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About four years ago I was scheduled to play a show with a artist who at the time went by Edgar Cayce & His Magical Weeping Guitar. My friend Katie, who played flute and sang with me at the time had seen him before and said “he plays this toy guitar and sings.” When Katie and I went to do the gig, he wasn’t there, and in fact, nobody had heard from him. But life goes on and so did the show, and i didn’t think much of it.
Almost a year later, at my the release show for my debut album, this guy introduces himself as Mike aka Edgar Cayce & His Guitar. He couldn’t stay for my set, but he wanted to say hi and that a while back we were supposed to play together, but he was in jail, so he couldn’t make it, and that he would love to play together sometime.
We didn’t end up playing together until 6 months later, but he was at every show of mine until that time, and when we finally played together, we took a road trip together to Saginaw, MI where our first show was supposed to be, almost a year later. His set honestly brought me to tears, and I knew I had to hear those songs again. Unfortunately, he didn’t have any CDs, so I would play as many shows with him as I could in order to hear those songs and talk about life with him.
I learned from a mutual friend of ours that he did in fact have a burned cd of a few of his songs that had sort of been passed around, but never released. I asked Mike about it, and he told me that he had recorded an album while homeless and high on heroin a few years ago, and the day he finished recording his parts, he was arrested at the studio. While in jail, his friend mixed it he songs, and after jail he went to rehab, where they told him that music was a trigger to his addiction and that he should no longer write or record or perform music, and so he never really showed anyone the record.
It is a haunting record that reminds me what it means to be human, it’s devastating and uplifting and honest all at once. Here is my cover of one of my favorite songs from that record, called Angelean. It’s about two friends who grew close, and then drifted apart. I’ve been living in Nashville, TN for the past few months and have been reflecting on people that I miss, and while this song has always been near and dear to my heart, I’ve kept it especially close during these past few months adjusting to a new place, making new friends, while trying to remain close with those back home, including my dear friend Mike. Enjoy, and be on the lookout for him to release that album sometime in the future.
i met a girl 10 years ago she lived right by my house
we spent some time growing old and finding out about ourselves
i knew if i ever needed help she’d be right there for me
every other night i’d call her up say hello and ask for sympathy
sayin oh, angelean
it was so fun to be so young and hangout in the evenin
after school we hit the pool, got some ice cream and
hung around and talked for hours, thats what we did
and it made me mad and made you sad and girl believe me i know
i thought that we would never part and then we did
it was in the stars and my heart was scarred and i was weak and
sat alone in my room and kept weeping
for who was i to hang out with and have fun on the weekends oh no,
these days i got new friends but they don’t even compare
i tell em what is on my mind but i don’t think it’s fair
cause even if i was blind i’d still see they don’t care
the world is cold, grey, and black, just like winter and i know
A few years ago (EDIT: almost 3 years to the day) I was invited to play in the very small town of Warsaw, Indiana. I played a small festival the night before in East Lansing, MI called Middle Of The MItten, and most of what I remember about that drive was that it felt pretty long, but it brought a smile to my face to see all of the horse and buggies when I started to get into Amish Country. I was invited to play by a friend Laura K Balke, who I had been in contact with, but never met, because of my friend Zachary Gibson, who directed my music video for the song Leave Them (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dzyDC0QLCsk) and had also directed one for her, and so we corresponded over email for a while, but never connected until then. That show was a lot of fun and it was at a Tattoo Parlor along with Grey Gordon, Pink Balloon Band, and Ryan Kerr and a band called The Great Flood Catastrophe. I remember Laura and I bonded over a mutual affection for Taylor Swift, who, at the time, was not considered cool. She was still a country singer for the most part, but we both loved her album “Speak Now”. (I still do.) Later in the year, Laura, Grey, Ryan and I played again together in a nearby town along with a band called Dino Riki (Ian from Pink Balloon Band was in this band, so it was pretty much the same lineup as the first one.) On the way to that show, I remember passing horses and buggies with kids on the back seat area looking miserable in the hot sun wearing their all black outfits and going very slow. I remember flying past them at 30 miles an hour, feeling like I could relate because i had no AC in my car. The show was great time, and I had always wanted to come back, but for some reason I never did. I always imagined it to be very far away, even though for a while now I have been living about an hour from there. Fast forward to a week or so ago, and Ian from Pink Balloon Band got in touch because he saw that I would be playing in South Bend, and suggested that I come by his place to film a little live session at his place on my way to South Bend because it was close by. I didn’t realize it was close, and in my excitement I drove out to Warsaw today (technically yesterday because it’s 3:45am). We shot this video of the song “Smoke” from my album Methodist Girls, and i’m grateful for the funny way life works and the random people we meet along our journey. I really enjoyed catching up with Ian- he’s a great person and an inspiring one to be around. After a late night conversation at Steak N Shake, I headed back to my place, thankful.
In today’s world, I often feel that I’ve lost touch with the practice of slowing down and actually listening records, one side at a time. When I was in college, when I got homesick, I used to listen to side 1 of Roger Miller’s “Golden Hits” over and over and over again to hear Dang Me, and I fell in love with Engine Engine #9, and You Can’t Rollerskate In A Buffalo Herd. I’d listen to that side on repeat for a few days and then flip over to side 2 and do the same thing. Since that time, a lot has changed in my life, and it’s very rare that I’m home long enough to be able to take the time to do that. The closest comes to listening to CDs in my car, but even then I tend to just skip around from track to track. I often hear people say that “vinyl sounds better” (debatable) but when I hear that, I suspect that they miss the act of listening to music in that way, as I do. In an effort to try to recreate this, I’ve made a remastered “digital vinyl” version of my 2012 record Dishes, with only 2 tracks, “Side 1” and “Side 2”, and complete with the slight crackle of vinyl and the faintest sound of the needle dropping, so that you can recreate the vinyl experience on your iphone, or however you choose to listen to digital music. You can get it at http://nathank.bandcamp.com for “name your own price”. There you can also find my latest album “Methodist Girls” if you haven’t picked it up yet.
For Your Own Good
As always you can stay in touch over at www.facebook.com/nathankmusic, www.twitter.com/nathankmusic, and youtube.com/nathankofficial, and i post regular updates and thoughts over at www.nathankmusic.com
Hope everyone is enjoying a safe winter so far, and thank you for the continued support.
these are likely my last shows for a while as i hide and work on some new music
1/21 - House Show - Saginaw MI w/ Edgar Cayce & his Guitar
1/22 - Blind Pig - Ann Arbor, MI w/ Michael Buratto, Child sleep , and October Babies
1/30 - Chicory Cafe - South Bend, IN w/ Kevin Scott Joiner, Eric Lee Carpenter
2/11 - The Well - South Bend, IN w/ Jonathan Hape, Nate Fitzgerald
From a live session I did this June in Rock Island, IL, my song “Bob Seger” is in good company on Daytrotter’s 300 Best Songs of 2014. Thanks everyone who made this year such a great one. See you in 2015 and have a happy, safe holiday season. Cheers from rainy Ann Arbor, Michigan. Listen over at www.daytrotter.com
i’m not sure how comfortable i am sharing this, but it’s been on my mind today. 11 years ago on this day, after a disagreement about me staying up late to do my homework (i was such a rebel back then), i was beaten up very badly by a person that I trusted. I didnt press charges, because this person made up a story about how I attacked them and they were simply “restraining” me, and told most of our close family friends that if i contacted them, that they shouldn’t believe me. This was really hard for me, and I didn’t have a lot of people to turn to, and it took many years to forgive this person, and even longer to learn to trust people again - i still struggle with this sometimes. Luckily I had music to turn to, and for this I’m very thankful. I’m also very thankful for you folks supporting my music. I don’t know where i’d be without it, and without you. Wishing you and your families and your communities a happy holiday season. Looking forward to the new year and be on the lookout for new music soon.
it’s an honor to be a part of this show november 22nd at Western Michigan University (Kalamazoo, MI) with Kevin Barnes of Of Montreal.
one of my favorite bands, Gratiot Lake Road, covered my song Telephones & Metronomes. they were one of the first bands i played with in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan when i first started touring, and their music is something i often turn to when i am homesick.
Looking forward to the show on the 10th at The Pool in South Bend with Austin Miller. This intimate venue used to be the Pool of Central High School in downtown South Bend and is one of the premier listening rooms in the country. Joining me will be my good friend Austin Miller, from Orlando Florida.