September Answers To Your Questions, Part I
10/6/2010 (updated 10/6/2010)

This girl from Mensa (with glasses and a PhD, although definitely not a big blue frog) humbly suggests a correction to the lyrics posted for "Hots for the Smarts" --

Kierkegaard and Spinoza might take issue with your use of "loadsa" in place of "Goethe" at the beginning of stanza #4.

Kindest regards, and many thanks for decades of wonderful music! -Shannon

Does Goethe rhyme with Spinoza? Hmmm. Messrs. K and S have been very quiet on the subject.

During one scene in the A Solitary Life television special, it appeared that you were writing down a guitar part in musical notation ( the song was, if my memory serves me well, 'Outside of the Inside'). Are you a fluent sight-reader?

No. Quite slow. Like a lot of folkies, I'm faster at jigs and reels in A, G and D. I'm improving though.

If so, did you begin early on, when you were a youth enamored of Buddy Holly and Django?

I took classical guitar at age12. That helped a lot, but I never got fluent. I can write much better than I can read.

I ask because I am a fledgling singer-songwriter who, having studiously avoided the task of reading music for years, has just of late begun to take those first few, onerous steps towards semi-literacy. The temptation, it seems, once one has written a handful of songs, is to hyperfocus on the lyrical/vocal domain, and neglect to grow as an player. Do you believe that sight-reading has helped you to develop the instrumental sophistication to write songs, 'Did She Jump or Was She Pushed' springs to mind in which the guitar part is indispensable, rather than supplementary? Thank you for your time. Travis McKeveny

Always important to develop as a player - as you imply, the more technique you have, the more possibilities you see. There's no reason not to develop good reading, unless you want to be a 'naive'.

I'm so impressed with "dream attic". It captures the intensity, passion, heart and soul of your live performances. One of your best I think, tremendous kudos to you and Simon for doing such a great job. It must have taken a lot of effort. My question is, would you do this again? It must have been harder to do than recording new stuff in the studio.

I thought it would be easier, but it was harder. In the studio, you focus on one song at a time. Here we had to learn 13 songs, about 70 minutes of music straight - that's a lot for the musicians to absorb and play. At this point I've no idea what to do next - do we now have to do every CD live? If we go back to the studio, will everyone think it sounds stiff or sterile compared to live? (even though we record basically 'live' in the studio anyway). A dilemma.

Also, for your Oct. shows, will you perform them as the CD was performed with 2 sets of music, one new and the other "hits" or will you mix it up a bit? Thanks, Celia

We are intending to do the shows as we did the recording nights - a set of DA, interval, and set 2 with more familiar material.