Wednesday, December 31, 2008

farewell to '08!!!!!

i've got no complaints with '08
at least my family didn't lose anyone close to us
and we seemed to make it through an even keeled year
full of good times
it might've even been one of our best years yet
i got to do what i love to do
spend lots of time with J and G
record record el recordo
with lots of talented musicians
many of whom i'm honored to call my friends
i even got to fulfill a lifelong dream of mine
to go make a record outside of my own studio
with a person i greatly admire
i'm rolling into '09 feeling better than ever
pleasantry lane is pumping full throttle
we're starting rhett miller's next solo record on monday
and finishing up a bunch of really good cds
so if i look back over this past year
what comes to mind?

wrapping up old 97s blame it on gravity in january
jayme's great cover painting
stopping the presses to change the album title
(at the last minute)
the fate lions and how quickly time flies when i'm working on good music
eastwood with gunshots and good times
becky middleton and getting to know all the awesome
musicians in her circle (aaron haynes, scott lee and the rest of the gang)
the spring standards and their youthful enthusiasm
owen obel and his kindness
rahim quazi's brilliant "supernatural"
rachel bazooka and their psychedelic friendship
the dirty birds and their great singing and songs
the fabulous new studio desk that rip and brent spent 5 months building
philip creamer and his amazing voice (plus songs that make me think of my favorite bands all rolled up into one!!)
winslow bright and her determination and spirit
johnny citizen with a free pass to let my musical imagination roam
dave little who is truly "badass" and always makes me feel better when he's around
buttercup and their unbelievable talent
vanessa peters and manuel schicchi with transcontinental recording and friendship
the whiskey folk ramblers one-of-a-kind stew of cajun lounge punckabilly gumbo
chatterton and replacementsesque rock'n'roll with great guitar playing
i got to work on so many great projects this year
(if i missed anyone - i'm sorry - i'm racing to write this before sleep time!)
there were so many great shows too
filled with beautiful moments
the anju gill megabill in november where the cut-off (in particular) shined brightly
the pleasantry lane christmas party (fraulein elf jayme, pancho and the PL gang)
re-claiming barley house with joe reyes and buttercup on a sunday night in december
the sons of hermann dvd shoot in august (where's the dvd b.g.?!!)
billy's house concert and the harvey live anthology (grow garden grow is genius)
bob s. at gruene hall and the jumping crowd
the return of club dada and ben tapia
threadgill's austin with vanessa and manuel
the granada with ian moore
the city tavern marathon in october
G started school and loved it
obama whipped the gruesome twosome
well this aging rocker is tired now
so with that
i bid each and every one of you a happy new year
with as much love and good fortune as you can stand



Saturday, December 27, 2008

41 christmas's past

christmastime has come and gone
we made the most of it
we sang songs
and opened presents
we soaked in the pretty lights
and spent time with our families
today it was over
i felt sad
my son is 5
he's changing into a new person every day
i want to slow it all down to a crawl
but it speeds past
faster than i want to accept
i don't want G to grow up yet
i don't want to get any older
i don't want my life to change
i feel the white knuckle grip tighten
i don't want to die
or ever say goodbye to my loved ones
but it's all gonna happen isn't it?
why does saying goodbye to this holiday make me
think of the how quickly time is passing
and how temporary all of this is?
material things make us feel safe
they offer comfort somehow
like in possessing them we are linked to the world
in a more permanent way
but we're not
we're all barely here
tomorrow is promised to none of us
we were all just here last year
putting up our christmas trees
drinking hot chocolate
watching our favorite christmas movies
it's 41 christmas's past for me now
and what do i remember?
zippity-doo-da from my youth
that's right
virtually nothing
i've got but one memory
staying up 'til sunrise hoping i would get this particular NASCAR racing set
that i didn't end up getting
so that's it
all i remember is crushing disappointment
is that how my mind works?
or is that how our minds work?
what a cruel joke it is
that our memories are almost good for nothing
we can only hold onto the lowest of lows
or the highest of highs
almost everything else in between is lost
i want to bask in the memory of yesterday
while i still have it
our happy little family
our beautiful smiling 5 year old son
it won't be long now
before these memories retreat
and vanish
along with the rest of them
good and bad
from 41 christmas's past

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

almost christmas

2 days until christmas
the weather outside is actually
but the mood in here
positively delightful
gavin has filled our lives with pure christmas joy
i can hardly wait to see his little face light up
on christmas morning
when he races to the tree
it negates the other family drama and b.s.
and i'm thankful for that
5 is a great age for christmas!!
yesterday he went to grandma's and baked cookies
while i spent one more long day in the studio
trying to pay for christmas
after this afternoon i'll have a couple of days off
i think i may just sit catatonic on the couch
drooling like a retarded elf

jayme and i started watching "house of saddam" on
HBO last night
it's really well done
and we're already glued to it
it made me think (again) of what ambition does
to people (not the inspiration for the ambition post but certainly
twisting them into a paranoid ball of destruction
how messed up is it to go from being the big cheese
to dangling at the end of a rope?
i suppose life can turn on you in a split second
no matter how "powerful" or untouchable anyone thinks they are
so it's christmas
and this horrible war is still going on
all the soldiers over there
away from their families
some not knowing if they'll ever be back
i can't even imagine this feeling
it just sounds like pure horror to me
i don't expect the war to end just because obama is in
but at least there might be a shred of hope now
i'm gonna do a song and dance routine for sure when GW gets the boot
i can hardly wait
can you?
it's gonna be like christmas 'round here
all over again!

Sunday, December 21, 2008

this is our year

i've been reading the clash book
lisa gave me for christmas
a big pink number with all kinds of cool
photos and memorabilia
i've raced through it
already at sandinista and it's only been a couple of days
i would've killed for this when i was a kid
it's a pretty exhaustive document
of their story
they did so much in such a short time
kinda hard to imagine really it was all over before
any of them had reached 30 (no wonder joe got depressed afterwards)
and i can't help but asked myself what did i do before 30?
waste a lot of time being unhappy i suppose
i guess putting in those lean years
was paramount to my story
it couldn't have been any other way
it just wasn't my time yet
so i had to wait
and wait
...and wait...
that's one thing i've learned
if you're patient enough
with this life
sooner or later
your time will come
maybe blind optimism?
especially when applied to people living in countries
with hopeless situations
but i'm gonna stick with my theory anyway
your golden days may not hang around for long
but they will come
and you'd better be ready to seize the moment
when they do
suck 'em up for all they're worth
enjoy every last drop
everything ends
all things must pass
they will surely come and go
like everything else in this life does

this is the time in my life
where i'm shining brightest
it's easy for me to realize it right now
even though i'm in the thick of it
things still feel like they're on the incline
but i know artistically
i probably only have a few good years left
my best work is about to be released
even though i helped make it and am close to it
i know this is true
sometimes when you get to listen to the music
with close friends
and no distractions
from start to finish
you get to absorb things through their reactions to it
that you wouldn't otherwise be able to
it's an almost outta body experience
you feel like an objective observer
not the maker
the other night
when i got to play constellation for L and L
this happened to me
and i realized that billy and i have done something really special
i'm not trying to toot my own horn here
i've been quick to criticize everything i've ever done
(especially the MF and HF!)
that's what's always spurned me on to the next record
how was i gonna top the last fiasco?
all the flaws i find in my own work screaming at me to make the next one
now don't get me wrong
i don't think this record is flawless
by any means
but it is truly an amalgamation of everything good
i've uncovered in 25 years of writing and playing music
i'm soaking it all in now
i'm ready to release the best one yet
i'm ready to help rhett make his
and buttercup theirs
and whatever other PL recording artists queing up
for '09
it's gonna be another great year of making music with my friends
i'm looking forward to it already

Friday, December 19, 2008


you wanna be noticed
dolled up in your ambition
that’s your special motive
swallowed by your ambition baby
hollowed by your ambition
rotting you inside
eating you alive

once you were nice

you want lots of money
dressed up in your ambition
to be a somebody
messed up with your ambition baby
stressed out as your ambition
takes you for a ride
makes you twice your size
only in your own mind

who said adversity tests one's character?
power does…
that’s the truth

what will you do when you get all the things
that you want?

ask for more?

now you’re just a has-been
wrapped up in your ambition
slapped into the trash bin
washed up in your ambition baby
coughed up by your ambition
so how’d you like the ride?
cut you down to size

it fucked up your life

Thursday, December 18, 2008

here NOW

we had the pleasantry lane christmas party last night
a cozy gathering of about 100
of our friends
and fellow musicians
at club dada
i couldn't think of a place i would have rather been
the whole night couldn't have been any better for me
if it had been scripted
rip picked up some pizzas from scalini's
mark played the christmas mix cd we'd made
rahim becky and philip all played great sets
rahim's christmas song was awesome
becky and philip sounded like angels together
i've had the chance to work on so many cool records this year
and next year promises more of the same
around 11;30 we were greeted by a warm
and appreciative audience
the new songs felt great
especially "western hills"
and "saint georges"
which we got to play for Grace
who'd just flown in from Massachusetts
it was so good to see her again after these past few months
her presence made everything all the more special
as the last chord of georges rang out
ben t. shouted for us to play "avenue"
as an encore
which we then proceeded to do
and after that
when E went to the bar
i just started playing "the wrong road"
more as an instinct
than an actual thought
i'd never played it with the band before
but rich immediately fell in with the right piano chords
and it all felt really good
tj and eric carried it on home
and then we finished the night with "i'll be around"
for bop a lena
the whole experience left me high as a kite
energized by the music
and my friends
what a great feeling...

at 9:45am G came strolling up the sidewalk
with my mom
it was so good to see his smiling little face
just one night away and i missed him so much
i can't even begin to imagine being away longer than that
once we all got going we went to buzzbrew's with L and L
for breakfast
then headed to the galleria for G's 1st ice skating experience
we had so much fun slip sliding around the rink with him
as his legs went every which way and he cackled hysterically
it was so much fun
after that we took him to northpark to see the trains
i noticed a big change in his reaction this year
as opposed to last
he was absolutely mesmerized today
running around following certain trains as far as he could
and then staring slack jawed and glassy eyed at them
in kid wonder
around 5 we went home
jayme made a special fancy dinner that she'd planned out
it was delicious
afterwards we sat around the tree and opened presents
then ate some keylime pie jayme had made
our christmas light ride through highland park was next
it was so peaceful and fun
i felt wholly immersed in christmas spirit
we got home around 10 and said goodnight to little G
then L and L and i snuck out to the studio
poured some wine
turned down the lights
and put on the finished version
of constellation
for the 1st time for them to hear
it was nice to be able to sit there and listen
in silence
and reflect on this record billy and i made
that i realized again how much i enjoy it
"always caught up in the doing...always the pushing and pulling"
my own words coming back on me but yeah
most of the time i just keep the pedal to the metal
and i don't ever take the time to pause
and reflect
on these things i've done
tonight i had that chance to do so
with my 2 dear friends
who have been there with me every step of the way
it felt really nice
it was another beautiful moment for me
and the perfect ending to another perfect day

Sunday, December 14, 2008


on the horizon
wasn't it all just here last year?
we went on a drive tonight
to see the lights
so peaceful
and beautiful
our son is in kid bliss
i watch him with a combination of pure joy and envy
we're so lucky to have this life
we're so lucky to have each other
i want to hang out to every second we have together
but then it's gone
rolled on to the next
and the next and the next
now here i am again
sitting at this desk
in the dark
clickity clickity clack
on the keyboard
i feel rusty
it's been too long
but then again
it was just the other day
sometimes it feels like i'm holding my breath
waiting for the bottom to drop out
things are too good
i'm too happy
i'm not used to all of this
it was a long slow road to get here
can i please stay for as long as possible?

art conspiracy #4 was last week
it's hard to believe
i remember #1
like it was just last week
the texas theater
the polaroids
now it's all a blurp on flickr
at #4 jayme had to have this one painting by mark nelson
i gotta admit
it was pretty spectacular
now it's hanging in our hallway
buttercup rolled in on sunday
we spent all day working on their magnificence record
it's gonna be one of the best ones i've ever had a hand in
i promise "it's in the way"
"consensus chalice"
"i am a tiger"
that's right
i am
then we all went up to barley house around 9
to make a racket
for 3 years plus i've been mumbling and grumbling
about losing the "old barley"
i even stopped playing the NBH
because i didn't like the way it sounded
my boycott is finally over
our set sunday was the most fun i've had there since it opened
with a new direction aimed at bringing our onstage volume down
we had one of the most sonically enjoyable sets
in ages
i even played acoustic guitar
and could hear myself sing
it was almost a christmas miracle
joe reyes
from the b-cup
joined us
there were moments where we transcended
that's the feeling i always want when i play
but rarely achieve
so my friends from san antonio then took the bar by the heart
they serenaded
and rocked
they smiled
and were serious
they gave me back my favorite place to play
the place i've been missing for years
for one night
it was as good as it ever was
on henderson
in fact
it was even better
so we're gonna do it again in january
when they come back up
put saturday the 31st on your calendar
it's gonna be great

there's a lot of things coming up fast
promos of constellation in the mail
the pleasantry lane christmas party at dada
on wednesday
rhett miller and his solo record in january
my first house concert
the noise at the granada in january
winslow's cd release
tour plans
i finally got a haircut
am i really ready for christmas?
the days are flying past at an alarming rate
every morning feels like groundhog day
i hear sonny and cher singing along as i pour
G's morning cereal
all i wanna do is slow them down
but i can't
it never works that way
for any of us
it's the best of times for me
life can't get any better
but then
all of a sudden
it does

another new year is just around the bend
wasn't i just doing this bit the other day?
wasn't i just 5 waiting for christmas
wondering what i was gonna get on that special day
caught up in the wonder of it all
it sure feels like it...
does it to you?