Monday, January 27, 2014

Album Residency: Week 4

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Album Residency: Week 3

Sleep Well Queens, Kate Adams, and Adam Mixson...

An Album Residency continues tomorrow with Kate Adams and Adam J. Mixson starting the night off at 9PM at Windy City Inn! The last two weeks have been a lot of fun - but for now, I've grown tired of self promotion and have to relearn "Sleep Well Queens" for week three of the residency. 

Lastly, email me for a guest list spot tomorrow and check out what you'll be hearing tomorrow...

Thursday, January 16, 2014

VIDEO: Tomorrow We'll Know Why

While working on "Dear Brooklyn, I'm Sorry..." I had the honor to work with Kenley Collins on this video for "Tomorrow We'll Know Why." Kenley embodies art - she's a fashion guru, an incredible artist, actress and singer; as heard on "Once Lace, Now Cotton." The video was directed by a great friend and one of my longest music collaborators, Jimmy Giannapoulous. Jimmy is currently working with NY bands LOLAWOLF and REPUTANTE, as well as many other artists. 

Kenley and Jimmy each remain a great inspiration to me -  they're both another level of artist. Be sure to check out more of their work. Hope you enjoy the video.

Dear Brooklyn, I'm Sorry...LYRICS

Artwork and Photography by Heather Parkin

You may say that you want to leave
but you're never gonna walk away
Oh my love,
you're never going to walk away...

You may say that you want to leave
but you're never gonna walk away
Oh our love,
Where did it go.
Oh my love...

Your eyes displayed desire
as your lips found insincere.
You were brought in for pleasure
until man he begged too much

I'm sorry - to you...
the woman in the buckled shoes

Now, here's the message -
I'm leaving you.
With broken tongue; the sorry truth
we'll call the heart a bluff.

I'm sorry, to you...
the woman in the buckled shoes 

I was starved of heels
taken by her lace.
when I busted my lip on the bedpost
of a woman who loved me less.

I'm sorry, to you...
The woman in the buckled shoes...

Clear the eyes to look outside
Picked a card for the spoke of my bike
I've been dreaming all night 
waiting for the sunrise - so here...
Today is about you my friend.
Together, my friend.

We can join leagues in the park
Hide and seek until it's dark
Nothing to divide us - 
fire flies will guide us home.
I'm glad to be your friend.
Together, my friend.

We've been peeking through the blinds
Even cars hide tonight
Starlight through the window, 
Aligned - combined with shadows
We are friends
together, my friend.

Nightlight comes and goes again
I lie awake, pillow on my head
Now it's time - to sleep, to dream.
Hoping that you'll meet with me.
Soon to be with you my friend.
Together, my friend. 

Dear Dear Brooklyn,
Dear God.
Dear, Dear Mother
Dear Pa
Dear Grace
Sorry if i've done grace wrong
Sorry If I've done Grace wrong.

Dear, Dear Children
Well Momma won't cry
if Daddy don't fall
Daddy won't fall, if Daddy -
Don't tell it all.
I'm Sorry...
Dear Brooklyn,
Dear God.
Dear God.
Dear God.

PRISON OF AIR (Matt Nurse)
You and Me
We are what we're here to be 
You and Me
We're to make eachother free
Free and there
there's a knot in your flock of hair
in the night - you dream and you hope i might.
Why this pain?
Our heart is such a fragile thing
Why this love?
So, our hearts can grow when this life gets cold
why the pain?
our hearts are such a fragile thing.
Why this pain?
So our hearts can grow when this life gets cold.

April - poor sweet April
In April, I won't weep.

April. Poor sweet April
In April, weep no more?

Starve your woman of touch
to taste the tongue of another
Lye not on the bed,
for these sheets aren't for your mess.

April, Please seek April
April come -I won't weep no more.
Now, go back to the woman you love 
Go back to the woman you find -

Tell her you're sorry,
 she'll stick around.

Gentle words - scribed by pen
Swallow the knife,
 we'll start again.
I know, that you know -
you weren't listening in.

Now, I know why...
I've been waiting
and holding on to New York.

I can't go home alone.
I can't go home.
I can't go home alone

Smile now -
I'll be gone.
Tomorrow, we'll know why

Now, I know why - I've been waiting.
I'm holding on to you,
 New York.

We laughed, we sang and then we danced.
I'm a broken marionette - that never had a chance.
Home, I can't go home alone. 

Don't take it and make it all about yourself
and don't think I won't be fine down the line
Don't take it and make iit all about yourself
and don't think i won't be fine down the line

Someday, Somethings gotta change
Someday, someone's gonna lose control -
over something you don't know about.

The man, in the boots
bloodied up my suit
I should've known better 
but I couldn't see down the line
His jacket hit the floor
Her eyes found the drawer
She should've stuck with cotton 
For lace aint got the time.

Someday, Somethings gotta change
Someday, someone's gonna lose control
over something they don't know about.

Her hand was open
as it struck my face.
Her eyes found regret
then my lips struck back

I did not know what I did
but I know what's to come
Will Ma forgive Pa 
when the knife turns to gun?

These pennies aren't wishing - 
these boots aren't worn for eyes.
I'll cut each wrist
and send the bruise a kiss goodnight

She'll place both hands on the bible,
until her blood marks her prints.
I struck once again - she struck back when...
I did not know what I did -
But I know what's to come.

Will Ma forgive Pa when the knife turns to gun?
I did not know, what I did.
Although, I know what's to come.
Will Ma forgive Pa - when the knife turns to gun?
Well, it turned to gun.

Friday, January 10, 2014

Dear Brooklyn, I'm Sorry...(LINER NOTES)

In the thick of the season of stillness and confined anxieties Tom Schraeder has taken a turn in his career that explores the isolation felt from the lack of motivation and communication. Winter depression can be debilitating, stifling the works of even the greatest artists, but rather than succumb to this suppression Schraeder has sought to capture it and have the work itself embody the solitude and separation. Dear BrooklynISorry…, the title of his latest collection of songs, is an exploration for Schraeder away from his more familiar terrain of acoustic based Americana. Previously compared by some to Gram Parsons, Schraeder knew that his embrace of seasonal depression and grey ambiance was something he should explore. He has a need to continually improve and improvise the direction of his work. With an almost manic desperation, Schraeder aims to distill his feelings, even when these feelings contradict his manic motivation, producing languid melodies of sadness and quiet contemplation. Once, after playing the Chicago Country Festival, he was approached by a few fans who were a little surprised by the direction of his latest songs. The prospect of catching his fans off guard and producing music that, in the minds of some, radically departed from expected norms greatly intrigued Schraeder.

At the 2007 CMJ music festival in the Lower East Side of Manhattan, Tom Schraeder projected a musical style that was very much at home amongst the comparisons of golden era country music artists. He and his band were in the company of the talented singer-songwriters that constituted the American independent country scene. On his tour he circulated his album, The Door, the Gutter, the Grave, which embraced the multi-instrumental approach, in many ways declaring him a standard bearer for the singer-songwriter movement that had ubiquitously appeared in the US over the last decade. The following year, Schraeder released a somewhat bipolar experiment called Lying Through Dinner, a collection of songs that sought to challenge his standard style. This record both exploded his sound with the roots rock production of Guadeloupe Cries, but it also hinted toward a markedly new influence. This new approach, used in songs like Any Other Bar and Sorry My Dear, represented exceptional growth in Schraeder’s repertoire. The bipolar release foreshadowed the work he was to engage in January 2010. The focus of his talent on the embodiment of emotional outbursts and reservations necessitated that he do something unexpected.

With Dear BrooklynIm Sorry…he has done just this. On Sunday January 17th, Schraeder received a call from a friend named Matthew Nurse who had just written a song and wanted to get an opinion. He instantly knew that he wanted to record the song and in the process was compelled to assemble 7 more he had either been working on or had ideas for. Over the course of the next few days Schraeder recorded the tracks, finishing on January 19th. With regard to the inspiration for his unexpected burst of creative output, Schraeder says,

I figured the theme should remain sonically (not lyrically) on winter depression and the way it affects a good portion of my year. I thought of the [four] things that seem to always come with the disease. The inability to find enough motivation to walk, shower, communicate outside of your room, and of course get out of bed. So, I decided to add footsteps, water, church bells/helicopters/children (what I'd hear all last winter living across from a church, an ER, and an elementary school), and wrestled sheets through out the record. Then I used piercing synth tones to showcase my anxiety and migranes that I suffer from.”  

  A retrospective look over Schraeder’s career reveals a beautiful and accomplished range of work. From The Whiskey Song to Needle Will Bite, from his standard contributions toward American songwriting to his illuminating explorations, Tom Schraeder has never ceased to give everything he’s got. The new collection of songs has only seeded new ideas and new possibilities for what Schraeder does in the future. The record is wrought with diffuse reverberations and low-fi piano and guitar infused with the weighty depth of synthesized bass and sharp digital accents. Dear BrooklynIm Sorry…clocks in under a half hour with its stylistic crescendo, Tomorrow We’ll Know Why, lasting only 2m 48s. The song is devastating in its beauty and flawless melody. It is an example of basement tape mastery that has been absent for far too long, even in Brooklyn. The track is overwhelmingly gorgeous. The record may be unexpected, and it may be entirely unclear as to how Schraeder has arrived in this cerebral place, but have no doubt his voice and soul are present in every note and every brief, intimate moment. 

Photography by Heather Stratos 
Painting by Tom Schraeder

Thursday, January 2, 2014

Chicago Songwriters Alliance // 1.6 // Hungry Brain

  9:00 - Chris Snyder (Ace Reporter)

  9:15 - Ian Leith

  9:30 - Sarah Holtschlag (The Crosscuts, Ester of Ashland)

  9:45 - Matt Focht (Head of Femur, Black Labs)

10:00 - Alexandrea Pataky & Billy Watson (Rivals of the Peacemaker)

10:15 - Paul Nixon (Dust Bunnies)

10:30 - Alex White (White Mystery)

10:45 - Cameron Read McGill (& What Army)

11:00 - Vivian Rae McConnell (Grandkids, Santah)

11:15 - Tom Schraeder (His Ego, Allout Shelter)

hosted by Jeremy David Miller