Quick trip to the Hammer for an interview and in studio performance of All In the Cards for CHCH Music Friday - https://www.chch.com/chch-music-friday-lay-awakes/
We're heading to Patrick's hometown of Fergus. His brother Jay will be on drums, his first guitar teacher Adrian on bass. Home cooking.
We are teaming up with our friends Vito and Monique to play a show next weekend in Carroll Gardens. We'll go on around 7:30pm, followed by the WW. Jeremy McDonald, who produced both the Welcome Wagon's and our new albums, will be playing bass, and we'll be joined by a couple other folks as well. Songs, wine, probably a candle or two. Join us!
Last week I ducked out into the balmy post-Valentine air, and I decided to listen to all the songs on our upcoming album - in the same fashion that I see those around me listening: Headphones. On the subway. Half paying attention. It had been awhile since I’d listened to the album, and it certainly had been awhile since I’d commuted and listened to music. I admit it got me more excited than ever about these 10 songs that we’re hanging on to for just a little while longer. I’m sure I’m not the first to admit that by the time we finished recording, I was ready for a change and frankly sick of the songs.
Now, after a bit of time and space and change, I’m hearing the stories like almost new. And for this time and for this space, we have something to show: a chubby baby girl is five months old, and we again find ourselves navigating ways to release babies and music into the world.
And as I listened, I thought “hmm, those are some tired, pregnant vocals there”. It’s not an excuse, not even meant to be an excuse - just part of the fabric of the whole picture. On both our EP a few years back, and now on our first full length album, I was pregnant when we recorded. Sometimes secretly, sometimes heavily! And as everyone knows, pregnancy drastically affects the ability to sing and totally changes the tone of one’s voice.
I’m kidding. It does of course make singing long phrases a bit of a challenge, but besides that, I didn’t notice any drastic vocal affects. But what does stand out to me is this feeling I had during the whole process, something I am sure is totally common, and yet so very personal: “I’m hiding something precious and vulnerable inside, and I feel different than I did before, I hope everything goes okay, and I wish I could control more, but maybe it’s better I can’t…” (and on and on)
And now, excuse the crass comparison, but I’m seeing a few parallels here as we’re in the final days of prepping to release this album. I find myself thinking similar thoughts… “I hope everything goes okay, I wish could control it more…maybe I should be thankful that I can’t…I’m excited!”
And the easier, Instagram version of all this (as I realize my computer is dying and I only have 8 minutes to finish my thoughts) is:
“We are heavily pregnant with our first full-length album and we’re anxious for delivery!”
I went to visit a friend and her new baby on the Upper West Side yesterday. Despite the rain and my own baby strapped to me, I decided to take a slight detour on my walk to the subway and pass by a place I used to live. Tucked in amongst the Land Rover, Audi, and Mercedes car dealerships near the west side highway is an old church called "Centro Maria". I came upon it in 2010 or 2011. I spotted a couple of nuns in Chelsea once, and I got this idea in my head that surely nuns wouldn't charge me too much to live with them. I wasn't totally correct, but I was on to something. Fast forward a few months to a Tuesday, and I was in a meeting with Sister Hilda telling her "my situation has changed." I needed a place immediately. By Wednesday afternoon, I was moving into my little room with a single bed and a sink. I was sharing a bathroom down the hall. I had a curfew. I had the Virgin Mary statue stay in my room one night. I took part in the community talent show. I bought a rosary one evening when someone knocked on my door. I wasn't allowed male guests. Breakfast ended at 7am or 8am. My rent account balance (still $800/month) was slipped under my door every month on manilla card stock, with my name, room number, and fee written with pencil in beautiful cursive.
These memories and more came flooding back yesterday, and I decided to buzz in. The sweet girl at the desk remembered me and let me look around. Nothing had changed, and I descended the perfectly polished linoleum floors to the basement Steinway. There was the vending machine. There was the gift shop, untouched. There was the piano I practiced on.
It all seemed so romantic. But it's funny how unromantic and lost I felt at the time. I had just graduated with a masters degree from NYU, and there I was, with a curfew, reciting the rosary with all the sisters huddled around my single bed. I was working 8 or 9 part time jobs, wondering where it would all go, wondering where my relationship would go. I can still hear my oldest sister telling me on the phone one night, while I was in tears: "it won't always be like this." And of course, she was right. In a matter of months, everything had changed: I was married. I whittled my part time jobs down to one or two or three. I went over to the dark side and moved to Brooklyn. But I think the lesson I learned yesterday was to see the other side of "it won't always be like this." Not only do I sometimes need the comfort that comes from the hope of change, I also need the reminder that the season I'm in now is a vital part of the story, and it has joy and romance written all over it. I just don't always have eyes to see it that way.
For a light version of the story, listen here to the demo of "Can't Pay The Rent". And enjoy the experience of getting an inside look at the convent - especially if you're male (you wouldn't get past the front door)!