Week 13 // Spires

A call to Visual Artists! If you are an artist please click here!

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Mount Everest - Spires

Featured Performers:
Jesse Mitchell Lindsey
View Lyrics

Outside of the city
And up in my bedroom
Away from the buildings
And the people and the games

I look at the city
It’s all full of bedrooms
Stacked high in the buildings
And the people look the same

I’ve never been much of the city kind
I got a lack of understanding
A point of view I cannot bear

But I look at the city and its twisted metal climb
And I’m wondering how can anybody be alive in there?

And at the end of all that was
When human hearts will be the end of us
When the towers reach the Sun

And all the spires will decay
And soon the wind will blow the rest away
The debt will be repaid

Way out in the country
Away from the suburbs
Away from the city and the sound
And in the air

I think of the city
And all the good people
And all of the love that’s to be had for living there

But I’ve only ever fallen in love out in the air
Way out of the city
Where the world’s got room to spare

And somewhere in the suburbs
There’s a life without a care
But there’s way too much to care about

And at the end of all that was
When human hearts will be the end of us
When the towers reach the Sun

And all the spires will decay
And soon the wind will blow the rest away
The debt will be repaid

 width=In college I majored in Studio Art and I often made pictures of cityscapes, and people in cities, and giant animals in cities, and on and on. One day a classmate approached me and said, “Jesse, your work is so urban… are you, like, from New York City?” I laughed to myself and then admitted to her that I had grown up in a comfortable suburb of Boston. In fact, I have never lived in an urban environment. I have split my life between the suburbs and the woods, only venturing into urban areas on occasion and usually for recreational purposes.

I like cities, but they also perplex me. I haven’t spent enough time in them to really understand what lies beyond the relative excitement compared to my own subdued environment. They also intimidate me a little bit: a vital aspect of my artistic fascination with them. When my classmate asked if I was from New York City, for a moment I felt like I had been a terrible impostor, misrepresenting myself through my artwork. But then I looked at my work and saw a cartoonish and warped unreality. I realized that I was working from an honest perspective. I was depicting cities through the eyes of a total outsider.

My friend Nick (who grew up quite literally in the woods) has said to me numerous times that he believes that cities are unnatural environments for the human animal. I have often been inclined to agree with him, but ultimately I don’t. Human beings are so social, thriving on one another’s company, so the city must be the ultimate expression of our nature. But therein lies a great danger. In our desire to live together we have built vast concrete machines that spew toxins and swallow land. It is a little scary.

This song is about the contradiction inherent in cities, as described by an outsider. There is so much love to be found amongst so many people, but damn it if the cities aren’t going to drag us all down eventually. Sometimes it makes me want to pack up and move downtown. Sometimes it makes me want to run for the hills. It is also about the choices that we have about where to situate ourselves. The song seems to make a value judgment that the only truly human and real places to live are in the extremes: The country and and the city. The suburbs can be described as diluted versions of both.

With this song I wanted to get back to basics a little bit with the instrumentation. It is played only on bass, nylon-stringed acoustic guitar, and drums (at least what passes for drums around here). I wanted it to end with somewhat of a vocal cacophony to simulate what I feel and hear when I look up at a really tall building.

Here’s hoping your Valentines Day doesn’t totally suck.

If you “like” and “tweet” this song I will be grateful because more people will hear my music!

Week 12 // The Void and the Great Unknown

A call to Visual Artists! If you are an artist please click here!

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Mount Everest - The Void and the Great Unknown

Featured Performers:
Jesse Mitchell Lindsey
View Lyrics

I’ve been wide awake
Since 1985
How many now have closed their eyes
Since I first opened mine?

And in the morning light
I hear it every time
That’s when I know the voice of God
Has been keeping me alive

And I know I’ve been left alone
With the void and the great unknown
And the world and it’s quiet beauty call
And I feel that it’s my own

The moon, the earth
The edge, the search
The itch, the hurt
My open eyes
It’s what’s keeping me alive
And it kills me every time

I knew it when I was a child
That the night would be only mine
That the darkness would swallow the light
That there are colors on either side

That there are colors that must be named
And there were questions from the start
And there’s a vastness that remains
And there are answers in the dark

The moon, the earth
The edge, the search
The itch, the hurt
My open eyes
It’s what’s keeping me alive
And it kills me every time

 width=Those who know me well will tell you that I am quite the night-owl. But it goes a little deeper than that. While I do have one fully diagnosed sleep disorder, I also believe myself to be one of the world’s great undiagnosed insomniacs. I never sleep at night. I don’t know what a good night’s sleep is like, and I can tell you in all honesty that I don’t know what somebody means when they say they are well rested. I have never experienced that; at least not that I can remember, and not in the way that everyone else means it. My song this week is about everything that is beautiful about insomnia.

The night is mine. I have it to myself, and sometimes it reveals its secrets. Everything is different in the middle of the night. Things sound different. Things look different. The earth is still and quiet. Time moves differently. Sometimes I try to pay attention to the night, to look into it, to find out what it really is. It’s like trying to unravel some great mystery. If sleep doesn’t come easily, it makes sense to use that time. Sometimes I use it philosophically, and sometimes I use it productively. Something happens to me in the middle of the night. My ideas become lucid. I can translate my ideas into form more easily. For me, the middle of the night is a muse. In some way, everything I have ever written, drawn, or played is a commentary on the night. It is my partner.

This week I continue to explore what I’ve come to recognize as a curious relationship developing between my banjo and my synthesizer. It seems to me that they have something to say to each other, and maybe even something to say about each other. It is a relationship that I am interested to see develop a little more. I suppose what I am really trying to do is to decipher what they have in common. I think they have more in common than they would like to admit.

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

Please “like” and “tweet” this song! It helps me get the word out!

A Call to Visual Artists!

I would like to write a song about your artwork and feature it on this website! If you would like to have your artwork featured on this site as a song illustration, fully credited with links to your own website, I will be taking submissions for the next two weeks, and intend to choose four pictures based solely on my personal preference and level of inspiration. I will take submissions in any form, be it painting, drawing, photography, digital mishmash, etc. Send me something you really love, and I’ll do my best to turn it into a song.

Submissions should be sent in .JPG format and should be at least 700 X 700px. You may submit as many as you like. I’ll warn you ahead of time that everything will be cropped into a square and fitted with a neon yellow-green sidebar. Please send submissions to this email address. Thanks in advance to all who make submissions. I hope I get more than four!

Week 11: The Echo Chamber

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Mount Everest - The Echo Chamber Featured Performers:
Jesse Mitchell Lindsey
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Close your eyes
And in the dark behind your eyelids
You can stay there in the perfect silence
And the violence and the peace
And all the kindness and the grief
They are your friends

Take a look
Now pretend there’s no horizon
Now imagine there are no goodbyes
And in the end you’re gonna start
And from the start you’re bound to end
And start again

And on your struggle you depend
Oh now you’ve gotta let it go
And not to break you’d rather bend bend bend
And now it’s time to let it go

You are the risk
You are the burn
You are the light
You were built to learn
You are unheard of
You are unheard

And when it all adds up
It’s a beauty of a sight
And when they speak to you
When you lie awake at night
It’s a comfort and a curse
Yeah it’s a cry against the light
It’s a cry against my better side

And on your struggle you depend
Oh now you’ve gotta let it go
And not to break you’d rather bend bend bend
And now it’s time to let it go
And when you’re looking for the end
Come on you never let it go
When you’re alive you must pretend pretend pretend
And now it’s time to let it go

 width=I have a notebook, and in my notebook I scribble lyrics, and ideas for songs, and little phrases, and parts of phrases. This week I scribbled “A song about the alternating and contradictory nature of my internal monologue. Wide open possibility vs. crushing doubt.” This of course meant that I was to write a song about my mind, or as my illustration would have you believe, my brain. So that’s what I tried to do.

I don’t think I’m alone in that my mind tends to wander when I’m trying to fall asleep. This is the most active time of day for my internal monologue. During other parts of the day I usually have other things occupying my mind. But lying in bed at night with nothing to distract me from myself, my mind becomes sort of an echo chamber. Very quickly my internal monologue becomes an internal dialogue, and sometimes that internal dialogue becomes an argument. I think about all sorts of things, but mostly about the past and the future, two subjects on which my internal dialogue can be fiercely divided.

It seems that I have an optimist and a pessimist in me, and they never agree on anything. To the optimist, I’m on the right track. None of my mistakes have been so bad that I can’t recuperate and I’m bound for great success and a happy life no matter what I do. The pessimist never forgets anything, and every past indiscretion has lead me inexorably to an inevitable future filled with failure and misery, and it’s just around the corner. To be honest, I find both of these characters to be obnoxious and obstructive to a productive state of mind. When I’m not in my echo chamber they tend to blend together into a somewhat normal human being capable of real perspective on his own life. They say that everyone has more than one side to them. I guess that I’m just very well acquainted with two of mine. At least well enough acquainted to write a song for them.

Synths, and banjo. Guitar, and bass-guitar. Harmonica and piano. Rocks and rolls.

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


Week 10: A Bottomless Season

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Mount Everest - A Bottomless Season Featured Performers:
Jesse Mitchell Lindsey
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How we’ve kept
We’ve slept this season
And what we’ll lose
In the cold still to come

Down down deep
They’ll find us breathing
Deep New England
Afraid of the sun

Oh cuz the snow came
And it buried us all
And it hid all our secrets
In the yard, three feet tall
A bottomless feeling
Since the end of the fall
It’s a bottomless season after all

Oh we could wait
And the snow could wash away in the night
And the rain could carry our sin away

Sinners all
Our conscience freezing
And filling our lungs
With the breath of the weak

Certain am I
That come the next season
I’ll carry my bones
And no ill shall I speak

Oh when the Earth froze
You know it followed the dark
And heaven knows
That there’s a weight in our hearts
When the ice is cracking it’s a delicate art
With a sound like an explosion it’s a start

Oh we could wait
And the snow could wash away in the night
And the rain could carry our sin away

Oh we could wait
And the snow could wash away in the night
And the rain would carry our sin away

 width=This is a winter song. I’ve been thinking lately about what winter does to people. All the time we spend inside, it feels like we’re hiding away. We’re buried as if under the snow. The thick covering in the yard is mysterious to me. Who knows what lies just beneath it? Perhaps in the dark of the winter we keep our secrets under there. Winter puts people on edge. Winter makes us short with one another. Winter makes us into something paler than ourselves. But winter also allows us to absolve ourselves. We know that if we can make it through the cold, the rain will wash away the snow, and with it will go the secrets and lies that we’ve hidden beneath it. With the spring we are new.

Truthfully, I love the winter, although this song may sound like I’m itching for it to be over. It’s just that nobody is immune to a little bit of seasonal affective disorder. It’s a dark time of year and it’s bound to bring out some darkness in all of us. Some people prefer to live in a place where this sort of season never happens. I could never be one of them. Without the cold, the warm is meaningless to me. Would we have a word for light if there was no such thing as dark?

I’ve been exploring my new banjo again this week. It’s been a nice change of pace to begin to learn a new instrument again, especially one so rich and old as the banjo. Its a freshness that I haven’t felt since I took up the mandolin a couple of years ago. I feel like the banjo is completing what I’ve been trying to accomplish with the mandolin. They play so nicely together. I wanted this song to elicit an old fashioned waltz. I wanted this song to have room to breath, so I left drums out of huge swaths of it. I wanted it to sound light and then dark, but not so dark because there will always be more light.

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


Little by little, chipping away at my opus

A couple of months ago when I began this project I didn’t really know what I was doing. It was a personal challenge turned cockeyed scheme turned plea for attention turned I don’t know what. Now I’m beginning to understand little by little that this is a lifestyle choice. I’ve come across a few people on the internet who are doing, or have done something similar to this. I came across a fellow calling himself Praying For Greater Portland who started doing it just a month or two before me, and he cited as his inspiration a guy named Into It. Over It. who recorded a new song every week for a year and then put out a big double album. Even Kanye West recently released a new song every friday for several months. I knew none of this when I posted my first song, but it’s a great comfort to me to know that I’m not yet in totally uncharted territory.

I feel a great kinship to these people, coupled with an enormous sense of admiration. There are a few more of them that I’ve come across, but they all have one thing in common that I don’t share with them: an ending. Kanye called it quits and returned to whatever it is he does when he’s not doing this: probably working on his next opus. Into It. Over it. did it for a year, and I can’t wait until I know what he felt like on week 52. I’m sure Praying For Greater Portland will know a singularly beautiful feeling when he hangs up his microphones after a year, and I want to know what that sense of accomplishment feels like. But even more than that, I’m itching to know what it feels like on week 53 and week 54. I’m like Kanye. I’m chipping away at my opus, little by little, but for me this is my opus. I can’t say for sure if I’ll do this forever. I suppose I’ll do it until I’m done doing it. It is my goal for that to be a very very long time from now.

I’m so excited that I’m still at the very beginning of this, because there is so much music that I haven’t written yet.


Week 9 // 20 Questions For Jared Loughner

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Mount Everest - 20 Questions For Jared Loughner

Featured Performers:
Jesse Mitchell Lindsey
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Can you confront your greatest fear?
Where will you be this time next year?

And on a scale from one to ten
Was the count consistent with your intent?

Are you guilty when you tell a lie?
What must you do before you die?

Did you ever hope you’d have a wife
and kids and live a simple life?
And are you satisfied?

Did they get what they deserved?
And are you happy with your work?
And can you sympathize at all?
And are you dead inside?

Just what does it feel like when
Your mind can break but cannot mend?

And are you living in the dark?
What force could shape you/break our hearts?

Is Arizona on the brink?
America what do you think?

Was that your purpose:
Drive the wedge,
And spread the fire,
And wake the dead with a blow to the head?

And did they get what they deserved?
And are you happy with your work?
And what was all that shit you said
About new currency and mind control?
Is this some kind of joke?
Is this some kind of sick attempt at playing games?
At playing loose with lives?
At playing God?
So tell me can you sympathize at all?
And are you dead inside?

 width=I tried so damn hard this week not to write a song about Jared Loughner and the mass shooting that took place in Tucson. I spent the weekend working on something that I thought would be a somewhat emotional travel song about my generational zeitgeist and our general malaise, like I do. But then I put pencil to paper and out came this song.

I wanted so badly to wait until I could find some understanding and perspective on the event before I allowed myself to make my feelings on the subject a matter of public record. But I couldn’t stop myself. I realized that understanding and perspective would most likely never come, because one cannot make sense of an atrocity perpetrated by a man who is so impenetrable and ill as Jared Loughner. So I asked him (in my song) a series of questions. Some of the questions are digging for his humanity, which surely must be in there somewhere. Some of them are looking for his motive, the mystery of which has prompted a national debate as polarizing as any in recent memory. Some of the questions are angry indictments, because when I think about Jared Loughner I want to scream and tear down his insanity to find one good reason to think of him as a human being, but I can’t.

I think Loughner took a look at a house divided an decided to try to burn it down. I was moved this week by President Obama’s incredibly powerful speech at the memorial in Tucson. It is taking all of me not to hurl accusations of culpability at people other than Loughner. I am not immune to the national dialogue, and I can’t help myself from coming down in a certain way on the issue, but in the spirit of the President’s speech and my firm belief that what Loughner really wanted was to tear us ever further apart, I will refrain.

On a lighter note, I purchased a banjo! I used it on this song, along with a mandolin, a synthesizer, a harmonica, and my voice. To all the children out there, I’m sorry for exposing you for the first time ever to the word “shit” in this song. I know it’s a bad word, but I used it because It’s how I felt and I don’t believe in censorship. Don’t ever say it in front of your parents.

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


Week 8: Belief In Fiction

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Mount Everest - Belief In Fiction Featured Performers:
Nick Mastors
Jesse Mitchell Lindsey
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At the turnstile
You’ll catch your breath
You wore your sturdy clothes
But lost your cigarettes

The world will speak to you
Reveal its name to you
And ask its price of you

And in your suitcase
A dusty book
And every chapter gives your life a second look

It only lives for you
It’ll never lie to you
And it won’t die for you

This I believe
The story holds the proof we will recieve
Who with your dying cough
Swore this is not the world for us
If this is not the world for us
Then why are we so desperate to believe

I believe in fiction
This I believe
That my generation
Came awake on New Years Eve

We are the best of us
We are the worst of us
We are the first of us

They’re at my doorstep
And this I fear
That it’s a fiction that the answers could appear

There was a god for us
A simple cause for us
There is an Oz for us

This I believe
The son of man endeavored to recieve
Who with his dying cough
Swore this is not the world for us
If this is not the world for us
Then what are we so desperate to believe

When I originally conceived of putting words to this song, I was inspired by the classic series of radio essays known as This I Believe. Legendary radio newsman, Edward R. Murrow initially hosted the show in the 1950s, and it has more recently been resurrected on NPR. The format is simple: Americans of all walks of life read essays on what defines their core value system. It is a diverse and wonderful format, and every time I have listened to it, I have found myself deep in self-reflection. I wanted to write a song that would function as my own entry to This I Believe. However, when I began to write the words to this song, it quickly began to stray from being strictly a discussion of my core values, and became more of a reflection on the power of stories.

This song is about the deep connection that human beings have with stories: the way we project our own lives into them, the way we use fiction to inform our ambitions, values, and choices, and the way that we rely on stories to make sense of the world. After all, what is the first thing you pack when you go away? For me it’s a book (okay – sometimes it’s a comic book, but those count too).

Some people insist that the world’s religions are fictions. That is not my aim here, although it may seem so. Rather, I wish to elevate the entire pantheon of fiction to the level of esteem to which religious people hold the stories that they tell within their faiths. A great story feels like a holy document to me, just the way that a great painting, or a great song can hold so much weight. They contain amazing truths which are unique to each individual reader (or listener – please preserve verbal storytelling!). They can guide us, or misguide us. They have the power to change us.

I am so pleased to share the instrumental credit with Nick Mastors again this week. As always he brings an insight all his own. What strikes me the most about working with Nick is how complete his ideas are as soon as he has them. He hears a part in his head fully formed and needs only to translate it to his fingertips. Meanwhile I must chop away in trial and error until something sounds right. I sure wish I could do what he does.

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

Mount Everest – 12345678
In celebration of our first two months of existence, and in thanks to all of you who have listened, commented, told your friends, and come back again, I am pleased to announce that I have posted the first 8 Mount Everest tracks as a free download! It is a mini-album called Mount Everest – 12345678 and it is a fine retrospective of the last 8 weeks worth of tunes in the order that they were originally presented. Download it, share it with your friends, and tell them where you got it. But you should hurry, because this thing wont be download-able forever. In two weeks I will take it down and that will be that. So thank you for your participation, and thanks for coming back each week. You are my favorite people on earth and I love you all very much.

No longer available for download

Week 7 // Counting Up From One

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Mount Everest - Counting Up From One

Featured Performers:
Jesse Mitchell Lindsey
View Lyrics

Another lifetime was the curse
We were so young
The day the decade dashed our hopes in old ’01
And what we lost back then
We’ve only just begun to understand
We built the wall, we bought the gun

It’s not just innocence we’ve given up this time
No New Year’s resolution will suffice for us
Ten years now we’ve given to the night
Well, not again, this year I’m putting up a fight

Watch this world breaking
Our hearts give
We were mistaken
It’s just one decade lost to the wolves
And it’s over now

Get the kids to say
Get the kids to say we’ve changed our ways
And all us old folk
We can all just fade away
And let the world move on
It’s better off this way

And all us young folk
We’re killing for the cause
And raising kids who will never know just what they’ve lost
They’ll never know who stole from them
They’ll never know the cost
And we can care for them and envy them

Watch this world breaking
Our hearts give
We were mistaken
It’s just one decade lost to the wolves
And it’s over now

What becomes of us now?
What of all the young ones?
What of all the old ones carrying the young ones?
Just what will become of us?
When the light is there in front of us
When the score is here to settle us
When the road is all ahead of us
We’ll be living by the gun
My God, we’re counting up from one

What becomes of us now?
What becomes of us now?
Just what will become of us?
Just what we’ll become
To see the world in front of us
To learn from all the old ones
To learn from all the young ones carrying the old ones
We’re counting up from one
We’re counting up from one

 width= Happy New Year from Mount Everest! As the New Year is by far my favorite holiday for it’s spirit of renewal and celebration, I could not help but run with that theme this week. At a New Year’s Eve party on Friday night I couldn’t help but notice how often conversation drifted toward emerging from not only the last year, but the last decade as a whole. There was some debate over whether or not we’d already left the decade a year ago, but I think the catharsis that people were feeling stemmed from finally escaping the ten year stretch that started in 2001, the year that everything changed. To look at ourselves as a collective whole before and after that year, it is hard to imagine that ten years have really gone by since New Years 2001.

This song is about stepping out of the rubble of a failed decade, rubbing your eyes in the sunlight and looking around. You are still covered head to toe in the dust and refuse of the aughts with it’s wars and it’s disasters, it’s terrorism and our national loss of innocence (and a generational loss of innocence for us so called “Millennials“), and it’s financial meltdowns and oil spills and the list goes on. This song doesn’t presuppose that the next decade will be any better for us. In all likelihood the paradigm has shifted for the long haul. What the song does suggest is that this is a time for reflection, a time to look at the past and think about the future. For my generation, it’s a time to stop pointing fingers at our parents’ generation and find out what we can learn from them, because it’s coming up on our turn up to bat. It’s a time to pull together to make this new decade a lot better than the last one. If that sounds idealistic, then good. We’ve counted to ten on the last decade, and 2011 affords us the chance to start count again. I don’t know about you, but that has me feeling pretty good.

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


Week 6: Breathless While In Exile

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

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

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.