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Be the Mule Blog

"In The Pines" Video, Song Story, Peru, and an Orchestra Debut

We just released this short EP with Renee Mooi. 

Leadbelly is a favorite artist of mine, and much of the blues, and folk, tradition he represents I am constantly fascinated with. Like many, I first heard "In The Pines" when Nirvana played on Unplugged, in my early teens. That is a brilliant version. Here's our take.

I recorded a simple acoustic guitar part, not there any longer, and Renee and I sang the song. I recorded the rest in my living room and at Hernan's studio. Lots of guitars, late at night. Hernan lets me come in when he's not working so at times Im there until 3 or 4 in the morning working on these things. 

My vocal part I recorded laying in bed with a harmonica microphone on night when I couldnt sleep. I decided I wanted to talk, not sing, the part, and it took just a couple minutes. I wanted a rhythm part, but not drums. When people make blues clean, or fancy, it loses its power to me. Its folk music for us battered, but hopeful, folk. Its not about licks, or guitars, all that is wrong, and a deduction. Its about the story and the soul, the fight. When its like that, there's nothing more real to me.

So, I decided to howl and scrape out some rhythm sounds with my voice that run over each other a bit. I yelled at a wall with the microphone to my left and thats where the rhythm tracks come from. I stomped in our apartment shower as well for the lows.

The video I filmed with Mario Rodriguez in Pucallpa, Peru at this banana port on a Sunday. People were having fun with us. There's still the barefoot work, blue hustle happening there, no big business, nothing corporatized, regulated only by a few folks in town who get more fruits than the rest. Everyone was really warm and wanted to share music.

The other part Virginia Arigon filmed in my apartment shower with Renee and I.



And a series of poems I wrote in Peru came out through Empty Mirror Books. This is one that came out alright. I tend to get dense and lost in the thickness of word, doubt, thought, but at times I'm able to be more direct and it works in creating something honest. It's the same story with music, and song. Be whats real, and thats all that comes out. In process.


You the Brave

"You are not solely information
You cannot be purchased
You are not the sum of your skills
You are not your clickings
Your information has a soul
You are not the one who buys the product for the picture
You are not this person
You are not the calculated risk
You are not the percentage probability of the focus men
You are not the possessor of a single language
You are of no country
You are not afraid
You are not a product or a consumer
You are not a product and its consumer
You are not consuming yourself
You are not produced by your consumption
You are not skin and bones
You are not in need of belonging
You are not concerned about how you are perceived
You are not being lied to
You do not allow yourself to be lied to
You do not lie to yourself
You yourself are not a liar
You are not desperate to purchase a home
You are not desperate
You are not desperate
You are not desperate
You are not desperate
You are not desperate
Remember that what’s important is not importance
And that its going to take getting up on your own
You are star dust, Mother tears, River ash, Wonder Sun, Brave Brave Brave Brave Brave, Triumph triumph triumph, new, new new end of lie end lies end of lies, You You You You You The Brave"



Lastly, a look at rehearsals with the orchestra at CECAM in the mountains of Oaxaca. We record Monday at Fundacion Sebastian. Check out   . Check back soon for more on CECAM and our work together.


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