The Vault

"Most men die with their music still inside them."-Oliver Wendell Holmes

Here is almost everything I've written and recorded. I've never had an actual studio... just a laptop, a couple microphones and a cheap set of headphones.

These songs were recorded between 2004 and 2015.  All of them recorded and performed by me (unless otherwise noted.)

I stopped writing original songs in 2016. If more come up I will add them to the collection.

EDIT: After 10 years of writing show choir music for other people, I started writing for myself, in 2020, for leisure again!!  

They are free to download, re-record, whatever you'd like.

After the Beep
Written around the time I was listening to a lot of Magnetic Fields.  I like the simple arrangement. The plan was to write a song that would be left as a message on someone's answering machine.

Am I In Your Hands?
This was one of the early songs written using a drum machine to make realistic drum sounds.  I wrote the instrumental and sent it to my brother to check out. He recorded some improvised some lyrics and sent it back to me. I liked them so he cleaned up the track a little and this is what it became.

An Old Tale for Dreamers
This is the first song I remember writing. It was 6th grade and I wrote it about a girl I had a crush on (Diana, who heard it 20 years later.) The original version was much different. I was in a band with my brother and a friend.  His Dad had us record live on the stage of an empty theatre. It's the song I rewrote the most times, changing it up with each new version. This was the last time I rewrote it. 

Are You Gonna Pass This Up?
I was working nights at a steakhouse and would come home after my shift and not be able to go to sleep. So I messed around with computer sounds to make all kinds of madness until late at night. The ending was a separate demo track with me screaming the lyrics to Black Water by The Doobie Brothers.

Be Glad You're Home
I bought some new recording software that came with prewritten instrumental tracks in different genres.  This is one of the little demos I liked.  I wrote some lyrics and recorded over the melody. What I came up with wasn't bad.

But She's Still Here
My version of the saloon song by the sad musician at the bar. I don't remember if it was about anyone in particular. I worked for a long time to get the chord progression to sound right. 

Change the World
Another quick demo with my guitar and a bunch of reverb. I always liked this Eric Clapton song and tried to do it justice while keeping things simple.

Coloring Inside Someone Else's Lines
It took forever to program all the drum machine sounds for this one.  I had previously made a rough demo of this tune as an instrumental and really liked it.  As with most of my songs, the lyrics were an afterthought. So I would purposely keep them back in the mix as just another musical line.

Cube Loop Fruity Bases
Another example of late night computer sound programming.  My free trial of the software was ending and I couldn't afford to buy it.  So I stitched together all of the hooks and little ideas I had made and put it together in a single track. The weird thing is that some of them actually sounded cool together.

Do You Watch Me When I Sleep?
Here is some more Magnetic Fields inspired writing. This was written and recorded when I was home for winter break in college. There was an old mandolin in my parents basement that almost held its tuning.

Farther Down the Road
This was the first time I experimented with changing my singing voice. Most of my old demos included me singing with a classical voice because that's all I really knew how to do correctly. The chord progression makes me think that I was trying to experiment with secondary dominants and making a pop song with some skill. I still like the harmonies at the end and on the 'I, why, try.'

Fast = Funky
One of my music professors had us learn a song from the Middle East by rote to practice our solfege. I programed the melody line into my electronica software and came up with this track.  When I showed it to him the next week I think he was impressed.  

Experimenting with using the drum machine in a mixed time signature. The guitar lines were later used for other songs. 

Holy Rollers
My best impression of a jam that sounded like it was a song that Stone Temple Pilots forgot to release.  I had some lyrics written but never got around to recording all of them. 

I Only Write Ballads
During the 2020 'shelter-in-place' I was going through some old journals and found the lyrics and chords for this song.  I have no clue when I wrote it, maybe in 2018.  Since it was already written, the recording went very quickly. Though I was limited for instruments at my home. This was just a bass, electronic drums, an old fashioned chord organ and a bunch of funny vocal tracks. The lyrics speak for themselves.

Let Me Love You
In college I was writing songs for a musical that I would never finish. This was sung by the male character who was trying to revisit a relationship with a former love interest. Maybe I'll finish the story someday.  

Let Me See You Smile
Another short tune written on winter break.  There were always so many instruments at my parents house that I just used whatever I could find.  The singing tone is dreadful, but the lyrics are sincere.

Let Me Walk You Home
One of the other songs from my unfinished musical. This one took place directly after the male character met someone new. He's singing to her about the excitement of the new situation and asking to continue their evening.

Midnight in Gales
A short instrumental tune about being outside in the middle of a windy night.   It was always intended to be an instrumental because the guitar line was too hard to play while singing anything.

Please Stay
One of my better quality recordings.  I was spending a lot of time working with built in compressors and experimenting with mastering techniques. The lyrics were from a page in my journal that I wrote after learning that a good friend was not returning to college the next year.

Put Me Under
More drum machine experimenting.  This is my favorite guitar part I've ever written.  And when I was improvising the bass line it created these awesomely complex chords. Lyrics were improvised too.

Rosie (You're the One for Me)
This was another of the pre-recorded music tracks that came with my recording software. I was planning to release a collection of these short tunes under the title "Skinny Winners" but I didn't come up with very many. 

Ship Jumper
This song was originally written by my friend Steve. He had shared a demo recording of it with a few of us and I was inclined to rewrite it.  This was a fun period of my life. Several of us would be sharing songs we'd written and it was always exciting when we'd get them sent back in a different way.  The middle section was in lieu of copying the original guitar solo section.  It's a portion of a song called "Relative Ways" by the band ...And You Will Know Us By The Trail Of Dead. I think its the most professional sounding track I've ever made. And Steve thought it was awesome too.

Somebody Tell Me
Man, I was really feeling creative over that winter break at home.  I don't remember which year it was or why I was churning out these ideas. Maybe I hadn't written anything in a while. I'm sure it had to do with having time to be creative instead of keeping up with a hectic class schedule. I think the lyrics sound frantic. Singing tone is still an inappropriate style, but whatever.

Stand By Me

A simple demo using a melodica and my electric bass.  The vocals were an afterthought. I had been experimenting with placements of harmonic notes on my bass for a while. I thought this arrangement was sweet and sincere.  It was made during the 'shelter-in-place' of 2020.

The Original Celebration
My brother wrote and recorded this song with all of the vocals, guitar and drums completed in a major key.  I wrote the bass line to tilt the chord progression to a minor feel and sent it back to him.  It wasn't what he was planning on, but I liked it.

This Time It's More
This was the first tune I recorded after getting my new software.  I lugged my gear into a practice room at the music building and improvised around this chord progression.  It was mostly a test to see if I was using the software correctly.  But the tune is nice and I can hear the sounds of other people in the hallway outside the door.  Very rough demo. 

We Choose When
This was an experiment in using found sounds.  The drone at the beginning is a boxed fan that was blowing over the microphone and I wrote the piano part to be in the same 'key' as the fan. The vocals are way too compressed, but it makes the crashing piano chords sound awesome.  It's a cover of part of the song "Commitment" by The Felix Culpa. I eventually sent it to them as a love letter from a fan.

Whatever Lola Wants
This was the story of meeting someone at the bar who has intentions that are different than yours. It was based on true events. The song is intentionally short to reflect the duration of the encounter.

What Is It About You?
For a short time after graduation I was contracted to be a composer for a new web company. A person could send in their original poem, select from a menu of options, and it would be turned into a song. I never met the person who penned the words, but they liked what I came up with.  

Why Does DC Take Away My Friends?
A good friend from High School showed up on my parents porch on Christmas Eve to tell us that he joined the Marines and was headed to Iraq. It was very scary and I scrawled some thoughts into my journal about the stress and frustration I was feeling. I'm so glad my singing voice reflected my anger.

Wish You Were Her(e)
My friend Jonathan came to visit and we tasked ourselves with writing and recording a new song in one day.  I had a pretty big collection of instruments at my house at that time so we had a lot to choose from. The reprise lyrics were ones that I had previously written, based on two different perspectives of the same idea. We wrote our own verse lyrics and recorded them separately. Neither of us heard the melody that we each came up with. It made for a very cool overlapping story with some interesting harmonies.