Thursday, April 22, 2010


Friends? Friends are awesome.

Growing up, I was a loner for the most part. When you have a brother with Autism, you learn to just entertain yourself. And it didn't help that I grew up in the country, so I had no neighbor kids to play with. In school, I had a fair amount of acquaintances, but once summer came, I was a loner again. When I was finally old enough to drive, I got closer to Ryan and Keelan, but that was about it.

Then I went to college, and living in a dorm really changed all of that. I was constantly surrounded by people, and it was something that took a little getting used to. Freshman year I made a lot of acquaintances, but I feel like this year I have made a lot of friends. I could go on for days about the people who I would call my friends, but I think I'll stick to an overview of what makes these people my friends.

I have people here at school who are willing to listen to me whine, listen to my stories that take forever to tell, pray for me, pray with me, listen to my songs, sing songs with me, allow me to listen to their stories, make random McDonald trips at midnight, invite me to their house for a weekend, invite me to stay with them all summer, and everything in between. When I think of being a friend, I think of it in these terms: "What can I do for this person to put them ahead of myself and show them that I care?" And when it comes to my friends, they do a wonderful job of showing that.

If you fit into any of those categories listed above, thank you. I love you all and I will not soon forget any of you, friends.

11:07 am

Matt Pond PA
Album - The Dark Leaves

Monday, April 19, 2010


I love concerts. One thing I love about them is that it really brings to the limelight whether a band who has a good sound on record can pull it off in real life. Sometimes I'm very impressed (Between The Trees). Sometimes... I'm disappointed (Hit The Lights). Nevertheless, I love seeing bands live. Here is a list of bands I have yet to see live and really, really want to.

In no particular order:
The Classic Crime
John Mayer
The Fray
Death Cab For Cutie
The Fray
Sufjan Stevens
The Dangerous Summer
Matt Hires
Jack's Mannequin
Jimmy Eat World
City And Colour
Foo Fighters
Snow Patrol

If you want to make my day, buy me tickets to a concert featuring one of these guys' shows.

11:18 am

Thursday, April 15, 2010


The new album from The Classic Crime is really good. I love the lyrics in this song. This is the title track of their new album, Vagabonds.

9:56 am

Monday, April 12, 2010

New Music

Jakob Dylan recently came out with a new album called Women And Country, and it's really been stuck in my head. Here's a video of him, Neko Case, and Kelly Hogan playing live for NPR.

12:29 am

Friday, April 9, 2010

Song writing

I love writing songs. I just finished writing a song, and I'm really excited about the potential it has.

I started writing songs out of necessity, really. When I first started playing guitar at 16, I wasn't skilled enough to cover songs. So instead of just giving up on guitar, I started making up my own chord progressions and putting words in with them. Like most songwriters when they start, my songs were absolutely terrible. You know what I mean, the kind of songs that have rhyme schemes like "me" and "be" and "us" and bus." But my Mom thought I had potential and encouraged me to keep writing. Once I got a couple buddies to join me, I started writing more frequently and slowly improving my rhyme patterns and schemes. But trust me, my songs were still pretty pitiful. I enjoy looking back on them every once in a while and getting a good chuckle out of them.

It was probably around my senior year when I started writing songs that I was confident in. Songs like "You're Not Alone" and "Hit And Miss" are songs we still play today, and they still mean a lot to me. I also started writing some singer/songwriter style songs, too. One of my favorite songs I've written is "I'll Always Love You," a song I've described as 'a love song to no one.'

Since I got into college, my songwriting has gone to a different level. In high school, I would often sit down with a chord progression in mind, a pen in hand, and just write the song in one sitting. Now, I tend to spread my songwriting out over a few days and give the lyrics time to soak in and resonate until I like them.

I'm certainly in no position to give songwriting tips, but if I could give three tips, they would be this:

1) Write often. Songwriting is just like any other skill; it takes lots of practice and patience. Do your best to write as often as you can, whether it's a whole song or just a little verse.

2) Have someone critique your music honestly and brutally. You'll never get better as a songwriter if your critic tells you "This is great!" after every song. I'm thankful to have a friend like Mike who isn't afraid to ask "What are you trying to say with this line?" or say "I don't like how it flows right here." If you have someone who can help you in that way, you can see what you are doing wrong so you can not only fix the problem, but strengthen your writing ability.

3) Have fun! Songwriting can certainly be stressful sometimes, but don't be afraid to step back from the process and remember why you are writing songs. For me, I write songs because it's a great challenge and it's fun. Enjoy doing it.

11:54 pm

Jack's Mannequin
Album - Everything In Transit

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Song Lyrics

Song lyrics are something that have always been a huge reason as to why I love music. One genre of music that portrays lyrics in a very beautiful way is folk/acoustic music. I feel that the simple instrumentation of this music immediately puts the focus on the words instead of the music, and I love that. A great example of that is City & Colour's "Body In A Box".

There's a funeral procession on the highway
Traffic screeches to a halt
There's people searching for a better way
To live their lives, oh

Johnny lived a good life
You'll hear them say
As tears of sadness soak the ground
The reaper crept in
Took his breath away
In the middle of the night, oh

We celebrate the lives of the dead
It's like a man's best party
Only happens when he dies
We gather round
To pay our respects
While their souls are still searching for the light
Searching for the light

So please don't come to me
On my dying day
Just let me go in peace
With all the things
That I've forgot to say
Racing through my mind, oh

And don't you bury me
Six feet underground
Just burn my body in a box
And let my ashes
Blow with the wind
Out into the night sky

We celebrate the lives of the dead
It's like a man's best party
Only happens when he dies
We gather round
To pay our respects
While their souls are still searching for the light
Searching for the light

5:59 pm

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Album Review for Newspaper

I was recently asked to write a review for our college newspaper, The Papyrus. Here it is:

I Liked It Better When You Had No Heart
Butch Walker And The Black Widows
One Haven Music

Whether you know it or not, you’ve heard of Butch Walker. Butch Walker has produced albums for artists like Pete Yorn, The Academy Is..., Katy Perry, All Time Low, Weezer, and so many more. My first experience of Butch Walker involved YouTube. My friend called me into his room one night and said “Dude, you gotta check out this video.” (Something that happens frequently on a college campus.) It was a video of Butch Walker walking into the studio, making coffee, peeing, making funny faces into the camera, and recording a cover of Taylor Swift’s “You Belong With Me,” including a rewrite in the lyrics to match them from a guy’s perspective. I knew after watching this video that this guy was good.

On February 23rd, Butch Walker dropped his newest album, I Liked It Better When You Had No Heart. A lot has happened to him in recent years: the birth of his first child, the loss of his home in the California wildfire disaster, and even turning 40. Life changing events like this are a songwriters dream, especially if you’re someone like Butch Walker.

Walker’s songwriting skill is immediately noticeable from his opening song, “Trash Day.” He paints a very descriptive picture from a layman’s view of Beverly Hills, Nashville, and Atlanta, and isn’t afraid to tell it like it is. My personal favorite songwriting lyric is in the final verse of the last song, “Be Good Until Then,” which was written for his newborn son:
Everybody loves a hero
Not so much when they fall short so
Try to keep your cape on underneath
You don't have to try so hard
To be the best, just know you are
And that's all that'll matter to me.

As the album progresses, it seems like the next song is just as catchy as the song before it. Whether it’s a stripped down song with luscious strings like “Don’t You Think Someone Should Take You Home,” or the super catchy and upbeat “She Likes Hair Bands,” Butch Walker knows the music industry well enough to know how to make these 11 songs sound great. Popular music website describes this album as “The Beatles playing in a Nashville bar with Ryan Adams & Electric Light Orchestra while Brian May makes a few cameo appearances.” and I don’t think it could be any better put than this.

3:20 pm