Recorded during summer '09 at Domus Studios in Atlanta. Produced and Engineered by Paul Reeves and Micah Dalton.
This is being written in my bed in Santa Monica, CA while it's pouring down rain (it never rains here). I wish I'd attempted some sort of album notes two and a half years ago when I made this. Anyway, here's the story:
After finishing college spring of '08, I moved to Europe (first Prague, then Paris) from Atlanta, to escape what was sure to become a fine future in used automotive sales or food delivery.
The only two songs in this small collection that predates the move is "A Parade" which was written as both a hello and goodbye song just before departing, and "Pinewood Chests" which was very old and forgotten about until I played it in Paris and made someone besides my mom cry for the first time (her name is Barbara and she is an American and she lived near Oberkampf in Paris and if she ever reads this, she should know that my music career is probably owed to her and those tears).
I didn't know it at the time, but I became a musician at The Highlander Scottish Pub on the left bank of Paris across from Pont Neuf while performing weekly at La Scene Ouverte (Open Mic Night) on Wednesdays with the friendship and help of Thomas Brun (thomasbrun.com
) who ran the thing. I think I had a French class at the University of Versailles (Université de Versailles Saint-Quentin-En-Yvelines) the next morning every week to satisfy my student visa, and I probably missed more of those classes than I attended because of my late nights at The Highlander. I think I came back to the US with about 15 song (some of which were released on "Inland Islands" some haven't been released).
"Closer To Me" is not a song about physical distance (like I always say at shows). It's based on a quote from Nietzsche relayed through a professor (I can't find the quote anywhere, but it's seared in my brain). "The problem with the world isn't sin, rather, the problem is individuation- the fact that I am me, and you are you, and I will never have direct access to you and your thoughts." Closer To Me was my answer. Nietzsche's problem doesn't sound as much like a curse as it does a challenge.
"it ain't no magic prayer, no methodology, all the weight in the world is the space between you and me- and it's only love that can stitch it up"
"A Baptism" is loosely based on Flannery O'Connor's short story "The River" in which a child accidentally "learns" about Baptism by being drowned in the river. Another scene is based on the story of Abraham and Issac. Another is God and his angels deciding to make people with breakable hearts. I wrote it at my desk in a neighborhood called St. Cloud on a hill overlooking the city.
"No Relief" was written a couple weeks after being back in the US the next January. I'd been obsessed with Jenny Lewis' "Acid Tongue" and I wrote this song while driving around Atlanta one day (I was trying to write a song a day that week. I think I wrote "She Dreams In Colour" the next day)
"A Secret (About Secrets)" was written at the end of a dry spell. I'd moved back to my parents house in West GA and had been there for about three months and was going insane. I think drugs were invented for these times, but I hadn't heard about those (well maybe that's not true, but it's west ga), so, anyway, I just kept writing while weathering this prolonged existential crisis, and this came out. This is one of my favorites that I've written.
The album art was a pressing from a copper etching done by my sister Cassie Lyle. The subject I had in mind was Jan Palach and his self-immolation in 1969 (en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jan_Palach
I remember playing a show in Nashville after I'd released this and some industry type guy told me that I wasn't marketing myself well enough. My name needed to be huge, and bold and the most visible thing on the album cover. This kind of talk makes my blood boil. I feel the same things when people emphatically suggest that I put a close up of my face on album covers.
It is in their honor that "The Golden Age & Silver Girl" doesn't have my name on it.
Anyway, this record was so expensive to make (really inexpensive by real music industry standards), but it forced me to take this stuff really seriously, and was a big enough step that, after making it, felt like "ok. I guess I'm a performing songwriter now- at least until I can pay this EP off (which is never)"
I'm most proud of the final minute on the album. I think that was Ghostface Killah's manager (at the time) playing flugelhorn. Also, if you cut out the one second it takes to reset the laser in your CD player, the static at the end of the last track and beginning of the first line up- gasp (I know). It was a statement about the "eternal return" (no beginning or end) and was my grand philosophical contribution to the record. I was very serious about that stupid thing at the time. Anyway, you're all welcome. I'll be a parody of my self soon enough. I hope you enjoy.