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.

 

Little Heart

How cold of you, little heart

How sweet and liquid you tried to deceive

Little Heart is a subtle Valentine. Beautiful in its simplicity, the song grows more poignant and profound with each listen. Topping out at a minute and a half, Little Heart is short. To catch the full meaning of this delicate, minimalist piece, I recommend that you play it over and over, like I did.

An impressionistic wisp of a song, Little Heart consists only of a lead vocal and evocative background vocals, sung in pure tones and whispers. Vocals that sigh with yearning, even as the lyrics scold.

Lisa West, a songwriter from Denton, Texas who records under the name Faerytale, found her inspiration for Little Heart in the writings of Tolkien, and in the idea that, “we tend to be hardest on ourselves”.

How cold of you, little heart

How sweet and liquid you tried to deceive

Did you honestly believe my eyes did not see?

Now backtrack, little heart, now run

Do you honestly believe you run from me?

Try to find those paths by which you came

And be careful, little heart, you are lame

Cold, grey, victim of your own sway

I was not, we were not

Equals, little heart, friendly, kind

My eyes bore into your motive and we both saw

Run, little heart, run

lisawest

Read more about Lisa West on EaRiE. Connect with her fb.

And—

Happy Valentines’s Day from Sirenstories

X♥X

God Damn I Don’t Know.

Michelle Held painting

The availability of digital recording software, apps, and dyi culture, coupled with the constant state of flux of the music industry, has allowed the process of home recording to become just as sophisticated and creative as studio recording. These days, plenty of talented musicians make their records at home.

And then there are the musicians that make their records sound like home.

That’s the case with Michelle Held—whose name is a speck of a song all its own, go ahead, say it aloud—a singer songwriter from Detroit, who “has a big heart and a guitar” and whose gorgeous song, God Damn I Don’t Know, (which she recorded at home), is a thing of beauty and provocation.

Somebody said I should believe in you 
And somebody else said that you’re just not true 
And the other guy he claims it’s just a vibration between the two 
He said we’re always in motion 
And the other guy says that’s just some magic notion he made up 
To fill in the gaps

Everybody’s walkin along at their own accord tryin to get some sort of award 
Cause they think it means somethin 
But I don’t know I don’t know what it means anymore 
I’m tryin to clear my head 
I’m just walkin along thinkin about people who’re passed and dead 
And I don’t know where they gone to

Thinkin about em makes me sad and blue 
And it makes me wanna stay so damn true 
But I don’t know I don’t know who to stay true to 
Everybody’s right and singin their own song and if they sing it loud enough 
They’ll be able to prove you wrong 
But I don’t know I don’t know anymore

And the other guy says that I do know 
And I got all I need to prove it’s so 
But I don’t know I don’t know if he knows what he’s talkin about 
Everything now seems strange to me 
You seem weird too but don’t take that personally 
Cause I don’t I don’t know what I’m talkin about

And if it’s true if it’s true that I do know 
And I got all I need to prove it’s so 
Well if that’s true if that’s true then why do I feel so God Damn blue 
And now I’m afraid I just offended you 
But those are just some letters that somebody threw together 
And who’s to say who’s to say they have to remain that way

Maybe all that was once tried and true has grown 
And what was set in stone has been blown it ain’t new no more but old 
And all the stories we were sold how can you be sure that they still hold 
Maybe the person who said it was black or white or good or bad 
Was just as sad and blue as you and me and 
Maybe he was trying to find his own way tryin to find a way to break free too

And the other guy said just take the time commit your mind 
And sooner or later you’ll be fine 
But I don’t know I don’t know I don’t know if he’s right 
But I hope he’s right I hope what he’s sayin is true 
And I hope this fight takes me from here to you 
Cause if it don’t take me somewhere well that don’t seem fair

And you gotta remember the joy’s in the journey 
But does the joy end after they wheel you out on that gurney 
I don’t know I don’t know anymore . . . 

Michelle Held has contributed several songs to the Sirenstories SoundCloud and God Damn I Don’t Know is my favorite. Although there are plenty of differences in style, for example Held’s voice is unparalleled when it comes to vibrato, Michelle Held makes me think of Rickie Lee Jones, early Michele Shocked, and Elizabeth Cotton—quite an aural cocktail.

God Damn I Don’t Know is a song written out frustration with  life; not knowing what to do with it. Think Held’s figured it out, yeah?

Love the tags she used on SoundCloud: Indie. Folk. Tired of the Bullshit. Question Everything.

Please follow Michelle Held on fb and twitter.

Then check out Libby, still going strong at 92.

The Best Teachers are Sirens

Meet Mrs. McGee . . .

A total Siren, right?

Mrs. McGee is the teacher featured in What Do You Want to Be? a new picture book written by Beth Carter and illustrated by Leo Silva.

I ‘met’ Beth on author David Harrison‘s wonderful blog about two years ago. At that time, I was going to his blog almost every day for inspiration. David has written over eighty children’s books and runs a Word of the Month poetry contest on his site that’s great fun. If you need inspiration, I suggest you try it, the word prompt will get your pen moving. For me, the experience was more about community than contest, and I felt like my poems had a home on David’s site even though they were all really works in progress.

When she found out that What Do You Want to Be? was going to be published, Beth, who lives in Missouri, asked me if I would write a song to go along with her book. I said yes, and last weekend I went up to Woodstock with #MySonIs5 to record the track that What Do You Want to Be? inspired. Hope you enjoy it!

Here are a few pics of #MySonIs5 recording his part at Kevin Salem‘s studio in Woodstock.

After a while, what starts out as fun in the studio becomes work, and even #MySonIs5 begins to feel the pressure . . .

Finally he finishes, and takes a bow. #MySonIs5 has stamina in the studio and—what? What did you just ask me? Did I actually make him listen to old Grateful Dead on the drive home from Woodstock? Um.

Click on the pic of Mrs. McGee to get a copy of Beth Carter‘s book for your kids. If they like the song, tell Beth and she’ll probably send you a copy, or come back and listen any time here on Sirenstories.

To learn more about Beth Carter, visit her blog, Banter with Beth

What Do You Want To Be?  Song lyrics

What do you want to be?

Asked Mrs. McGee

Raise you hands high and share your dreams with me

What do you want to be?

What do you want to be?

Raise you hands high and share your dreams with me

When I arrived at school today

My teacher smiled and said let’s play

Join me in a circle on the floor

She asked us all what we held dear

The people we loved to be near

And what we thought the future held in store

She gave us crayons & pens & pads

She said, no answer’s wrong or bad

Just think my friends then think a little more

Use pictures, words; free thoughts like birds

Express yourself and you’ll be heard

You’ll learn in part what you are all here for

What do you want to be?

Asked Mrs. McGee

Raise you hands high and share your dreams with me

What do you want to be?

What do you want to be?

Raise you hands high and share your dreams with me (I don’t know!)

A baker or a builder,                          

Or a swimmer in the sea

A mommy having babies (Maybe!)

Or a maybe a daddy

A dentist, doctor, artist, author                              

Teacher, Forest ranger, or you might like to sing . . . (I’d like that!)

You can do anything!  (Definitely.)

What do you want to be?

Asked Mrs. McGee

Raise you hands high and share your dreams with me

What do you want to be?

What do you want to be?

Raise you hands high and share your dreams with me

An astronaut, a lawyer

Or a farmer growing trees (Next stop outer space!)

The president, a fireman

A keeper keeping bees

A dancer, banker, preacher, painter

Help save things are endangered (Yeah, like pandas!) maybe you’ll sew . . .

You can give it a go!  (I think I might want to think about this . . .)

What do you want to be?

Asked Mrs. McGee (A baseball player!)

Raise you hands high and share your dreams with me

What do you want to be?

What do you want to be?  (A candy maker!)

Raise you hands high and share your dreams with me

(A cow!)

(I just want to be me.)


Believe in Sirens

I believe in a deep earth smell and in the sound of the falling rain

In tripping over my heavy heart

And in getting up again

These are a few of the wonderful lines from I Believe by singer songwriter Denise Moser. Accompanied by a lovely acoustic guitar part and minimal rhythm track that includes a supportive piano, the line is delivered with quiet breath of a chuckle that immediately brings to mind the laughing singspeak of Alanis Morissette. Indeed, I Believe could be an early Alanis song, Alanis on a mellow day.

Denise Moser‘s vocal vibrato gives her a slightly tentative sound, as if she is exploring her voice and her ideas, perhaps for the first time. This doesn’t make her sound inexperienced, instead the slight quaver in her voice gives her performance a freshness, a newness. Her performance of I Believe is restrained—a quality I love—as if the she is hesitant to share her personal list of favorite things. These are the details of her delivery conspire to draw the listener in.

The fact that the lyrics of I Believe are a list of favorite things, brings to mind the Rodgers and Hammerstein song My Favorite Things, one of the greatest songs of all times and one of my personal favorites. I Believe will be forever linked in my mind to My Favorite Things, how cool is that?

I Believe expresses Denise Moser‘s love of nature and family while deftly exposing her love of love as well as her tenderness. Knee deep walks in snow, apologies, weaknesses, dreams; these are all on Denise’s list, which is a list of things literally stated or implied. Her use of strong yet simple images that often comfort make the song poetic, but it is the invisible things she sings about, and the way her slightly tremulous voice gently nudges us until our own emotions step forward  for our examination, that makes the song art.

I Believe in a second chance and in a brand new fresh mistake . . . 

My recommendation is that you listen to I Believe multiple times, because the song gets better with each listen. With every play the song reveals another corner of Denise Moser‘s heart and if you listen long enough to her honest, encouraging voice, you’ll find that your own heart will mostly likely yield some hidden pain or joy. It wasn’t until I’d listened to the song half a dozen times that I found myself in tears.

Let this song break you open and help you discover or rediscover your Dreaming Self. If you’re already living your dream, this song will be a faithful companion.

My wish for this Philadelphia singer songwriter is that she continues to write and share her music, and I’m sure she will, because she believes. I do too.

Click on the cover art by Alisa Lowden Preston to get your own copy of I Believe.

 

I believe in winter boots, and in clean slate snowy days

In knee deep walks through the neighborhood

And in a dried oak fire blaze

I believe in sleeping in, and in grasping at a fading dream

I believe in saying what I mean

I believe in I’m so sorry, and do you know I care

I believe in I can see you there

 

I believe in a deep earth smell and in the sound of the falling rain

In tripping over my heavy heart

And in getting up again

I believe in letting go of those things that I cannot change

I believe in reaching past my range

I believe in it’s my turn, and I’ve waited for too long

I believe in wishing on a song

 

I believe that what makes you you, well it’s the same thing that makes me me

That our differences are more the same

Than we ever would believe

I believe in my own words of in the beauty of today

I believe in brown hair turning gray

I believe in a second chance, and in a brand new fresh mistake

I believe in giving what I take

 

I believe I’m a daddy’s girl, and I’ve always had a broken heart

I’ve tried to find my way back home

And it’s never been that far

I believe in tenderness, and being kind in love

I believe the dreams that I dream of

I believe in magic stones and in taking off my shoes

Do you know – I believe in you…



Do Sirens Wear Sensible Shoes?

I love this lyric:

Moving Day, I tore up your picture and packed the frame.

Check out Moving Day by Sensible Shoes.

Catch Sensible Shoes tonight at the Orchard House Cafe, NYC.

Read my earlier blog to learn more about the Vermont based band Sensible Shoes the group film director Jonathan Demme says, “Rules the blues news!”

Click on the poster to connect with Sensible Shoes on fb.


Never The Bride, Always the Siren

I’m not going to get super personal, but I want to explain why I haven’t been posting music lately. It’s because I’ve been overwhelmed.

Things have been very intense around here. As some of you know, Irene created a landslide in front of our home, and although our house isn’t in danger at this point, we have to do something or we’ll probably lose part of our yard. We can no longer go into the garden, or our gazebo, which hangs precariously on the edge of the cliff. The gazebo is from the 1930’s. My husband and I got married in it. Let’s not look for a sign. I’m debating posting pictures.

We’ve had engineers and FEMA and lots of other people climbing around on the cliff/hill this week. Some of our neighbors are having similar problems so people are talk, talk, talking and the phone’s been ringing off the hook.
Meanwhile, #MySonIs5 started school this week, Kindergarden, so my emotions have run high. And although I’m thrilled I’ll supposedly be getting more writing time, with all the extra school mommy stuff, so far, I’ve only seen a few extra hours.
It’s amazing how #MySonIs5 starting school has brought out the wicked perfectionist part of my personality. I think I bought him three different pairs of boots this week. One of them will fit just right. I thought I had eradicated Miss Perfection long ago through yoga practice so I’m disappointed to see her around. Ugh.

I’m tired, so tired I don’t want to keep fighting that feeling. I want to embrace it. I think it will be easier, right? To just fall into the feeling. So today I’m posting Gotta Get Back from Never The BrideNikki Lamborn‘s voice sounds exactly how I feel. Worn.

The big difference is that Nikki Lamborn‘s voice sounds worn in a good way, like old Rolling Stones worn, like Torn and Frayed  worn. Like your favorite and most comfortable jeans worn.

I almost want to hear a rougher production here, something broken, something stumbling, but the production on Gotta Get Back is perfect, and Never The Bride is a better band because of that. The crystal clear sound and well thought out rock production really does support Nikki Lamborn perfectly. I can tell she must be a strong woman, Never The Bride is a rock band with history, but if she had to let it all go, if she had to lean, or even collapse, this band would catch her.

I could say a lot more about Never The Bride and Gotta Get Back, but check this out:

Roger Daltrey of The Who: described Bristol-born Nikki Lamborn as “The best rock voice since Janis Joplin.”

Enough said.

Except for one more thing. If you love Melissa Etheridge, you’ll love Never The Bride and the classic rock sound of Gotta Get Back.

Click on the pics to go to Never The Bride‘s various web pages.

Bob Harris, BBC Radio 2: Never The Bride: “An absolutely brilliant band, one of the best live bands in Britain.”

By the way, that’s Nikki at the top of the post, not me. I feel a lot better now. Thanks for listening.

And special thanks to Never The Bride for uploading their song to the Sirenstories SoundCloud.

If you want to submit one of your songs to Sirenstories, go to SoundCloud.com and join the Sirenstories group. Then share a song with the group. I’ll do the rest.

A Siren Who Does Yoga

Go ahead. Give yourself a few minutes to stretch. Or just give yourself a few minutes. Let go of your cynicism and surrender to Freedom, track 6 of the CD, Yoji Ananda and the Inquisitive Cobra from New Jersey artist Yoji Ananda.

Freedom is a yoga pop song which includes several different Sanskrit and Gurmukhi mantras. The melody is so full of yearning that if you give in to the song, especially just after minute two, when the chorus comes in for the second time, with harmony, you’ll want to listen to it over and over.

Yoji Ananda and the Inquisitive Cobra is a CD for anyone, but yoga instructors and practitioners especially will love the diverse mix of styles used to create this collection of lovely and mysterious songs.

Yoji Ananda and the Inquisitive Cobra is a great CD to practice yoga to. Yoji Ananda has a beautiful voice and plays 12-string guitar. She also does drum programming and plays keys on the CD which features her brother John Navarra—The Inquisitive Cobra—on clay pot, darabouka, and konnakol vocals. Other talented musicians play on Yoji Ananda and the Inquisitive Cobra and I especially enjoyed Chris Finnegan’s uilleann pipes.

So go ahead. Unroll your yoga mat, if you don’t have one just lie on the floor. Breathe deeply, and listen to your body. What kind of movement would your body enjoy? Don’t tell your body what to do, just listen and allow your physical body to reveal what it wants, how it feels. Check in with your emotions. Accept how you feel without judgement or criticism. Allow yourself to be exactly as you are. Be aware of any pulsing in the body, or tingling sensations. Stretch. Breathe. Make a sound.

Stretch. Breathe. Accept. Relax. And tell everyone about Freedom.

PS Click on Yoji Ananda‘s pic and you’ll wind up at her fb page where you may learn some surprising things about her . . ..

Have a beautiful day, and remember to breathe.

The Fighter

Sydney-based singer/songwriter Dan Schaumann‘s The Fighter begins with an almost languid guitar intro—beautifully played—making the opening of The Fighter sounds more like a lover.

Half a minute into the song the tempo picks up, and just under the minute mark Dan’s voice comes in, delicious Aussie accent and all.

The verses are gorgeous with the tail end of the first sounding like Elliott Smith has stopped by, and the end of the second giving us the on ramp to a chorus that, when it comes, kicks up the energy level of the tune so that you finally hear the song is indeed about a fighter. I love this slow reveal, and I found myself wondering if fighting with this guy would be so bad.




Dan Schaumann comes close to speaking at times, a singing style that I love and prize because it shows the singer is inhabiting his body and not just his head. Stories and passions come from the body and Dan’s style conveys a from-the-gut honesty.

Dan is soon to release his debut album, A Thousand Days Beneath The Sun. Recorded and produced in Brisbane by James North Productions, it consists of thirteen self-penned tracks which predominantly reflect the rapturous, romantic and remorseful emotions experienced while residing in England for 15 months during 2008-2009 – over 16,000 kilometres away from home in Australia.

This song, The Fighter, refers to the state of emotional turmoil brought on by fighting excessively hard to hold onto a past love which has passed the point of salvage. Eventually, even the greatest fighter has to call it a day and move on.

The Fighter

Oh the fighter with his heaven in his heart and his hell to behold 
His desire is to remedy the scar of the flame to her soul 
Oh denier with the heaviness imparted he dreams he could change 
Cruel reminders of the innocence of love vs the means to remain

Persevere 
Through your tears 
Learn your lesson well

Oh the hour, will it speed or will it burn with a laboured old fuse 
Not an answer to the plead, a deafly ear and a reason to lose 
Oh the fighter will he stay or will he stray far away from his means 
All the while through her silence and his tears he will conquer with the thrill of her nightmares

Oh the fighter 
Oh the fighter 
Oh the fighter 
Oh the fighter

Oh the fighter will end it before it’s repaired 
The fighter surrenders and shows that he cares 
The fighter will end it before it’s repaired 
The fighter surrenders and shows that he cares

Dan’s got a great website, click on the photo above to visit. Click on the pic below to go to his fb page.
I’m looking forward to reading Dan’s blog posts about his ghosts and dreams of electricity.
I might even browse his photos of toilets.
Hmm.
Maybe I’ll just keep listening to The Fighter instead.
Good luck with A Thousand Days Beneath The Sun Dan, and  thank you for sharing your music with Sirenstories.
Hope your tour brings you to Asbury Park.

Listen to the title Track of Jennifer Haase’s New CD!

Did you ever get the feeling that you’ve disappointed so many people, you’ll never be invited anywhere ever again?

That’s the idea behind the upbeat title track of Jennifer Haase‘s brand new folk-pop album No More Invitations.

I’m listening now, and actually, I bet she has an inbox crammed full of invites.

Jennifer Haase, a New York City singer songwriter originally from Nebraska, is a Siren with a “Jewel-Meets-Mary Chapin Carpenter” sound. She was thoughtful enough to include lyrics when she uploaded No More Invitations to the Sirenstories SoundCloud.

Heard you’ve got a chip that’s the size of your head
Sittin’ on your neck speaking for you instead
All the clucking hens at your Aunt’s house for tea
Say you’ve lost some friends in your family tree

There’ll be no more invitations
There’ll be no more invitations

Heard you’ve got a thing for someone else’s man
Word is you’ve been seen leaving notes on his van
All the busy bees at the watering hole
Say they’d like to see that big chip of yours roll

There’ll be no more invitations
There’ll be no more invitations

What’s the matter, baby?
Don’t like sleeping in the bed you made?
Now, baby, better save some cake for your birthday
Can’t have it all, can’t get your way
How dare you be a girl with much to say

Heard you tend to dress so outrageous it’s sad
Seems you’re the distress on the face of your dad
Rumors going ’round you’ve been dropped from the list
Girl, give up the crown ’cause you cease to exist

There’ll be no more invitations
There’ll be no more invitations
There’ll be no more invitations
There’ll be no more invitations

Jennifer Haase — acoustic guitar, vocals
Mike Leslie — bass guitar, vocals
Gary Schreiner — keyboards/string arrangements
Denny McDermott — drums, tamburine, shaker

“Jennifer Haase is a unique and gifted songwriter with the voice of an angel.  I highly recommend her.” — Rosanne Cash

And I issue her an invitation: please send a second song to Sirenstories!

Click on the cover of No More Invitations to learn more about Jennifer Haase and her new CD

Okay, I’m going to stretch out and listen to my brand new copy of No More Invitations now. Try not to envy me too much.