I ran 18 miles this morning. I recorded ten guitar tracks this afternoon. I’m going to eat pizza and drink beer now. And I’ll be fast asleep by sunset.

I spent Friday and Saturday helping Chris and Jen move. Five flights up and down in the old place, four in the new. Yikes. At the end of it all, I lay on the stairs, then came home, watched ‘Jersey Girl’ (look, I can’t blame the guy for dating J. Lo, okay? I woulda’), and went promptly to sleep.

The 18 miler. What can I tell you. I had no business doing it, and very little business enjoying it. Yeah, it was difficult, but only because Captain Crunch and The Sunday Times were far preferable. I have 26 in just over a month, so I gotta’ get on that shit.

The real news — I’m burying the lede — is the new record. Kevin and I are blowing through it like gangbusters. I want it to sound great, but alive. Not live, alive. Not like it was labored on and sweated over. I want it to have energy. And judging by the fact that I laid down ten guitar tracks in under two hours, well, we’re on the right track. I can tell which songs will be most loved, but first, you gotta’ know the track list:

1- Caramelize
2- The Rest Of My Life
3- Jenny
4- St. Anne (Of The Silence)
5- New Something
6- Long Shot
7- Whirlwind
8- Out Of Time
9- Stupid
10- Live Forever

First of all — and I’ll take bets on this — you’ll dig ‘Jenny.’ It’s just cool and different but in the usual singalong kinda’ way. You’ll probably like ‘New Something,’ ‘cuz it’s got a good beat and you can dance to it. ‘St Anne’ sounds like a song you’d listen to in a convertible. ‘Long Shot’ — it’s an Aimee Mann song — just plain rocks. And it’s guaranteed that I’ll like ‘Caramelize’ more than you will (just like ‘Summer’s Gone’ and ‘California’).

I’m not really inventing the wheel here. I just want a good, clean recording of guitar, bass, vocals, and drums. The only rogue instrument I’m imagining at the moment is the mandolin. Otherwise, it’s pretty much straight up.

Which is something of a gamble. I might be moving to fast. I might not be throwing enougfh curves. But I always liked songs that are right in the sweet spot. I don’t need to guess where they’re going, or hear some wack ass instrument from Tangiers or something. I just wanna’ sing along.

So I’m pretty psyched about it. Kev and I have to be done by November 1, at which point it’s mastered by the guy (Alan Douches) who did my last two. Stephanie Klein’s doing the photos. Then someone’ll manufacture them. And it’ll be in your hands by November 23.

Now, you’ve probably read it elsewhere, but if your so inclined, I am accepting — heck, soliciting — support for this project. Which is to say, if you wanna’ cough up $20 or more, I’ll list your name in the liners notes, and hook you with a bunch of MP3s no one else’ll get (at the minimum, I’ll be releasing ‘The Christofer Street EP’ — my unreleased recordings from last winter — for the Friends of Benjamin Wagner Deluxe, LLC). See, I know I make everything look and sound professional, but I’m just a guy with a day job, a guitar, and a dream. Warner Brothers Records, heck, even Rhino Records, are nowhere to be found. I’m 100% D.I.Y., and it adds up. So please do lend a hand.

P.S. I have a bunch of album title ideas that I’d love your help on. I’ll post a poll or something as I get closer to done. Stay tuned…

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