two listens to Vinegar Hill, questions prickled my skin.

I started to wonder: why did the singer go to Vinegar Hill in the first place? The name doesn’t exactly sound like a vacation destination, so, it must be . . . ding! A metaphor.

Next. Who did she go with? Whoever it was, I’m a little worried about this character. The singer says, “One time I crossed that bridge (to Vinegar Hill) happy, the next time I crossed it, I crossed it alone.”

Am I just being haunted by John Laprade’s felon from yesterday’s post, or am I on to something?

The singer says going to Vinegar Hill felt like having all the time in the world, and yet, she doesn’t know the way back. I’m thinking, Lost weekend. You’ve seen that movie, right?

The biggest brain teaser is, why does Vinegar Hill remind the singer of Texas? It sounds like Vinegar Hill reminds her of Texas in a good way . . . and she sings about her oldest friend . . . but Anne Carley says, “Vinegar Hill is a neighborhood across the river from Manhattan” so I want to know, what’s the Texas connection?

Anne, you say Vinegar Hill is a story song. I want to know the rest of the story. Are we going to get a Vinegar Hill Part II? You know, if you don’t write it, one of the other Sirens is going to have to jump in and do it. John?

The singer took no pictures of the person she went to Vinegar Hill with, and she sounds slightly sad about that. But hey, pictures could wind up as evidence, right? Evidence of a broken heart? Or something more? ;)

Although you can’t learn more about the singer’s mysterious trip to Vinegar Hill now, you can learn more about Anne Carley—who I hope will understand I’ve had a bit of fun here with her beautiful song, which I obviously find inspiring—by clicking on the cover of her CD, Portfolio.

P.S. I know you know this, but Bertolt Brecht was a German poet, playwrite, and theater director who believed in collective and collaborative work methods. With that in mind, Anne would probably dig it if you wrote VH Pt. II and posted it on Sirenstories. Just sayin’.

World Class Faker

Meet the eleventh Siren, John Laprade.

For me, World Class Faker sounds best once you know the backstory.

Singer songwriter John Laprade says, “World Class Faker is the title track from my new album. I hope you like it. It was my attempt at writing from the prospective of a just released felon and what thoughts and feelings might be running through his mind.”

So did I do the right thing? Letting you read the story first? It explains everything in one line.

Without the story, I don’t know if I’d ever suspect this guy of being anything but nice, and maybe slightly wounded. His voice sounds so easy-going, I can imagine him sitting in my kitchen, singing while I . . . make breakfast. He wouldn’t mind that I’m not a good cook, he’s a nice guy. Eggs, toast, that would be enough. That’s what I thought on first listen.

But then, with one line of text, John Laprade changed everything. I would have suspected metaphor, but no. This is a Sirenstory. This sweet singer is one of those psychotically calm people who could snap at any moment. 1974? Yeah, this guy has a sweet voice—and a knife up his sleeve.

You really got me John. I Love World Class Faker. It gets better with each listen and the drums are addictive. I’d love to hear the White Stripes rev it up and spit it out . . . or maybe Morrissey could change a chord or two and make it his own. Imagine Nick Cave . . . You know, we’re going to have to do a remix day here on Sirenstories. You all could cover each other’s songs. Wow, that’s such a cool idea! What do you think?

I popped around online looking for more info on John Laprade (I can do that, it’s the weekend, but I’d LOVE to take a commercial break here to remind the artists who upload to the Sirenstories SoundCloud to PLEASE answer the half-dozen questions I ask so I have easy access to your info. Lyrics would be nice too!) and I found this video for his song Blind. I can’t wait to show it to my five-year old son, he hangs out with guys like this all the time.

Day 10 on Sirenstories is . . . Obvious.

Singer songwriter Patti Witten gets a 10 out of 10 for her song Obvious.

The tune is killing me—in a good way—with its Elliott Smith overtones.

Patti Witten has an ease to her singing, as if wandering around her wide range is simply a sweet ramble.

Listening to Patti’s casual vocal style, I imagine Joni Mitchell on a lazy day:

She’s on the couch, relaxing, maybe reading the paper. She’s not going to get up just to tell you something you ought to know. She looks at you over the top of her glasses, sighs, and puts her paper down. She gives you another look, then picks up her guitar. Maybe now you’ll get it.

As Patti sings, “You are the one I want, isn’t it obvious?” I’m thinking, she’s got the right idea. Life is short, people like Elliot Smith—who I am now missing so much I feel like crying—vanish overnight, so why play games? Just say it, whatever it is.

Patti Witten said this about Obvious:

“This is what it’s like to have an embarrassing, stupid crush — everybody knows — it’s obvious.”

To me, the singer doesn’t sound embarrassed at all. I imagine her steady gaze as she tells it like it is.

Obvious is such a great concept, I wish I’d thought of it. I’m kicking myself. It should have been . . . obvious.

But okay. Patti Witten is great songwriter and she wrote the song Obvious, so I can’t. However I’m telling you now People, I’m writing the book. YA romance. Totally. Obviously.

Thanks for the inspiration Patti. I’ll mention you in the acknowledgments. And we’ll use your song in the movie, okay?

Obvious has a mysterious guitar part and the drums play a shuffling groove. This simple instrumentation, with what I’m guessing are a few added effects on the layered guitars is perfect, and the song sounds somehow both small and momentous. But it’s the chord progression, with Patti’s voice sliding around on top, that makes me want to listen to the song over and over.

So I am.