steam powered studio #1
We moved from Paradise to 1131 Maple Avenue, hauling an entire household one panel-truck load at a time. Then I parked the truck out back and never drove it again. Years later, when an insurance agent stopped by to ask about the abandoned vehicle, Bonnie, the woman from Jacksonville, wisely answered "My husband is restoring that."

Yeah- restoring it to rust, maybe.

Sometimes I dream I am driving that truck. In the dream I worry that I'll get pulled over for no registration or inspection. But then, in my dream, I remember that an old man rang my doorbell and asked about that truck out back, and that I sold it to him for fifty honest dollars. He put tires on it and hauled it away.

moving in If you wait long enough, some things resolve themselves.

After we settled in I tore up the asbestos tile in the tiny bedroom in the mountain peak, then stripped and refinished the yellow pine floor and set up recording gear. This was the Third Floor Studio.

early third floor studio

I worked there for about a decade.   Here's what went down.
This batch of tunes was written and recorded around the time of our move. I was using a 4-track cassette recorder and a Sakata programmable drum machine for demos. Some of these songs were included on Dark 30's CD Waitin' for Your Love, which was partly taped in the basement here on a borrowed 8 track reel to reel.

What Goes Up- A demo I made on the Porta-2, then recorded with the band.

Your/My Love- Hello, George?

Gone Gone Gone- A rocker!

Fast and Loose- Sweet Stratocaster, classic rock theme.

Moonlight Serenade- One about a moment from the past.

It Must Have Been In Spring- How a life might fall apart.

Savin' It for You- My demo of the song, recorded by Dark 30 on CD.

Make Believe Stories- We are at the mercy of ideologies.

I'm Amazed- Not sure exactly when I wrote it, but it made the Dark 30 CD.

Keep On the Move- Not sure exactly when I wrote it, but it also made the CD.

This was the first year in the third floor studio. I was real comfortable writing for a four-piece rock band. After this a couple of years passed that I was doing a lot of dream work. I recorded nothing. When I started writing songs again things were very different.

the Shrine on the wall
Loves Algebra- I worked on the lyrics for months before recording this version.

Swing Lightly- Mellow blues, no frills.

Drivin' Rain- Another one about getting behind the wheel and just going. This early version gained another verse and was rerecorded years later.

These three songs were not a bad way to break a long dry spell, but it was six months until the next batch.
Dark 30 had played their final show, but just prior to that I met acoustic performers Dave and Claudia SanSoucie, who were looking for a guitar slinger for the Moonbillies, an electric band they were forming. It was a great position for me, and we worked hard on a lot of eclectic electric tunes, many by folks I had never heard of before.

It gave me ideas.

Welcome You- An early version, with finger-tapping on a loose drum head.

Guitarra Llorando- An instrumental that I named "Lonely Guitar" at the time. I like this name better.

The Precious Thing- A song of revelation.

Simple, Isn't It?- A song of hope.

Keeping Time- Preserving a moment.

Mansion of Love- A song about another way a world can fall apart.

Marlena- What do they call these kinds of songs- a lover's question?

Toujours Ensemble- Like Tom Petty said, "And when she's sleeping, sometimes she speaks in French"

Take It Back- Some people are generous.

Anybody's Fool- Some people are confused.

Time Marches On- By the time I wrote this one I had a Kurzweil electric piano, which is still inspirational to play.

Believe In Love- I recently rediscovered this little ditty.

Code of Our Own- If you have an accordion, sometimes it insists that you play it this way.

This was how the year started. It continued.
Epiphone pickup
Distant Light- I imagined this happening in a movie.

The Term- Vocal whoops and hand drumming on this 4-track version.

The Still Run Deep- A love song for grown-ups.

What Becomes of You- A love song for dreamers.

When It Grew On Trees- A love song for Adams and Eves.

(On Your Way) To the Sea- That girl from Ipanema doesn't look your way, because she's thinking of someone back home.

The Great Ticking Heart- The mystery of life can be explained by two interlocking guitar arpeggios.

Our Tempting Fate- Another one of them love songs for grown-ups.

Dreaming- It's time you came down.

Mad Romance- This one was exactly what I was looking for.

Your Best Friend- Sort of quiet.

You Look So Good- A year has ended.

Your Love Over Me- Another year begins.

Dangerous Weapon- They oughta make people get a license for this sort of thing. I need to record a decent version someday.

A Little Down- Nice guy! Another love song for grown-ups.

Back From the Borders- When empires collapse.

Wild Thing- Wild things can be hard to approach.

The songwriting ends for the next 8 months.
keyboard stack
keyboard korner
Everyone Called Him Jack- I begin again with reflections on leadership.

The Complicated Kid- Working on more complicated melodies and progressions.

Dred Angel- It appeared on a rainy summer night, and it still haunts me.

Fresh Kisses- "Having survived the thought that struck me..."

Dancin' On Graves- Ah, sweet memories.

Then a 6 month break. I take up again, using a series of digital recorders, both 4 and 8 track, that I borrow from work.

Corner of a Kiss- Seems I fumbled that one.

Hipster's Lulabye- One for the OGs.

If I Were You- A talking blues about multiple personalities.

False Spring- Step into a 70 degree afternoon in February.

Hmmm- After all of that, what is there to say?

Just True- Kinda pissed off, from the sound of it.

When the Natives Dance- Written for Namaste, the world beat band I had joined.

Prime the Pump- Snakey sort of tune, not ready for public consideration.

This Good Thing- How strange- a happy sort of dance tune.

Lackawanna Standoff- One of our state representatives refused to leave his office after being defeated.

While I was making music in that place, analog was becoming digital. And, oh yeah, there came the World Wide Web.