May 10th, 2013

Porch Practice #2: The River

By Lyndsy Rae

Our new song, “The River.” On baritone ukuelele and horse jaw (quijada). It’s about the music of the Mississippi.

The River

The sarabande of the willows at the edge
Like bird wit calls us to the riverbed.
Long ago, between these reeds,
A cornet played itself so sweet.
Why does this same river now flow like lead

Sometimes I feel very scared.
Sometimes I feel very scared.
O, winds tempt the stillness to reverse its course,
But forward lies the secret chord
Calling your name. Listen if you dare

What language did the serpent speak:
Questions, answers, or the noise of beasts?
Did he ever worry that everything’s been said?

The river might be itself alive.
The river might be itself alive.
O, the song of the prophets, so heavy,
A drag beyond the levy.
Ferrying us past still waters if we dare.
Calling your name. Listen if you dare

May 8th, 2013

Om my gosh, it’s the song about clouds!

By Bart

Lyndsy and Bart on a porch.

July 6th, 2012

TheSmallestPotato covers “I Never Knew”

By Bart J Helms

The highlight of my morning: one of my songs performed on banjolele!

Well done, TheSmallestPotato! If anyone else enjoyed this, do listen to her Iron and Wine cover or check her YouTube channel page for more.

June 18th, 2012

The Clouds: “We Make the Rain”

By Bart J Helms

YouTuber drbrink has uploaded video of us performing “The Clouds” (along with many more songs) at Mojo’s in Columbia, Missouri. We’ve been playing “The Clouds” on stage since Big John Fest last December, but it still feels new to me because we’re constantly working on it. (Lately it’s been adding dynamic builds and vocal harmonies, but the bridge is forever under construction too.)

Last August we performed at a wedding on a farm in Northeast Indiana. There was a beautiful, positive vibe all night even with a storm passing through midway through our set. So of course we stayed far too late. Zach’s mom’s house was a few miles away, so the four of us drove there to sleep an hour or two before dawn. When we woke, Lyndsy and I had to head back to the farm. I don’t remember what we talked about on the drive, but whatever was said in combination with the night before left me feeling positive and encouraged. On the way back, I began to write “The Clouds”

One of the good things about living somewhere flat is the sky. Outside of town, you can see for miles around. On this particular day, there was another storm system in the distance. The rain mostly missed us, but we still got to see the beautiful storm clouds rolling by.

Photo by efilpera. (The photo is of Italy, so imagine smaller hills.)

Ordinarily, it’s hard to appreciate the size of clouds. Something about the light that day made these clouds appear massive, like the tumbling mountains of mist they are. As we cruised past fields and farmhouses, it felt like we were moving with the clouds. That we were more a part of that world than the one down here. It was an electric feeling, so I had to capture it in song.

I tried my best to get light and dark to play well together in the chords, but I’m happiest with the structure of the lyrics, as simple as it is. The first stanza was what I wrote on that drive. Though it could be the opening of any blues song, I knew from the start that the rest of the song would have to bring in some emotional depth. The line “we make the rain” was really important to me. Acknowledging responsibility, not waiting for a “big break”,  and accepting consequences seem to be major themes of doing creative work in the 21st century. The final lines are of course an invitation to everyone to go make their own thing. So long as you remember there’ll be some rain and thunder on the way.

The Clouds

My baby and me are like the clouds
We breeze on by,
And I know we might seem rather proud
As we drift high above the crowd.
But comprehend we’ve got the simplest of needs:
A home wide as the unbuttoned sky.
The wild world for our roots,
We’re the mountains that move
Fenced by neither lease nor deed.

I found a fiddle on a shelf
Untouched in an age.
The color left my cheeks where I knelt
In fear that I gazed on myself.
The bow is meant to marry the string.
The shoe meant to rattle the stage.
It’s as grievous as plain
If a nature’s abstained,
If like a ghost a life passes unseen.

All the people chide,
“Won’t you come inside?”
But we make the rain.
You see, we make the rain.

Why can’t we all be like the clouds?
We’ll breeze on by.
The wild world for our roots,
We’re the mountains that move
Fenced by neither lease nor deed.
So disconnect and expel,
Kick your umbrella farewell,
And if you ramble, come ramble with me.
Yeah, if you thunder, come thunder with me.

June 16th, 2012

Black Coffee: New Official Video

By Bart J Helms

Directed by Portley Colwell and Christine Taylor, both of whom work for Punch Films in Fort Wayne IN. We’re very happy with the way it turned out.

Black coffee!

June 14th, 2012

Video from Belfast’s Free Range Music Festival

By Bart J Helms

YouTube user mainemidcoast has uploaded a number of videos from Belfast Maine’s Free Range Music Festival. Including one of us!

Take a look at the channel page for more.

September 2nd, 2011

Video from A Taste of the Arts

By Bart

A few videos are drifting in from last weekend.

Here’s “Black Coffee” with an appearance from the Fort Wayne Dance Collective.

“High Wire Lover”

“Bertrand Hustle”

It was a lot of fun! We hope to do something like this again.

June 9th, 2010

New Videos

By Bart

Drew Allegre of Farenheit photography took some video of the Harley Poe Fort Wayne CD release show. Here’s “Black Coffee”:

More are on YouTube, including three each from our labelmates Harley Poe and Poopdeflex.