Leprechaun
Leprechaun

From the vaults, where it has lived for a few years, Ladies & Gentleman: The Spirit Of Drunkeness! This could have been written by a leprechaun if he was an American. I had stashed it away for several reasons, the main one being, it's a little pushy. Nobody likes an aggressive drunk and this song has been over-served. Let's not let that happen to you tonight—it's one thing to go out and have a bit of fun and whole other thing when you wake up the next town over and you're peeing green! The lovely little slide part is Steve Allen playing through a Califone portable record player. These are the old AV models from school. They have an input jack, so they can double as guitar amps. It would be a terrible idea to use one on a gig, but that cheap cheap sound is fine for a song like this. Blasting away on drums is Nashville's very own leprechaun, Phil Lee. The rest is moi abusing my Line 6 Pod, which can imitate everything but talent. I like the slide-y bass line, it makes me woozier than a night of green beer. Happy Paddy's Day to you.

© 2011 John Sieger

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AuthorJohn Sieger
CategoriesTune Du Jour

01 A Short Eternity A sad tale of a withdrawn man from a few weeks back. He's hiding out from the world — it's just too much for him! He has hung a "Do Not Disturb" sign on the door to his pitiful life. What drove him to this hermit's state? You guessed it — love. I somehow managed to use the word "fray" in this one, it's a pretty singable word I've never heard in a song. This demo reflects my current obsession with the nylon string "classical" guitar, which I used on two tracks. It's very meaty sounding and yet somehow it floats around the vocal, never obscuring it. It's the Ginger Rogers of instruments, dancing backwards in heels, while making Fred Astaire look that much better! An inch or so beneath this blog is an alternate drawing illustrating our poor, crushed protagonist. He has left his Motel Six for a nice secluded sewer in Arizona.

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AuthorJohn Sieger
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15 Don't Knock The Mockingbird 1

Here is an unlikely suspect—the mockingbird. Are people picking on him? Or her? Not really. It's a wonderful and pretty little bird that never quite makes it this far north. It has a reputation for plagiarism, I don't know how true that is. In music, it's always a fine line between homage and theft. I rose to the defense of this defenseless creature when I lived in Nashville and my memories of what I was thinking are sketchy at best. I do remember making myself laugh a little when that line came to me —it reminded me a little of Give Paris One More Chance, a song I love by Jonathan Richman. That one seemed like a protest song with no real purpose. There's something absurd about defending Paris — isn't it one of the most beloved and romantic cities on earth? You're preaching to the choir, Jonathan... Give Kenosha one more chance! When my song came together, it sort of lost that aspect and became more of a metaphor for singers, musicians and songwriters. It sounded, I almost hate to say, poignant to me. Good thing you can't throw tomatoes on the internet, but there you have it.

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AuthorJohn Sieger
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01 A Handsome Man 3-22-09

I love the title – it's classic Michael Feldman. As is the second verse: "Take a look at your average con - he's ugly without fail." Has this expression been around and I just never heard it? Or has M.F. coined another one? I'll ask him and update when I find out. Update: I couldn't tell from his cryptic response, so I'm going to claim authorship of this dazzling quip. It's hard to argue with the sentiment in this song, though it probably shouldn't be called a sentiment. More like the cold, hard facts. Statistics show attractive people earn more... look it up! Even the Onion has chimed in with the headline "Supermodels Have Banner Year." Should this song be sung by a handsome or a homely man? It would strike me as funny either way. Mr. Handsome could have a sense of out-of-touch entitled outrage and the nebbish could be making excuses for poor performance. Maybe it could be in a musical with verses from both and that way reveal a universal truth. (I certainly have high hopes!) I like the lushness of this particular demo, the music seems pretty enough to avoid incarceration and the guitar solo came out quite snarky.  Till we meet up again tomorrow, remember to stay handsome, it almost always works out!

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AuthorJohn Sieger
CategoriesTune Du Jour

01 Magazine 6-1-10

This goes back to the early years of Mikey (Feldman) and Johnny. We both lived around Kenosha and Mike was a lyric tornado. He generated so much material and so much of it was good that all I could do was to try and keep up. This one, with lines like "Avalanche of hair burying her face" and "And them eyes, each of them was blue," seemed like pure inspiration. Last year, I decided I wanted to re-cut some of our earliest demos and do a better job than I had back then, when I sang almost exclusively through my nose! I'm hoping to get these finished and released in the near future, but let's listen to this almost-mixed "me-me-me" demo and see what we think.

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AuthorJohn Sieger
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01 Bad Checks

This is a co-write with Robbie Fulks. If you aren't familiar with Robbie, you are missing out on a truly entertaining experience. He is a great singer and writer and his performances are legendary. I'd like to say this is the dumbest thing he ever wrote, but he might disagree. The kernel for this one is the phrase "Whip me, beat me, make me write bad checks," which I saw scrawled on a bathroom wall in New Orleans a long time ago. I thought it was good advice and a good title. Robbie is a gifted enabler of bad ideas—if you are going to run your train off the tracks he will be right behind you stoking coal. With his help, I was able to finish this and manage to capture what I think is a bit of New Orleans feel. We play this one in my band The Subcontinentals and it will probably be on our next recording.

NOTE: Your comments are always welcome and as I said in my mission statement, I'd be happy to email any of these songs to you... absolutely free!

Visit Robbie Fulks here.

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AuthorJohn Sieger
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19 AKA Therese

This is a demo and sounds like one. Just me, an electric guitar, a bass and a cheap drum machine. Nothing fussed over, but you get the idea. The lyric is by Michael Feldman, which means his brilliant ideas come out of my mouth for a change. I guess that makes him my personal Cyrano, although my nose is every bit as big as his.  I love the idea of AKA Therese—she uses different names in different cities. Sounds like a tough cookie. If I get a better version of this, I will post it—until then it lives in a folder where I keep songs for the next Subcontinental CD. Sing along:

Her mama was working in a canning plant

Her daddy was state police

She raised hell as she raised herself

AKA Therese

Rose she was down in New Orleans

In Memphis it was Mary Louise

By Lexington it was no longer clear

AKA Therese

I can't call her by her name

Ain't that just a doggone shame

She never told me what it was

Where she's from or what she does

She married but she never took their names

She had her own self to please

If you loved Rose you loved Penelope

AKA Therese

© 2010 Feldman/Sieger Strum & Drang BMI

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AuthorJohn Sieger
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01 Authentic Feral Child

A surprise visit from strange wolf child lurking in my subconscious. You just don't know what the hell is in there sometimes. This should make it pretty obvious that one of my influences is Randy Newman. This is more a shout out to his peculiar world than a  direct imitation, because that would be impossible.  I hope I captured a bit of sideshow atmosphere in the middle section. I now have unlimited access to things like celestes and pan pipes and, if this is an early indicator of just how much I will be abusing the software orchestra at my fingertips, look for my first symphony about this time next year.

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AuthorJohn Sieger
CategoriesTune Du Jour

01 A Twenty-Two Or A Forty-Five This song is a day old. It's a demo, just me and my guitar gently weeping. It is nowhere near a finished or polished performance, but I like the feel. Never fired a gun myself, in fact I've done things to raise money for handgun control in the past. I'm no fan the NRA, the people who brought you John Lennon's death, not to mention countless thousands of others. And yet, when you put a gun in a song, it sort of adds narrative heft. Gangsta Folk. This guy lives in a tough little factory town and walks around under a cloud of resentment. Maybe he'll go postal — you can sort of tell he doesn't like his boss. Maybe he'll move to the country and join the Tea Party. He makes a good song character. I'm going to work on my finger picking and get a definitive version to post at a later date.

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AuthorJohn Sieger
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04 Long, Long Night This song could be slotted into a category called "Wrestling With Dylan." It may not sound like Bob to you, but it dates back to the early nineties when I was going through a Dylan obsessive phase, which I think I'm still in. Every writer has to deal with his presence – for a little guy he takes up a lot of space. Not acknowledging the mountain of Bob on the popular music landscape is just foolish. He's there, deal with it and get back to what you do if and when you're finished.  So back to the song... it's kind of what it is, a relationship off the rails, trapped in a long headache of a night that threatens to go on forever, it's what I call a kiss-off song. Though it's called Long Long Night, I thought it would be better to keep it short but sweet, the song clocks in at 2:07. No lyrics today, but I was happy to squeeze "Feels like the night of the living dead" in there!

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