Desiderata Volume I was also recorded at The MixLab in College Station, just before I left Texas in 2009. It was another great experience with Michael and Ben, but this time Ben impressed me with his arrangement skills. On the song Spinning, Ben showed me a better way to play the acoustic part. We made a great album in my opinion. It was angry, and in some way the record began my foray into exploring doubt in songwriting. The record begins with a declaration of my (then) state of mind, and then takes on the tone of a relationship gone sour. It was intended to reflect my feelings and my relationship to the organized religion I had always known.
I was, for the first time, away from everything familiar. It was wonderful, because life seemed to overflow with vitality and regeneration. It was also dark, because I had a lot to personally work through. I borrowed some recording equipment from a friend and recorded the album in a few weeks, off and on. During those weeks, I was asked to play a show on the radio. After that gig, another radio opportunity opened up. My songwriting endured a period of evolution. I wanted to do something low-key and therefore lo-fi. The album was recorded on a Zoom MRS-8. I used not only my trusted Takamine guitar but also an old Harmony classical that cost $60. As a matter of principle, I embraced odd noises here and there. My dog can be heard sighing with boredom during Chamber Door, and a dump truck can be heard driving by at the end of another song. In contrast to the previous two recordings, this one was done the old-fashioned way. That is, I sat in front of a microphone and pushed the "record" button.
This album was released in the winter of 2011, and is the result of pure musical inspiration. It began when I traded my beloved Takamine guitars for two immaculate Breedlove rosewood acoustics. I had only a handful of songs, then tragedy struck. My dog (some would say best friend) was bit by a rattlesnake and nearly died. While she was recovering in a hospital, I experienced a tumultuous feeling of isolation and loneliness. That produced some intense songwriting with no lyrics whatsoever. I named it Breaking Down because it was so traumatizing to watch my dog experience the pain and suffering brought on by the venom. Darwin's words rang true. He said that the world surrounding humanity is constantly at war with itself, and we are largely blind to it. This is my favorite album to listen to. I painted the piece which adorns the album cover.
American Drone was written and recorded very quickly. The entire thing was done, from beginning to end, in less than one month. The short spurt of songwriting passion came from a two-month period of writer's block. The album features some of my favorite songs, including Something For Free, Counterfeit Love, Broken Heart, Water In A Lonesome Cove, and Lamentations. The recording is just vocal and guitar, and is a commentary on the American dream. Kudos to James Gibson, an incredible artist who came up with what he called a "zombot" for the cover art.