Volume II Notes


Written with David Brophy, who is known primarily as a drummer, but also
plays guitar and piano and composes (yeesh what a show-off), and also curates the occ
asional jazz event (one of which included me —
redstarunion.com/red_star_events/jazz-on-the-rocks/) . I loved the music for this song
after the first bar, and knew right away what it would be about, which is this: the feeling of relief and
euphoria that happens when the  sky opens up and pours after a day of hallucinatory heat in the American
west. It kind of feels like falling in love, and so is sometimes confused with falling in love.

Mary Magdalene in the Great Sky

Written with my dear friend Brian Sullivan (Dylan in the Movies). Lots of laughter went into the recording
of this song, with three of the very funniest people I know: Brian, Scott Janovitz (the Russians), and Dean.
There’s a lot I could say about this song, but it would be long and rambling, with many footnotes and
apologies. So, it’s about MM and her mythology, and the voices in history that are heard
in spite of being edited. (You just have to be really, really quiet to hear them.) It’s also
about lost chapters in personal histories. Plus: moths, hair, lights.

Why So Sad

Another song written with Rick Moody. Most of the words for this one came from a
lyrical poem Rick sent me called Last Chances, an itemized list for an existential yard
sale. Sad and funny, Moody-style. It was hard to boil it down to just one song; there
were so many bleak and beautiful images to choose from. Carrie Bradley (Breeders, Ed’s
Redeeming Qualities) and Sam Davol (Magnetic Fields) on violin and cello. (Carrie’s
part at the end gives me goosebumps.)

Making Light

Written with Dean, and to Dean, 20 years in. This is our “I Got You Babe”.
Chris Cugini, who recorded the main tracks, had the fabulous idea of sending the song
to Jacob Valenzuela (Calexico), who contributed the trumpets. It makes me happy when
they come in. (ps. There’s a reference within this song to an old Belly b-side.)

Miranda (pacifically)

Saw The Tempest performed in a local park recently — a morally complicated story with
loose ends. I had this great piece of music from Michael Hearst waiting for me, and this
was one of those “the lyrics wrote themselves” situations, inspired by the stranded souls
of that play. (It’s not sung in Elizabethan English, don’t worry.) Other things crept in too,
because most songs are about more than one thing. Jimmy Ryan (the Blood Oranges,
Mark Sandman) elevates it all with his perfect mandolin.