Influences: People I've been listening to this lockdown year who inspire me: Public Service Broadcasting (the band), The High Llamas, Ron Sexsmith, Deacon Blue, A Girl Called Eddy, Martin Newell, The Pearlfishers (always), The Staples Singers (always), Valerie June, old favourites Andrae Crouch & Larry Norman, film composer Christopher Willis, choir composer Morten Lauridsen, Carter Burwell.
I'll be checking in, listening, and commenting during March.
This year I wondered, as I do every year, if I'd be able to write anything at all. Once again, songs arrived like stray cats on the doorstep and asked to be let in. Songs that were very personal and/or that I felt unsure about, like '¿Dónde estás mamá?' and 'Gower St Penguins' got especially encouraging comments. You all know how much that means to a songwriter. Working with my family was a highlight this year: singing “The Rhythm of the Night” with my wife and "Find Me A River" with my kids and niece.
2021 is my eighth FAWM. If FAWM was education I'd be starting secondary school now. I got Wins in 2018, 2019, and 2020. It took five years to find my way. If you're new, don't be discouraged.
I go by Jon (he/him, él)
Every February is a frightening blank page. The best songwriting tools are courage, hope, and recklessness.
My son Nat @vaticanvamps14 and my niece @hazzard are both back this year. They're both brilliant songwriters in different styles (punk & acoustic singer-songwriter). Have a listen to both. You won’t be sorry!
|#1||(That's What I) Believe||
|#4||A Fab Cabbage Bag Fad @beat||
|#5||Fani Willis Does Her Job||
|#6||Rhythm of the Night @beat||
|#7||Acoustic LoFi Exquisite Corpse - Round 2 @corpsecorps||
|#9||Gower Street Penguins||
|#10||Off Switch (For My Brain)||
|#11||¿Dónde estás, mamá?||
|#12||Find Me A River (Psalm 46) @joeblomberg||
|#13||Time To Live Again @sherrycanary||
|#14||Treasures (June Always Loved to Sing with Me) @joeblomberg||
|#15||Somewhere Not Here @cynthiawolff||
Hi Jon. You've got some really nice songs here. Thank you for your lovely comments. I appreciate it. I'm a bit late with replies. I'll do better next year, God willing. 😀
I just checked out "Gower St..." and I see that I had already recommended that song to you. Ah.... for the memory I had a few years back... Sigh....
Thanks for the comment on "Nahkakantinen eepos"! I actually tried to mix it so the instruments would sort of melt together into a wall of sound, but not indistinguishable mush, though. I think I sort of achieved that since no one seems to have noticed the third and fourth guitar coming in round the time the drums get into the blastbeats. Granted, they're mixed fairly low and just tremolo pick the chords on the lower strings and there's a whole lot more going on at the same time.
PS Did you know Shakespeare and Cervantes died on the same date, but actually ten says apart? (Either England or Spain was still operating on the Julien Calendar and the other on the Gregorian).
Thanks for listening to my collab song "Where I Want You (By My Side), Always appreciate your comments!
I should make a playlist of all the songs I suggested Jeff listen to. Some great stuff: Soulhat (Outdebox), Down Like Silver, Trent Dabbs, Lydia, Kyler England. And many more! 😄
Here you go, Jon. Stuff gets added to it occasionally as Jeff and I send suggestions back and forth. 😎
Thanks for all your support this year. You are a real pro when it comes to music making, and your comments always convey a certain erudition and a sense that you actually listened to the song and took it seriously
Thanks so much for recommending me! So sweet! I hope you have a wonderful spring and summer..... and will look forward to catching up with you again next February!
Thanks for getting back to me. I am going through some sort of rhythm epiphany in my own music and I get frustrated with myself, but hopefully I will find the sound I seek, or want to sing. I really appreciate your thoughts!
Jon, I have a question or maybe more of a conundrum and want to ask you for ideas or an opinion? I seem to want to do a bossa nova song. This is stemming from a recent addiction to Sergio Mendes and Brasil 66 and I'm sure you have heard my Jobim addiction showing itself in my songs....LOL, but this is terribly difficult, do you have any advice on how to start. I got a drum track and tried to create into that so that I would have a rhythm, is that the best way, the first shot didn't work. Maybe this isn't a fair question, everyone that knows me musically can tell that my rhythms are bordering on some strange sort of samba or something. Any advice is appreciated.
Season 2 starts in a few weeks and I would love one of yours.
Jon--thanks for all your thoughtful comments this year. I think you may have exceeded the recommended daily dose of fresh spotless youth the other day. I hope you didn't experience any adverse effects
Thanks for checking out "More Than Grateful". Sorry about the quality of the recording and performance, Doug and I have kicked around the idea of adding a bridge and I've been meaning to update it. I also just set up my studio and it felt less-than-ideal to just do another phone recording when I have other options now. And, yes, I do plan on touching up the delivery of that emerald line. 😀
thanks for your kind comment. Jump the Shark means you have gone too far now! we were with you, but now you've blown it. too far fetched. no longer credible. it is named after an episode of Happy Days where the Fonz jumps over a shark
Jon, I meant to thank you way back for your comment on "Starfish." That weird little ditty still amuses the hell outta me lol. We had a lot of fun doing it.
Thank you so much for your generous and detail comments on the songs Jeff and I did together. I really appreciate it and still plan to get to more of your songs than the one so far. 🙂
I couldn’t agree with and relate to you more about the feelings right before February. Always doubt, always trepidation. I will be back for some listening!
Thanks so much for the awesome collab Jon!
On Somewhere Not Here..
Really took this over the top..
Thanks for listening to my songs "Lights at Sea", "Something Dark", "Start Walking in Your Dreams" and "Amelia" and my collab songs "Fades to Gray" with mikeb and with cindyrella, "Until You", I appreciate it!!
Thanks for the kind comments on a couple of my numbers.
I'm so impressed by the quality and variety of styles of all your work. Only commented on a few of them, but they all were very entertaining listens.
Glad you liked my "Farewell to FAWM"
Thanks for letting me know about your daughter’s response to my song. I’m so glad we will have a new generation of nurses of her caliber and with her heart! It’s interesting that I tend to discount my nursing songs as “not that important” when they do seem to be appreciated by some folks - I did a video of one of my songs at the beginning of the pandemic called “Daughter” and it has more views on Facebook and YouTube than I could have ever imagined. I guess sometimes we don’t see the worth in the things we do? A good lesson for me to remember is that sometimes these things are not under the control of my little brain - that maybe the universe/creator has a plan I don’t understand but I need to keep open to all possibilities 😊. Well thanks again, and if you’d like to charge me for this hour of therapy, send me your Venmo! 😂
I’d like to thank you for your insightful comments on “What It Is”. You were extremely helpful to me, because you clarified a question I had about the direction I should be taking with my songwriting/music. You probably have no idea what I’m talking about, but I’m very grateful that you listened and commented, and wanted you to know! 😊
Hey Jon, I really enjoyed your music and your astute comments this year. Yeah, there were some throw away lines in that song. Indeed, every line in that song was a throwaway line, but ain't that just like me. I'm a semi-amateur musician who feels compelled to bootstrap his way to "victory" every February. Cheers, and thanks again!
Jon, thanks so much for your supportive comments. Coming from someone as talented and experienced as you are they mean a huge amount. You have produced a wonderful body of work this FAWM that has been a joy to listen to. I am disappointed that we didn't collaborate as you suggested, that is down to me not really thinking beyond finishing the song I was working on. I have never actually collaborated with anyone yet but it's something I must start to put right.
Jon, you are spot on regarding the title of You didn’t take the money...
In fact the whole song is stitched together from different parts in an attempt to get to 14.
I had composed the chords and melody of both the verse and chorus separately. And as it turned out they fit together but, the verse was supposed to be slower and the chorus quicker so I had to choose a tempo in between, not totally happy with that. And the verse had a different lower melody that fitted the slower tempo better but because I had to speed it up it needed to sound a bit stronger so I raised the melody a third and changed it around a bit. And then I had to write lyrics that fitted both the melodies and the title. But hey, it got me to the finish line.
Jon thank you so much for your comments on "Invocation" and my hog callin'! I enjoyed composing this piece and look forward to re-trackin with a click track this time! 😀
Congratulations on your output this year! It's a good feeling isn't it?
See you in March for more music listening!
Thanks for your support this year. You're a talented fellow and I look forward to doing some listening now that l have "won" this thing. (I don't think I have a den, though. Maybe that trophy would look okay sitting on the toilet tank)
Sometimes one is just lucky to find a once in a lifetime opportunity
Wow, yes, I have been loving your lyrics! If your songwriting partner is even better than you, you're pretty lucky to have them. 😀
Jon, I want you to know how much your comments mean to me, I am so appreciative of your listens and thoughts on my songs, please know that, I am so behind in FAWM because of my rough start and am scrambling, I am not ignoring you or not noticing you and I long to listen to your songs, but I am at the moment, living in the delusion that I'm going to finish...I'm a dreamer...Thank you so much for every comment and visit.
Thanks for stopping by and listening I like the idea of tequila more than drinking it these days... it's really just on the shelf for looks! 😀
Amish blues. Now you've got me spiraling down a hole I really didn't want to go. Not sure if it would be a trad. Amish blues (my cart has a broken wheel), work songs (barn raising sea shanty) or a sad ol' blues about a guy who just wants to sit on the porch and pick/blow the harp while his family is frustrated that he doesn't have a wife and kids yet. See what you did to me??
Thank you Jon for your comments onmy 4 person collab.
Whereabouts in Spain are you living? I'm up in Catalunya on the coast not far from Sitges, if you know this area.
something bugs me abt Beverly Blue too, i was not happy abt it when i presented it to my class but it has improved! there are things about it that i really like (the refrain, its nontraditional structure). when i listen to it, i think my strumming pattern is at least partly to blame. i think i may finally bite the bullet and take a guitar lesson... i need to improve my versatility!
Thanks for the kind words about Built for Love. Don't tell Scott Fitzgerald about those statues. Hemingway did indeed give Fitzgerald that advice, if A Moveable Feast is to be believed. I think he was just trying to increase his confidence...and the pillows might help, too. (Speaking of the kind of music you'd like to write, everything I do stems from my ignorance and incompetence. I always feel that I'm tossing really rank cuts of meat into a stew pot, hoping that the sum will be greater than the parts. I definitely think I succeeded with that song.)
Glad you liked my collab with Doug (Nothing but Deluxe). I enjoyed getting into the 30s swing of that one. Banjo Ukulele certainly helped 😁
Thanks, Jon. That songlet was all because of you. I'm working on a song with mando and harp. 😀
Hey Jon, nice to hear, thanks for your words. It was lots of fun
Thanks for taking the time to listen to "Boulevard Montmartre" and for the kind comments! Really appreciate the encouraging feedback!
Well Jon, being christened with a name like mine... what can I say?
Thx for listening mate. Ja, Bernd is a great musician.
Glad you liked "This Time Last Year" - Yes, this time last year I was actually oh holiday in Naples (still desperate to keep up with FAWM and writing in my hotel room when the bars had closed). That's the last time I was out of Catalonia. It seems like a lifetime away. That is perhaps why Liz and her friend's lyrics resonated so well with me.
Thank you! I loved the idea of those arpeggios, kind of a Brazilian thing that seemed to fit. But I sweated blood to come up with a usable take.
I’m looking forward to hearing our exquisite corpse. 😀
Hey Jon, thanks so much for your comment on "A Brighter Tomorrow"! Just wanted to confirm that I did, in fact, use my telecaster with my favorite effect rack that I made in Ableton.
Thank you for your comment on John!
Thanks for the kind comments. I liked hearing about your approach to art with your kids. And thanks for the specific comment about "every kid with a stick knows you draw blood when you say so." I like that line myself 😀
Anything you want to do on doors closing would be amazing...
I trust you totally...
Just go ahead and post whenever you want..
Thanks for popping by and please please please add some RobbyKreiger guitar to Door closing Forever song ..I would love that!!
Thank you very much for your generous words on “These Wide Open Spaces”!
Thanks for your positive comment on my "Asking for a Friend"
Hi Jon, thanks for your comments on Dark Days Long Nights. The guitar isn't a resonator, it's a Epiphone EL-00, a copy of the original Gibson L-00 series small bodied flattops. It's a perfect guitar for fingerstyle.
... sometimes I got no chance but bring me ideas around the musical way. Only a few hear the according and the dissonance integrate with one and another in my work... most of the time I write titles and work my sound and arrangement to it. I hardly bring along lyrics. Usually my titles are my lyrics... the flower of the day is the Daffodil.
Well, looks like I really messed it up this time... it’s the Narzisse in German...
You are off to an amazing start.
Fruitcake is perfection.
I listened a few times and each time I heard more and read more.
Anyway, I would like to do the collaboration the same way. You give me a soundtrack.
If you can do something before Tuesday it would be great. I am having carotid artery surgery then and I imagine i will be out of commission vocally for a few days.
If not, we will make it happen, hopefully sooner than later.
I invite you to come to my page and check out a twist on Twisted.
Excited about a collab with you!
hey uncle jon!! i'm here finally! looking fwd to listening...
Thx Jon. ;]
Glad you enjoyed my Salome and Poor John. Very perceptive comments. That was indeed what I was doing. I am a bit "stucture obsessed" - Si it was nice to see someone pick up on the underlying skeleton. 😁
Finally showed up to the party.
I definitely want to do a collab.
I love the one from last year
Thanks for the comment on my 'Painting Challenge' song - you know I didn't even think of people (today) being on their phones/computers at the cafe!
thank you for your comments on sad street. glad you caught the allusion to poes masque of the red death.
I get that "Jethro Tull" a lot 😉 - especially if I add a bamboo flute or two to the mix 😁 Glad you liked the song.
wow jon. that was a spot on descriptiom of what i was trying to do in montecarlo. i wish i could have written this well when i was working as a jazz critc for the seatte PI.
Nice to see you again, Jon! Yes, that blank page can bring on the night terrors, can't it?! But we'll gird up our loins and give it a try, hey?
Hiya Jon...i don’t know what I’ll be do8ng this year..honestly I’m so ill
Prepared...going with the flow...no pressure..
If you hear anything from me you want to collab with I’m up for it...
I still listen to our amazing collab from last year..fookin legendary!!
good to see you back jon. ive missed hearing your music,
Hi Jon, thanks for the kind words and also for buying my album, very much appreciated. I'm very much looking forward to hearing your contributions this year and yes, if there are opportiunities for collaboration, then let's do it.
Hey @jonmeta, thanks for your kind words. I always start february completely blank and it usually takes me a few days to get the creative and inspirational juices flowing. I'm also kinda busy with a few other musical projects this month (plus regular life woes) so I'll have to wait and see what happens.
The good news is, that regardless of what I will produce, I will have the joy of looking forward to hearing your songs.
Can’t wait to hear what you come up with this year, friend. Og is immortal.
Likewise...looking forward to hearing what comes from your blank page.
I wanted to say thank you so much for your kindness. I was completely bowled over when I saw your message. My wife saw how touched I was, and has asked me to say thank you from her.
I didn't make that post in the forums so that someone would donate on my behalf (I was planning on donating as soon as there are some funds available), but I will definitely pay it forward when I'm able to.
Your gesture is appreciated more than you could ever know.
(you also don't appear to be on my watchlist. I've had problems over the years, with people seemingly disappearing from my list. I'm sure you were on it. I never remove people).
10cc! In the old days I used to have every album! And to tell you the truth, I never got it, not till today, why Bohemian Rhapsody made it but Une Nuit A Paris didn’t... both 1975. Well at least they had the most misinterpreted love song of all time and loads of us covered our spotty walls with pics from Suzi Quatro, haha.
A food song then, Ok! I’ll have a listen to your suggestions... Monday’s getting closer and closer...
I'm happy to be following you in the Lo-fi Exquisite Corpse. Gave a listen to Harry and Meghan. That's some fun, synth driven stuff.
Haha, yes “Smartphone” is the song I think you’re referring to- great memory! Still played it out at shows sometimes pre-COVID. 😊 Thanks for the welcome, and happy FAWM to you!
Welcome back to you to, Jon!
Happy FAWM to you!
For you as well!
Hi Jon. Thanks for the encouragement. Coming right back at ya!
Hey hey! Happy new FAWM!
So good to see you here, Jon!
Hey Jon, have a great FAWM!
Hi Jon - Yes, we certainly are! Happy FAWMing!
Whoa, Jon...be careful what you say: I don't think you want to commit to all of them, but thanks! I will definitely be checking in on your stuff as well. (I'm an amateur musician only in an alternate dream life, and during the month of February.)
Hi Jon - great to see you. Hope you have a fun and productive Feb. Looking forward to what you come up with.
Hey Jon! Looking forward to hearing your songs!!
Hi Jon, can't wait to hear your creations!!!
Hi Jon, hope yer ok and ready to rock. Have a fun February. Hear you round here. Cheers
...looks like you folks have got more snow then we do up here...