Utopian Turtletop. Monsieur Croche's Bête Noire. Contact: turtletop [at] hotmail [dot] com

Saturday, November 26, 2005

the aspens will already be turning

utopian radio

Douglas Wolk suggested recording an album, and Alex Ross suggested writing a song, and I’ve talked about troubles I had setting some of the words and then how it felt when I finished. Now you can hear it. An NPR reporter did a story on the Solo Album project and featured the song. You can hear the whole story, including a clip of the song and brief quote from me by clicking on “Listen,” and hear the whole song by clicking on “John Shaw.”

It’s not much like much else I’ve written. Of the couple hundred songs I’ve written, 90 or 95% of them started out on guitar, and the large majority of those have been on the cowboy chords; this is a piano song. The words have a somber lyricism that I would have had trouble sounding on a guitar.

Technical notes:

Alex suggested a melisma on the word “turning”; despite my reservations about musical parallelism, it ended up with a portamento;

I succumbed to more musical parallelism by putting the modulation on the line “because their roots connect them,” setting up, I hope, the song’s dramatic climax;

the last chord starts as an F-minor-11th but stretches out to a 12-note chord (which probably has a technical name) -- I liked the idea of the 12-note chord, just as a goof, but I wouldn't have used it if the sound didn't please me;

I had cold the day I recorded. (Dept. of Excuses Excuses.)

Technical shmechnical -- do you like the song? I tried to “play it straight.” Which some people may find funny. And that’s fine.

Now I’ve gotta try to finish the whole album.
I loved your song! It made me laugh a lot - I wish I had gotten the idea first!

I am only sorry that I cannot use "having a cold" as an excuse for my speaking voice, but alas, that is how I sound all the time.

It's funny -- I wasn't consciously trying to be funny, and it's completely fine with me if people find it so.
Good work! I'm very glad to listen to this.

Keep us posted on the publishing of the sheet music or other recordings of this gem.
its actually really pretty, but edgy. the lyrics are amusing and the Piano may need some tuning. I like it- i'll probably be humming this tune for a while, i might even serinade my friends with, haha.
I'm glad people seem to like the song. Thanks for telling me! And feel free to let me know if you don't like it too.

M. Keiser,
Busted! Yes, the piano is out of tune. I've grown used to it. I hope your friends like the song!

Kevin Ashworth,
Sh-sh-sh-eet music? Hadn't occurred to me. I haven't written it down! I'll report news of other recordings or availabilities, and if a publisher is interested, I'll buy some staff paper. Heck, if anybody asks me for it, I'll write it down. After the New Year.

samuraiphotog (a/k/a Jodi Shapiro),
I liked your piece too. Very interesting sounds! And well put together. Your speaking voice sounded fine too. "Dead meat line" is one I'll remember.
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