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TMI & Free Songs

Two Things 

Two things that inspired me on the day we welcomed a new President:

  1. Amanda Gorman’s poem, The Hill We Climb, which she performed at the inauguration.

    ...because being American is more than a pride we inherit. It is the past we step into and how we repair it.” 

  2. Tobe Nwigwe's cover of Wake Up Everybody, originally by Harold Melvin and the Blue Notes. It's one of my favorite songs and this is now one of my favorite versions.

Comment below with something that inspired you today.


Spinning On My Turntable 

Scott Garred - Scott Songs Vol. II


Scott has been a long-time favorite songwriter of mine. In so many of his songs, he expertly captures the emotions of his subject matter and then passes them on to the listener. I can’t help but catch a case of the feels anytime I start listening to his music. 

For the past few years, he has been releasing one song every month on his website and I have followed it religiously. In fact, following Scott’s monthly music blog was a major influence on me deciding to give away some free songs of my own and I’ve taken a lot of inspiration from his method. (Scott, if you’re reading this, I’m sorry for stealing your thing. “Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery…” Right?) I can only hope that one day, I can execute it as well as he does. 

That brings us to Scott Songs Vol. II, which includes several of those monthly songs. A copy of the record showed up on my doorstep recently, giving me a chance to revisit them in my favorite format. 

One of the things I love about this record, in particular, is that Scott doesn’t shy away from some really difficult subjects. 

High and Lonesome was written from the perspective of Charles Whitman, the mass shooter who climbed the tower on the University of Texas campus in 1966. The song gives us a glimpse into the hypothetical mind of Whitman, reminding us that even the most monstrous of those walking among us are still human. 

Perhaps my favorite song on the record is Make You Whole Again. It’s an exploration of hope in the midst of disaster. I loved it when he first released it on his blog in January 2020. Listening again, with the Nashville tornado and worldwide pandemic now in my mind, makes the song resonate so much more. 

The thing I love most about the record, as a whole, is that there is so much mystery living within. I find myself trying to piece together the story for each song’s protagonist, hidden details that, in the end, matter so much less than the emotions conveyed by their words. Songwriting like this helps to remind me that sometimes the truth is not only found in factual events, but also in the ways those events impact our lives and the emotions we feel in the aftermath.  

I highly encourage you to check out the album for yourself and, of course, sign up for Scott’s mailing list and follow his monthly music blog. 

After you’ve listened, comment below or send me a message letting me know what your favorite songs were.

Scott Links Vol. I

Bandcamp (to buy the vinyl)

New Year, New Blog 

I haven’t been doing the social media thing lately, so I decided to add a blog to my website. My hope is that this will be a place where we can connect and converse about all kinds of things, not just music. Of course, the music will be front and center. In fact, this will be the new home for any free songs I release this year and I’d really like to use this space to feature other musicians as well. 

I don’t exactly have a schedule for posting yet, because I’m a horrible planner, but I will try my best to be somewhat regular with updates - maybe once a week. (<-- Geez, just typing that scares the daylights out of me. I have a real commitment problem.) 

Anyway, Happy New Year! Here’s to a better 2021.

McConaug-HEY! (What is the Truth?) 

Happy Thanksgiving! It's been a few months since I've put a free song up here, so today feels like a good day to do it. It's 3 am here in Nashville and I've been up all night shooting and editing this video, so I won't say too much right now. I'm sure I'll come back in a day or two and write out a really nice description. In the meantime, enjoy this trippy new tune by my electro-poet of an alter-ego, Rural Juror.

Put Your Love to Shame 

Today's entry into the Socially Distant Song catalog will bring us out of our sobering lament and plant us firmly into the face-melting territory of rock-n-roll tomfoolery. And a bonus, it's a music video! 

I started writing this song with my good friends, Tyrus Morgan and Jay Speight while working on the last Dewveall record, WORD, but we weren't able to nail down a chorus and finish it in time to get it on the album.  

It was sometime later, that Melanie and I picked it back up and she helped me write the chorus and put the finishing touches on everything.  

Put Your Love to Shame was written to be a duet, with Melanie and I trading verses and playful jabs at each other. The perfect husband and wife duo song to match our "Everybody Loves Raymond" vibe. Me being an almost perfect match for Ray Romano's foot-in-mouth character, and Melanie a nicer version of Patricia Heaton's character.  

Unfortunately, this particular recording will not feature Melanie's voice because it's another one of those unfinished songs that I started with Dave Coleman and Jacob Briggs a few years back.  

Still, it's a raucous good time and makes me incredibly happy every time I hear it, even in its unfinished state.  

I love playing this song with Jacob because he brings terrific energy and originality to the drums. And Dave, well let's just put it this way, if you're listening to the track and think, "that's such a cool part," Dave did it. Uncool guitar, me. Cool guitar, Dave. I love those guys so much.  

Please let me know your thoughts on the song and SHARE, SHARE, SHARE with your friends if you like it.  

Thanks for listening and remember to stay positive, stay connected, STAY HOME and love each other.

Years of Famine  

A song about losing everything. 

I wrote this a few years ago, on commission, as a theme song for a video game that has yet to see the light of day.  

I'll fight the urge to talk about the specifics of what the song is about because honestly, I feel like the sentiment of the main character is a feeling we all know too well right now. The song offers little hope, except for a line that closes the chorus, "my pride is crumbling through years of famine."  

Admittedly, that's still not the most hopeful of statements, but I also believe that sometimes the best outcomes of life's most difficult trials are the ones that humble us. As Thomas Merton writes in No Man Is an Island, "...humility adds much to our human dignity...Pride makes us artificial, and humility makes us real."  

As far as the recording goes, this version is more along the lines of my side project, Rural Juror. For those not familiar, Rural Juror is a strange alter-ego of mine that you will no doubt become more familiar with over the next few weeks. I'll apologize now, in advance, to those of you who only wish to hear the singer/songwriter, Americana version of me. However, I believe this song is a palatable introduction to my avant-garde second self.  

I recorded and mixed all of this at home and I am by no means any good at these things. Still, I hope you can find some enjoyment, and perhaps even some solace while sitting with the song, despite the rough edges.  

Please, reach out and let me know your thoughts after listening. And I would really appreciate it if you share the song on facebook, or wherever you connect with others who might enjoy some free songs.

FA-FA-FA-FA-FA (Sad Song)  

The first song I'm putting out into the world during these socially distant times is a cover of an Otis Retting song, written by Otis and Steve Cropper. It's the first track on his Dictionary of Soul record, which is my favorite Otis album. I chose this song because, although it is a Sad Song, it's rather upbeat and fun. It reminds me that we can find joy even in the most somber things. 

This is an unfinished song that I started working on, along with my friends Jacob Briggs and Dave Coleman. Dave and I recorded the vocals, guitars, and bass at Howards Apartment Studio here in Nashville (Dave's studio), drums and horns were cut in Richmond, VA, at River Wash Studio (Jacob's Studio). Horns were provided by Marcus Tenney, who plays in one of my favorite jazz bands right now, Butcher Brown

This recording is rough mixed and the only vocals I cut are scratch vocals, but I think it's still good enough to dance to. There aren't any background vocals either, so feel free to sing along and add your own while you're cutting a rug in your living room. 

Leave a comment. Let me know if you enjoyed it and if it brought a smile to your face. And hit that share button!

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