Before Goodbye, The Song

Out today on CDBaby. Soon to be on iTunes, Spotify, Amazon—where the music is.

Out today on CDBaby. Soon to be on iTunes, Spotify, Amazon—wherever music lives. I wrote “Before Goodbye” to go along with my debut novel of the same name. You can get a copy of the song by clicking here. Hope you enjoy! “Before Goodbye” was recorded in Woodstock, NY and produced by the illustrious Kevin Salem.


Coal, Pressure, Time


Coal, Pressure, Time is the latest musical effort from Bandleader, a talented indie group fronted by Vermont singer songwriter Patrick McCormack.

When Patrick contacted me and said he was kickstarting a new project, I was super excited and immediately became a supporter. The campaign was a success, and Coal, Pressure, Time, was released earlier this month. Today I’m psyched to share my favorite track from the CD, Can, Have, Will, a beautiful song that starts with a perfectly recorded guitar part and a vocal that brings Nick Drake to mind—a Nick Drake who isn’t so detached.

The casual, conversational vocal style of Can, Have, Will also reminds me of one of my favorite records of all time, an alt/country CD called Trace, from Son Volt.

Can, Have, Will is full of sweetness. The tune is uplifting, and the lyrics are both a promise, and an apology.

Trust in me I’ll be your first

Drop the reigns, girl I can take your worst

I can take your worst


Speak to me, I’ll lend an ear

Tell me things like no one else should hear

You know it’s crystal clear


I owe your body and your soul for being so cold

I mistreated you, but I can make it right again

I can, I have, and I will


Seagull bones and stones you keep

Take them home, reminds you of the beach

When you went with me


Make it known our souls will keep

Spoken code scripted underneath

Scripted underneath


I owe your body and your soul for being so cold

I mistreated you, but I can make it right again

I can, I have, and I will

As someone who once recorded in a converted barn in upstate New York, I can imagine what it was like for Bandleader to set up a temporary studio in an old hunting lodge in the wilds of Vermont. Two words: Dream Session. Love this description from Bandleader‘s press kit:

“About an hour from familiar territory, the hand constructed hunting lodge sat cold in the remaining snow beside its recently thawed brook. Only here could the band escape cell reception and all responsibility to focus solely on the task at hand. They recruited trusted collaborator and Chicago based engineer, Jamie Carter. With a mutual dedication to the same ideals, they kept an unbroken focus on distilling a moment, and preserving expressions . . . The release of Coal, Pressure, Time marks the dawn of a young, ambitious band with a solid and determined path. With both eyes on the horizon, Bandleader carries on in search of new and fertile grounds on which to rest their amps.”


Nearly two years ago Sirenstories featured Ovenbird, one of the songs Patrick McCormack recorded as a  solo artist. It remains one my favorite songs on the blog. Please check it out here.  As far as the band, “Bandleader came together as a result of front man Patrick McCormack‘s quest to bring his singer/songwriter material to the stage. After recruiting three other like minded musicians, the band quickly outgrew the notion of playing backup, and instead, an unpredictably colorful sound took life.”

In our back and forth, Patrick explained, “The group consists of myself, Jordon Chamberlin, and Alex Cseh. Our bassist, Dan, is no longer a part of the band, officially. Though he is filling in at our next show, we are currently searching for a new bassist.  At the moment, we consider ourselves a three-piece, that’s the core group.  No hard feelings whatsoever with Dan, he just had too much on his plate, and lives 40 minutes away from us.”

Dan? You might want to rethink that commute.


Please follow Patrick McCormack on twitter and Bandleader on fb.

PS Isn’t the album art gorgeous? I’ll share info if I get it. Meanwhile, who wants a t-shirt? Yes, please.

In Love with Tyrants

As soon as I heard the whisper of the minimal, melodic guitar line, and the soft vocal, I fell in love with Car Alarmed by Tyrants. Sparse and atmospheric, Car Alarmed floated into my ears like a low-fi version of an undiscovered Stone Roses song, or a demo recorded by The xx.

The vocal and guitar in Car Alarmed are both restrained, almost impressionistic or ghost like in a way, until just past the minute and a half mark, when a perfect, shuffling drum groove kicks in, creating a song that could have served as a soundtrack to the dreams of great bands like Depeche Mode, New Order, or even The Cure. About two and half minutes into Car Alarmed a minimal guitar solo that both Neil Young and Kraftwerk would appreciate takes us to the end of the song, where everything drops away, leaving us with the mysterious gentle voice and finally, a few bare notes of the ghostly guitar part.

The lyrics for Car Alarmed read like a poem, one that I don’t necessarily understand—but I don’t care. This is the kind of swimming sound I adore, perfect music for writing and dreaming.

No misery she said, then you’re dead
These bones need to hide
I was dying all the time

In the streets she lays her charades
Underneath her arms
I woke up car alarmed

Paris Green among her different shades
I’ll never know your names
But I’ll love you just the same

Floor boards creak, I weigh their decay
Underneath her arms
I woke up car alarmed

After listening to Car Alarmed over and over and searching unsuccessfully for more info about Tyrants, I contacted the band to see if they’d send me a bit more info. I was surprised and charmed by the response I received.

“I am the only musician under the name Tyrants, a 19-year-old singer songwriter born in France, but currently based out of Burlington, Vermont. When I was 15 I first heard the album “Is This It?” by The Strokes and decided that I needed to make music. This became difficult as I didn’t meet the prerequisite of knowing how to play an instrument. Since then, I’ve taught myself how to play guitar, bass, piano and drums (all of which are featured on Car Alarmed) to appease the demands of my creativity.

The emotive nature of the song Car Alarmed was found in the surreal experience of being outside in the pouring rain under a dazzling sun and blue sky. This, I would also recommend is the way the song should be enjoyed. My advice: put this song on your iPod and get lost in the woods for a while.

Unfortunately I don’t have any other exciting links to share with you as this is the first song I have ever put on the internet. However, this should change very soon as my laptop has just been returned to me with more that 75 Tyrants projects on it.”

Seventy-five. I can’t wait.

Below is the only image I have for Tyrants. I have no idea who this woman is or what she means to Tyrants, and I don’t care. I just want to hear another song like Car Alarmed. Now.


The best titles, whether they are created for books, or chapters within books, movies, or songs, are often miniature works of art. Tiny poems that are thought provoking or evocative. Eye catching and quirky, Ovenbird is exactly that. It’s also great to say: Ovenbird Ovenbird Ovenbird. When I first read the word, it was new to me, and I found it both  familiar and strange, which is exactly what makes it a wonderful title for this understated love song by Patrick McCormack.

Back in ’08, when I moved away

Settled in well, but I was afraid

I mistook every slightest noise for knocks on my door

Good morning, again.

Soon found a job, but it had my time

Forgot my friends, had I lost my mind

I jumped the turnstiles just to get home, and I hadn’t a phone

Good morning, again.

I sang alone to you from stage

I’d do it all again today

I meant every word that I ever sang

And every chord I played

So leave me all wrinkled and lost in the sheets

Dreadful is the morning that takes you from me

Still got the same old mattress today, but you wont complain

Good morning, again.


As you can hear, Ovenbird is a sweet celebration of love written in triple meter and reminiscent of the late Elliott Smith. After Patrick McCormack uploaded the song to the Sirenstories SooundCloud I asked him to please share his inspiration for the tune. (Secretly I just wanted to know what the title meant — KIDDING. I love the song and wanted to know everything about it.)

“The lyrical inspiration for Ovenbird drew from the beginnings of my independent life.  I was broke, jobless, and living in a new city (Chicago.)  So there was quite a lot of stress, but rarely was I angry or miserable about it.  I had a great partner every step of the way, and she’s the real meaning behind those lyrics.  She was always at my side with a great positive energy; I think that’s what comes through on the instrumental bridge.  Something as simple as waking up together really lessened the blow of my day-to-day.

“The title comes from a side project that my girlfriend (Katherine) and I were working on during that time period.  She would illustrate a national bird, and I would make a corresponding instrumental song.  Argentina’s national bird is The Red Ovenbird, and I had an instrumental track that later became the bridge of Ovenbird.”

Confession: Before Patrick McCormack joined the Sirenstories group and uploaded Ovenbird, I had heard the song before. Filmmaker Edward Burns who, in his words, “makes those small talky New York movies about the Irish guys from Long Island” ran a contest on SoundCloud to find a song for his work in progress, Newlyweds. 

Usually singer songwriter PT Walkley writes the music for Ed Burns’ films, and he wrote the majority of the songs for Newlyweds. However Patrick McCormack‘s Ovenbird fits right in, as if he wrote it specifically for the movie. If I told you why Ovenbird works so perfectly in Newlyweds, I’d be dropping a spoiler, so watch the film for yourself and listen for Ovenbird. It’s perfectly placed.

I’m sure many more of Patrick McCormack‘s songs will be well placed. A multi instrumentalist and composer from Vermont, McCormack’s diverse, poppy songs, and instrumental pieces that are sometimes spare, sometimes spacious, make his music a great choice for film — indie and commercial. I urge you to explore his recordings by clicking on the covers below.

PS I also encourage you to check out Newlyweds. In Newlyweds, as in all of his movies,  Edward Burns shows us familiar people with familiar traits in familiar relationships, and yet somehow, he gives us something completely fresh, funny, and profound. We know Burns’ characters, but they surprise us.

I watched Newlyweds by myself, but I didn’t feel alone. Maybe that’s because I saw my friends in the movie, or maybe because I saw myself. Ed Burns’ movies might be small, but they express universal truths, which is also a good description of Patrick McCormack‘s songs.

Please support original music and add to the buzz about Patrick McCormack‘s music by ‘liking’ his fb page. Thank you.