I spent my junior year at Trinity College in Dublin in 1993. Thanks to Facebook, I’ve been back in touch with several of my Dublin friends including Gareth Dunlop. Last week Gareth notified me:
Hey, Jason, I was recently clearing out some old cassettes and I stumbled across a 35 minute recording of you, a guitar, some songs on an old SONY Walkman professional from my flat in Dublin in 1993! It’s a great trip down memory lane.
I was so pleasantly surprised. And upon listening back I heard again many songs that I had since lost. What gold! Thank you so much Gareth!!!
I didn’t take my guitar to Ireland, because it had been taking too much time away from my studies. But instead of weekly test and papers, Trinity had only lectures and one paper at the end of the semester. Well, I lived alone, and within a few weeks I’d bought a used classical guitar and was spending more time than ever writing songs.
I sang in the Anglican choir, and hung out with some great folks I met through church. There was a particularly youthful pastor everyone called Stocki who always combined his love for the bible with attention to spiritual songwriting like that of U2. He hosted many young musicians every change he got and gave me a venue for sharing my songs.
My last job was teaching guitar, mostly to kids. There was this magic cul-de-sac full of wonderful kids where I worked with almost every kid on the block, nine students on one street. The neighborhood called The Overlook, so they were Overlookers.
We’d frequently write songs using the old I-write-a-line you-write-a-line method. That’s how Beginner’s Mind was written, me and Kyle, Ian, or Abby, picking some chords, making up a progression, taking turns writing lines.
Eight-year-old Ian and I wrote some crazy songs. Check out the sci-fi thriller Flea-Bee about getting sucked into the TV and landing in a future where men look like cockroaches or flea-bees. Or the redneck narrative of Hillbilly,
I’m a hillbilly
I’m a hillbilly
I recorded these songs in 2006, as an album of the best songs written with students, but have never released it till now. I just discovered Bandcamp and the simplicity and ease of the interface for showing off music inspired me to dust off the old .wav files and share.
The other inspiration is Family Time Rocks!, the kids band I’m in with Sara Hickman and Gray Parsons, where these songs have new ears. Thanks to Susan Sermoneta for the cover photo.