Palo Alto Practice Pad


Here in California with my wife, I had the week off, but she had to work. So what to do all day besides go for runs, rides, reading, wandering, museuming, eating, napping, and meditating? Practice. I'm going into the studio mid-June with my trio and I can't spend enough time preparing.

"Professorville" is–was– a very quiet neighborhood, except for the landlord's $%^&* chickens–ten feet from the window by our bed in this one-room cottage (astronomical rent–and chickens?) but that's all changed. Voice and piano every day for several hours. bawk! bawk! I composed some of the songs years ago, but I've been digging deep into the possibilities. Nothing is for granted, and it's been a luxury spending this much time playing with them.

I had a breakthrough today. I've Come Back For More, a pugnacious little minor blues-based love song I wrote years ago. First verse should give you some idea:

I feel alright tonight / do you want a pick a fight with me?

I feel just great / I've never been in better shape, you'll see

I'm ready for any kind of trouble you might make for me

'cause I've been hurt before, and I just let it bleed.

A lot of my tunes are minor blues-based, so I was wondering what to keep and what to let go, when I just shifted the changes over from minor to major; picked up the tempo; and just like that, the sense of humor underneath the tough-ass lyric finally came through in the way I had always intended but never succeeded with. Why did I never try that simple change before? Now I can also include Getting Used to Living Alone, a minor blues in a slow 12/8 (which you can find the Buskers doing on my Youtube channel) on the album; there is plenty of contrast between the two.

Flying back to New Hampshire tomorrow, back to work Monday, but I'm playing at Hermanos in Concord Monday with Brendan, the bassist in my trio. That's paid practice. with dinner. and audience.

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