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LeadsheetsCharts for exploration.

Actually, Actually (from Music for Chasing Squirrels)

Concert | Bass | B-Flat | E-Flat | F

I am trying to break my habit of prefacing every differing opinion with “actually”. Actually, actually as a filler word is rather obnoxious. The former manager of Fort Collins Coffeehouse, Hayley, called me out on this bad habit one day after I informed her that “actually, my Irish cream latte is quite delicious”. I was writing the chords to the B section of this tune at the time so this seemed an appropriate title.

Blues for Phrygia (from Music for Chasing Squirrels)

Concert | Bass | B-Flat | E-Flat | F

I was in a Phrygian kind of mood, so here’s a 16 bar blues in Phrygian. Sort of. It’s in 4/4 but there’s a sort of prelude section in 6/8, because if you’re going to write a blues it might as well also be a jazz waltz.

Cibeles (from Music for Chasing Squirrels)

Concert | Bass | B-Flat | E-Flat | F

A quick one in Phrygian/Phrygian Dominant. Named for the Plaza de Cibeles in Madrid, since Phrygia’s goddess is Cybele.

Dearest (from Music for Chasing Squirrels)

Concert | Bass | B-Flat | E-Flat | F

I found this melody sketched on a Colorado Music Instruction Center payment reminder card from the early 2000s with the word “Dearest” written in script beside it. Given that context, I don’t know if I intended it as a declaration of love or as a reminder to settle a delinquent account. I like to think the finished tune works in either case.

Frickle Frackle (from Music to Squeak By)

Concert | Bass | B-Flat | E-Flat | F

A reworking of the odd meter “Fickle Field”, because I really wanted a minor Blues.

For C. and D. (from Music for Chasing Squirrels)

Concert | Bass | B-Flat | E-Flat | F

Definitely one for us jazz nerds. I was trying to make triad pairs sound natural, so this entire melody is alternating C major and D minor triads doing their best impression of the Great American Songbook.

Fossil Creek Tunnel (from Music for Chasing Squirrels)

Concert | Bass | B-Flat | E-Flat | -F

Fort Collins has an excellent system of bike paths. When I moved to the south side of town in 2012, I was thrilled to learn that the Fossil Creek Path would soon be finished allowing me to ride a loop around town. All that remained was a single, soon to be completed tunnel under a railroad track. It was finally finished a few weeks before I moved away in 2019. I got to use it once and wrote this to commemorate the occasion.

Grin (from Music to Squeak By)

Concert | Bass | B-Flat | E-Flat | F

A triadic melody with unexpected resolutions, too many solo sections, and my favorite drum groove in the outro. It feels a bit like George Garzone meets “Bright Size Live”. This one always makes me smile…

Half the Times I’ve Failed (from Music to Squeak By)

Concert | Bass | B-Flat | E-Flat | F

A dark melody of few notes, written in a lesson to demonstrate writing to a prompt. Played on my early-2000s “Electric Memory” rig.

Kiddo (from Music to Squeak By)

Concert | Bass | B-Flat | E-Flat | F

A dedication to my Grandpa John. The melody is based on a twelve tone row but it’s harmonized as a jazz ballad in E-flat. Grandpa would have loved this as he was both a lover of irony and completely tone deaf.

Laetitia’s Lost Chords (from Music to Squeak By)

Concert | Bass | B-Flat | E-Flat | F

As a teen in the 90s, I learned a Maj7 barre chord and promptly wrote “Song for Laetitia”. My dad always poked fun at its naive harmony so I reworked it with hipper chords. Years later I missed the original’s simplicity and inadvertent mixed-meter so I wrote them into this. It’s proof that I endlessly fiddle with tunes and need to stop using a certain Corsican model’s name in song titles.

Mrs. Harvey’s (from Music for Chasing Squirrels)

Concert | Bass | B-Flat | E-Flat | F

Mrs. Harvey’s Bakery is an historic building on 11th Avenue in Longmont. I wrote this back in 2010 after driving by it a dozen or more times while moving my recording gear from CMIC to my new place off Pratt Street.

Near Majority (from Music for Chasing Squirrels)

Concert | Bass | B-Flat | E-Flat | F | Grand Staff

8 bars of this melody are from way back in 1999. I wrote it for an assignment at CU Denver and intentionally tried to make it as difficult to sightread as possible to trip up my professor as he played it in front of the class. It was a jerk move, so as a bit of penance 21 years later I finished and recorded it here. I hope it’s the ugliest thing I ever release.

Nines (from Music for Chasing Squirrels)

Concert | Bass | B-Flat | E-Flat | F

Graphite Addiction recorded an alternate swinging version of this aa “Mental Morphology”. This is my take on the funkier original, trying (and failing) to play bass like Tim Carmichael and drums like Pete Ehrmann.

Penguin Eddie (from Music to Squeak By)

C with Bass | Concert | Bass | Bb | Eb | F

Eddie was a local bar-fly I met after a gig. He told me a tipsy tale of his exploits catching a penguin (“It was an emperor penguin!”) out of a zoo’s exhibit. I wrote this as a tribute to his brilliant comedic timing and syncopated phrasing.

Ricky Loves Lulu (from Music to Squeak By)

Concert | Bass | B-Flat | E-Flat | F

There used to be a bridge by Erie, Colorado with this graffiti on it. When the railroad removed it someone painted “Ricky Still Loves LuLu”. That deserves a song.

Serva Jugum (from Music to Squeak By)

Concert | Bass | B-Flat | E-Flat | F

Clan Hay’s motto, “Keep the Yoke” provides the title for this one. It’s a standard gopuccha yati cycle for the head and a funk waltz in the solo.

Smolkin’s Boogie (from Music to Squeak By)

Concert | Bass | B-Flat | E-Flat | F

Every instrumental guitar album needs a boogie. This one is just a bit confused about where it’s going.

Somewhere East of Omaha (from Music to Squeak By)

Concert | Bass | B-Flat | E-Flat | F

As my late friend Ward Harston put it: “That’s not really a rhythm.”

Somewhere West of Wichita (from Music for Chasing Squirrels)

Concert | Bass | B-Flat | E-Flat | F

This companion piece to “Somewhere East of Omaha” from “Music to Squeak By” shares its odd little 5 note rhythmic quirk. Mainly it’s a feature for my lovely Collings baritone.

with Graphite AddictionRefined jams.

  1. Back of Fridge Experiment (2015)—Pete’s title.
  2. Ballad for My Grandmother (2015)—Tim has a really hip grandma.
  3. Benny the Beaver (2015)—Benny’s cool.
  4. Blu Ze (2020)—Pete once acted like we didn’t know a blues. This is our version.
  5. Building a Better Tree (2005)—Two tritones. The first tune Tim and I just improvised.
  6. Call It Two Against Three (2015)—Because that’s what it is. Except for the fives.
  7. Chasing the Mantra (2005)—Probably Graphite’s most played tune.
  8. Dachshund Dementia (2015)—Poor Turbo.
  9. Dreams of Plastic Weasels (2005)—Tim’s title. Not sure if it’s plastic weasels doing the dreaming or if they’re the subject of others dreams.
  10. Doctor Sus (2015)—Like Marc Johnson.
  11. El Perro Amarillo (2006)—The yellow dog.
  12. F.O.U. (2015)—Funk on.
  13. Francine (2015)—It sounds like a Francine.
  14. Future Meetings (2019)—The penultimate word.
  15. Gifelte Wish (2015)—Kinda klezmer.
  16. Groove EZ We Do (2019)—Yeah, we do.
  17. Ground Groove (2015)—Not a ground it could be.
  18. Haley’s Comet (2015)—For someone named Haley, so a different comet than Halley’s.
  19. Improrealization (2020)—A revelation through improvisation.
  20. Keep It Green (2015)—Because it’s Colorado.
  21. Lift It On Up (2015)—Higher.
  22. The Meaning of Life (2015)—A good start.
  23. Mental Morphology (2019)—“Nines” but swung Graphite Addiction-style.
  24. Mr. Phatpants (2006)—Once upon a time, we were named Mr. Phatpants, after a cat.
  25. Motherland (2020)—Home.
  26. Number 42 (2006)—Our first recorded free improvisation. Now we have to play it.
  27. One-Stop Shopping (2020)—It’s all here.
  28. Peace at Last (2015)—The last tune off “a second chance years later…”.
  29. Quiet by the Fire (2015)—Not particularly quiet.
  30. Scalero (2015)—A scary bolero
  31. Sifferson (2015)—His name is Sifferson.
  32. Somewhere in Rime (2020)—The final Graphite Addiction jam, frozen for your enjoyment.
  33. T-Rex Takes a Nap. (2015)—Sleepy dinosaur.
  34. That Was Nice, Too (2015)—But we liked the first one better.
  35. Three Makes One (2020)—A trio comes together.
  36. Tofu Toupee (2005)—No idea how that would work.
  37. Told You Once for the Second Time (2005)—Third time’s a charm.
  38. Traffic Saturation (2019)—Stuck in a jam.
  39. Triptamichigan (2015)—Pete was leaving for Michigan.
  40. Why? Oming. (2015)—The answer, or at least an answer.

Other CompositionsWhat remains.

After Disobedience (for soloist and piano with recorded loops)

Score | Guitar | Piano

An instrumental musing on the affect of mediation on rules. I sketched it out at Arapahoe Bend natural area in Fort Collins after watching the Sebastián Lelio/Rebecca Lenkiewicz film “Disobedience” at The Lyric.

This piece is divided into 5 major sections:

  1. Structure (0:00)

    The piece introduces its harmonic structure, first with a drone, then adding a synth pattern (0:15), and finally add chords on electric piano (0:31).

  2. Stumbling (0:46)

    The guitar enters, trying but failing to play the pattern. The electric piano responds to failure by skipping chords in an attempt to remain consonant.

  3. Testing Edges (1:18)

    The guitar attempts to solo on a very fast and difficult series of chords, failing yet again. The electric piano now highlights the guitar’s mistakes by shifting chords by a half step, increasing dissonance.

  4. Breaking Free (1:53)

    The guitar now solos on a ten-tone scale, avoiding only the most “out” dissonances. The electric piano doggedly plays along with the synth’s pattern, abandoning any interaction with the guitar.

  5. New Consonance (2:21 to the end)

    The electric piano shifts to a series of chords designed to allow for a (relatively) high degree of consonance between the pattern and any note on the guitar. The guitar now solos freely until the end of the piece.

It’s worth mentioning that the “Stumbling” section nearly broke me. I wrote it to be misplayed, avoided practicing it, and set the music on a stand several feet away all in the hope of increasing errors. It worked. I got so frustrated at my playing that, even though it was wrong when wrong was intentional, I had to take a break and come back to it another day.

Reference BooksDancing about architecture.