Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Gathered 'Round the Greasefire EP

In the next couple of weeks (June 22nd), I'm going to put out a new collection of songs entitled "Gathered 'Round the Greasefire EP." I would be glad to have you take a listen and pre-order it at www.micahdalton.com. Now Some fast facts:

1. My friend, Paul Reeves, (who can effectively dunk a basketball) turned knobs and added his production and mixing expertise to it in Athens, GA.
2. Long time collaborator, James Gregory, played bass, piano, tambourine, and, I'm pretty sure, shaker on it. He references Bach sonatas when making set lists, dances hard to a proper break, and has notable shaker technique. He continues to amaze me.
3. John Neff from the Drive-by Truckers played pedal steel on it. If you don't know what that is, it looks like a time machine from the netherworld and sounds like Jesus' happy tears. At least it does when John plays it.
4. Kim Taylor lent her pipes to the project: http://www.kim-taylor.net/. She sings so well, but she really wants to be a scientist. Which, obviously, makes you wonder how long it will take for her to claim her due as the missing member of the Justice League. I'm very thankful that she let me use her skills on this project.
5. As for me, I'm mostly glad I finally got to rip a fake sitar solo on the first track. If I can convince Paul, I'll put out a disc of "fake sitar solo outtakes" as a B Side project. Fingers crossed.
6. I'm hand-making, stamping, and numbering these EPs DIY style. So, there will only be 500 available FOREVER. FOREVER. FOREVER. But, it will be available digitally on itunes on June 22. Brian Manley of funwithrobots.com did the art direction. At the top, I've posted some pictures of how I skipped the packaging middle man on these so that they're made real special just for you.

Thanks to all reading for your continued support and friendship.
Much love-

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

The Short Stories of Pawn Shop

So…creative people change just like everyone else. Your perspective moves, gets stuck, etc. You sing differently. You work in and out of humanity however you do-then you document it. You just to have empathy for that process or else it’s never fun. I hate listening to most of my songs, but I DO like remembering where I was coming from at that time. It’s just important to know what to keep/throw out/ recycle/ etc from the little rascal signposts. Little signposts that remind you….well just remind you. All this to say, when I made my last record, PAWNSHOP, I made it in 2 sweeps. The first one was in Dec of 06 and the other was in Sept of 07. I did Ohio, What Would I do?, She Uses Love, Easier to Read, Ramshack Run, Down Down in the first sweep. Then I did the rest in the sessions in 07. Had a good time, and all was quiet on the western front. In Oct/ Nov I realized how fragmented I felt the recordings were. My general approach to singing/ writing/ etc. had just shifted between sweep 1 & 2. Not in a bad way. Well yeah maybe in a bad way. But-the music was just so dang ambitious and I felt disconnected from it. SO-the question arose-what do I do with all of these different kinds of songs. I’ve got my development down on tape, and it might be more disengaging for folks listening than anything. So, I decided to parody the confusion of the situation with a concept record. Fortunately, working with a wonderful person like Jason Harwell at Rebuilt Records made this naive call look way more together than it was. I wanted to have stories going along with each song that would help tie the album together better so it wouldn’t feel as fragmented (maybe) and illustrations with it. SO I called my friend Jewly Hight (great songwriter, writer, bad ass), and she was in. We talked through it over several months and came up with something we both were proud of. Then Jason Harwell contributed some stellar illustrations to top it off. We had an accidental concept record from a literal sonic pawnshop that became this more holistic experience with stories for each song…documenting Pawnshop’s journey. Since most people buy my music digitally, it didn’t really translate how I wanted. But I’m proud of the whole concept that saved it for me (even if it’s just me!). The interactive nature of it. I just wanted to share the experience of this record beyond the 50-60 minutes that you may or may have not heard. I’m also going to put the story up for those who want to get their hands on Jewly’s tasty writing. You may hear a song differently too. See ya.

Click here to read the mini book: http://www.micahdalton.com/pawnshop-story/


Sunday, June 14, 2009

Reinventing the Wheel While Bass Fishing

So I never fish, but my friend Jonathan took me this past weekend, and I saw the light . It was a gorgeous experience. I saw a snake, dope overlooks, and fish really close up. Most importantly, I sat quiet on a rock for about an hour and a half and felt a sense of clarity for at least several minutes. Then I shot a gun. I didn't really like that because of the ring in my ears and the "what did I just do?" weird feeling afterwards. I'm taking some time off of touring this Summer. I didn't necessarily mean to, but a tour got pushed back, and I'm not exactly jonesin' to make all of those kind of transitions happen these days (at least the on and off the road ones). Plus- I'm wanting to extend the creative flow I've had working for about the past 9 months. Every once in a while you need to take a sec to remember why it is music is generally important. Then you can start the aggravating self prod again.That can suck because that self accountability has a specific calling that leads into an abyss of trial and error. A frustrating one but necessary. I've produced 2 projects (one alongside my pal Paul) recently. Tyler Lyle and Ryan Horne. We didn't have "a system" for either one which seemed fruitful but entirely exhausting for me and, i'm pretty sure, everyone involved. Everybody seems pretty dang happy though. I do. All this to say, there's no sub for rest and unplugging. I can tell when an artist is always plugged in. Into everything but themselves and their own humanity. The more and more people I run into in the city have an incessant desire to make something original of themsleves. To build a "new us" or, perhaps, a "false us". I am in that place very often, and I'm now worn from those transactions. I'm more interested in what's benefiting my community here and now and turning over rocks for sincere ideas rather than original ones. Sure, they can run together-but theres millions of empty shells with millions of original ideas. Like this blog for example-it's awesome, original, self-important, and anything else right.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Road & what I've been up to.

I'm finding out that living without cable TV automatically removes you from 25% of the conversations you could possibly have.I realized that about a couple months ago (but I haven't blogged over it...). I've played a hodge podge (sp?) of events (colleges, churches, camps, clubs, free mason halls, bingo halls, bowling rings, etc.) recently and have caught up with a handful of very wonderful people that I've not seen in sometime. Most of these people were at Sharptop Cove the last couple of weeks. I'm frustrated because I haven't really read in the past 6 months or so. I've skimmed around with
"The Power and the Glory", but I haven't finished. Me and my sideman/stone cold killer/mandolin player is also named Micah. He's on these 4 dates with me, and he's extremely talented and easy to be around. I'll also be co-writing with Nate C this weekend in Brooklyn. I'm playing SXSW for the first time this year and, honestly, it seems like it could potentially be more trouble than it's worth. But I hear it's a good place to be. Signing off-

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

A Thought

Here lies a short poem written yesterday. Please offer guidance on the form if you have it-

I was, for a long time, extremely busy avoiding the house of
regularity and normalcy. With it's bare bones and unbelievable
temperance. I chose, then, a complete preoccupation. I began a loose
search for the house of emotional satisfaction. Hearsay told me it was very much local with a tightly leashed dream. Then, after a drunken landing, I found it unfurnished
with nowhere to sit....so, now, I have a strange alignment within this
Then, the song begins.

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Summer Re-Cap and Looking for God's Phone Number

Well, this summer was a whirlwind of time. I played more music than I ever have during one season. I've begun to shift into a period of time that I always really enjoy: home (more on this later). In June, I toured with the incomparable Richard Julian. I recommend picking up his latest release "Sunday Morning in Saturday's Shoes". We ran into early weather roadblocks and even had a show cancelled in Des Moines due to flooding. We didn't trust the fancy GPS to navigate us through flood water, although it seemed completely capable somehow. Learned a whole lot about song writing from Richard on this run. Every night his show never rusted over. His songs have layers and layers of unassumed richness. In July and the first part of this month, I opened a slew of dates with my gracious and good friend, Jon Mclaughlin. These dates took me to a part of the country that I'd never seen before-The Wild West and New Orleans. I'd seen landscapes similar to these, I think, in an airplane before. From the top, not linear/flat. From the top, it looks like a bunch of crumpled up construction paper undone and laid on top of varying sizes of rock. Everything was extremely new and mesmerizing to see. Seems like all dinosaurs were born on the road from Houston to New Orleans. It looks like God got experimental on the vegetation there while taking breaks between hammering on the sun and moon. Or something like that!
Anyway, everyone should check out Jon's new record that's releasing early October. I really enjoy a tune called "You Can Never Go Back"...It will make you move. We had a major good time riding scooters around for a day exploring the great city of Seattle. Here's a picture of us before take off. Shown here is Jon's band (experienced riders) and me (non-experienced):

Now, I'm here. Trying to figure out who I am and where I'm from once again! Learning how to get back involved in serving in several different capacities and ways. Remembering that God does speak, and it's my job to stay still and to try listening for it. Then submitting to it. The music has never really come out well unless God's propelling the whole operation, not me. I was joking last week with a friend about trying to find God's phone number (weak metaphor..i know) and likening it to prayer. Maybe, He's at the very back of the crowd behind our circumstances and worries pushing forward. Maybe, He's flailing a piece of paper up in the air with that very number on it. By the time we reach Him, maybe, it's blank. Might have been all he could do to get near.