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.
People are more important than the songs that you write about them.
Soooooooo Sharon didn’t really do anything on this album, buuuuut was kind enough to have Erin, Jack, and I play on hers. I was in my last year of school when she had us out to Musicol to record. When I was there, I asked her how people did it. How do people make a record?
Sharon’s answer was essentially: “I don’t know. Does it look like I know what I’m doing?”
Thanks for always being honest, and never playing the same show twice. Thanks for being the King, the Queen, and everything in between. Sharon, you make everything around you shine a bit brighter, and challenge everyone to kick themselves in the ass and get out and do better. Thanks for that.
Alex is one of the first people I met in Columbus at the Kafe Kerouac open mic night. He may have played a song by The National. He may have played a Cheryl Crowe song. He may have played a song by The Microphones that I thought he had written for the first few weeks. But, whatever it was, we slowly picked up a little friendship. He made me think about songs in a different way, and then I quickly returned to my old way of thinking about songs.
We moved in together in August of 2016, and my opinion of Alex has only grown in the time living together. He was always the first one up and out of the house (thanks for making some of the best coffee in the city at One Line) and always pushed himself artistically and academically. He’s studying accounting, and I’ve never seen someone so passionate about economics and numbers in such a genuine and wonderful way.
Alex has been an inspiring and welcoming friend throughout the past months. He’s helped me understand me, and he’s helped me accept and love my domestic idiosyncracies around the house. He’s opened my eyes and ears to new things, and his ambition makes me want to push myself harder.
You’d made a friend for life, whether you meant to or not. Thanks for being the first sounds on the album.
When we play shows, I try not to be anxious about sound. If I see Tony behind the board, all my anxieties flutter away like they were never there to begin with.
Every time we were at Brothers Drake, Tony’s been there to have our back. When we played Sofar at MINT, Tony was there to make sure that everything sounded great.
We played with The Western Den and Honeysuckle at Brothers Drake just recently, and Tony sent us a recording of the show a few days after. Just because. What a lil fella. That night, Dan said that I should ask him to do sound for the release show. And wouldn’t you have it, he seemed unfazed by the number of Hello Emerson members that we were planning to have that night.
So, thanks to Tony. You make things sound great. And you don’t know what you’re getting yourself into on August 25th.
Nick Vermilye played tenor saxophone on the record. And man he’s great and all that. But also, I asked him to play a sax solo in Uncle. We thought it might be a good idea.
To his credit, he played it beautifully, and he humored me. But after listening back to this song about driving on I-75 to see a great uncle in hospice, we decided that even the most tasteful sax solo maybe didn’t fit the thematic material of the song.
But damn it was a good solo that no one will ever hear. I think I still have the audio file in the stems. We’ll see if our club remix of Uncle ever surfaces. If it does, you’ll know who’s playing the sax.
OH DAMN so Jon is dumb good. He’s crazy. He’s so good at sax. He’s righteous. He’s sassy. He’s an animal.
When we had the first horn sectional in my house, we said that people could follow the charts, but then pointed out a few spots where people could get a little loose. And man, did Jon get loose.
He’s got this laser focus, where he can nail anything, and then laugh it off and just rip some improvised lines that the song needed, but I could never have written.
Jon’s great. Thanks for the sassiness.
Lee is a monstrous trumpet player. He plays with Booty & the Kidd in Columbus, but I think I met him through Dan’s OSU music school connections. He killed everything he played.
At the end of Lake, there’s a big ol horn outro. Lee’s trumpet signals that with this trill sorta line, perfectly wrapping up everything on the album with this sort of casual triumphant little phrase. I was so happy when I heard it in the studio. I think my favorite part of the entire project was working with Lee and the horn guys in the OSU studio, jumping up and down, yelling encouragement, terribly excited for what they would do in the next take.
Thanks so much for lending your time and talent, and giving me something to jump up and down and shout about.
Zach asked if he should bring his bass trombone instead of his regular trombone. We said, yesyesyes of fucking course you should do that.
Whenever I was trying to wrangle people’s schedules, Zach would always be the first person to respond with his availabilities. It might seem like a small thing, but when you’re trying to schedule 15 or so musicians, it’s a complete dream. He’s super diligent, on his shit, and communicates clear as a bell. Oh and he can riiiip on the fucking trombone.
Zach, I’m really happy you brought your bass trombone to the recording session. And I hope you’re bringing it to the show on the 25th.
A ways back, I played some acoustic guitar for a show that Kristen played at King Ave 5. It was the first time that I had played guitar without singing, and I was terribly nervous, but she made sure I was as ready as I could be. I think Jack Doran connected me with her, and I’m happy we got to make sounds together again.
And she just got married! Hooray love! Thanks so much for playing a great violin, writing some great songs, and leading the trio in the studio. Oh man, and balancing music with everything else in your life. I look forward to trying to do the same. Be well and enjoy the honeymoon!
Corbin Pratt introduced us to Tristan when we mentioned needing a string trio. When Tristan arrived at my house for the first string sectional, I was super comforted. He immediately descended upon his sheet music and started marking it everywhere.
Tristan remembers when we decide to do something as a group. If we decided to put a crescendo somewhere, he’d mark it in, and every time after that, there would be a crescendo there (Looking at you, Brody McDonald). We always knew that we could count on Tristan.
When I sent out the “save the date” email for the release show, Tristan was one of the first to respond with a relevant gif. I’m excited to play with him again, and I’m excited for everyone to hear him.
Til then, hold high your favorite relevant or irrelevant gif here.