ALBUM OF THE MONTH: JUNE
So far this year I've been releasing an album of original material every month. I reached a point in life where I realized music's greatest calling is to go be a part of others' lives. I have no perspective at all on what any of this sounds like to anyone who is not me - as I'm sure those whose songs & music have become the soundrack to my journey don't either. We judge the material by emotional content and as "art", not necessarily as targeted product. Anyway, I ended up after decades in & around the music biz at low levels with a BUNCH of songs and a PILE of recordings. I put stuff out my whole adult life but never like this. This is the big release. Lots of styles, lots of sounds, lots of snapshots. I hope in the file sharing age the best of it finds its legs and journeys out to wherever it will be enjoyed.
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Listen as a playlist or download individual tracks:
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Here we veer into more eclectic territory. Musical invocations, soundscapes, and sonic tapestries woven in with an assortment of songs, with no stylistic theme except to flow like a good set of overnight left of the dial FM radio. Psychedelic guitar, Native flute, slammin’ beats, unexpected free jazz bozouki and soft acoustic moments; it’s a spicy dish of exotic food. Not boring – I can promise you that! The cover is an amazing painting by Renee Boschert. From the first time I saw it, I recognized it as what the goings on in my head would look like painted onto canvas. If the titles or tunes turn you one way or another, understand the purest of this kind of expression are still just snapshots and life is (ideally) quite a buffet table of moments. If any of it speaks to you, then by all means read into it however deeply and I hope it carries something beautiful to you in with the notes and beats. The world usually is served the more arranged slices, but an artist’s job is to get what’s in them out so others can find the soundtracks to their moments. So here it is, a self portrait in words and music. I’m an odd tune. I know this. I just hope this work finds the ears that need it. ~Scott
1. Invocation Native American flute
A prayer for That Beyond to come dance in the music and be with us.
2. Out Of The Way Electric guitar, drums, old Gibson EB3 bass
Improvised in layers, head empty, staying out of the way. Has some sliding feedback on the guitar, something I love that works when I just let it. I don’t use an ebow or pedal; it’s a dance with the sound in the moment.
3. This I Know A&L parlor acoustic, vocals
“I have come and I will go / I will tell all I know / in good soil seed will grow / this I know.” "Knowing this doesn’t it seem to be / wise to use well the time given me / searching for higher truth as we roam / seeking out rivers to follow home."
4. Half My Life Spent Dancing Like a Leaf On The Pavement – Now All I Want Is The Will Of God TR505 drum machine, “The Bean” electric guitar, Olympia acoustic bass, piano
A musical mantra. A meditation on submission to be how it feels most naturally to be and work things out from there, embracing the seed you are and not lamenting the tree you’re not. I am this, I’ll be this; now we try again.
5. Beauty Without The Beast TR505, acoustic bass, piano, dulcimer
A song about trying to keep the dark side of all you see from shadowing the light. We can’t control our thoughts, but you can understand them and let much of them go. "Ignorance is bliss for to understand at all / Is to see the seeds of Spring but feel the chill of Fall."
6. Goodbye, Michael Bozouki, Ventura Barney Kessel hollow body electric guitar, bass, drum machine.
A piece I wrote after the death of a great but tragic guitar player. I knew his shadow at the end but I feel I met the man on an old album where I picked up sliding notes into feedback. When he died I wrote this for him. For the melody & lead, I just plugged in and it all happened in one take. Feedback is a spiritual thing to me, a cry of universal vibration through my hands & strings. Here I cry for Michael.
7. You Came To Me Drum machine, piano, old Gibson EB3 bass, electric guitar, banjo
A song of hope and connection.
8. Self Portrait “The Bean” electric guitar, African djembe, drums, Native flute, shaker, acoustic bass, piano, voice.
Every artist should try one, but I don’t paint canvas - I paint silence.
9. I Want To Feel The Rain ’64 Gibson acoustic, electric guitar, Kent’s Birdsong Cortobass, drums, vocals
"Traded in some dreams for True North / all I ever really wanted for."
10. Groovin’ Like a Coelacanth TR505, acoustic bass, ‘60s Ecorda bozouki, cymbals
Just a strange little groove with an Eastern flavor. It’s great music to do something by, but I can’t say I really know what. Maybe you can tell me. Part two has African djembe and mbira (thumb piano) from Zimbabwe.
11. I Breathe You In TR505, voice, acoustic guitar, bozouki
Weird intro snippet gives way to ethereal song over diminishing beat. I'm so used to that bit at the beginning being there, it's like part of it. The main piece is a sound painting of the growing realization that one day this will be all one has, this memory of this moment between two, and so you breathe in deeper - If all must depart and beautiful soft smells of life are forever to trigger me I want to remember whose perfume it was. I want to remember whose hair smelled like springtime; whose skin tasted like the ocean.
12. Ashoge Native flute and piano
Closing the ceremony with a short instrumental prayer of thanks.
Recorded at Luka’s Place (house sitting by the river, Wimberley TX) around 2006 (1,4,5,8,12); the back room of The Music Shop in Wimberley, late 2003 (6) and 2004 (2); Woodshed Studio in San Marcos, TX 2010 or so (3,7,9 – thanks to engineer Russell Tanner), and a little shack in the woods called Organic Sound sometime between 2003 and 2007 (10,11).
Written, performed & produced by S. Beckwith All songs Parking Lot Music / BMI, c 2016