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Posts Tagged ‘guitar’

Obadiah & How I Became the Bomb @ The Pilot Light – Knoxville, TN – 7.28.2011

This is the first show Obadiah will have played together in about five years.  When the offer came through (not a week before the show), we all figured, “why not?”  I don’t think any of us were certain as to what exactly was going to happen at our first scheduled session / rehearsal.  That being the past now, I would say that it feels as if we never stopped in the first place.  I won’t say that, though, because I feel we are all actually much better musicians now with a more mature sound then what it was when we left off.

This is likely going to be a rare one off as drummer, Josh Russell, will be shipping out to Oregon in just a few weeks.  So come on down and see what Obadiah has become.  You will not be disappointed.

Click here to check out How I Became the Bomb.

Click here to check out the last Obadiah album.

Seedlings – 3.30.2011 – Never Sorry [Arrison Kirby, Katie Collins, Megan Driscoll, Rachel Jae & Dane Hill]

Click to download the tracks:

“Everyone In”
“Michael in the War”

After the Pilot Light show, we reconvened the following Wednesday and went right to work on new material…which is actually old material to me.  Only these three made it to the surface.

“Everyone In” – This was just another standard Never Sorry warm up jam.

“Michael in the War” – Okay.  Last summer a storm put my power out just before dusk.  I decided to record a session, by myself, on a battery operated sound recorder.  I played acoustic guitar and sang, making it up as it went.  This song came out of that session.

“Trimpers” – I wrote this song before I really knew how to write songs, back around 9th grade or so.  Trimper’s is a real place in Ocean City, Maryland.  It’s apparently been open since 1893.  Anyway, the song ends rather abruptly due to a beer spill.  And no…it was not extra light.

Katie Collins – omnichord
Megan Driscoll –  flute, vocals
Dane Hill – bass, drums
Rachel Jae – auxillary percussion, vocals
Arrison Kirby – guitar, keys, vocals

Flesh and Mud – 2.16.2011 – Never Sorry [Arrison Kirby, Katie Collins, Megan Driscoll, Rachel Jae and Dane Hill]

Click to download the tracks:

“Cute Little Echo (Front Porch)”
“Here Comes Jombo”
“Reading Rainbow” (Horelick, Kleinman & Weir)
“Cute Little Echo (Back Porch)”
“Planned Parenthood”

I hate to use the word “groove” in almost any context outside of a crevice, as in a record or the road, but I can’t just ignore the hokier context here.  I’m not trying to liken this set to a jam band type of deal.  There is, however, an essence of  ease on this one.  It’s light.  Positive?  Who knows?

“Blue” – Notice the resistance to the soundscape at the beginning.  No one (except maybe Dane) thought I was serious about using it when I broke it out (as I did just prior to this take).  I had to sell the girls on it.  I mean, it’s a creepy sound.  I think that they think that I was just being an asshole because I’m not usually wanting to play “Blue” as much as I do the other songs.  I knew it would work, though…and it does!  Good version!

“Cute Little Echo” – Yeah.  I know how shitty my singing can get. Definitely good examples of that on these two versions, but instrumentally they are too fresh to omit for bad singing.  The “Front Porch” is quicker and more rockin’ then we have done in the past.  The “Back Porch” is…well…I’m not certain.  It’s happy.  Not so…serious?  No guitar on it.  I’m playing bass instead.  Both versions also have Dane on drums rather than beats as the prior versions have had.  And listen!  Katie’s ukulele is coming through loud and clear finally!  Alright!

“Here Comes Jombo” – Another good ol’ down home, little group jam.  Dane on bass.  Katie on the bongos.  And seriously…doesn’t it sound like someone named Jombo is approaching you?  Isn’t this what you’ll hear when it happens?

“Reading Rainbow” – I absolutely had to carry this over from the Skynet Session.  With Nathan Brown sitting in with us at the Pilot Light show on March 25th, 2011, and also being my counterpart in that session, it only makes sense to apply this one to Never Sorry.  This is the speedy, more “correct” version that they actually play on the show.

“Planned Parenthood” – This session was over.  Done for.  Megan had already left (I think).  Rachel and Katie were chatting it up.  The music had subsided, but the equipment was still on.  I was still starved for one more morsel of sound.  I suppose Dane was as well, because right after he picked up the microphone, I started this beat.  Those girls were powerless to this gangsta ass shit and we got one more aural feeding for the night.  Yes!  That’s Katie playing an old, out of tune piano.  Not keyboard gloss.

Katie Collins – omnichord, ukulele, bongo drums, piano
Megan Driscoll –  flute, harmonica, tambourine, vocals
Dane Hill – bass, drums, vocals
Rachel Jae – auxillary percussion, vocals
Arrison Kirby – keys, beats, bass, guitar, vocals

Loose Roots – 1.19.2011 – Never Sorry [Arrison Kirby, Katie Collins, Megan Driscoll, Rachel Jae, Dane Hill & David Davis]

Click to download the tracks:


“Afraid of the Ghost”
“Tender Anomalies”
“House of Satan”
“Wok it Out / Sarabeth”

First legitimate session of 2011.  We were lucky to have Davis Davis (the red cloud) join in on the bass guitar.

I called it Loose Roots because this session made me feel like we were getting back to some low down, junky roots that we probably never really abandoned in the first place.  Also, the name feels appropriate considering that this one feels like a macabre ol’ time gospel session (except for “Wok it Out / Sarabeth”).  This may have the most to do with the lyrical content.  Heaven, hell, the devil and all that.

The picture is my cat, Quinn, when he was a kitten.  His roots are in New Orleans where I picked him up from a group of kids on the side of the road.  However, now in Knoxville, he’s addicted to the cold weather for some reason.

“Afraid of the Ghost” – We play it soooooo much.  It’s an easy one for people to remember, though, so it works well with session guests (such as the present David Davis).  David’s bass alongside my deep synth makes for some good tonal ground punching.

“Tender Anomalies” – This began as a jam between Dane and David.  I joined in and we became a three piece.  The girls were all in the room doing something else.  I’m not certain what, but their dialog in the background seems to fit right with the jam.

“House of Satan” – I could not resist resurrecting this one.  I changed the lyric I was not fond of the last time we did it.  Unfortunately, we lost the theramin for this version, but we did gain the bass.  I feel like I should have sung “the chous” one more time maybe.  Who cares, though?  I love this ballad ass shit.

“Wok it Out / Sarabeth” – I’m not sure how this came to be, but we all felt really really good about it as it did.  That’s Dane rapping.  The beats come from a song called “Sarabeth” that I’ve performed live, and we’ve tackled as a band, but don’t have a solid recording of for some reason.  Because of the source of the beats, we decided to interpolate elements of “Sarabeth” into this song.  It’s great, because “Sarabeth” includes the primary lyrics, “Eight sixteen,” which I wrote in reference to the title person’s birthday.  However, in weaving it into “Wok it Out,” Dane places the numbers into the  completely different context of hours and minutes.  Ah, sweet expansion!

Katie Collins – omnichord, bass
Megan Driscoll –  flute
Dane Hill – drums, vocals
Rachel Jae – auxillary percussion, omnichord
Arrison Kirby – guitar, keys, beats, vocals
David Davis – bass

“Automobile” (NWA / Parliament cover) – Never Sorry

Yay!  The band has a video!

This song and the video were recorded on 12.1.10 at a session that only included myself, Katie Collins and Megan Driscoll.  It’s cover of the NWA song, “Automobile,” (as they reformed from the original by Parliament) from their highly misogynistic, but wonderfully produced Niggaz4Life .  It’s different than the version we did in the last session.  That one was rockin’.  This one is more chilled out and electro.

Lots of offensive language on this.  Again, I’m no fan of standard camp.  But this isn’t camp…these are gangstas!  They mean it!

And as always, if you’d like to download the MP3, here you go:

“Automobile” – Never Sorry

We Are in Love – 11.28.2010 – Never Sorry [Arrison Kirby, Katie Collins, Megan Driscoll, Rachel Jae and Dane Hill]

Click to download the tracks:

“Free Day”
“Afraid of the Ghost (Hell)”
“Monkey Parade”
“People’s People”
“Tender” (Blur cover)
“Single Politician”
“Automobile” (NWA cover)
“Afraid of the Ghost (Heaven)”

This session was awesome.   Recording these things live, we have to have a certain degree of it set up and sounding right for the room before we even begin.  So I will be the first to admit that the vocals came out a little bit too quiet, and beyond repair…at least in my microphone.  Elsewise, everyone had their shit together and everything felt really full and booming.  This is the kind of spread that makes a person feel very lucky to be engaging creatively with these other persons.

We tackled two new cover songs in this session.  One by Blur and one by NWA.  I’ll spare you the details and give you the standard run down:

“Free Day” – Once again, our opening warm up jam works perfectly as the session opener.  Dane is rocking the mandolin on this one, Rachel took over omni duties.  Katie had not yet arrived.  I love how deep the beats are on this one, and how beautifully all the instrumentation builds around them.

“Afraid of the Ghost” – We had not done this one in a minute, but here are two new and very different versions.  The “hell” version is slow and moody.  It sounds familiar to me.  I initially want to compare it to Pink Floyd, but I don’t think that’s it.  The “heaven” version is a little crazier and certainly more fast.  I soaked out the beginning of this version with some pretty intensive electronic slamming.  Also, I’d like to note the perfect placement of Dane’s drumming choices on both versions.

“Monkey Parade” – This one gets better the more we do it.  I added keys to this one, trading off between them and guitar.

“People’s People” – We had not messed with this song in months.  Then suddenly, it pops up again.  I think it was Megan’s idea to take a current crack at it.  I gotta say…despite the inability to discern what the vocals are saying, this is possibly those most solidly formed, while still remaining upbeat, version of this we have done.

“Tender” – Alright!  A Blur cover!  The thing I love about this is that, when I introduced this song, I don’t think anyone else had heard the original before.  This recording is about the 6th take, at which point, they still hadn’t heard it.  So basically, that’s one more reason to love the people playing on this song.  And how about those vocals?  That’s Rachel on the mains, with Megan and I harmonizing as applicable.

“Single Politician” – Of all the ways we have tried this song, this is my favorite arrangement.  Dane and I actually fleshed this version out right before our show with Katie & The Bass Drums back in August.  This is just the first somewhat solid recording we have done of it.

“Automobile” – This is a cover of an NWA interpretation of a Parliament song.  Anyone that was in middle school when Niggaz4Life came out is likely familiar with this one.  It was the novelty “country song” from that album, chalked full of Easy-E and others spouting off embarrassing, gruff sexual yearns.  I thought it was important to keep all the dirt and smut in tact, though normally I don’t talk this way.

“Blue” – We did this version before Katie had arrived.  I must say, I completely adore this version for it’s minimalism.  And, damn, Rachel can belt this one out.

Katie Collins – omnichord, bass
Megan Driscoll –  flute, harmonica, vocals
Dane Hill – drums, bass, mandolin
Rachel Jae – vocals, auxillary percussion
Arrison Kirby – guitar, beats, vocals

Infinite Everything – 11.17.2010 – Never Sorry [Arrison Kirby, Katie Collins, Megan Driscoll, Rachel Jae & Dane Hill]

Click to download the tracks:

“Coastal Horizon (No Harm)”
“World War 17”
“Let You Down”
“Coastal Horizon (Harm)”
“Gangsta Goodbye”

This short little session seems to carry some strange, hopeful emotion.  Texturally rich instrumentals and a couple heartfelt sing-songs.  Also, this collective has decided on a formal band name finally.  We are called: NEVER SORRY.

So this was the first session after Dane’s father passed away, which – coupled with Dane’s mighty guitar stylings – may be part and parcel for the musically emotive outpour.  And like I said, it seems strange and hopeful.  This, more than anything, seems to be a testament of Dane’s strong and wise character and I put these tones in his hands.

I mean, look.  Katie and I had a “depression session” because it was raining outside and everyone bailed on the session, otherwise.  But Dane’s dad dies and the follow up to that is this – songs we can feel relatively comfortable in, amidst all longing.  It makes the “depression” part seem so trivial.

Further evidence, indeed, that Dane Hill is the fucking man.  Also, I’d like to wish congratulations to he and Rachel on their recent engagement!  Best.  Couple.  Ever.

“Coastal Horizon” – Two versions found in this session.  The first has better dynamics, but the second has Megan playing harmonica.  Dane is emoting through the guitar on these.  I’m handling drums.  Omni for Katie and auxillary percussion for Rachel.

“Blue” – This song is so short and simple that we probably now have more recorded versions of it than any other song.  This seems to be a fairly paramount version.  I’m on the scratchy, dirty guitar.  Dane’s rocking the drums.  Katie on the omni and Megan on the flute.  Most notably here is that Rachel is singing.  I wrote this song and I’m really fond of the way her vocals take it from this simple little yearning and elevate it up to some sort of rock opera type deal.

“World War 17” – This was actually our warm up jam.  It’s somewhat foreboding, with tinges of fringe revelation.  I presume that by the time we actually reach a World War 17, it will be as cloak-and-daggery as this song tends to feel.  That is also presuming there are still people around by then.

“Let You Down” – A brief, mostly solo, performance of and by Dane.  I’m not certain, but I think this is a song he had written recently.  I tried to accompany him on drums.  I did okay, I guess…not perfect, but not distracting.  This was the only take with accompanying vocals.

“Gangsta Goodbye” – I’m pretty sure Megan is playing the synth trumpet on this one, with me on drums and everyone else on their old standards.  I know this one is kind of sloppy at times, but I think the overall vibe of it makes up for the looseness.

Katie Collins – omnichord
Megan Driscoll –  flute, harmonica
Dane Hill – guitar, drums, vocals
Rachel Jae – vocals, auxillary percussion
Arrison Kirby – drums, guitar


This song has been getting a lot of activity and restructuring since we first introduced it during the depression session.  Obviously, I felt inclined to record myself performing it acoustically, while draped in blue garb and sitting in a blue room.  How…novel…

I also used strobe  lights and shit.  You gotta admit – it’s gotta be slightly more interesting than it would have been had I just sat stone faced in front of the camera and played the song.

Depression Session – 10.27.2010 – Arrison Kirby & Katie Collins

Click to download the tracks:

dinosaur by Mark Cline

“Crap Out”
“Seeking the Sun (Before the Threshold)”
“Liquid Courage”
“Seeking the Sun (After the Threshold)”
“Getting Out of the House”

The sky is overcast in Knoxville today.  Much the same as on October 27th, when we recorded this one.  It was a Wednesday, our standard meeting of the minds.  Raining outside.  Solemn and subdued.  All of this increasingly so, as everyone except Katie and I decided to take the night off.

So it’s called the Depression Session based on the premise that we should be sad that everyone canceled on us.  The reality, however, is that Katie and I, working as a duo, pulled through just fine…even merrily at times.  In fact, we stretched ourselves further than we might have with everyone else there.

But it’s a good session name.   It still fits the tone of the day and the tone of the recordings.

“Crap Out” – This was how the session began, with the idea in mind to play in minor key and improvise lyrics about everyone canceling and how it made us feel.  I don’t know.  It’s hard for me to maneuver through that kind of lyrical mindset without eventually veering into the ridiculous.  Then again, it is perhaps refreshing to hear the ridiculous within the opening track of something called Depression Session.  Especially if you’re listening because you’re depressed.

“Fighters” – This is the only song from this session that we used beats on.  Katie was rockin’ the mandolin while I did triple duty with beats, keys and banjo.  Actually, that’s not nearly as difficult as it sounds.  It’s all about timing.  It’s not like I’m busting out some crazy solos or anything.  The end result is kind of fun.

“Blue” – I’m not sure how finished this song is, but it was definitely finished enough to use for this session.  I figured if we were calling it the Depression Session, we would need a truly sad core to it.  I think this one fits.  I’m doing vocals and guitar.  Katie’s playing the keys.

“Seeking the Sun” – These two little banjo / mandolin tunes sound more hopeful than depressing.  That’s why they are called “Seeking the Sun.”  Ideally, though, there’s always a little hope in depression, right?  Yeah.  So we got some trace amounts.

“Liquid Courage” – This is Katie’s chord progression completely and I love it.  Again, I am improvising lyrics about heartbreak and again, I am unable to do so without eventually touching on the ridiculous.  The devil.  I always talk about the devil.  It was such a nice little song until I did here.  I still stand by most of my cadence decisions, though.  Anyway.  Katie on ukulele…me on guitar.

“Getting Out of the House” – We quickly sketched out and rehearsed this little instrumental for the end of the session.  I’m playing banjo and she’s on the keys.  I am in love with E minor played on banjo.  Find it here and melt.

Katie Collins – ukulele, mandolin, keys
Arrison Kirby – guitar, banjo, keys, beats, vocals

Improvisations on Lennon and Cyrus – 10.20.2010 – Arrison Kirby, Katie Collins, Dane Hill & Megan Driscoll

Click to download the tracks:

photo by Annie Leibowitz

“Opening Bell”
“Give Peace a Chance (Seriously)”
“No Destination”
“Jumble Bumps”
“La Tee Dah (Give Peace a Chance)”
“Locked Doors in Mexico”
“Failed Fire”
“Afraid of the Ghost”
“Give Peace a Chance (Or Something)”
“Achey Breaky Heart”
“A Double K C”

This is, so far, has perhaps been my favorite session.  It’s loose and dirty, but flows quite merrily.  Definitely fun to play and, hopefully, listen to.  The use of the keys with the larger sound is new to this arrangement of players.  Instrument swapping also continues.  And everybody’s favorite…cover songs!  [kind of]

“Opening Bell” – One of our traditional, improvisational, come-from-nothing, random openers.  It begins with the beat and ends with Dane’s live drumming.  The latter is the better.  Pretty happy shit.

“Give Peace a Chance” (John Lennon cover) – Oh yes.  Three different versions.  Everybody knows the chorus, for sure,  but everybody’s talking bout…what?  So I just made up new verses.  It’s the giving peace a chance part that matters, after all.

“No Destination” – Dane on guitar.  Katie using the omni to add a really nice, easy going vibe – especially at the beginning.  I’m drumming.  I felt pretty on top of my shit with drums that night, too.

“Jumble Bumps” – This is probably my favorite song from the session.  I believe that I made very good choices with the keys and the guitar solo.  The only problem is that I did not necessarily do this at the same time.  There is one very particular aspect of this one that is like nails on a chalkboard to me…but it runs alongside the really really good aspects.  I’m not going to point out anything beyond that.  Hopefully your ears will hear it differently than mine.

“Locked Doors in Mexico” – This one is just Dane and I.  He on guitar.  Me on drums.  That dude is a great communicator, musically.  I love the last third, in particular, where we drop it low and bring it back.

“Failed Fire” – This is just Dane and I again.  It’s kinda like one of those “musical comedy” deals that tend to manifest themselves sometimes.

“Afraid of the Ghost” – I don’t know why I want to do this song so much.  I guess because it’s so simple to work within.  I still want something more ideal for the 1st half or so.  Tried it with some low organ sounds on this one.  I dunno…it’s okay.

“Achey Breaky Heart” (Billy Ray Cyrus cover) – Hence the Cyrus part of the session name.  Once again, this is another one of those songs where you totally know the chorus, but only get the general idea of the verses.  In this case, however, that circumstance may vary from person to person.  I know it’s kind of scary, but some people out there probably do know this song word for word, beginning to end.  We are simply not those people.

“A Double K C” – Me on drums.  Katie on the keys.  A little bit of night magic.

Katie Collins – omnichord, keys
Dane Hill – guitar, drums
Arrison Kirby – guitar, keys, drums
Megan Driscoll – tambourine