Week 82 // Folks Got a Feeling

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Featuring:
James Atwood
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You get along
You earn your peace
You know what’s wrong
You keep it close
It’s your release

And in your moment of regret
A simple thought
It makes it easy to forget

You see they’re all the same as you
They trust their guts
They never budge
It’s what we do

It’s how we know the folks we meet
We size them up
It’s all we see

You gotta notice it’s something
It’s clear everyone’s got a horse in this race
And you gotta wonder
‘Cause folks got a feeling
That they’d do no wrong
But if folks got to thinking
It could make them stronger

You make your case
You do your best
You take me down another peg
I know the rest

I lick my wounds
I gather steam
I take my time
I know I’m right
I’ll make you bleed

And it’s the kinder point of view
That loses ground
It’s what we do

You gotta notice it’s something
It’s clear everyone’s got a horse in this race
And you gotta wonder
‘Cause folks got a feeling
That they’d do no wrong
But if folks got to thinking
It could make them stronger

Notes
Everyone knows that society is severely polarized these days. I’m not alone in planting my feet firmly on one side, and never condescending to move them. But it bums me out. The state of public discourse saddens me nearly as much as my complicit stance within it. We hate our rivals. We wish to bloody them. We wish to destroy rather than to come to terms. It’s tough. Seeking common ground is a weakened position. Compromise is a dirty word. The other side (no matter what side you are on) is wrong enough that we must dehumanize them. We know we are right to hate each other. This song is about the problem, and offers very little in the way of a solution, except to point out that all sides in our domestic conflict are taking emotional stances. Maybe we should be thinking as much as we’re feeling.

James Atwood helped me out a great deal with this tune. It was born out of a jam session that we had over a bottle of wine late at night, and he played the lead guitar in stylish fashion.

Here’s hoping your Monday doesn’t totally suck.
~M.E.

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Week 81 // Wise Up

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When you get in your way
You’re just another young thing
Another child-like stray on a string
But you know

And when the season don’t change
I’m thinking maybe it’s you
You’re thinking “God, Ain’t it strange, what you’d do?”
You should wise up

And on a regular day
An unbelievable truth
Your reaction mundane and aloof

You should wise up
You could wise up
I’m tellin’ you to wise up
You should have known you could get this old

You could have loved you more
And you should have thought of that first
But the past up and finished
And yours ain’t the worst

And you love like a pennance
But that ain’t the way
It should be your reward
But you say that you just can’t afford it
You’re way off base

You should wise up
You could wise up
I’m tellin’ you to wise up
You should have known you could get this old

Notes
Since all of my gear is packed away under a mountain of boxes (a result of this weekend’s move), I did this one with just a guitar and my voice. I still wanted to rock it a bit though, so it is a bit rollicking at times, and there are lots and lots of voices. Wise Up is a song about the strange sort of way that acting younger than your age makes you feel older than you are. Perhaps you try to distract yourself from the passage of time, and the inevitability of age by behaving irresponsibly, or by being less than the person you could be. You find yourself behind your expectations of where you should be at a certain point in your life, and you react by being aloof. But acting irresponsibly always results in consequences, and the moment the consequences present themselves is the moment you feel oh so very old. It’s when you tell yourself to wise up.

Here’s hoping your Monday doesn’t totally suck.
~M.E.

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Week 80 // Embrace/Defy/Emerge Resolved

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I cash my check
And I walk all afternoon
I draw on my bare skin
And I think of you

I settle in
I think for days
I look like shit
I feel okay

I could know all the truth
If ever I wanted to
I could see right through
The obvious metaphor

An empty glass
A crooked smile
A guarded laugh
It takes a while

And you, you learn to love the truth
Embrace the facts in front of you

Embrace the context gaining strength
Defy the urge to look away

Defy the part so scared of life
Emerge resolved to look alive

Resolve the threads that linger on
And clean your slate with everyone

I look around
I love this place
I pack my things
I go away

Notes
Good afternoon to those of you joining me for the 80th time, or for the first time! It is moving week at my house here in the forest. My housemates and I will be leaving the woods, and going to the town. Quite a week indeed. Such abrupt change is of course fodder for introspection, so I didn’t have such a hard time coming up with things to sing about this week. This is a song about changes. The prospect of moving prompted the tune, but it could be about changes of many kinds. It is a song about the knee-jerk reaction to resist change because it is scary, and the ultimate realization that change is an opportunity to view life through a new lens. It’s about mustering the strength to face change head on. It’s supposed to be one of these optimistic ones that I like to write sometimes. I’m a little biased (because I wrote it) but I feel like it’s pretty good. Now that you’ve listened to it (and shared it), go outside! It’s a beautiful today!

Here’s hoping your Monday doesn’t totally suck.
~M.E.

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Week 79 // Life Without Language

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You never understand
You got a lot to lose
It’s burning in your hand
The language you should use
Is hanging on your tongue
The syllables in wait
The summer you were young
The promises you’d break

And understanding still eludes you

You lose your love
You’ll take another one
It breaks your heart
You should break another one
And all along
You think you’re innocent
But you know you’re wrong
You’ve had a lot to forget

You never turn around
You never watch your back
Expecting every sound
Aware of every step
Aware of every mode
The subtle shifting signs
the language you should hold
intuitive and kind

But all the meaning still escapes you

If you lose heart
You’d be a bitter one
If it breaks apart
You can’t get another one
And all along
You thought you were innocent
But you were wrong
You’ve had yourself to forgive

Notes
Hi folks. I’ve been on a long creative kick that has pretty much centered around the acoustic guitar and how far I can go with it. While I’m not sure if I’ve departed from that particular creative jaunt, I needed a break from it this week. Basically I wanted to bust out my electric guitar, my bass, and some synth, and rock this song out a little bit.

What I came up with feels a lot like “older Mount Everest.” This song has so much in common with my back catalogue that it just felt comfortable to write. It was like wearing your oldest shirt (the one with the huge holes in the armpits that everybody says you should throw away, because they just don’t get it). I don’t think that I did anything here that I’d never done before, but I think I did a few things better than the last time I’d done them. The ending of this song is my favorite single musical passage that I’ve come up with in a while. It just moves. As for the lyrics, I’m not really sure. I came up with the title first, and attempted to write to it. I think it is about expressing yourself, or not. I think it’s also about rebelling against your best interests when life doesn’t go your way.

Here’s hoping your Monday doesn’t totally suck.
~M.E.

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Week 78 // Awake In All You Do

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You once spoke softly
You spoke on trials
On time and scorn
You lent them credence
With fate like rivals
Asleep and worn
And when the arms that held the young thing that once you were encircle you no more
You just wake up then
You find asylum
You draw your breath
You stitch together
The finest version
of what you got left
If you could know all the right ways
You would not grow
So certain in your bet
So you summon the meaning
Of time moving faster
Of folks up and leaving
Like natural disaster
Like stuck in the crosshairs
You’re weaving and moving
And nothing’s so precious
As fighting and losing
And you laugh just because it’s so unkind
The fleeting arc of time
And I got nothing
That I can tell you
That you don’t know
You had a moment
It took forever
But still you grow
And when that darkness finds me
I’ll look to you
Awake in all you do

Notes
In the last few years I’ve had a lot of friends who have gone through the process of losing people very close them. It has been heartbreaking to watch people go through this type of ordeal, and I always wonder about where they will come out on the other end of it. I spent a lot of my weekend deep in conversation with a dear friend who suffered a great loss and then went out into the world to try and figure out what it all meant. Compared to the person who left, the person who came back had an amazing depth of understanding. It’s not necessarily the type of understanding that is easily put into words, and it’s so personal to her that I dare not draw her conclusions for her. But I was struck by the contrast. Anger had become perspective in such a fundamental way. I just had to reflect on it with this song.

I’m away from my usual command center, and I didn’t have access to some of the bells and whistles that I might normally employ on a song like this, so I decided to keep it really simple and focus on the chord progression. This is about as stripped down as Mount Everest gets. A dude and a mandolin.

Here’s hoping your Monday doesn’t totally suck.
~M.E.

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Week 77 // River Song

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I made my way down by the river
Far as I could go
I coulda stayed with everybody else
With everybody else I know

I was thinking on this poem

Once you sent to me
The words were rattling in my thoughts
Intent I couldn’t see
The intent I couldn’t see

I dipped my feet in the shallows
Was a pull I’d not deny
I could let the river take me now
Leaving all I was behind
Leaving all I been behind

‘Cause you been gone gone gone gone
You been gone gone gone gone
You were gone gone gone gone
You were gone gone gone gone

I washed up on a bank somewhere
And rose on shaking limb
I had an aching in my heart like everybody else
And moonlight on my skin
I had moonlight on my skin

I made my bed and I rested there
And I shivered in the cold
You were out there in in the night somewhere
You were fighting getting old
You were fighting getting old

Since I’ve been gone gone gone gone
I been gone gone gone gone
I was gone gone gone gone
I was gone gone gone gone

You’ve been gone
You were gone

Notes
This is a little song about missing people. The idea here is that you could get in the river and it would take you to somebody you feel like you need to see. But it doesn’t take you there. You tried to let the river do all the work for you. You tried to be passive about it and just go for the ride, but the river spits you out wherever it wants to. It spits you out and maybe you’re even more removed from whoever it was you were trying to get to. You have to do the work yourself. You have to admit that it’s not just that somebody is far away from you, but that you are far away from them too. It’s a simple little song, and its a continuation of my recent love affair with simple little guitar songs.

By the way, the title that I chose for this song is sort of a joke. If you happen to get the joke, that means that you are a huge nerd. But I’m okay with that, because I’m the nerd who cracked the joke.

Here’s hoping your Monday doesn’t totally suck.
~M.E.

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Week 76 // Fact Ain’t Truth

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Featuring Rebecca Horton
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You know I believe
In all these old fashioned things
Like spending time
And saying sooth
We live like spies
But fact ain’t truth

I got news for you kid
You’ve got nothing to lose
You got time
You got plenty of folks trying to find you

Look at your head in the clouds
It seemed like Earth
But it’s dead somehow
And you’ve got this move
Where you cover your eyes
And you wrap up your heart
And you run and you hide

I got news for you kid
You ain’t got nothing to lose
You got time
You got plenty of folks trying to find you
And you’re in love
With the embellishments and the half truths above you
You got time
Wouldn’t you spend it with people who love you

Notes
Spending time with long absent friends this weekend, I noticed a prevailing theme in our conversation. Everyone I know is exhausted and disgusted with social media and constant connectivity. It was supposed to be a revolution in communication, but instead we feel voyeuristic and exploited, and relationships have been cheapened and made superficial. The word “friend” has become ostensibly meaningless in the culture at large. I have hundreds of them. Yet we religiously update our status and poke our friends as if we’ve been defeated. I use promoting this website as my excuse for doing it. Everyone’s got their own excuse. The truth is we like it, and we’re worse people for it. Mark Zuckerberg says you are worth a hundred dollars to him. That makes me want to take a shower. This is a song about real friendship. The list of facts that you read about your friends on their timelines are not the truth. They might be true, but you can’t learn the truth in somebody unless you do it the old fashioned way. You talk. You listen. You write a letter and you take the time to make it mean something. You share a meal. You share a drink. You think hard about somebody. You tell them they matter to you. You poke them – with your actual finger – and you know they’re real.

Thanks to Rebecca Horton for existing and inviting me on an adventure this weekend. Also thanks to Rebecca for talking to Rob’s cat in a sweet voice within range of the microphone that I was using to write this song. It’s my favorite part of the song.

Here’s hoping your Monday doesn’t totally suck.
~M.E.

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Week 75 // The After Party (and Three Free E.P.s)

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My God, this watch stopped hours ago
The clockwork stealing time
A feeling you should know

And these, the faces of a crowd
The honor is all mine
Their glances getting loud

And how much have I had tonight?
How cynical my words
Aware of every slight

I’m caught in visions of despots learning
Save the children
House is burning

My God, my ride left hours ago
I spilled my drink tonight
A feeling you should know

I’m here, but were we ever friends?
What history do we share?
Too tired to pretend

I’m up all night
And it’s disconcerting
I’m stuck in place
And the Earth is turning
Earth is turning

Well I got feet
And you got heart
And you should know

You reach your hand up from the crowd
And then you go

This isn’t how the world ends
Would you like to know?

I’ve got a friend
Looks just like you
From years ago

Notes
In celebration of 75 weeks of new music I made you a gift: Three Totally Free E.P.s for you and your loved ones to enjoy. These E.P.s include some of my favorite Mount Everest songs, and each reflects a particular mood, sentiment, or aspect of the music that I write week after week. They will be free for a limited time only, so jump on this opportunity.

Click here to download them from Sendspace, or click on the artwork below to download them from Bandcamp.

This week’s song is about suffering through the worst party ever. It’s the kind of party filled with the worst people you can think of. They are the kind of people who make you question the goodness of humanity. They are pretentious, self absorbed, obnoxious, fake, or whatever makes your blood boil in a social scenario. You are stuck there, and you’ve probably had a few too many drinks to try and make the situation bearable. It didn’t work. It’s a rock and roll song and it’s awesome. It’s the first track on “Cut and Run” (the red E.P. down below). Please download it and share it, and scroll way down to the bottom and hit “like” so all of your friends will know all about crazy old Mount Everest giving all his stuff away for free!



Here’s hoping your Monday doesn’t totally suck.
~M.E.

P.S. Track 5 on “Physical Things” was co-written with Nick Mastors

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Week 74 // Awake and Breathing Slow

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In the evening, just seconds left of daylight
I grabbed at all my insights
And I walked along the road

The night was bending all the colors
I thought of all the others
No problems but their own
I know

And in the morning
I got eyes that speak like crimes
I’ve been repeating the same dreams every night

One: In the woods, in the woods where I’m desperate
Two: In the car, on the road where I’m searching
Three: In the bed, in the bed with my lover
Four: Alone every night

One: In the dark, in the dark and it’s growing
Two: In the presence of friends and I’d stay there
Three: In the past, in the past in the sunlight
Four: In love every night

I know
Eyes open
Even so
Awake and breathing slow
And in the morning let it go

Notes
I don’t write so many pretty songs. I think this is a pretty song. My first goal with this one was to push the fingerpicked guitar line to a place where the verses wouldn’t need any other instrumental accompaniment. I think I got it so that any other instrumentation in the verses would have sounded like an intrusion. This allows those sections plenty of space to breathe, and makes the more dense sections pop out even more.

The song is about a quiet evening segueing into a restless night’s sleep. It is about tossing and turning with visions in one’s head: Visions of love and loneliness, light and darkness, idealized pasts and uncertain futures. It is about visions of contrast that dissipate and are gone in the morning, but linger as feelings.

Please be sure to stop by next week to help me celebrate 75 weeks of new music!

Here’s hoping your Monday doesn’t totally suck.
~M.E.

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Week 73 // Top of the Earth

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Scared like a sinner
Heart where I thought it should be
Death to the winter
Good night, you’d say it to me
Not quite

Gone are the right words
Carry on
Kinder than this thing ought to be
I would have loved you
If you saw fit to love me

Thinking and struggling’s no good anyway
Obviously missing the right thing to say
Down with the cynics, no love in their hearts
And damn the romantics, can’t tell them apart
Can’t seem to find you

Wooden and speechless all along
Lovely and sullen, can’t you see
I would have gone to you
If you saw fit to come to me

Well I’d’a cut and run if I’d known all the rules
At the top of the Earth staring back down at you
There’s a place in my heart for all the good it would do
If I saw fit to love you

Notes
This song isn’t about anything recent or current in my life. I thought of the hook, and it seemed right for the song, so I dredged up old feelings of rejection and loss from previous times in my life to get into the right headspace for this tune. This song is about aimlessly fumbling through being rejected. It is about the way that it doesn’t make sense when acceptance seemed like a foregone conclusion. It is about owning up to the reasons for incompatibility and being alright with them. It is about things being so much better in retrospect.

I made a picture of stars to accompany this song because I wanted to make a picture of stars, not because it has anything to do with the song.

This song was a very smooth writing experience. I wrote it on a guitar with five strings tuned all wacky because that’s how James left it. It is his guitar and it is very nice. I fiddled with the guitar part all week, and it never gave me any trouble. So thank you to this song for cooperating and making my life pretty easy.

Here’s hoping your Monday doesn’t totally suck.
~M.E.

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