"Music to Squeak By" on lathe-cut vinyl.
New today is “Music to Squeak By”, my ninth solo album. Inspired by the classic guitar instrumental albums of the 50s and 60s, like those of Howard Roberts and The Ventures, it runs the musical gamut from jazz to blues to funk. There’s even a somewhat-warped boogie thrown in for good measure. While it was originally intended as a vehicle to collaborate with a few old friends on some of my original tunes, the shutdowns caused by COVID-19 changed it into a more solitary project. I wound up playing or programing all the instruments on this recording, for a very personal take on these compositions.
The record opens with “Grin”. A fusion tune that manages to evoke both Pat Metheny and Toto, it sets the mood for a sometimes cerebral set that still cracks a smile. “Penguin Eddie” follows, with an instrumental funk tribute to a tale of attempted penguin abduction. From its smooth harmonies and dulcet tones, “Laetitia’s Lost Chords” would be firmly in the easy-listening camp if not for its constantly shifting meter. “Serva Jugum” continues to warp time, but with a hard-driving gopuccha yati-inspired groove that gives way to solos on a funk waltz. “Kiddo” closes side A with a 12-tone row disguised as a swing ballad. It’s a tribute to my grandfather who was both a lover of irony and completely tone deaf.
Side B opens with “Smolkin’s Boogie”, a quick boogie-woogie blues that wanders through a few more keys than usual. “Half The Times I’ve Failed”, originally written as a example for lessons, is a study in melodic constraint and the lack thereof, as it moves from moody monotone to free noise. “Frickle Frackle” is a minor blues because every guitar album needs one. A tongue-in-cheek take on the exotic guitar genre, “Somewhere East of Omaha” intentionally misses a smörgåsbord of world influences, landing somewhere else entirely. “Ricky Loves LuLu” closes the album. There was a bridge by Erie, Colorado with these words graffitied on it that I would drive under on my way to college in Denver. When the railroad repainted it, “Ricky Still Loves LuLu” appeared the next week written in the the same handwriting. I think that deserves a song.
It’s also my first release available on lathe-cut vinyl, for the true vintage experience.