Stuff about music, either mine or stuff I am listening to.

MusicThe Sunday Song: World Trade Center

 Posted by (Visited 558 times)  Music
Sep 112016

I wrote this in the days immediately after 9/11. I recorded it onto a 4 track cassette recorder, basically live, then overdubbed some harmony vocals I was hearing in my head.

It’s a sketch. It’s way way long. It’s tentative. Pretty sure the whole thing is all sped up slightly, so if I sound a little chipmunk-like, that’s why.

Somehow, it’s always felt like recording it again would lose the immediacy. So I never have, and I fact I just about never play it. But if there’s a day to post it, it’s probably today.

The stories in the song are all true.

ArtGame talkMusicPracticing the creativity habit

 Posted by (Visited 3737 times)  Art, Game talk, Music, Writing  Tagged with: ,
Dec 032014

In the wake of posting up the video of my talk on “Practical Creativity,” I got this:

What a great question.

First, I have to admit I slack off a lot. 🙂 But, here are some ways in which I practice, or have practiced it. You might notice some commonalities across media.

Hope you’ll bear with me, because I will get to games last.

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MusicThe Sunday Song: The Ballad of Chris and Chris

 Posted by (Visited 3291 times)  Music  Tagged with:
Jan 122014

I first got the storyline of this song stuck in my head maybe eight yearimages ago. But I didn’t have music for it, and that meant I also couldn’t write it down fitting a melody.

I finally shaped it into a lyric right around the end of 2012, when the guitar part came to me in a noodling session. It was thanks to a chord progression that is somewhat unusual for me (I rarely go from the I to the V, I find), though set in my go-to key of D. I pulled out the bass line that made the progression work, and doubled it on the mandolin, and shaped the melody around it. Add a dash of strings, and recorded a vocal (if I recall, I had a cold at the time… but ended up liking the tentative quality it gave) and here it is. I figured, it’s been a year, I should let it out into the world.

download mp3

Lyrics, chords, and similar details after the break. Continue reading »

MusicThe Sunday Song: Freedom

 Posted by (Visited 4632 times)  Music  Tagged with: , ,
Feb 102013

I put this together today. I think it’s going to end up as the guitar part for a song with lyrics, but I liked it enough as a guitar part that I’m posting it up as just an instrumental. Nothing fancy here — I recorded it with a single mic, did a tiny bit of reverb and EQ, and left it at that.

It’s a capo monster — standard tuning, but capo’d at the second fret, and then again with a partial capo at the 6th fret, covering only strings 3, 4, and 5. I use a Kyser short-cut capo for this. You could use just a single partial capo at the 4th fret to play it a full step lower, of course, which would move it from the key of F# major down to E.

– download Freedom.mp3

Other than that, it’s all in the picking pattern. The trick here is that you finger less than it seems — almost all the chords are only two finger stops. The rising part is actually played in between the two capos.

MailbagMusicMailbag: High Seas

 Posted by (Visited 5472 times)  Mailbag, Music
Dec 212012


You probably don’t remember me, but I played Metaplace a while back. We talked a lot about your ship game and you shared a link with me of the music you made. I cannot find that conversation!! Nor can I find the music on your site (unless I forgot what it was called). It was epic and I want to listen to it again.

Also, I know that Metaplace is no more but is the High Seas game out there anywhere to play for fun? If not, you should host it on your web server. It would be epic to play it again 🙁

– Crystal

I am tickled that anyone remembers either the game or the music! Especially given that we are coming up on the third anniversary of the closing of… hard to believe it has been that long.

The music is called “The Knyghte’s Daliaunce,” as it was not originally meant as a pirate tune at all. I posted it up on the blog (with a chord chart) ages ago. It is also on the general Music page along with links to my album (it’s not on the album though). I really should record a new version of it sometime. Anyway, here you go:

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MusicThe Sunday Song: Zombie Christmas Trees

 Posted by (Visited 10460 times)  Music  Tagged with: , ,
Dec 092012

We chop the poor trees down, then stick them in embalming fluid to keep them alive for a few weeks while we use them as our helpless servants; then we throw them away to wither in a landfill. If that isn’t a zombie, what is?

This little ditty came about because of something my daughter said — I don’t remember what exactly. But she rolled her eyes a lot when I said that it gave me this idea. If you like, you can think of it as a spiritual sequel to “Dead Cheerleaders.”

download here

I just wrote this yesterday and recorded it in a few hours today. I play it up at Capo VII, fingerpicked, but in the recording I added a couple more guitars to give it body and it sort of turned into a 70s country rock song. Sorry about that. The fingerpicked line is on the Baby Taylor, and the rhythm parts are on the Blueridge, and I just doubled it through an amp simulator to get some crunch and space in it. And added a bass part and a fake Hammond organ.

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MusicThe Sunday Song: Alice

 Posted by (Visited 7862 times)  Music  Tagged with: , , , ,
Dec 112011

I wrote this song quite a long time ago, for one of my favorite webcomics, entitled Alice! The comic hasn’t updated since 2006, but I actually own the print collection that was available for a while. The vibe of it was somewhere between Peanuts and Calvin & Hobbes — except it was about an overimaginative teen or tween girl. Glancing at it now, it makes me think of my daughter, who similarly dives into roleplaying and doesn’t come out for days.


An Alice comic strip

An Alice comic strip



The tablature and sheet music have actually been posted up for ages and ages in the Music section of the site. It’s in standard tuning, but uses a partial capo on the 4th fret covering only three of the strings — strings 3, 4, and 5, numbered from the high E as the first string.

Hope you like it!

Music“After the Flood” is available again

 Posted by (Visited 5648 times)  Music
Nov 152011

After the Flood CD coverBack in 1999, the audio guys at Origin had spare time, and they put together this cool little program whereby people who worked there at Origin could get recording studio time.

In my case, that resulted in my only CD, AFTER THE FLOOD, which features Matt Mitchell on bass, Todd McKimmey on bass and electric guitar, and Stretch Williams on slide guitar.

I put it up on back when there was such a thing, and some of the songs did fairly well — the opening track hit #9 on the folk-rock chart, for example. But then went away.

Then I put it on CafePress just so it wouldn’t vanish altogether. And then CafePress did away with CDs.

So basically, it’s been out of print for years and years.

I decided, hey, if I am going to write hundreds of songs in a spare bedroom, I should actually let someone hear them. So the CD is back! (Well, as mp3 downloads anyway).

If you like it, leave a review, tell friends… if you don’t, blame it on it being from so long ago. 😉

MusicThe Sunday Song: August Timepieces

 Posted by (Visited 6629 times)  Music  Tagged with: , ,
Aug 282011

Recently some colleagues at Disney gave me a few gifts in thanks for giving a talk to some folks internally. Apparently Warren Spector picked out one of the gifts: a harmonic capo (he knows I play guitar, you see; been a few years, but we’ve jammed together). This little beastie sits on the 12th fret and presses down very lightly on the strings with rubber feet. Unlike a regular capo, though, it does not depress the strings all the way — instead, it sits lightly enough to cause an open pluck of that string to play a harmonic note — those bell-like tones you hear sometimes out of a guitar. But you can play under the capo, and still get standard notes. The result is that you play a regular chord, and any time you play an open string, you get a harmonic instead.

Well, I had to try it out. Beautiful on the Baby Taylor; didn’t fit on my Blueridge (the heel on the neck is too thick)… and just barely fit on the 1962 Gibson, which is what you’ll hear if you click the link. Because once I had it, I started to noodle about in open G, and, well… got this done in the last couple of hours:

download “August Timepieces”

Hope you like it!

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