The Coal Room EP had multiple inspirations. The first inspiration was the songs themselves, which consist of three new original pieces (Yvonne Marie, Things You Don't Need Anymore, Catastrophe), a reprise of an early Lavone song (Dog Days), a cover of one of my favorite songs by Cindy Ivy and Kloey (Frustrated), and a classic song written by Charlie Chaplin and once recorded by Nat King Cole (Smile). These were all songs that I wanted to record in as simple and direct an arrangement as I could and songs that I felt went together thematically. A second inspiration was the coal room itself, a literal 8x8 room in the basement of my old farm house which used to serve as coal storage and now makes a rather cozy little recording and performance space. All of these songs were initially recorded as a single live acoustic guitar and vocal performance in the coal room with a simple two microphone arrangement. I've always wanted to challenge myself to just sit with a guitar and record an album in the coal room, and now I have. A third inspiration for the album came in the form of albums I love that have similar sparse acoustic arrangements such as Julie London's "Julie Is Her Name", Johnny Cash's "American IV: The Man Comes Around", and classic recordings of the Everly Brothers. My music is stylistically different from these classics, but they certainly served to inspire my choices in production and arrangement. As I mentioned, I was aiming for simple, sparse. These songs feature acoustic guitar, vocal, and in some places light strings, accordian, drums played with brushes or bass, but the goal was always restraint. To try not to put any more into the arrangement then I felt was necessary. That's easier said than done in my case. It is always so tempting to add "just one more little thing". I think I hit the balance I was aiming for. Let me know if you disagree. Thank you to Cindy Ivy for writing such a great song in Frustrated and letting me record my version. Thank you to the late great Charlie Chaplin for making the beautiful movie Modern Times and crafting it's elegant theme song Smile, which said exactly what I wanted to say to finish the album, and thank you to all my family and friends and you reading this for lending me your ears for the 18 minutes it will take for you to share this little collection of music with me. You're awesome. Don't ever change.
released 25 December 2014