Sunday, March 27, 2011

The Rhyme of Reason

Since the last few posts have been about influences and listening, this week we're going to get back into the nut's and bolts of writing, and I'm going to show you how I use internet tools to help with finding rhymes. You may not even need to purchase a rhyming dictionary!

First, let me say that there are rhymes that are over used and you need to avoid them at all costs. You know the ones: love/above/dove, heart/apart/start, girl/world, fire/desire/higher, together/ know the ones. Sometimes I like to play a game while listening to songs on the radio: if I've never heard the song, I try to predict the rhymes. Try it. I bet that most times you probably can. This can highlight just how many rhyme cliches there are.  Try to avoid them if you can help it.

Second, I am a believer in near rhymes and imperfect rhymes.  For one thing, as you will see, if you train yourself to all kinds of rhymes, perfect, imperfect and near, the palette of colors you have paint your world is dramatically increased.  You wouldn't want to try to paint something photo-realistic with only three crayons worth of rhymes, would you?

Third, I know it's tempting to use what I would call a "visual rhymes" these are when you have two word that look as if they are going to rhyme, but, in fact, have TOTALLY different vowel sounds. Examples: comb/womb, one/gone, main/again.  Don't do it. This is music. The sound is what matters.

Here's the website I use instead of using a rhyming dictionary:


As, you can see, there is a search bar,  and to the right of the search bar is a drop down menu with several options:

So, not only is this site useful for finding rhymes, but it also lets you search synonyms, antonyms, and Shakespeare! 

So I'll explain how I use this site with an example:

I'll use a song that I has been relegated to the junk pile for something like 10 years, so let's see if I can resurrect the first verse using better rhymes:

Here it is in its current (lame) state:

the leaves are changing color now                                              
the sky is turning grey                                                                    
school buses on the roadway now
and less light today
i woke up to an empty bed
walked through an empty house 
how will it feel when the snow starts
if it’s this cold here now?

OK. We have our work cut out for us.  We see that this song is about the Fall...Autumn. It's ok, but the images are kind of generic, and the rhymes are....uninspired.  This opening line kinda sucks, too, as far as opening lines go...maybe it should be changed. Also, the first line and the third line both end with "now." I'd rather that they rhyme. I would rather the rhyme scheme be this:


New opening line: the leaves are flaming red and gold.  To rhymezone, Batman! First, we look for "gold" rhymes:

So, as you can see, the people at rhymezone have done you a huge favor by making the most common words Blue Bold, the next most common words regular blue, and the uncommon words dimmed.  You can probably tell that I won't use voled  or noled in this song. Actually, if you get tired of seeing words that are no longer used in modern conversational American English, there is a box at the bottom of the page that you can check so that rare words will no longer appear in your search results.  

From this list, I'm going to eliminate "cold," because I'm going to use that word in the last line of this verse. It's sort of the "payoff" word in this verse, and I'd rather not tip my hand, if I can help it at all.  

I make make a rhyme list, usually in a google document, so it will always be retrievable, even if all my hard drives bite it at once:


There some ok things there, but let's use the drop down menu to find some near rhymes, to see if there is anything that might be a little more descrptive:

As is normally the case when using technology, sometimes they can't really give you what you want. So you have to treat it like a physical rhyming dictionary. Since the word "gold" ends in "old,"  it ends with a voiced alveolar plosive. The closest sound to the voiced alveolar plosive, of course, is the UNvoiced alveolar plosive. All that we're saying here, is that the "d" sound is made by making a sound with the vocal cords, while at the same time, putting your tongue to the alveolar plate inside the mouth. Then, you use the air inside your mouth to puff your tongue off the alveolar plate. The unvoiced version merely eliminates the sound from the vocal cords. Try it. When you stop voicing while you put your tongue to the plate, what sound do you make?

Right. A 't" sound is made. What that means is that we can also use words that end in an "olt" sound. Let's see what we get:

Now our rhyme list looks like this:

fold                bolt
hold               colt
old                 jolt
sold               volt
told                revolt

See? We have added more colors to our palette.  One more thing to do. There is another sound that is related to the voiced alveolar plosive: the voiced alveolar nasal.  The "n" sound. So, naturally, you'd be hard pressed to find a word in English that ends in "oln," so I have made the executive decision that "own" is good enough (it's my song!) .  So here's what we get when we search for rhymes for "own":

So here's the list now:

fold                bolt          cone         thrown       fibrous dysplasia of bone
hold               colt          flown         throne      
old                 jolt           drone        zone
sold               volt          groan        unknown
told                revolt       moan        postpone
controlled     blown      stone         alone

Now we have LOTS of things to play with. Resisting the temptation to use "fibrous dysplasia of bone," let's try some out:

The leaves are flaming red and gold
the sky is turning grey 
your summer dreams have been postponed
there's less light today

......nope....try again....

the leaves are flaming red and gold
the sky is turning grey
the flip flop shoes have all been sold
there's less light today


the leaves are flaming red and gold
the sky is turning grey
i'm standin at  the door alone
there's less light today 

not terrible, but I think the last line would have to change to make it work. Maybe I could flip them:

the leaves are flaming red and gold
there's less light today
i'm standing at the door alone
the sky is turning grey

I  like the grey better at the end of that section. It feels better in the "power" position. 

At any rate, That's sort of the process. Then I would do the same thing to get a decent word for the second line to rhyme with grey.  That being said...this song belongs in the junk pile as it is. It really still needs a huge overhaul, beginning with a decent opening line again and then going back through the rhyming process...but all is not lost! Even if it goes on the junk pile, I still got to exercise my rhyming and opening line muscles. So I learned a little more about what kind of rhymes I think I can get away with. All experience is valuable. And truthfully, the more difficult it is, the more you are learning. Just don't fool yourself into thinking that just because you FINISHED the difficult song idea you had, that makes it GOOD.  Keep your wits about you. 

My week:

A bit of object writing.
No poetry. :-(
Wrote a song and mostly recorded it. All that's left is to tweak the bass and drums...and re-record the vocals...
Jason Isbell
Townes Van Zandt
Mickey Newbury

Got back into contact with one of my  old college roommates...a freelance recording engineer. Maybe he can help me to not have sucky recordings!
NO JOB YET....I'm gonna have to start giving blood and selling organs, I think. 

''Til next week....try the rhymezone thing, see if you like it. 

Monday, March 21, 2011

...An Example of an Album From 1972

Once again, this post is going to focus on something all songwriters need to do in order to advance their view of what is possible... intensive listening. I have chosen for this week an album I keep returning to year after year, fascinated by the sound and the feeling of it. It seems like all the elements of greatness are present: great songs, great musicians, great arrangements, and great performances. Let's dig into this record and see if we can learn anything about how we can make something like it. Get ready, it's gonna be a long one...

Now, it must be said that I have a certain respect for the music that came out in the early 1970's and for music that came out in  1972 specifically. I plan on writing something soon about the interesting conditions that enabled the music industry to produce so many amazing records in 1972.  But there is something that strikes me about most of the artists in 1972: most of them aren't pretty. Seriously. It seems like many of the artists releasing records in 1972 were musicians first and something to look at second. Seems like the opposite of the way the music industry works today.

When you look at this cover: can tell this isn't the Partridge Family or the Osmonds. That's right. It's Dr. Hook and the Medicine Show's Sloppy Seconds.  From the cover, you can tell they are hairy guys that have tastes leaning toward bell-bottoms jeans, denim shirts and leather. Not pretty boys by any stretch of the imagination.

My first memory of this album was my dad playing it in the room of our house that was reserved for my his stereo, album collection, book collection, and leather work.  My mom called it "The Pit."  I remember walking in and he was just standing there, singing along and looking at the sleeve of this record (remember when you could DO that?). I walked in and asked him what he was listening to, and he gave me the sleeve to look at. I couldn't have been more than eight or nine....

Dr. Hook fans generally regard the first three albums, Dr. Hook and the Medicine ShowSloppy Seconds, and Belly Up! as their best work, and I agree.  I think Sloppy Seconds is the best of the three, and I think it has a lot to do with the quality of the songwriting on this record. All songs on this album were written by Shel Silverstein.  I would argue that Hook is best when they are singing Shel's songs, especially the serious ones.

The album starts off with  a nice Silverstein comedy song that has lots of nice vocal interplay between Dennis Locorriere and Ray Sawyer.  You can tell they're having fun.

1. Freakin' at the Freaker's Ball

I like the rhyme structure. It's an interesting arrangement, no drums in the song. Bass, Steel Guitar, Acoustic guitar, Piano, Vocals. Dennis doing a really cool raspy/froggy thing with his voice. Lots of nice chords in this one, too.

2. If I'd Only Come and Gone

It's tempting to judge this song only from its title, as apparently the reviewer on the All Music Guide did. (And since we're on the subject of the allmusic review of Sloppy, they gave the record 4.5 stars, but the review is over the top negative...maybe they should strive for more consistency.) When taking  the title alone, it's easy to paint the entire song in terms of the lowbrow side of the double-entendre.  The problem is that when faced with the rest of the lyrics to this song, the "low brow" interpretation becomes untenable.  The song is great because of the imagery Shel uses: "merely parked my dusty boots outside your door, tracked no footprints cross your polished hardwood floor."  Also, this line: "If you'd only stopped to read the cold hard words I carved on other bedroom walls, and heard the morning coffee truths I told them all." This is no one-dimensional song.  Plus there's a really cool imperfect rhyme that I wish I had the balls to think of: he rhymes "Denver" with "remember."

As if in answer to the questions we are tempted to ask about the presence or lack of  a drummer in the band, this track starts with some tom fills. Also nice strings on this track. And I'm no fan of strings.

3. Carrie Me, Carrie

This is one I keep returning to...I think it's the best representation of what this album is.  Really nice dynamic contrast between the sections of this song, something that is becoming more and more rare in today's music environment. Nice steel guitar and piano intro. Interesting drum panning:  the bass drum is centered, all other parts of the kit are panned hard right.  Seems like the only instrument panned hard left is the acoustic guitar. I like the way they treat the acoustic guitar. In the chorus, when the acoustic guitar player, who I assume is Dennis, really lays into it, there is a nice amount of tape saturation. Also nice tape compression and saturation on the piano during the out section. The bassline is GENIUS. The background vocals are really wet with reverb.  The outro section is amazing.  With Dennis "feeling it" while the harmonies chant. Love the last vocal can hear the tension of all the backgrounds trying to stay on pitch for the duration  of the note.  A little rough...and therein lies its greatness.

Rhyme scheme:

broadway (a)
doorway (a)
hands (b)
prayin' (c)
old rag (d)
brown bag (d)
stand (b)
sayin' (c)

farther (x)
mile (a)
to (b)
you (b)
little (x)
little (x)
while (a)

4. The Things I Didin't Say

Again, nice dynamic contrast between the sections in this one. Organ, electric piano (with some nice stereo tremolo), bass, acoustic guitar, electric guitar, steel guitar, drums.  Again, the bass is great.

5. Get My Rocks Off

Truthfully, when I put my iPod on shuffle and this song comes up, I skip it. I don't find it that remarkable except for maybe the horn arrangement. Shel novelty know what to expect...

6.  Last Mornin'

Here's another one that is astounding.  Starts with the amazing bass line, with steel guitar color hovering over the top.
Another great arrangement. Sort of builds from smoldering embers to something really interesting at the end. The song is more in a verse/refrain type of form.  Verse two begins and the drums are really grooving in the pocket. The back ground vocals are introduced in the second half of the second verse, building towards the climax of the third verse.  Dennis keeps singing higher and higher until the band drops away except for the bass drum, and we are left with  a choir if voices floating us in the air holding the word "where," before letting us drift down with "the dream went wrong." The song closes with a bit more of the verse and the refrain, ending with a cool vamp where Dennis, Ray and their overdubs riff...

The coolest and most noteworthy lyrics come right at the climax (another testament to great arrangement and performance):

down below the subway's screamin'
as I lie here halfway dreamin'
Lookin' at the ceilin'
wonderin' where
the dream went wrong

You can have "Penicillin Penny" and "A Boy Named Sue." When Shel is writing serious, non-novelty lyrics, there is NO ONE better. Period.

7. I Can't Touch The Sun

Again, a strange arrangement. Strings predominate. The acoustic guitar is featured in the first verse, but  takes an increasingly low-key role as the strings assert themselves during the course of the song. No drums again.

As far as rhyming and lyrics go, what stands out in my mind is the use of rhymes that aren't the last syllable:

sun for you
done for you
one for you

sixteen again
green again
been again (and we'll overlook, for now, the fact that "been" and "green" do not rhyme...)

Again, lots of soul in the vocals.

8. Queen of the Silver Dollar

A nice extended metaphor. The arrangement really shines on this one. Horns. Lots of horns.

9. Turn On The World

6/8 waltz.  Strings.  Ray sings the lead. Lots of reverb.  Another instance of Shel's use of this kind of rhyme scheme:

fly (a)
why (a)
die (a)
...Turn on the world (refrain)

Dennis on the left side, injecting some soul and intensity.  Again, nice dynamics.

10. Stayin' Song

The groove on this track is kick ass. Cowbell. The electric piano and organ acting like glue, holding the track together with some nice tastiness. Cool electric rhythm guitar.  Bass is holding it down and locking it in.  Harmonica fills. Cool horn arrangement. No acoustic guitar in this one.  Lot's of 'verb on  Dennis's background vocals. Nice Dennis ad-libs in the outro: "I don't think so!"

Verse Rhyme Scheme:

do (a)
while (b)
through (a)
style (b)

Chorus Rhyme Scheme:

I never sung no stayin' song before (a)
I've done them blues and goodbye tunes a thousand times or more (a)
and it seems a little strange that I ain't headin' for the door (a)
but I never sung a stayin' song, (b)
I never thought I'd stay this long, (b)
I never sung no stayin' song before. (a)

Always using unique rhymes and schemes. This one I always turn up.  the groove, the horns, the stop at the begining. Great arranging and performing again.

11. Cover of the Rolling Stone

Country. Dennis starting off with the Froggy Hippie from New Jersey Shtick. When Ray starts singing, you can hear either a reverb return through the right channel, or Ray's voice bleeding into Dennis's mic...the thing is, it sounds like bleed from a previous take, because it's not singing the exact same thing as the Ray's final "keeper" vocal track. Ray and George sing the verses.  Weird edit in the first chorus....they cut off Dennis as he's singing  "on the cover of the R-" then it cuts out, presumably so Ray is alone for the "Rolling Stone" line, and so we can listen to the country electric guitar fills.  Clapping. Don't normally like clap tracks, but this one is fairly subtle as far as clap tracks go, so it works ok.  Not quite as much 'verb on the background vocals as on the other tracks on this record...most of the 'verb is on the claps.

Again, Shel is the master of the internal rhyme- "getcha-Picture," "richer-picture,"  also, the first lines of the verses almost all contain internal rhymes.

So that's it. The whole record. It's a good example of what SHOULD be done for a sophomore record. It's the opposite of the sophomore curse. I've listened to this record over and over again, learned the songs backwards and forwards, and I am still mystified by it.  I wondered if I was still missing something, could I learn more about the process and circumstances that went into making this record? I needed to try to find someone who was in the room when all of this stuff went down, so I could ask 'em about how the elusive "feeling" was captured.

So I went hunting online.

I knew of Dennis Locorriere's website (, and I knew he had a message board through which  you could ask questions about the Dr. Hook days, and he would respond when enough questions had been asked to warrant a lengthy reply.  So, thinking I would have a wait ahead of me, I asked some questions about Sloppy Seconds, to see if I could learn any more about the process by which Shel's songs were turned into, as far as I'm concerned, a pop masterpiece. I asked some questions and he replied the same night, much to my surprise. Here's how that went down (Dennis's responses are in blue):

Did you already know the 11 songs that would be on the record?

We weren't writing alot of songs yet ourselves and were almost exclusively recording Shel Silverstein's material.
As I recall, we went in to the studio with several of his songs in mind and the confidence that we'd have plenty of wonderful material to draw from as we went along.

Did you mostly record it live in the studio?

Basic tracks were recorded as 'live' in the studio, with overdubs and vocals added later.
We may have used a lead vocal or two from the tracking sessions.
A few of our musician friends at the time were invited to play on some of the tracks as well.

Did Ron do all the arrangements?

It being only our second album, nobody in the band had had very much studio experience at that point, so Haffkine's main role was to harness and pull together our raw energy and talents and make sure we didn't just hurry by any great ideas in our exuberance.
Shel's 'stories' themselves pretty much guided the arrangements, with everyone present contributing ideas, including the CBS engineers.
A good idea was a good idea.
It was very much a team effort in those days.  
It was mostly feeling, exuberance and luck.

Really cool of him to reply to me for something as unimportant as this humble blog. Thanks Dennis. I really appreciate it. 

I think that last line sums up why I like this album so much: feeling exuberance and luck.  No, the recording is not perfect, there are missteps, for sure, but when taken as a whole, the imperfections tend to amplify the FEELING...they make you appreciate how much of a diamond in the rough this album is.  It still stands as a testament to the fact that in an era of manufactured corporate bands, there was still a band that was able to sell millions of records based on feeling and executed with exuberance. Songwriting, musicianship, and arrangement trumped looks and slick production. 

So what can we learn from all this?  And what do we do with it?

From analyzing this record, we see that Shel was good at this kind of a form:


So this week, I'm going to focus on writing some things in that form and others that Shel uses on this record.  

Also, I'm going to experiment things that I'm mixing. I'm going to try to pan the whole drum kit to the right except for the bass drum, just to see if that helps to capture the Sloppy vibe. I'm gonna use unfashionably large amounts of reverb on the background vocals. But mostly, I need to find a bass player that can lay it down with the awesome feel and tone that Jance Garfat could. 

I guess what I'm saying is, right now in the music industry, slick production and the aesthetics and overall look of the artist are the the things that matter, not whether you can write a decent song, or even sing on pitch most of the time. It's like Jackson Browne's line: "It's who you look like, not who you are."  Sloppy Seconds, by Dr. Hook and the Medicine Show, is an example of how good songs with good musicianship still matter, 40 years later...and how those things should matter again.

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Poetry and the Song

Every now and then, I run across a book or artist by accident that totally changes things for me. This week, while perusing the songwriting section of my local library, I got an idea to look more generally at the writing section and the poetry section. One title, in particular caught my eye:  The Poetry Home Repair Manual, by Ted Kooser, who was the Poet Laureate of the United States from 2004-2006. Intrigued, I checked it out and started reading as soon as I got home.

From the beginning, Mr. Kooser says things that are directly applicable to songwriting that are things that I haven't considered before. For example, Mr. Kooser tells us in "About This Book" to write with the audience in mind from the moment you start your poem. I rarely do this. If I consider the audience at all, it is well after the song is written.  Also, a lot of writers end up writing for the community of writers rather than for LISTENERS. In other words, they write solely to show off the technical aspects of their writing chops, instead of considering that the EMOTIONAL THEME is ultimately where the weight of the song is.

In the first chapter of the book, Mr. Kooser immediately obliterates our ideas of becoming an amazingly rich and famous poet a la T.S. Eliot. Basically, he tells us that we will never be able to support ourselves by devoting ourselves to poetry full-time. In his opinion, poetry is a private discipline that one engages in while still making a living with a day job so the rent will be paid.

I can see an analog in the current state of the music industry today. In the current era, this leading edge of the decentralized music industry, there is a huge amount of music being produced, but a comparatively small amount actually being listened to.  Thus, the majority of music being produced and recorded HAS NO VALUE. Sure, there are people making millions of dollars in the music industry, but when compared to the total amount of music produced, it is a remarkably small percentage.  So, basically, do it because you love it, and because you love songs and love learning about yourself by holding your songs up to your internal standards.  It reminds me of an interview I saw somewhere with James McMurtry (see last week's post for an introduction). The interviewer asks James what his advice for young songwriter's would be. James's answer? "Quit if you can." I love that answer. Only write if it's something you NEED to do.

In addition to the way  The Poetry Home Repair Manual spurred me to examine the state of the music industry, it also provoked me to use some poetry ideas to enhance my songwriting.  Here's something I did this week: since I've been slack on my object writing regimen for two weeks, I started to think about poems that I enjoy writing and those kinds of poems that I write that I feel yield the best results. When I examined that, I  remembered having good luck writing haiku and tanka. And as I thought about that, I realized that the reason I had success with these forms is that they have a syllable constraint. The syllable constraint forces you to use words in ways that you wouldn't ordinarily. So I decided to write a syllabic poem using a constraint of 7 syllables per line, with no line limit .  My purpose for these poems is to use them for raw materials, in much the same way as I would use Object Writings.

Here's one from last week:

that's why i do this

last night’s raindrops still sparkling
from the corner of the eave
safely inside, cup steaming
no wind in here, but the trees
whispering, leaves shaking with
the feather touch of the breeze.
much like you: still sleeping now,
comforter stacked around you
keeping out the willful world.
it’s still early yet, and you’ve
already missed the best part.

Not great, but there you go.  It's about flexing different muscles. Getting used to playing with language in different ways.

Try it. You might like it. Surprise yourself.

This week:

I looked for a job.  Getting frustrated into looking at things I don't think I would do for long, just so my income is at least present.  

I played Jodi's songwriter night again. Forgot some words, forgot some chords. Played some guitar for somebody doing covers. Average.

Wrote some poems. Thought about what makes good poetry, and how that applies to songwriting.

Danny Malone.  

Sunday, March 6, 2011

Learning From the Masters

This week, I'm going to take a break from hands on songwriting and focus on some abstracts.  I think in large part, the kind of songwriter I am becoming is due to the things I listen to.  I know. Not that revelatory. No  great mystery is being revealed here. Makes sense.  The Beatles were playing Chuck Berry in Hamburg, and were able to put that influence through the crucible of their experience and come up with something truly unique. For me, the writers I listen to become a kind of target to aim towards, something that I am looking to attain in my own writing. It can be something simple, like a particular way they use rhyme or meter to cast a certain emotional light on a song, or it can be something really difficult to explain or even describe, like tone or an over arching sense of place.
Probably if you are a huge fan of a particular artist, you should know their songs intimately, memorize not only the melodies, chords, and lyrics, but also the structure, arrangement and instrumentation choices they make.

So recently, I went through my music collection, and pulled out all the songs I wanted to learn, and I made a playlist for my MP3 player and just kept adding to it. So now there are 87 songs on that list....better get to work. 

I started to notice that a lot of the people I admire are from Texas. A lot of the people I admire did their best work in the early to mid 1970's (more on this in a later post). And finally, NONE of the people I admire are good looking. In any way,..weird, considering the state of the music industry today, but again, look for a later post examining the music and culture of the early and mid 1970's. 

So here are some of my favorites at the moment:

Here are my Four Horsemen:

Lyle Lovett - Anything

I think I 'll probably do profiles of each of these albums maybe once a month throughout the duration of this blog....but we'll see.

If you've ever heard of Guy Clark, I suggest you make a Pandora station or a Grooveshark list and listen...especially that early stuff.  Guy does a thing that only the really skillful can do:  through his use of dialect and colloquialisms, he makes you FEEL the Texas in which his songs are set. My father used to play Old No. 1 and Texas Cookin' on road trips to visit my Grandmother in North Texas, and he used to rock me to sleep playing Old No. 1 in the dark with only the blue light of the old Pioneer Stereo receiver to illuminate the room. Check him out, a true master. 

Lyle Lovett needs no introduction. I like the way he takes simple, traditional song structures and brings them forward, keeping them relevant in the 2010's. No easy task. Again, Lyle has a great economy of expression. He uses few words, but conveys lots of subtle meaning. I first got into Lyle when my friend Justin at Berklee turned me on to him, and I have drunk deep from the Lovett well ever since.

I think my father bought "It Had To Happen" by James McMurtry.  I remember calling him and he was telling me how great he was, but he didn't have much of a voice....James reminded him of Lee Clayton.  I went to Tower Records (remember Tower Records...remember records), and after I listened to "Peter Pan,"  I had to buy every other album he made. Like Guy Clark, James has a gift for placing you in a certain time and place with his use of can feel Texas when you listen to him singing "12 O'Clock Whistle."  

I first heard Darrell Scott at a Guy Clark cd release party at Douglas Corner in about 1996. Darrell was playing in Guy's band with Verlon Thompson, Kenny Malone and Guy's son Travis on bass. When Guy needed a break, he would get people from the audience up to play a few, and band members play a few. Darrell played "The Man Who Could Have Played Bass For Sha na na," among others.  And in me, a permanent Darrell Scott fan was born.  Unlike most of the other writers that are represented in my list of songs to learn, Darrell has had great success writing songs that current country stars have recorded. That's one of the many things I admire about him: he is able to keep one foot firmly planted in the "singer-songwriter doing his own thing" camp and the other in the Nashville co-writing establishment.

If you have any desire to see what amazing songwriting can be, please buy some of these albums, I don't think you'll be disappointed. 

What have I been doing this week?

Continuing to write the newest song.

Helping Jodi get her album together, 

Sort of slack on OW this week.  

I've been reading a really old book about old times in Tennessee. Need to start keeping a google document just for cool turns of phrase I find in books I'm reading.