Listen to the song Green from the FuturePastPresent EP right here and now! Feel free to download and share it.

Back to the Future

In the fall of 2015 Jason Ropp and I went on tour. We put together a thematic concert of original songs dealing with time, memory, hope, loss and imagination. The future. The past. The present. Many of these songs were new and had not yet been recorded. The Future Past Present EP is a collection of four of these songs, one of which I’ll tell you more about (and give you to listen to).

The song Green was recorded live this month as part of a four song live-in-the-studio EP Jason and I recorded. The sound is simple —  just voice and guitar or piano (and a cello on one song). I like what the producer pulled out of us using the combination of simple arrangements and live recording.

Writing Green Two summers ago Christa and I spent a month at “the Woods” (the 88 acre property in Ohio where I spent some of my best growing up years). We used my grandparents’ deserted house as a studio to prepare the art for Christa’s art exhibition. My family was about to auction off the property that included my childhood home, my grandparents’ place, cousins, the stream we played in, etc, etc, so it was also a time to say goodbye.

You may listen to the song here.

ORDER the ALBUM! If you would like to order the four song EP, you can do it here. It costs $6 and will ship mid January. The EP includes two songs I wrote (Green and Some Dreams) and two songs Jason wrote (Graveyard and Carry On). It was recorded live by Grant Beachy in Goshen, Indiana. I play lead guitar on Graveyard and harmonica on Carry On. Jason plays piano on Green.


Writing Green (continued) The house was empty except for an old piano. I sat down at it and thought about all the people who had labored on that property, who built the houses (my dad, uncles, aunts, grandpa, friends). I remembered and imagined the dreams they had about what that place would become. Some of those dreams came about.  Some didn’t. Some happened but ended too soon. That’s how the song Green began.

Recording Green
I want to tell you one thing about the recording process, because it was so meaningful.  I was excited to record with Jason Ropp and Grant Beachy (who produced and engineered my Watershed record).  Anyway, Jason plays the piano part on Green and I sing. (I can’t play pianos, I just sort of plink, plink, plink write songs on them).

We looked for a piano to use in Goshen and finally ended up recording in the living room of one of my parents’ friends who had recently had a death in the family. Recording the song there was like taking a little toy boat I built to sail on the bathtub of my sadness, and putting it to sail in the deep waters of inconsolable loss. You let float it away, no land visible on the horizon. Maybe the boat sinks, maybe it expands, transforms. In a way that’s what you do with every song and each performance, but the reality of the process was heightened in this case. It was difficult and beautiful. Like life.