Josh probably doesn’t realize this, but…wait…no—let’s begin again:
I’m sure Josh is aware of this, but I think that I could draw a fairly straight path between our meeting seven or eight years ago, and the production of these sessions. We happened to cross paths at an open mic some time in, say, 2006 or ’07: it was my first time playing anywhere outside my house since 2000.
Josh and I didn’t really talk too much that night: perhaps there was a congenial ‘hi, nice job…’ kind of thing, if anything at all. I hadn’t really developed a presence with which to present my new less-loud, more I’m-married-with-kids-but-I-still-want-to-sing songs, and I was almost embarrassed by this lack…
A few days later, I got an email (via Myspace!) from Josh with some semi-encouraging words about my stuff. I sent him back something similarly sorta-complimentary, and our relationship had begun.
Our communications helped me get nervy enough to build a band to play my songs.
As anyone in a band will (may?) tell you, getting your stuff recorded is—well, pretty important. I was broke (some things never change), but I had a decent mind for recording stuff, so I set off to figure out how to make it happen. A friend and former bandmate happened to have gone to a fancy school for recording engineering (or whatever it’s called), and he showed me—more or less—how to use the software. I have good enough ears and a reasonably fit memory, so I started recording everything I could.
I worked with the aforementioned friend to finish our band’s first record, and somehow decided I’d learned enough to set out recording on my own…
The second record I worked on—and the first thing I engineered (mostly) by myself— was a split EP with my band and Josh’s Band, Psalmships. I felt pretty great about it, and it gave me the confidence to move forward…
(insert time here)
…and then, about a year and a half ago, I got the idea to start a music video blog that would feature live performances in a slightly-more-controlled-than-a-bar environment. The idea grew, and after a couple weeks of producing the blog, I asked Josh if he’d come in and do a session. He said no. I was confused, but with several years of friendship under our collective belt, I was sure he had a reason. What he did say was ‘I will be your fiftieth session,’ to which I replied (something like) ‘ok.’
As session fifty-ish approached, I knew it was time. We scheduled our day for what would be the one-year anniversary of our first OFFICIAL session: December 29.
A couple days before that date, a friend died suddenly, and Nicole and I were utterly distraught. We were determined to see Josh’s session through—for a number of reasons—so we did. We spent a sunny late-December day with full hearts and wet eyes, and we were able to share those emotions with one of the only people that we could imagine understanding the entirety and beauty of what was happening.
Joshua Britton is a very special artist, musician, and friend. Anyone who has enjoyed the Kettle Pot Tracks On the Hill Sessions over the past year-plus has him to thank as much as anyone else. I think he expected me to write something silly and pseudo-deprecating, but I and we have nothing but love…
Psalmships began as a chance for me to explore more of my songs without my band at the time, to record quickly and cheaply at home, to play with lots of people I respect. “Membership” is still very open and fluid. The first album (Smoke + Vein) was recorded on my computer with the first music software I ever owned, almost completely on my own. It came out in 2009, and is now out-of-print.
Some are songs off the new record, some songs are very old. I like re-introducing myself (and others) to the old songs, juxtaposed against the newer material. Also, the day of the session was a very heavy, solemn day for us, so I kept it quiet (for the most part) and reserved. I really wanted to help Nicole cry, because she wanted to anyway, and I think we cried together. By the last song I was just shaking.
Some out-of-town shows. The new record, I SLEEP ALONE, coming out in July and a release show for it in Philadelphia. Maybe a quick tour. Another split EP with someone. Getting a semi-permanent band together for the year (which includes Daniel Harvie, Brad Hinton, Kevin Killen and Chelsea Allen). Yard work. Camping. Swimming.
A fun show scheduled with Hezekiah Jones (whom I haven’t really played a show with in years) on May 3rd at Burlap and Bean, and another great line-up at Ortlieb’s on June 6th with The Bones of J.R. Jones and Ben Seretan. There will be another Folkadelphia session recorded and released somehow, and a Root Down In the Shadow session at the end of May. A single or two from the new record will be released in the weeks leading up to July.