Sword Holder and Banker's Town

Sword Holder


This is my most ambitious song yet in my Song A Week run which is why it is coming to you a week late. The theme was ‘Minor’ as in minor key. I thought this would be in my wheelhouse as I am always writing gloomy songs but my mind went blank. After a few failed attempts I finally wrote the song. Then I started listening to some music to base my arrangement off of and picked something way to complicated. There are so many things going on in this song and perhaps not all of them good. Things I liked about this one was going nuts on the guitar at the end and the last pre-chorus. This is probably one of the hardest rock songs I’ve done.

The lyrics are inspired by a concept known as the “sword holder” from the great book Death’s End by Cixin Liu. It is very similar to the Cold War Era Dead Man’s Switch that the USSR was said to have.

I’ll put the lyrics at the end of the post if you like to read them.

My Post-9.jpg

Banker’s Town

The theme for this week’s song was Major and I tried to keep it simple. Acoustic guitar, mandolin and vocals are all that are on this track. The timing at parts is a little sloppy but I gotta keep moving on. I was particularly happy how the harmonies turned out on this one.

Now this one is about Wilmington and all the banks we have here. I think the song and lyrics can speak for themselves on this one.

Lyrics - Sword Holder

So deep underground
How can I hold this up
Hope you forget I’m here
A switch with rust

Who will be the bullet your gun
Who will be the pin in your grenade
Stop the blade above our head
Hold the Damocles weight

I am the sword holder
The one who had to hold her
So the world wouldn’t fall apart
The dead man’s switch
The one she could lean against
Threaten fights she didn’t want to start

Paint faults equally
Everything is gray
He is the strong man
While I’m judgement day

Who will be the bullet your gun
Who will be the pin in your grenade
Stop the blade above our head
Hold the Damocles weight

Who will go ballistic for your heart
Who will love you till the end of days
Stop the blade above our head
Hold the Damocles weight

Lyrics - Banker’s Town

Two people died in a shooting last night
We don’t talk about it under the Barclay’s sign
A lot of money in this town but it’s just passing through
To a hedge fund in Manhattan where it can be put to use

Bankers Town Money gets tight
Bankers Town Fuse ready to light
Nothing is gonna change if we keep waiting on the daylight
Bankers Town Can’t afford not to fight

Standing on the corner of Market and Second
Homeless man to my left sleeping on the pavement
Traffic is a mess but runs smooth for drugs and girls
Laundromat for money where good and bad swirls

Bankers Town Where money gets clean
Bankers Town Full of plausible deniability
Nothing is gonna change if we keep waiting on the daylight
Bankers Town Can’t afford not to fight

No one stays here long They either leave or die trying
Head out to the suburbs Where white birds keep flying
Talk about the way things are how it needs to change
Donate to politicians who keep bankers town the same

Bankers Town Money gets tight
Bankers Town Fuse ready to light
Nothing is gonna change if we keep waiting on the daylight
Bankers Town Can’t afford not to fight

Where Earth Meets Light


This week’s theme for “Song A Week” was “Digital”. I’m not much into digital instruments and the ones that I use tend to be trying to imitate something in the analog realm. Of course everything I record is digital but I did my best to add in a couple of more pronounced digital flairs. Drum machine for one and speeding up the song in post production.

Not a fan of the drum machine overall but it did it’s work. I’ve been wanting to play around with hard panning the percussion to one side or the other because it usually is in the middle. I took some inspiration from Bruce Springsteen’s ‘I’m On Fire’ for the production and arrangement.

As for speeding up the song…

I got that inspiration from The Beatles. I’d heard that they would record slower then have the tape sped up to give it more energy and polish. They did all sorts of crazy things later like two different key takes being combined on ‘Strawberry Fields Forever’.

I did the digital version which can speed up the track without changing the pitch. This is usually used in small amounts to adjust a note that was played out of time. If you expand or compress the time too much you get some weird sound artifacts. So I did that to the whole track after it had been mixed. It gave it that more polished sound in some ways but also introduced some weird overtones in the track. I have the other version that is not sped up but I wanted to experiment a little and share what I found. Enjoy it!

Lightning quick mind
Eyes infrared
Perceptive not misled
Once you were a liar
Living in Reno
Living in a deep hole

Those tables flew you away
Like Jet Planes ripping through the sky
Not the cheats, bright lights, or bad beats
Just knowing you can cross that line
Where Earth Meets Light

Dropped keys in the snow
Struggle to pick them up
Hard now to have bad luck
Back hurts all the time
No one has a fix
Just warn you of side effects

Enough pills to take you away
Like blackholes ripping through the sky
No peace or fear of the streets
Just knowing you can cross that line
Where Earth Meets Light

Old Mustang sits in the driveway
She roars like thunder in the night
Not police or fear of being released
Just knowing you can cross that line
Where Earth Meets Light

Got It Covered


In this weeks continuation of my Song In a Week vein I bring you a grooving rock tune.  The theme for the week was "analogue" so I did some creative routing through guitar amps and effects to give the song a different vibe.

Almost thought a song wasn't going to happen but finally got an idea rolling Monday afternoon. So many failed song attempts along the way to this one. The analog part was definitely the most fun. Mic'd up the amp then used pedals for the effects. Learned that my overdrive pedal can add a smoother and fuller saturation than what I had expected. Also, learned A LOT about latency this week running so much stuff external. I'm sure there are all kinds of alignment issues but there are also a couple tracks with delay so it probably works out.

I had the title picked out for the song Friday but kept running into bad lyrics. Also, had to get a very repetitive melody out of my head.

Happy with the way this one turned out. When asking for feedback from my careful critiquing wife I got back "Well your voice doesn't annoy me on this song". So... win?

Got it Covered

Don’t pull the blanket over your eyes
Time to get dressed time to leave
Glad I could give a helping hand
Somedays that’s all you need

Struggle too much these days
But I can’t let you notice
Keep my feet on the ground
It might be lie but lets be honest

I got it covered

You buy the drinks I’ll sing the songs
Both playing our parts
Actors on a stage make it look too easy
To escape when life gets too hard

Making life up as I go
No one can see how fake I am
Imposter man in the mask
The hustler with a scam

I got it covered

Hold me down
I don’t know when I’m beat
Struggle to get up
flail my arms wildly
Beauty in the struggle
Beauty in the journey
Don’t know the end
But I’ll be strong before I’m weak

A Lengthy Invite To My Show

Waiting on a construction crew to get here so our chimney could be re-lined. Thought i would take a moment and tell you that I'll be out at Argilla's tonight.  I've got new songs to play and a desire to experiment with some sounds. I've been using the pedal board for the past few shows and have really liked some of the sounds I'm getting. There's always room to improve so I'm also incorporating more harmonica into the sets. People seem to dig more harmonica, maybe to give them a break from my voice, so I'm working on getting more in there. My harmonica licks run out pretty quick, but when you listen to Bob Dylan or Neil Young you'll realize there's do too.   

Started writing a new tune yesterday and I'm curious to see where it goes.  It talks about how we're just tourists in every aspect of our lives and how connections with others is the only thing that can be semi-permanent. It's permanent in our conscious mind but we know nothing is permanent that's external to us.  I've been trying to write a lot this year and some is pretty good and a lot leaves me scratching my head wondering why i thought writing that was a good idea.  I have taken to the concept though of taking good concepts out of bad songs and using them again.  Sometimes there's a great melody but the words aren't there or vice versa.  Goes with the old saying of don't throw the baby out with the bath water which is something I would do. With songs, not the baby. 

Trying to apply this to aspects in other parts of my life of getting rid of the things that I don't need and don't have time for so i can do others that make me happy.  Only have the hobbies I want, only focus on what is important to me, and only play the shows and songs that make sense for me. 

This was a long sidetracked way of inviting you out to the show tonight at Argilla's. I hope you'll make it out.