A Short Story Explaining Why My Face Is On Vinyl Records in Germany

Hello. My name is Sam, and I like to write songs. Here's a little story about why there are vinyl records with my face on them in Germany.

One time, I moved to Columbus, Ohio after spending a year attending the wrong college in Nashville, Tennessee. Ohio was a better fit for me, and English Lit was a better major for me. I had studied Music Business, but that was just the pits for me.

I wrote some songs and made the walk from my dorm at Baker West to Kafe Kerouac most Tuesdays for the Open Mic there. Jason runs a tight and supportive ship.

I helped open up a refugee benefit show there for The Gentle Lurch. They're a band from Dresden, Germany. Lars and Neli were over here for OSU as well. But they were nice enough to come to our cassette tape release show with Field Sleeper in the fall of 2015. After that, Lars and I became buddies and shared a beer at Dicks Den from time to time. When we threw our record release show in the US, it was a refugee benefit again. I think that will continue to be the case for release shows going forward.

 Wow! CDs! And Grandma Bodary's quilt that she made for my high school graduation is on the CD! Hooray!

Wow! CDs! And Grandma Bodary's quilt that she made for my high school graduation is on the CD! Hooray!

They invited me over to come visit when they went back to Germany, so I did. Last year, I spent about a week and a half adventuring, meeting nice folks and playing nice shows. The Sound of Bronkow Music Festival was the highlight; I finished my set while the church tower above me sounded for 8pm. I nearly made enough money to pay back the plane ticket! This shit is seriously the dream.

They were nice enough to reach out about giving the record a proper release through K&F Records in Germany. I recently got an email with nearly four weeks of shows. So that will happen in August. And I'm intimidated and don't know what to expect, but work is supportive and friends are supportive and I might even have one or two Hello Emerson members along for the ride.

Fingers crossed we can make back our plane ticket money, and make Lars and Neli some diaper money (they had a baby!)

So, this news doesn't mean a lot to you United Statesians - you all can already listen to the record. But we're excited about our tour and distribution deal with our friends in Germany.

Let me know if you want a vinyl - they're up on the store for North America and will arrive in June. If you're in Europe, I'll be seeing you in a couple months.

With love and gratitude, Sam

A New Song and Tiny Desk Video

Hello and happy Sunday!

(in short; we recorded an NPR Tiny Desk Contest video with a new song here. Keep reading for words behind the links.)

I have a short list of my favorite NPR Tiny Desk Concerts. Reggie Watts is wonderful, Rodrigo Amarante is absolutely enchanting, The Tallest Man on Earth seems just effortless, and Sharon Van Etten is incredible, and on and on and on.

Dan thought that it would be fun to be a part of a thing. And Jack and I agreed. So we recorded a little video in my attic office, next to my desk, where I’m typing this message right now.
Take a listen to a new song in the making. It’s a song about smartwatches, inkjet printers, independence, and Bruce Springsteen. It’s also about other things, but I’ll figure out what those are in a few months after we arrange it and spend some more time getting to know it.
Anyway, watch the video here, and if it makes you think of someone important to you, let them know and send it along the wire.

That’s all for today. I’m going to eat breakfast out in the city and then figure out what else I need to pick up from the grocery store.



Also, a side note. After we released a record, I took some time to write thank-you notes here on our website blog. I’d like to do that more because it was a small thing that felt good and important. I’m going to be writing little notes about some of my favorite music in Columbus, Ohio. And they’ll come off as little thank-you notes, popping into your inbox and up on the blog.

If you’ve got some other Columbus music that I should listen to, shoot me an email and get me in the loop.

People and Other People and Songs and also Letters

People are more important than the songs that you write about them.
However, the songs that you write about them can be more important to people who listen if the people who listen never know the person that the song is about.
So, the people who listen have a strange relationship with the person who the song is about and the person who wrote the song, without having to have met either of the people. But, without both of those people, the song wouldn’t exist, and the person who listens would be none the wiser.
I don’t know Ranier Rilke or Franz Kappus. But, if Rilke did not write poems, then Franz Kappus would not have sent his own to Rilke, asking for feedback. And then the two of them would not have exchanged letters. And then no one would have published the letters. And then I never would have found them, read them, and then, even without knowing these two dudes, changed and shifted in response to them.
The relationships that we have with people have consequences that we cannot ever know in full. So, they should be enriching and full of conflict and resolution, and full of learning and empathy.
Letters to a Young Poet is a good reminder that people are more important than the letters that you write to them, but that letters, and songs, give other people a window to peek into. And then maybe they can take some good things from your world and put them to use in their own.