Week 6: Breathless While In Exile

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Mount Everest - Breathless While In Exile Featured Performers:
Nick Mastors
Jesse Mitchell Lindsey

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North in an old sedan
I broke my fall one autumn
Like a dream I thought I’d never land

And I was a bitter man
Good God I’d lost most of my heart
To a fruitless plan

When I came home again
Familiar trees they could scrape the breeze
One hundred feet above where I had left them

And I was breathless then
And I’ll lose my breath on a strangers breast
When I get my chance again and I will thank her

Lets get this right
I’m telling you It was the virgin on the turnpike
And the offer of a another kind of life

And I’m comin’ up light
Could be I’m burnt out on the savior
And I’m not so good with favors and I ain’t right

And It was getting late
So I dragged my fool heart
Clear across town in a vulnerable state

Well she was the going rate
And I lost my cool when she saw me
‘Cuz she knew she could see through me in every way

So just off the interstate
Like some mud kicked kid I looked down into my bleeding heart
And it spoke to me like a brand new language

It was something like an act of faith
I was lookin’ at Jesus and the Buddha read the Bhagavad Gita
They was talkin’ about Krishna, God I wished that I was with them

Well let’s get this right
I’m talkin’ about the virgin on the turnpike
And the promise of a another kind of life

And I’m comin’ up light
Seems that I’m burnt out on the savior
‘Cause I’m not so good with favors and I ain’t right

Notes:
This week we’ve got a wistful little number about ambitions failing and what you do when that happens. It is a traveling song. Parts of it are about leaving behind the city of Philadelphia and the friends, band-mates, and missed opportunities that I left down there. Other parts of it are about a girl. In either case the song discusses losing faith, first in one’s self, and then in something greater. It is about trying to find that faith again by looking for it elsewhere. The song is a little cliche, but it knows that it is and it just doesn’t care, because cliches are reflections of ways that people actually feel about things. This song is nothing if not honest.

We’ve got Nick Mastors back again this week, and I’d like you all to wish him luck as he and his girlfriend Liz are embarking as we speak on an adventure in Costa Rica! Nick provided much of the thick Americana in this tune with his lovely mandolin part. I have to say that I’m jealous that he beat me to playing a mandolin on this website, but he did it very well if I do say so. We juxtaposed the mandolin with thick synthesizers (the original working title of this song was LazerFolk), as well as triumphant guitar harmonies.

The accompanying artwork is a photograph of Boston in the fog taken by Eben Lindsey, my older brother. He is an extremely accomplished photographer and I suggest you do yourself a favor and take a look at his flickr page. I felt that this photograph was emblematic of the isolation and wandering that this song is attempting to elicit. I am quite thankful to have such a talented brother who is generous enough with his work to allow me to use it on this blog.

I have obtained a new synthesizer! Expect your brain to melt this time next week.

Here’s hoping your Monday doesn’t totally suck.

~Jesse

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Merry Christmas

I am in New Hampshire with my family enjoying a quiet Christmas Day. Being here surrounded by loved ones, I feel very fortunate. I wish to pass along my feelings of yuletide contentment to you and all of your kin today (regardless of your religious affiliation!). This is a time of year to enjoy the company of people who make you happy. I hope you are doing just that.

I do not have a Christmas song for you to listen to today, because I’m afraid of sounding like a monster from the shopping mall. I do, however, have a recommendation: this morning my family enjoyed listening to Sufjan Stevens’ multi-disk Christmas album: Songs For Christmas. It is a nice departure from our usual selections (but don’t get me wrong because I still loved listening to Willy Nelson’s Pretty Paper last night).

Enjoy the rest of your holiday, and I’ll see you all back here Monday at noon!

~Jesse

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Week 5 // In The End We Are All Pictures

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Mount Everest - In The End We Are All Pictures

Featured Performers:
Nick Mastors
Jesse Mitchell Lindsey
View Lyrics

Your name they should have known
But for your beauty you were left alone
And in your lonesome way you came alive
But for the color and the weight you had to die

It was an honest life
Some kind of sacrifice
With your most holy eye
You set upon their love
And their desire
Oh their very fire
You saw what no one would admit
You saw the spire

Could you let the standard lie? No
Could you bear all the meaning in what’s alive?
Could you measure the love you saw in light? No No
Could you bury the burden you held inside?

Could you lend me some light?
Could you lend me some life?
You could lend me some color
You could give me your sight
You’d be unburdened
But for all your love you could not be denied

Was love the only thing you lost?
The way you called out in the night
The way you fought
The poison in your thoughts
You were a man of God
You were a man of heart
Embedded in your art

Good God they fought you from the start
And you felt it so
And you held it so close

Could you let the standard lie? No
Could you bear all the meaning in what’s alive?
Could you measure the love you saw in light? No No
Could you bury the burden you held inside?

Could you lend me some light?
Could you lend me some life?
You could lend me some color
You could give me your sight
You’d be unburdened
But for all your love you could not be denied

God loves you


Notes:
This week’s song is for Vincent Van Gogh. His passion and his mental illness enabled him to see the world with a veil pulled away. It tortured him and turned him into a social pariah, and eventually it lead him to suicide. He endured all of this so that the rest of us would eventually see what he saw. He once studied in seminary, where his illness and social peculiarity denied him a traditional ministry. He said about his artwork (and I will paraphrase) that some men tell the word of God through stories, but he could only tell it through pictures. He was able to change the world, but it was a burden that would weigh too heavily. But did Vincent Van Gogh really change the world? Yes, of course he did. That is a central assumption that I will make here, and it is not one that I care to defend. He left the world a better place because he made pure art.

I will admit that I had not thought a great deal about Van Gogh recently until my brother, Eben Lindsey, begged and pleaded with me to watch the most recent season of the British sci-fi series, Doctor Who (wtf?). The Doctor is a time traveler, and in one episode he visits Van Gogh who helps to defeat an invisible alien that only he can see. Why can Van Gogh see it? Because he can see more than the rest of us. It is clever and cute, and in the end it is quite touching. The Doc tries to help Van Gogh by bringing him to the twenty-first century to show him what he was never able to see in his lifetime: that his work is beloved, and that humanity has been truly touched by his vision. But when returned to his own time he still takes his own life. Why? Because his madness wasn’t going to be cured by recognition. It wasn’t going to be cured at all. It was part and parcel to his gift, and I think that this silly British sci-fi romp hit the nail right on the head. Van Gogh’s madness was his vision and his vision was his madness. We all owe him a great debt of gratitude for suffering as long as he did so that the rest of us might get a brief glimpse into the mind of a man so passionate, a man who saw beauty and color and light all around him even as he battled a darkness so profound. So this one is for Vincent.

Nick and I composed the music for this song in less than two days of hanging out and eating pizza and drinking beer together. It was great fun, totally productive, creatively rewarding, and completely awesome. Nick proved himself a master of time much like Doctor Who, although here I am referring to time signatures and not time travel. We each laid down guitar and keys. I got to rock my bass, and Nick did most of the work with the beats. I was happy because I got to play a guitar solo. A simple one, but a guitar solo nonetheless.

Here’s hoping your Monday doesn’t totally suck,

~Jesse

I would refer you to fellow Massachusetts native Jonathan Richman who sang so lovingly “Have you heard about the painter Vincent Van Gogh who loved color and who let it show?”

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Week 4 // Katydid

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Mount Everest - Katydid

Featured Performers:
Nick Mastors
Jesse Mitchell Lindsey
View Lyrics

You are alive
You are alive
And you’re convinced it never ends
You’ll never die
And all your creditors
And your competitors
Will age and fail and slip away
And you’ll survive

And you’re alone
You are alone
All of your life you’ve held the seeds
You could have sown
And you’re not suffering
It isn’t frightening
It isn’t anything

How you’ll reach your heart
You’ll eat your heart out
Eat your heart out
Eat your heart
You’ll reach your heart
You’ll eat your heart out
Reach your heart out
Reach

And you’re not there
You’re never there
And you’re amazed the absentee’s your nom de guerre
And your acquaintances
And your accomplices
All wonder when and where you’ll choose to reappear

And on your own
You’ll never know
The way your heart can break and mend and overflow
You are not suffering
It isn’t frighting
It isn’t anything

How you’ll reach your heart
You’ll eat your heart out
Eat your heart out
Eat your heart
You’ll reach your heart
You’ll eat your heart out
Reach your heart out
Reach

Look again
Look again
You can eat your heart out
You’ve been busy in your secret hide out
You’ve got some new friends
They can be the lookout
Keeping all the secrets in their secret hideout
Look again
Look again
You can see the stars out
1-2-3-4 eat your heart out

How you’ll reach your heart
You’ll eat your heart out
Eat your heart out
Eat your heart
You’ll reach your heart
You’ll eat your heart out
Reach your heart out
Reach


Notes:
Moons ago, before this website, Nick and I once played in a band called Lightning Bug with several wonderful friends. We played shows in the city of Philadelphia, and lived, recorded, and practiced all together all of the time. Perhaps that is why, when Nick and I got together in our native homeland of New England, and began to write music together once again, one of the first tracks we began work on was named after an insect – much like our dearly departed band. The name Katydid preceded the lyrical content of the song. In fact, nearly every song Mount Everest writes begins with a non sequitur working title that almost always evaporates before the song sees the light of day. In this rare instance, the name had much more staying power than usual, and although this song has nothing to do with insects, perhaps it is a thematically entomological homage to our late band which we loved so well.

A little more than a year ago I was afflicted with a vocal injury that had lasted for the better part of a year. It kept me from doing this sort of thing, and often made even simple conversations difficult. In the end, only a surgical procedure could restore my voice. The procedure was a success, but in the midst of my time spent with my injury I become frustrated with life, my bad luck, and my own sense of powerlessness over my situation. In my frustration I withdrew from a great many relationships in my life and became somewhat of an enigma to certain people, some of whom I regret to say I hurt. That is what this song is about. It is about being the enigma. It is about wanting to reach out but not knowing how. It is about trying to go it alone and realizing that not only is that impossible, but it’s reckless.

On a separate note: in the process of writing this song, Nick and I got into a spectacular argument! It made us miss the old days when there were multiple tie-breaking votes to dictate the outcome of our creative disagreements. Perhaps that is why the song still bears its insectoid moniker: to remind us of our past so we’ll remember that we’ve been getting along at this for a pretty long time.

Here’s hoping your Monday doesn’t totally suck.

~Jesse

P.S.
Please help spread the word! Hit “like!” Tweet this thing! Let your friends know that there’s a happenin’ new way to waste three and a half minutes in the middle of every Monday! Tell anybody famous you happen to know! Tell anybody rich you happen to know about our “donate” button! Most of all (and in all seriousness) please return next week for another song you’ve never heard before!

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Week 3: November

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Mount Everest - November Featured Performers:
Jesse Mitchell Lindsey
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I can’t walk at all this week
I got a wounded limb, I don’t wanna speak
They were here, they were back, now they’re gone again
But still it was nice to see absent friends
To hear their stories and tell them mine
This time of year can be pretty nice
For that sort of thing

Its like everyone dies and then lives again
And if I’m only alive when I can see my friends
Then I’m only alive this time of year
And I’d bury it all just to have you here
All of you who’ve sewn my soul together
For the past few years or so
God bless you and yours

I remember I’m alive
Each time November comes
And I forget it every time
This aint December yet
So I’m here to watch the autumn die

Laying in bed on the avenue
Aint it funny how nothing is a thing you can do
Aint it pretty how naked the trees can be
With their branches no longer a mystery
And I’m wondering if I’ve been a mystery
to so many whose hearts are so clear in view
I’m not sure I’d like it if I’ve been
But I’m pretty sure I’ve been

I remember I’m alive
Each time November comes
And I forget it every time
This aint December yet
So I’m here to watch the autumn die


Notes:
What better a way to welcome the month of December here at Mount Everest than by posting a song called November. This song is meant as a love note to all of my absent friends, especially those who show up for Thanksgiving to share war stories and a few beers while reminiscing about old times. It is about wishing they could be around all of the time. Each November I suddenly remember what I have been missing the other eleven months of the year, during which time I haven’t seen many of my friends all in the same place. It is about feeling lonesome when they all leave again, and realizing that all of a sudden the autumn is over and on top of that I’ve sprained my ankle. But really it is a (belated) celebration of Thanksgiving, and my way of saying what I’m truly thankful for, which is the people in my life.

You will notice that I didn’t trick this tune out with fake drums, or synthesized bells and whistles. I didn’t use any electric instruments of any kind for that matter. I wanted to write something using only my hands, an acoustic guitar, and my voice. I did, however, give myself somewhat of an unusual ultimatum before I began. I didn’t allow myself to play any chords. The only strumming you will hear is that of muted notes which, to me, replace percussion rather than a rhythm guitar. Everything else is overdubbed picking, and chords constructed from individually dubbed notes. I did this because I wanted to change the way that I thought about the guitar. I thought that it might lead me in a different direction than that which might have resulted from sitting down to strum out a tune.

Anyhow, this song is focused on a sentiment and a moment. Thank you to all of my friends, Thanksgiving friends or not, for being who you are. Also, I wish to say thank you to the anonymous graffiti artist who spray-painted “You Are Beautiful” on the side of a boarded building that I just happened to pass while visiting the city of Dublin, Ireland in the spring of 2007. The artist’s sentiment, I’m sure, mirrored my own feelings for the friends for whom I wrote this song.

Here’s hoping your Monday doesn’t totally suck.

~Jesse

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It is right to be up at 4am

I started this website because I wanted to know if I had it in me. I was up late one night (like I am tonight) and I had an idea out of nowhere to post a new song every week. The idea seemed simple, then it seemed scary. I thought that maybe I’d let the idea pass, and then I’d go back to doing absolutely nothing with all of the music that I write. That thought was even scarier.

I’m only two weeks into this project and I have no idea how difficult it may become. I don’t know if a week will come when I’m simply dry. I don’t know how that might feel. But right now I’m up at four in the morning working on lyrics. I just had this thought that this might be what every Thursday morning might look like for me, from now until doomsday, and that thought was very comforting. It is right to up at four in the morning on a Thursday putting my pencil to my paper with my headphones on. It is right to make art because I’ve made a public contract with myself that I will. It is right to scare myself into creation. Whether or not anybody listens, this is right.

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Week 2: Made In Man’s Image/Hurtling Past the Kuiper Belt at 10 Miles Per Second

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Mount Everest - Made In Man's Image/Kuiper Belt Featured Performers:
Nick Mastors
Jesse Mitchell Lindsey
View Lyrics

Yes, God is angry
And God is on our side
And he is mighty

And in the evening
There’s a car parked in the yard
And I am waiting for the lights to flicker on
And I am waiting for the fall of Babylon

And on the broadcast
They said they all were gone
There was a madman with a spark and a trigger arm
An explanation: he had no heart left at all

Yes, God is angry
And God is on our side
And he is mighty

And in the morning
I leave at the break of dawn
And I am hoping that the papers got it wrong
And I am breathing in the car with the radio on

And it’s a pity
You know the one’s who speak for God
From the capital city, to the fort, to the new jihad
An explanation: we got no hope left for God

Yes, God is angry
And God is on our side
And he is mighty

And God is angry
Yes, God is taking sides
And she is mighty


Notes:
Mans ImageThis week we’re giving you a twofer. This is actually two songs that were written more or less simultaneously by Nick Mastors and me. Nick approached me with the second half, which is is an instrumental that he titled Hurtling Past the Kuiper Belt at 10 Miles Per Second (a beautiful description of the Voyager space craft’s journey out of our solar system) for which I provided a piano melody and drum programs. From there I wrote a song in the same key and called it Made in Man’s Image. It was initially inspired by last year’s tragic shooting at Fort Hood, Texas.  Ultimately it became an indictment of any person or institution that claims to speak for, and act on behalf of the express will of God (how could you ever know!?). It is a personal reflection on the weight of situations where lives change, or even end, based on somebody else’s interpretation of the almighty.

We sat on a recording of Made in Man’s Image for quite some time until Nick quite literally tore it a new one. He left my bass part, a guitar part or two, and my vocal, and he stripped away nearly everything else to rebuild it from the ground up. What started as very clangy and piano-heavy, became much more textural and nuanced. I have to give Nick his due credit on this song. He transformed it in a truly fundamental way. He fearlessly deconstructed it and approached it from a totally new angle. All I had to do once he returned the tracks to me was reconfigure the ending, for which I brought back some of the original piano.

The reason that we are presenting these two songs as one is that they grew up as siblings. It is only right to hear them together. You might ask: “But what does an indictment of those who claim to speak for, and act on behalf of God, have to do with the Voyager space craft hurtling out of our solar system?” In a recent email exchange between Nick and myself under the subject heading of Hangin’ with Mr. Kuiper, Nick so eloquently remarked: “You have the ugliest, most egocentric, megalomaniacal thing about this otherwise wonderful human race, which fades to a remote blip in the vastness of space.” So there you have it. You will know that you have transitioned from one song to the next when the drums drop out for a prolonged period of time and the tempo slows down.

Here’s hoping your Monday doesn’t totally suck.

~Jesse

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Everest is…

Of all the things in the entire world Mount Everest is the tallest. It is in Tibet where they call it Chomolungma which means Mother Goddess of the Universe, and from the top you can see the mall, Michael Jordan’s house, the Louvre, the Charles River, and Disneyland. From the top of Mount Everest you can look in a telescope and see what everyone is having for breakfast in China, what kind of sex is fashionable in Berlin, and what color socks your third grade teacher is wearing. You can communicate with alien astronauts who fly dangerously close to its pointy ice-covered peaks, and ghosts who wound up there trying to climb to heaven. You can go sledding but it sucks because climbing back up for the second run takes forever. It is big as hell — compared to it everything else is tiny… even your Mom and Dad who used to be the biggest thing you could think of until you got a little older and found out about Mount Everest. Please listen and enjoy this music.

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Week 1: First Impression

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Mount Everest - First Impression Featured Performers:
Jesse Mitchell Lindsey
View Lyrics

You thank your god
That you’re not kidding yourself

That it’s a beautiful time to be alive

You wonder why
Sometimes, Kid you gotta lie
Like the truth don’t seem right

You’ve got 29 lives
I’ve been living in the dark
Your impression: I’ve been careless with my heart

You’ve been looking for my bones
I’ve been buried in the yard
My impression: You were reckless from the start

It’s good you’ve had this thought
That the autumn was crying
Like the sun got caught

You said to me
One day we’d all be awake
And remember this war
Like a hollywood remake

You’ve got 29 lives
I’ve been living in the dark
Your impression: I’ve been careless with my heart

You’ve been looking for my bones
I’ve been buried in the yard
My impression: You were reckless from the start

My first impression throwing daggers in the dark
That there’s a con which means of course that I’m the mark
And everybody knows except for me
‘Cuz it’s a silent earth

You’ve got 29 lives
I’ve been living in the dark
Your impression: I’ve been careless with my heart

You’ve been looking for my bones
I’ve been buried in the yard
My impression: You were reckless from the start

I’ve told 99 lies
And it’s a lesson for my heart
Good intentions they’ve been tearing me apart

I’ve been cursing at the moon
And I’ve been buried in my art
My impression I’ve been reckless from the start


Notes:
My favorite thing about this song is that before last Tuesday it didn’t exist at all. I’ve had several songs on the burner in anticipation of the launch of this site. It would have been relatively simple for me to pick one out and finish it up to get this site going, but instead I decided to get into the spirit of this project by creating something totally new. I was eager to learn about my strengths and limitations when faced with a ticking clock, and I suppose that’s the point of this whole endeavor.

This song had it’s guts ripped out a few times in the process of reaching this website, which I consider a good thing. Of course there are still things that I would change, but that’s life. I’m not going to mention what they are. I’ll just let it speak for itself.

First Impression is pretty synthed out which I’m not totally used to doing by my self. Usually Nick Mastors rips the synth lines with me, so I had a lot of fun trying that role on for size. I hope you like it, and I hope that whether or not you do, you’ll come back to see what’s coming down the pipe for next week.

Before I go, I’d like to extend a warm thank you for all of the messages of encouragement that I’ve received over the past couple of days. It’s amazingly wonderful to see the level of enthusiasm that so many people have conveyed about this concept. It is also amazingly wonderful to see that so many of my friends care that this thing gets off the ground. Thank you in particular to Marissa Block who forwarded a link to this site to a good many of her friends, and to anyone else spreading the word that I might not yet know about.

Here’s hoping your Monday doesn’t totally suck.

~Jesse

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The tallest damn thing in the world…

In my bedroom I have a computer, and plugged into my computer are all sorts of wires and instruments and microphones and speakers. They light up and I command them to make sounds. I am a member of a growing class of home recordists and songwriters who all have one thing in common: nobody is listening. Tonight that changes.

I’m still a young man and perhaps that’s why despite many setbacks I still believe in my ability to be a famous musician. Each band I start does slightly better than the last and then implodes. This time I thought I’d start a blog instead — a blog that is a band.

I will blog a new song at 12 noon (e.s.t.) every Monday. The point of this is to make songwriting and recording into a practice and to transform listening into a forum. I write music all of the time, but implementing this structure will force me to make choices and to take chances with ideas and sounds. I will enlist the help of other musicians and artists wherever and whenever I can (most notably Nick Mastors who will be a cornerstone of this initiative whenever he can be). I will create a space where music is a dialogue and creation is constant.

The music will be fast and dirty. It will be a reflection of the immediacy of ideas. Or perhaps it will be fully fleshed out, thoughtful, and meticulous. Whatever it will be, we are soon to find out. To quote a master philosopher, musician, friend, and frequent collaborator,”I don’t really know, because I don’t know.”

In my bedroom I play in a rock blog and I’m hoping that many of you will collaborate, participate, listen, criticize, and contribute. It’s called Mount Everest because that’s the tallest damn thing in the world.

New music launches Monday, November 22nd at high noon.

~Jesse

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