I'm a decent guitarist and a good poet, but I've never been able to write a song. That's something I really wanted to accomplish. So awhile back, I decided I wouldn't start any new personal projects until I'd completed a piece of original music.
The results are "Stanzas From Sober Poets" and "Devil in the Margins," which I published on Soundcloud today.
I finished writing these songs about six weeks ago. I made demos on GarageBand and sent them to my friend Jeff of Of Heaven and Sea. He generously agreed to record and mix them for me. He also gave me tons of advice along the way, and I owe him a huge debt I'll probably pay in bourbon.
The two songs tell a single story, so we mixed them together as one track, a la the Beatles's "A Day In The Life." If you're an indie music fan, you may be able to hear other influences like Joy Division, Sonic Youth, Keaton Henson, Jason Molina, Broken Social Scene, La Dispute and the Cure.
Together, the songs tell a story about a modern couple and their encounter with the poet Percy Bysshe Shelley. In the first song, two teens meet at a summer camp near the Gulf of La Spezia. The ghost of Shelley seduces them out into the water to search for the spot where he drowned. When the ghost suddenly disappears, he leaves the young lovers adrift metaphorically and literally. The betrayal sucks all the romance out of their hearts. In the second song, the man, now older, realizes the moral of Shelley's life lies not in his writings, but in his actions. He thinks about the psychopathic tricks and devilish sketches Shelley indulged in as a child. In the end, the man decides Shelley's poetry was only a distraction from the decay that defines adult life.
So yeah, it's not a real cheery piece of music. And I know I'm not going to win The Voice anytime soon. But I hope you enjoy it anyway. In addition to Soundcloud, you can stream it on YouTube.