My new album is done!
The Naptime Sessions was recorded in my sunroom with various friends over the past 5 months, usually during stolen moments while Oliver was sleeping (hence the title). It’s a mellow run through 8 songs, mostly centered around my family. There’s layered acoustic guitars, harmonies, strings, piano, and handclaps galore – it’s homemade, but not cheap (and maybe a bit more full-sounding than my last album)
CDs are available through CD Baby here. The cds aren’t free, but they’re cheap (the price is enough to cover my manufacturing and shipping costs once CD Baby gets their cut)
If you’re not a snob about needing a CD in your hands, you can download the album for free through Noisetrade:
(Or just download a HQ zip file here)
I’ve written a few thoughts on each of the tunes, and embedded a player so you can listen at your leisure before you download.
Wearing Weeks Away:
I wrote this tune when Bridgette was about 7 months pregnant. We were waiting for the big day to arrive with the usual mix of excitement and anxiousness. I tried to capture some of that buzz while also keeping a bit more of my conversational voice in the lyrics – very little revising went into this song. It’s pretty much as it came out that day. I tried to make this song as poppy as I could given the ethic of the album, and I’m really happy with how it came out (and with how Oliver came out).
This is a total emotional reversal from “Weeks”, but I kinda like moments like that on an album. It was written about a miscarriage that we suffered in 2008. The balance here was trying to maintain the gravity of that pain while offering in just the right amount of light in at the end. It was a hell of a thing to go through; this song represents the end result of the grieving process.
The Cedars and the Shade:
This is a tender song that comments on the experiences from “Grace Appears”, but from a more universal perspective. While the previous song is distinctly about our experience, “Cedars” asks the question so many of us wrestle with at some point: where is God in these painful moments? Oddly, I have almost no memory of writing this one – it seems to have just floated to me. Getting to record with my sister (who added piano and backing vocals) was a genuine treat for me. Her overdubs were the final additions to the album, and definitely among my favorites. Probably my favorite recording I’ve ever done.
This is a song about suddenly finding myself a grown-up but secretly feeling like a fraud. In the end, after a lot of reflection, I realized that exposing myself as such is precisely what I needed to do to generate the spiritual intimacy I was desiring. Musically, this song went through a ton of mutations. I changed time signatures, added and removed drum parts, and added and removed piano parts in an attempt to find the right mix. Though it doesn’t rock, it sits in the rock aesthetic. I had to make it rock politely in a back porch kind of way. For what it’s worth, this is my favorite song to sing on the album.
In a Hurry:
I wrote this song 4 years ago, but the questions it asks grow more and more true each summer. What am I doing with my time? Where did my year go? I wrote a new bridge after Oliver was born to help it fit thematically with the album. This song features the least overdubs of any of the songs here – just a couple guitars banging it out and Todd Luker’s sweet harmonica. My comment to him at the end was out of relief – I felt like he had hit the sweet spot, and nothing more was needed.
At the Time:
This is the story falling in love with Bridgette. I made no attempt to make this a universal love song – this is about me and her and how it felt to fall for her after everything I’d been through in my early 20s. The long instrumental outtro is one of my favorite stretches of the album. When I listen to it, images flash through my head of the last 5 or 6 years with her and I feel very happy.
Drivin’ on 35:
My friend Jon Smith helped a lot on this album, and in a sense I returned the favor by recording this song of his. The pleasure was all mine, however – I’ve always loved the song, having long been a fan of taking long drives by myself to think and reflect. For years, this was a tune that I would play for fun around the house. At one point I played it for my brother Brian, and he responded really strongly to it, which placed the idea in my head that maybe I could use what Jon wrote to say something myself. Whereas his recording was sparse and the mood was more shattered, I tried to create nostalgic heartland ballad. It was a fun one to sing and record.
I wrote this song back in college, and like a lot of my songs from back then, it’s laden with nostalgia and simple sentiments. Unlike a lot of the stuff I wrote back then, however, I feel like this one has aged well. I loved returning to this old song and recording it with my friend Paul Carolan, who I was close buddies with in those years. We recorded the backing tracks together, sitting facing each other in my sunroom like we used to back in the dorms. I barely touched the tracks to preserve the ambiance of the room and those moments. Todd came in later on to record a few perfect harmonica lines and the song was done. I love simple songs like these.