All of my selections for this playlist have a deep mysterious spirit embedded right in the recording. This is the best example. I listen to Nick Drake constantly and love his voice more than any other but this guitar instrumental transcends words and voice completely. The bittersweet feelings in his otherworldly chord progression touches my deepest but most vague and indescribable feelings about being alive. I am thankful for this record because it adds so much to my life when I look through the lens of this song. I feel scope and perspective on life which is not something a lot of music can give me. He accomplished this with an acoustic guitar and 1960s home tape recorder which inspires me to trust my performances and writing more than technology or high fidelity.
The Clientele’s first record is a touchstone for Mr. Husband in many ways. When we work on songs as a band you can hear the obvious influence on our arrangements. I love that they recorded this with the vocals coming out of a guitar amp which gives it this strange ghostly feeling. It is a great reminder that the best records are made with unique gear under unique circumstances. Using the best gear and standard techniques doesn’t guarantee you will make a good record and in alot of cases it might hurt more than it helps.
This song is what I am all about in my music. Simple, refined melody. Honesty. Good feelings. Slightly weird harmonies. Great performances filled with character and humanity. I want to reissue this on Yellow K but no one will write me back about it. Some label called Yoga Records is holding the rights but not pressing any vinyl and I am pissed. Someone help if you are connected to Ted! Please!
I had the very good fortune of palling around with the great curator and ethnomusicologist, Ian Nagoski, when we both lived in Frostburg, Md. Ian brought this artist to the attention of many and thank goodness. This performance is in a language I do not understand and a melody and timbre that is not of my culture but nonetheless the heart of the singer is so painfully present and available. The melody is brutally sad to the point of despair and hopelessness. Not everyone wants that from music but I find it really cathartic. I simply can not imagine this recording in a modern hi-fi context. Her voice wouldn’t cut me the same way.
I yodel privately and you should too. It is good for your heart. I learned this from Michael Hurley and Hank Williams. There are many versions of the Tea Song on different MH records but this is the one for me. Equal parts funny and sad with so much character in his voice.
I am obsessed with vintage Hawaiian records and this shows up on Ocean Pines in a major way. The two instrumentals (“Morning Pupper” and “Evening Fluffer”) are a direct tribute to my collection. A lot of people think of steel/slide guitar when they think of Hawaiian music but I think equally about these crazy vocal harmonies that are traditionally sung in high falsetto by men. In our culture of toxic masculinity it is nice and funny to think of these Hawaiian men competing for who could sing in the highest most beautiful voice that would sound feminine to most ears. They respected beauty without boundaries. This is an inspiration to me as a large stinky man making very quiet gentle music.
That fucking saxophone. Just listen to it. This record is always alive. When I recorded Ocean Pines it was January 2018 and it was brutally cold outside. I would take a break from recording and take my dog, Sugarbear, on long walks while I listened to this on repeat in headphones. It made me feel something about being alive and working and walking Sugarbear that was so meaningful to me but I can’t explain it. Only the song can say it.
I could not talk about the inspiration for Ocean Pines without talking about the early Elliott Smith records. The influence is obvious. This song and this entire self-titled record are very important to me as a songwriter and as an independent producer/engineer/guy-who-records-at-home.
When times get tough this song is a little fantasy world for me. I like to imagine myself in a world with no internet or modern technology or paved roads and I am on tour riding a donkey
from town to town, playing for small groups and being paid with soup and conversation. I am between towns on a dirt path and it is a nice open space with no power-lines or machine-sounds and I can see the next town off in the distance. This song conjures all of this up for me with it’s alien chordal style and dusty sound and soothing old-world vibes. I tried to capture a little of that old-world vibe on Ocean Pines and I hope you feel it.