Whole Lotta’ Love

My commute to the studio takes me from Ashby Street to 42d Street to Guthrie Avenue. Those are the facts. But I like to think it’s all serendipity.

Hal Ashby directed some of the most heartfelt, oddball films of the 70s, including “Being There” (the working title of my last album, as it were) and “Harold & Maude.” I was too young to catch his films the first time around. But a few years ago, when I finally plunked down the dough for a TV and DVD player, his films were amongst the first that I watched, and watched, and watched. Above all, I was moved by his patience. His films move slowly, naturally, awkwardly: like life.

The bulk of my life, of course, is spent high above at The MTV Times Square. I rarely look out the window anymore, but the pace of life on the street is constantly apparent. From the flash of neon to the sound of sirens, the city is always moves with relentless pace.

Guthrie Avenue, John’s exit on I-235, is, of course, reminiscent of Woodie. Like every other kid who sang around their mom’s piano, “I Knew This Land Is Your Land” early on. And of course I know Arlo’s classic, “Alice’s Restaurant.” But until Wilco and Billy Bragg hooked up to record some of Woody’s unfinished songs, I didn’t know much else. I just know that, to me, the a granfatherly element about him. I carry him with me.

Though my commute from Jason’s to Jon’s and back is brief, I have been listening to two CDs in particular: The Rolling Stone’s “Let It Bleed” and Matthew Sweet’s “Girlfriend.” Whether or not those influences will seep into the new recording remains to be seen. We’ve dropped all kinds of references while recording: from Beck to Wilco, John Mellencamp to Oasis, Bob Dylan to Lucinda Williams. Of course, with The Nadas contributing so much, I’m confident you’ll hear a healthy dose of their straight-up of heartland rock as well.

We’re almost done recording basic parts, so the track listing is pretty much set:

1- Better Than That
2- Harder To Believe
3- Milk & Honey
4- Cry
5- Dark Blue
6- Untitled No. 1
7- Long Way Down
8- Heartland
9- Dry Your Eyes
10- Do It Again
11 – Girlfriend

In fact, Mike, Jason and I just wrapped the acoustic version of Matthew Sweet’s “Girlfriend.” Mike plays mandolin, a far cry from Richard Lloyd’s Big Star-esque guitar work on the original. But it perfectly captures what I’m going for here: a little bit folk, a little bit city, a little bit country, a little bit rocknroll, and a whole lotta’ heart.

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