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Spilled Milk
FolkYouHarder-SpilledMilk.mp3 | 4.13MB


The Story
My first collaboration ever. Kerstin & I had a really good time writing this one, trying out lines like, "Sometimes I feel like a sock in the dryer," before finally finding the mood we were looking for here.

The Lyrics
sometimes I feel like a glass of spilled milk
everyone is walking by and no one wants to cry for
sometimes I feel like the finest of silk
kings and queens would die for
sometimes I feel like an unopened book
judged by its cover and left on the shelf
and sometimes I feel like the moon through the window
higher and brighter than anyone else

sometimes I feel like a tree in the autumn
stripped of my beauty by winter's cold heart
and sometimes I feel like the tiniest candle
chasing the shadows and lighting the dark
sometimes I feel like Lorelei
luring sailors to death with my sweet melody
and sometimes I feel like a stone in the river
edges worn smooth, transformed into beauty

oh let my virtues balance my vices
clarity lead me to my middle ground
honesty guide me to strength in my choices
innocence lost, harmony found

and when the storms clouds obscure the horizon
could you focus my thoughts on blue skies instead
and if my nightmares crept into daylight
could you conquer the monsters under my bed
and if the weight of the world was upon me
could you shoulder the burden and lessen the load
and if I'm fearful that we've lost our way
lead me back to the path we once chose

chorus


Mill City [ Back to Top ]
FolkYouHarder-MillCity.mp3 | 3.15MB


The Story
I can't tell you a whole lot about this song, except that I know it's based on a true day in the life o' Kerstin. And that we had a hell of a lot of fun working out the harmonies at the end.

The Lyrics
Lyrics by Kerstin Hanson

groovin' at Mill City, I walked past a fortune teller
over to the man who was peddling fine cigars
stopped and bought a Nicole Miller, ladies' choice he said
and I found myself sittin' down and holdin' out my palm
holding out my palm
down the street the Straw Dogs were throwin' sassy horns
icy beer in the garden, the sun shinin' warm
in her tent, her head bent down, holding my palm in hers
she looked into my eyes and told me this

you'll have a very long life, and did you know
you've got some psychic ability
I can sense you are struggling, and by the way
the love you seek will find your heart one day
it'll find your heart one day

groovin' at Mill City, salt singing in my eyes
vision blurred and heart interred, to my surprise
I put on my sunglasses and got up to leave and she said
I didn't read your palm, I read your face

chorus

slidin' slowly into a groove
I felt my body move
melody and rhyme, rhythm and sunshine
take me away

chorus
 

Josephine [ Back to Top ]
FolkYouHarder-Josephine.mp3 | 5.02MB


The Story
Every high school has a superstar. That person who's so beautiful, so smart, and most likely also talented artistically and/or athletically it makes you sick to your stomach. More often than not they're also complete shits, but in the case of Josephine (names have been changed to protect the innocent), she was also one of the nicest people I'd ever met.

Which made me hate her even more, of course.

Years after high school I ran into Josephine and she'd not done well by herself. She'd really married a football player, lived in a trailer, had a shitty job and looked like hell. I was a full-time musician, paid to do what I loved and lived to do, and she worked at Roses.

I felt so horrible for hating her in high school that I went home and wrote this song -- never even wrote it down. The words just came. I almost felt responsible for her deterioration, like if maybe I'd not been been a different version of shit in high school, she'd still be a prom queen. So, this is  my apology.

The Lyrics
Josephine, Josephine
do you remember me
my high school beauty queen
more beautiful than I could ever be
Josephine, Josephine I do
remember you

it's not far away from Saturday
slumber party, someone said
I kissed a boy behind the gym last night
and will he remember me
'cause I will

lunch break sneak a cigarette
is this as close to cool as I'm gonna get
mama never raised a fool
but now look at me, breaking all the rules
and still not Josephine

and the irony is that all I ever wanted to be
was Josephine
and now Josephine would be like me
if she could
'cause Josephine has lost her fight
lost her faith in love and Friday nights
oh Josephine I always thought you had it good
I thought you should

tenth grade homecoming
pray for rain on your parade
everyone's down by the lake
with their fold-out chairs and their vacant stares
but I can't bear
to wave at Josephine

and the irony is that all I ever wanted to be
was Josephine
and now Josephine would be like me
if she could
'cause Josephine is in the trailer park
with that nose guard from the football team
oh Josephine I always thought you had it good
I think you

should, Josephine
how can I apologize for being seventeen
should, Josephine
forgive me

Josephine, Josephine
do you remember me
my high school beauty queen
more beautiful than I could ever be
Josephine, Josephine I do
remember you

and the irony is that all I ever wanted to be
was Josephine
and now Josephine would be like me
if she could
'cause Josephine is dying slow
with just a memory of her prom-queen glow
oh Josephine I always thought you had it good
I know you could


All Over Again [ Back to Top ]
FolkYouHarder-AllOverAgain.mp3 | 4.49MB


The Story
Another one of Kerstin's original songs. This one was a big hit, and got requested quite a bit when we played live. I broke out into a cold sweat right before I had to hit that high harmony almost every single time we played it.

So. This is an out-and-out love song. And a damn good one.

The Lyrics
Lyrics by Kerstin Hanson

last night I was lying in bed
listening to your breathing
got to thinking about how such a reliable thing
has the power to stir my feeling

and then wanting to fall asleep
becomes wanting to feel your skin
and wanting to feel your skin
becomes wanting to show you all over again

I lay there in the dark
and I wondered what you were dreaming
I imagined touching hands and sun-kissed sands
and I found my senses reeling

chorus

lying there I remembered long ago
both afraid of falling too fast
soon we were tangled in love's glorious captivity
tangled hearts, tangled sheets will last

chorus

Creep Up [ Back to Top ]
FolkYouHarder-CreepUp.mp3 | 4.04MB


The Story
The second incarnation of this song (you can find the first here), a little more bluesy than the original with piano, lead guitar and harmony vocals added.

The Lyrics

C'mon and creep up
like the shadow you think you are
but my light's shining in the wrong direction
so I don't don't think that you'll get too far
and you can try me
if you think you're that kind of man
but I don't think that you'll get much else
than a weak weak grip on the upper hand

chorus:
and don't think for a minute
I would leave you alone
I've got too much at stake here
to let you do this on your own
and don't think for a minute
I don't care how you feel
but this is me that we're talking about
and so I'm keeping it real

2 a.m. yes
do you think that you're coming home?
I've got a bottle of whiskey and my cigarettes
and they're keepin me a vigil by the telephone
you should tell me
if you don't think that you'll get through this
cause I can pack my bags and my memories
just leave me leave me leave me one little kiss

chorus

third verse, same as the first. [sorry, couldn't help it]

chorus
 

The Greatest Thing[ Back to Top ]
FolkYouHarder-TheGreatestThing.mp3 | 3.91MB


The Story
So I was feeling a little misanthropic and fed up with society one day. And I wrote this song about it. Like to hear it? Here it goes.

The Lyrics
Well there's a girl down there with flowers in her hair
screamin' who wants to be a millionaire
I get ABC on my satellite and so it's all right with me
I think the greatest thing about the American dream
is that you won't see it played out in sit-com scenes
one million channels on your TV screen
they say it's all right with me

and there's a boy back home talking on the telephone
saying oh my dear, well you've been gone so long
but Sprint hooks me up with the Nickel Night
and so it's all right with me
I think the greatest thing about the American dream
is that you can't call it up no matter how close it seems
the telephone just rings and rings
I guess it's all right with me

and it's all right with me if you wanna lose your faith
there's five billion more who wanna take your place
yeah, they're lined up deep at the pearly gates
prayin' it's all right with me

I guess it's all right with you if all wrong with me
because you've got nothing else to do but listen to me scream
about how the world's crashing down 'round my American dream
I guess it's all right with me

and it's all right with me if you wanna waste your time
throw your hands in the air and say the problem's mine
I'd rather fix it myself then listen to you whine
about how it's all right with me
and it's all right with me if you have to back down
I know not everyone is strong enough to stand their ground
just don't stand there with your arms stretched out
and say it's all right with

but there's a child somewhere hoping someone hears her prayers
she doesn't know who and she doesn't really care
she knows that late at night she hears her parents fight
and is it all right, is it all right
she thinks the hardest thing about the American dream
is that it sometimes isn't half as good as it seems
a million different moments tightly packed between
and is it all right with me

chorus

Lowcrawl [ Back to Top ]
FolkYouHarder-Lowcrawl.mp3 | 4.24MB


The Story
After Kerstin wrote this song and brought it to the table, I hated her for about a week. She had very definite ideas about what the harmonies should be, and they were some of the hardest harmonies for me to master. Of course, after we had it perfected, I was amazed at how beautiful it really was.

The Lyrics
Lyrics by Kerstin Hanson

I tiptoe around you
I do the lowcrawl on my belly
my breathing is shallow
my knees feel like jelly
terrible words I said in my anger
I lost my perspective
now shame is my anchor

it was the eyes, the dare to challenge
it was in the voice, the tone of revenge
reckless defense with no thought of the future
weapons ready, not knowing the odds were

falling from grace
war of words
dignity forgotten in the fight to be heard

chorus

anger and spite make a powerful cocktail
slam it down, share a toast with the devil
wounded pride and rage can't live with reason
act without thinking and the battle's just begun

falling from grace
war of words
dignity forgotten in the fight to be heard

chorus

Resolution [ Back to Top ]
FolkYouHarder-Resolution.mp3 | 3.95MB


The Story
An instrumental song. Kerstin & I both tried to put words to this chord progression that I'd written for a long time, until we both finally realized it was pretty powerful on its own. Kerstin layered some beautiful keyboard work over some kind of angry chords, and here's the result.


Swinging at Ghosts [ Back to Top ]
FolkYouHarder-SwingingAtGhosts.mp3 | 3.42MB


The Story
Another Kerstin Hanson original, written about a man she dated, and who committed suicide later on in life. The song tells a great story, and is one of my favorite of hers.

The Lyrics
Lyrics by Kerstin Hanson

I knew a guy named Pat, he worked at Embers
he liked to write some poetry
his favorite band was the Oakridge Boys
and for awhile his favorite girl was me
when he told he remembered the punchline
and his eyes, they danced when he laughed
his fingers traced the words I love you on my cheek
words he wanted to say and was afraid to speak

harder than I love you is to say the word goodbye
louder than forever and bluer than the sky
than a whisper on the wind, quiet as a lullabye
goodbye

the years went by, I read his name in the paper
it seems his life was more than he could bear
quiet in the night, he shot out his own light
angry and said, I cried a river of tears

chorus

and the sun that sparkled in laughing eyes
set into eternal nightfall
sometimes I find that I'm swinging at ghosts
ghosts that have no secret they'll share

chorus

Telling Stories [ Back to Top ]
FolkYouHarder-TellingStories.mp3 | 3.88MB


The Story
So there was this guy who was totally in love with me, and couldn't admit it. And we'd stay up all hours of the night talking about life, the universe and everything after, making each other better people just by being around each other.

That's my story, and I'm sticking to it.

The Lyrics
Talk to you for hours I swear, four a.m. knows all my secrets
sunlight makes it clearer oh, but did I think that I could keep this
underneath my skin until it all decides to fade away
one more four a.m. with you, telling stories just to stay awake

and you say, oh you know I'd stay
but you've got me so frightened
and I say, well that turns me upside down
but I feel so enlightened

and do you think I'm greedy for saying you could use my help
and does it haunt you just a little knowing I've become someone better than myself
for you, and I know it seems close to subjugation
but I think it's just my independence asserting itself in mysterious ways and

you say, oh you know I'd go
but you've got me so torn
and I say, well don't stop talking now
it's almost morning
and I know these conversations draw on and leave us numb
but I need everything you have and then some

oh and I know I said I could make things easier
it's just the consequences of circumstance
that makes us doubt ourselves and loathe each other
please don't sell me short for the path of least resistance
it will lead you back to me in every single instance

one more night is all I'm asking from you
just be honest with me for the rest of your life, give or take a minute or two
and I'm sure that I could explain how it feels to feel this way
but I know just how you'd look, and I bet I know just what you'd say

chorus



Get a Little [ Back to Top ]
FolkYouHarder-GetALittle.mp3 | 4.16MB


The Story
Another Folk You Harder incarnation of one of my older songs (you can hear the original version here). I loved the creepy keyboard line Kerstin wove into it that I almost peed myself the first time I heard a recording of it live.

The Lyrics

I get a little scared when you lose control
and I get a little angry when you can't let go
I get a little tired in the middle of the night
cause I look a little older in the morning light
I get a little worried when I have to wait
and I get a little louder when I can't relate
but I see a little heaven looking in your eyes
so I get a little weaker then I compromise
I get a little scared when you don't talk to me
like you get a little angry when I just can't see
why you get a little crazy when you have to dream
and then you get a little silent and you get a little mean
but I ache a little longer every time you leave
and I hear a little heaven every time you speak
I breathe a little deeper looking in your eyes
so I get a little weaker then I compromise

chorus:
cause I don't know if I'll ever be
someone you could ever need
and I don't know if we'll be all right
it's been a hell of a long lonely night

I get a little frightened you might have to choose
so I get a little closer every time you move
and I dig a little deeper for the pain you hide
because there's just a little room left for you inside
and I get a little careful when I talk sometimes
cause I get a little nervous I might cross the line
but I see a little heaven looking in your eyes
so I get a little weaker then I compromise

it's been a hell of a long lonely night
sleeping all by myself with you right by my side
and I don't know if we'll wake up fine
it's been a hell of a long lonely night


but I ache a little longer every time you leave
and I hear a little heaven every time you speak
I breathe a little deeper looking in your eyes
so I get a little weaker then I compromise

chorus



Breakfast at Tiffany's [ Back to Top ]
FolkYouHarder-BreakfastAtTiffanys.mp3 | 3.61MB


The Story
I'm still not sure why, out of all the covers Folk You Harder played, that this is the one we decided to put on the album.

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Notables
The crowning jewel of my internet career might be the 2003 Blogathon, which I participated in with Scott Andrew LePera. Cowriting and recording two original songs as Pet Rock Star^s netted $1200 in donations for the Mr. Holland's Opus Foundation.

Joi Ito asked me to write a song for Ben & Mena Trott (of Moveable Type fame) for their birthdays in September 2003. I gladly accepted, and the result is "Your Own Dot Org," a somehow silly and somewhat serious song about their lives, taken mostly from their weblog archives.

Request my music almost any time you'd like at Whole Wheat Radio. WWR is run by Jim Kloss and Esther Golton from a 12x12 cabin in Talketna, Alaska, and they're two of my most favoritest people in the whole world.