I know it – I’m not a COUNTRY STAR. It’s just the title of my upcoming album (due June 2, 2023). It’s not even a country record. At a stretch its alt-country but that’s a straight-jacket that doesn’t cut it for me either. A blogger in Philadelphia recently reviewed the opening track DON’T SMOKE IN BED which is just out and he called me an “indie-folk Santa Claus”! Maybe thats closer. Whatever -I wrote it a long, long time ago. I first recorded it live in concert with Big Low in about 2002 and it appeared on a very rare EP called “3 Songs for 10 bucks” which I no longer have. I must’ve wrote it sometime in the mid to late 1990’s. I know I never attempted to bring it into the Wild Pumpkins at Midnight set (we were still going then) and it certainly didn’t last very long in Big Lows repertoire (2002 till 2013). I don’t know why. It’s as if the songs decide which context they want to come to life in or not you cant force any of that, you end up squeezing the life out of them if you do. So it disappeared for about 20 years until recently when Madelief van Vlijmen (picture in link) & I were bouncing ideas around and it re-emerged out of nowhere. She was on her little Paul MCartney Hofner bass that I love the sound of and we started playing it tentatively. The way she put a loopy melodic line underneath it sparked it up and made it feel brand new. We were, approaching the tune cautiously, not thinking too much, you know – noodling and vibing on something. “Super-chill” is what I think MF said about it, and it was. We’ve been playing it ever since and I never tire of it. The song had finally found its voice or I had finally landed in it or something….so I recorded it with Madelief and the rest of SONG CREW and this is the result! I often find myself re-writing when I dig up old stuff like this but this time I didn’t. I found the original draft on a crumpled piece of paper in a shoebox amongst scraps and pieces that I’ve kept over the years and I could find no reason to mess with it. Back when I wrote it I had no idea what I was trying to say, which I think is always a good place to start! Looking at it now it seems clear that I’m exploring what kind of advice I would give myself if I were to go back through my dreams, the low-valley mist of past experiences and personal history, and what would that then sound like through the lens of an incoherent narrative about who I am. I get excited just thinking about that. Hope you enjoy the tune
Dan Tuffy, musician, producer.
Shows come and shows go but the music sticks around
Currently finising off the recordings we did in Studio 150, Bethlehemkerk in April. I always like to let a recording session go dormant for a month or two before coming back to it. Its a kind of litmus test for whats been commited to tape/drive – if I still like it after all that time its worth working further on. If not it isnt. Most of the tracks have been delivered to my mixer/producer Zlaya. All I know at the moment is that we created good energy together in that studio and thats what we have captured in these recordings – the whole team working IN the song together and in the moment. Thats what I hear when I listen to the session bounces. Its good.
New album(s) on the way
Ive written swags of songs during covid and am heading into Studio 150 Bethlehemkerk in Amsterdam to record a bunch of them in April. The 9 or 10 tunes I plan to track in there belong together, but more to the point they lend themselves to being recorded with a big spacious room sound. 150 is a former church and Im looking forward to getting in there and “playing the room” with Madelief van Vlijmen on bass/piano/keys and bvs, Mischa Porte on drums/percussion and Stefan Wolfs on pedal steel and guitars. We plan to use the ambience of the big church like an extra instrument and extra band member. I thought long and hard about not hiring expensive stuido time (150 is high end of the market lush), especially in the current shit climate, but this bunch of tunes is really going to benefit from true ambience in a way that cant be done with digital modelling. I have a whole bunch of other material that Im happier to faff about with at home via file swapping without the added cost of big studio time, but these tunes are screaming room and depth. Ill be working on the home-recordings in parralell so have 2 rekkids at least, maybe 3 on the way. In the meantime, the little combo I have together for the Studio 150 sessions in April is sounding very exciting and imparting serious vibe to the material. There is an environmental theme on the new to-be-recorded record – I feel I have found a musical language that covers my feelings about it without sounding redundant or cliche. What a relief! Working title STAR & COUNTRY.