Couch by Couchwest

Yes, SXSW is in full-swing in Austin, and while I once lived in Austin, that was a while ago. It’s cool, though, because the Couch by Couchwest festival is here for us all — those of us “too broke or too lazy to get off our couches and go to Austin.”

Over the weekend, we were shooting a music video for the first song off of our upcoming record, and Jody and I took a few minutes to step off to the side and record a version of the absolute classic “Goodnight Irene.” First recorded by Lead Belly, everybody has done this song, and I hope our version does it justice. Please let us know.

Incidentally, I sent my dad the link to the video and told him we’d recorded a one-off version of a Lead Belly song. After he watched it, he sent me a note back telling me that my grandfather (who died when I was one) used to play this song all the time. Total coincidence. Who knew?

The good people at CXCW posted a solo performance I shot on a tree stump in my backyard. I joked to them that if they didn’t have room for it this year, they could save it for the inevitable Stump by Stumpwest festival. This is the song “Tomorrow May Take You,” which will be on The Ghost of John Henry this May.

In the Studio, Final Weekend – Video Blog

We wrapped all of the recording for the new album, “The Ghost of John Henry” this weekend with our final cello, guitar, and vocal sessions, in addition to getting some miscellaneous percussion tracks. Percussion “instruments” on this record will include chains, old cast iron jail keys, artillery shells, homemade stomp box, a “thunder tube” (not a double entendre) and regular, more normal things like drums, shakers, tambourine, what-have-you. That was a fun session to do. Also, I shaved my beard to celebrate. Here’s a look at the weekend, and how everything came together throughout the sessions:

I jokingly gave Jaron, our engineer, a hard time in this video — he just got back from a tour of Australia and New Zealand with the Dresden Dolls and has been working literally around-the-clock mastering another project that’s way more high-profile than anything I’m likely to do, but he still made room for us. I have to be serious and thank him publicly for his ability and insight throughout this process. The majority of my previous recording experience has been decidedly lo-fi, so the sound and performances on the record owe a tremendous debt to him. If you need studio time in the LA area, gets our official endorsement (expect the Sci-Fi Romance bump now, my friend).

You can hear the first record “…and surrender my body to the flames” over on our Bandcamp page.