Listen to and download the single version of “Lower Tiers”:
GemsOnVHS is the popular YouTube channel helmed by my old friend Anthony Simpkins. Anthony came up from Nashville, Tennessee to visit us in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan during the early part of September this year (2019) and we worked up some videos in advance of my new album Toss Your Javelin being released.
A little bit about the song.
I wrote this song in 2013 after my album Living Is Trying had been recorded, but before it had been released. I was listening to a lot of Paul Simon (top) and learning some renditions of a couple Irving Berlin (middle) compositions to make myself better at the guitar. You can hear the Tin Pan Alley hat tip in the bridge and the Simonized chorus where I take that diminished chord on a little walk downtown. I remember having the goal to use every note in the chromatic scale in the construction of the song. I made some adjustments to do so in the editing phase. That’s that off kilter, accidental sound you hear. The blues in it.
I had been having some conversations with my sister about attempting to make art pay the bills and was in the process of one of those bi-annual, zoomed-out life reassessments. The thing my murky unconscious kept spitting up was this crazy optimism that doing the same behaviors repeatedly would produce the changes I so desperately wanted in my life and my career. Does Living = Trying? Serious question. Either way, I knew I had to aim SOME direction and shoot for it. What I didn’t know then is that there was some serious living and growing up I had to do. That’s called gaining footing. I was telling myself to “sit straight up and cast off all your spells”.
I’m really proud of this song.
My brother Joe recently introduced me to this painting I had never seen before (bottom). It’s called Truth Coming Out Of Her Well. This painting says to me better than what I can say to myself.
Thanks for the kind support.
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I’ll see you soon!