Ep. 2: Song “When I Was Young” (Influenced by REM)

This one dates back to long, long ago when I was in high school. It’s over 10 years old and now I’m finally getting around to recording it! It’s about the time when you are a kid and anything is possible. I’m trying to cling to as much of that curious spirit as much as I can. It’s heavily influenced by what I was listening to at the time: REM and Oasis.

I wanted some drums in the recording but I didn’t have a set available so I recorded myself played brushes on a suitcase for a snare drum sound. The rest of the song is filled out with two vocal tracks, acoustic and electric guitars, bass and and a soft organ part.


When I was young, things used to be so easy
I never had to worry about a thing
When I was young, I used to have crazy dreams
Like I could fly a rocket into space

Well don’t leave me now, my love
Don’t leave me now, my love
Don’t leave me now, I’m on my knees

Cause I don’t want to be another person afraid to see
That what we are is what we’ll always be
And I don’t want to see another day where I have to be
Something that I know I can not be, I guess we’ll see

When I young, I looked up to everything
Cause everything seemed wonderful to be
When I was young, I went for walks in the dark
To see if there was something in the trees

Well don’t leave me now, my love
Don’t leave me now, my love
Don’t leave me now, I’m on my knees

Cause I don’t want to be another person afraid to see
That what we are is what we’ll always be
And I don’t want to see another day where I have to be
Something that I know I can not be, I guess we’ll see

Download “When I was Young” on Bandcamp

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Top 25 Albums of 2015

  1. Courtney Barnett – Sometimes I Sit and Think, And Sometimes I Just Sit
  2. Tame Impala – Currents
  3. Father John Misty – I Love You Honey Bear
  4. Lord Huron – Strange Trails
  5. Low – Ones and Sixes
  6. The Dodos – Individ
  7. Blur – The Magic Whip
  8. Alabama Shakes – Sound & Color
  9. Deerhunter – Fading Frontier
  10. Leon Bridges – Coming Home
  11. Death Cab For Cutie – Kintsugi
  12. Beach House – Depression Cherry/Thank Your Lucky Stars
  13. Kacey Musgraves – Pageant Material
  14. Purity Ring – Another Eternity
  15. Sufjan Stevens – Carrie & Lowell
  16. Natalia Lafourcade – Hasta la Raiz
  17. Oceanear – Oceanear
  18. Julien Baker – Sprained Ankle
  19. Majical Cloudz – Are You Alone?
  20. Jose Gonzalez – Vestiges & Claws
  21. Sleater-Kinney – No Cities to Love
  22. Jamie XX – In Colour
  23. El Vy – Return To The Moon
  24. Chvches – Every Open Eye
  25. Watkins Family Hour – Watkins Family Hour

Honorable Mentions

  • Hear We Go Magic – Be Small
  • Wilco – Star Wars
  • Jason Isbell – Something More Than Free
  • Ryan Adams – 1989
  • My Morning Jacket – The Waterfall
  • Palehound – Dry Food
  • Great Lake Swimmers – A Forest of Arms
  • The Arcs – Yours, Dreamily,
  • Glen Hansard – Didn’t He Ramble
  • Other Lives – Rituals
  • The Tallest Man on Earth – Dark Bird Is Home
  • Kurt Vile – B’lieve I’m Goin’ Down…
  • Telekinesis – Ad Infinitum
  • Nick Diamonds – City of Quartz

Spotify Playlist

Check out last year’s list: Top 25 Albums of 2014

Top 50 Songs of 2015

Here’s my favorite songs for the year. I had a hard time narrowing it down so I left it at 55 songs.

  1. Courtney Barnett – “Pedestrian at Best”
  2. Oceanear – “The Finite”
  3. Blur – “Ghost Ship”
  4. Watkins Family Hour – “Steal Your Heart Away”
  5. Tame Impala – “Yes I’m Changing”
  6. Death Cab for Cutie – “Black Sun”
  7. Lord Huron – “Love Like Ghosts”
  8. EL VY – “Return to the Moon”
  9. Low – “No Comprende”
  10. Father John Misty – “Chateau Lobby #4”
  11. Desaparecidos – “City on the Hill”
  12. Alabama Shakes – “Sound & Color”
  13. The Dodos – “Competition”
  14. Hop Along – “The Knock”
  15. Kacey Musgraves – “Biscuits”
  16. Country Barnett – “Elevator Operator”
  17. Snoop Dogg – “California Roll”
  18. Jason Isbell – “If It Takes a Lifetime”
  19. The Dodos – “Goodbyes and Ending”
  20. Leon Bridges – “Better Man”
  21. Deerhunter – “Living My Life”
  22. Wilco – “Magnetized”
  23. Drake – “Hotline Bling”
  24. Alabama Shakes – “Give Me All Your Love”
  25. Low – “Gentle”
  26. Ryan Adams – “Bad Blood”
  27. Majical Cloudz – “Disappeared”
  28. Blur – “Terracotta Heart”
  29. CHVRCHES – “Keep You On My Side”
  30. Country Barnett – “Nobody Really Cares If You Don’t Go to the Party”
  31. The Lone Bellow – “Take My Love”
  32. The Arcs – “Outta My Mind”
  33. Deerhunter – “Snakeskin”
  34. Father John Misty – “True Affection”
  35. Palehound – “Molly”
  36. Glen Hansard – “Winning Streak”
  37. Death Cab for Cutie – “No Room In Frame”
  38. Jamie xx – “Loud Places”
  39. Coldplay – “Adventure of A Lifetime”
  40. Tame Impala – “‘Cause I’m A Man”
  41. Jose Gonzalez – “Every Age”
  42. Sleater-Kinney – “Hey Darling”
  43. Oceanear – “Woke Underwater”
  44. Beach House – “Majorette”
  45. Kacey Musgraves – “Late To The Party”
  46. Telekinesis – “In a Future World”
  47. Animal Collective – “FloriDada”
  48. Lieutenant – “Prepared Remarks”
  49. Great Lake Swimmers – “The Great Bear”
  50. Florence + The Machine – “Ship to Wreck”
  51. Lurd Huron – “Dead Man’s Hand”
  52. Here We Go Magic – “Stella”
  53. Kurt Vile – “That’s Life, tho (almost hate to say)”
  54. Leon Bridges – “Coming Home”
  55. Jose Gonzalez – “Open Book”


Spotify Playlist

Top 25 Albums of 2015

Top 50 Songs of 2014



Ep. 1: Song “4th of July” (Influenced by Pinback)

I’m starting off with a project called “50 Songs in 50 Weeks.” Now as the name implies, I will record an original song once a week for 50 weeks straight. Some of these will be old songs I’ve had kicking around for a few years – many of which are only half written. Others will be brand new songs that I write from scratch. I’m hoping there will be a lot of variety in the different genres that I explore.

This first song is called “4th of July.” It’s one of those songs I wrote a few years ago. I jammed on  it a few times with my band at the time, Declaration, but it never really stuck. Since I don’t have access to a drum set right now, I used a drum machine loop, which is something new for me. To enhance the beat, I added a tambourine, a shaker and sleigh bells. I doubled the guitar part with a clean electric guitar and an acoustic guitar. I also double tracked the vocals. I patterned the sound for this after the band Pinback.

Lyrically, the song is about celebrating the fleeting moments. As a kid, I thought back to the all the different fourth of july’s I’ve experience – the parades, and picnics, and firework shows – and as much as I enjoy it, it starts to feel a little bit routine and expected and I guess I get a little restless. So this is kind of me imagining myself, in midst of everyone else celebrating, just sort of taking off and doing my own thing.


The bright lights, the explosions in the sky
All the comfort of a picnic on a warm summer evening in July

A parade marches down the street
All the people exchanging friendly greetings, rearranging the order

Well I’m leaving, on the 4th of July,
On the 4th of July, I’m leaving

Wooden stands, all the children bumming quarters off their parents
Sipping cold lemonade from a paper cup, it’s so sweet

Well we’re broke, we spent that last $20 on explosives
Now we’re wandering around every corner of their town
Looking for newer forms of entertainment

Well I’m leaving, on the 4th of July,

On the 4th of July, I’m leaving
Then I came to the next town over
All the kids in the city, they were pretty tired of the disorder
All the pain of cleaning up the decorations,
Well I guess it went well so we can bottle up and sell it to the next town
Well I’m leaving

Download “4th of July” on Bandcamp

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Family Christmas Songs in 2015

Every year my family has a tradition of recording Christmas songs. This year, my daughter lost her two front teeth so we felt the song selection was appropriate. We also included a recording from her violin recital.

Top 50 Songs of 2014

  1. Big Scary – “Twin Rivers”
  2. Wye Oak – “Before”
  3. Chris Staples – “Black Tornado”
  4. Phantogram – “Fall In Love”
  5. tUnE-yArDs – “Water Fountain”
  6. The War On Drugs – “Red Eyes”
  7. Damon Albarn – “Lonely Press Play”
  8. Future Islands – “Seasons (Waiting On You)”
  9. Sego – “20 Years Tall”
  10. Beck – “Blue Moon”
  11. Spoon – “Do You”
  12. Tweedy – “Summer Noon”
  13. Owen Pallett – “The Sky Behind the Flag”
  14. Delta Spirit – “From Now On”
  15. Kishi Bashi – “Philosophize In It! Chemicalize With It!”
  16. Damien Jurado – “Metallic Cloud”
  17. Phantogram – “Black Out Days”
  18. Mac Demarco – “Blue Boy”
  19. Wye Oak – “Shriek”
  20. Damon Albarn – “Everyday Robots”
  21. Chris Staples – “Walking With A Stranger”
  22. Real Estate – “Had To Hear”
  23. Spoon – “Inside Out”
  24. Conor Oberst – “Hundres of Ways”
  25. Wye Oak – “Sick Talk”
  26. Chris Staples – “Where We Used To Be”
  27. Big Scary – “Final Thoughts, With Tom and Jo”
  28. Phantogram – “Bad Dreams”
  29. Tennis – “Never Work For Free”
  30. Vacationer – “Paradise Waiting”
  31. Damon Albarn – “Hostiles”
  32. Beck – “Heart Is A Drum”
  33. Wye Oak – “Glory”
  34. Chris Staples – “Overpaid”
  35. The War On Drugs – “Burning”
  36. Spoon – “Rainy Taxi”
  37. Damien Jurado – “Silver Timothy”
  38. Future Islands – “Fall From Grace”
  39. Kishi Bashi – “The Ballad of Mr. Steak”
  40. Trampled By Turtles – “Wild Animals”
  41. Big Scary – “Invest”
  42. Cold War Kids – “Hot Coals”
  43. Tweedy – “I’ll Sing It”
  44. Wye Oak – “The Tower”
  45. Young the Giant – “Teachers”
  46. Sego – “Wicket Youth”
  47. Real Estate – “The Bend”
  48. Mac Demarco – “Salad Days”
  49. Damien Jurado – “Silver Katherine”
  50. Delta Spirit – “Take Shelter”

Listen to the Spotify Playlist: Top 50 Songs of 2014


Top 25 Albums of 2014

Here are my favorite albums of 2014:

  1. Chris Staples – American Soft
  2. Wye Oak – Shriek
  3. Phantogram – Voices
  4. Big Scary – Not Art
  5. Damon Albarn – Everyday Robots
  6. Beck – Morning Phase
  7. The War on Drugs – Lost In The Dream
  8. Spoon – They Want My Soul
  9. Tennis – Ritual in Repeat
  10. Real Estate – Atlas
  11. Kishi Bashi – Lighght
  12. Mac Demarco – Salad Days
  13. Damien Jurado – Brothers and Sisters of the Eternal Son
  14. Tune-Yards – Nikki Nack
  15. Future Islands – Singles
  16. Delta Spirit – Into the Wide
  17. Cold War Kids – Hold My Home
  18. Trampled By Turtles – Wild Animals
  19. Damien Rice – My Favourite Faded Fantasy
  20. Young the Giant – Mind Over Matter
  21. Tweedy – Sukierae
  22. Sego – Kitsune: Wicket Youth
  23. Vacationer – Relief
  24. Owen Pallett – In Conflict
  25. Conor Oberst – Upside Down Mountain

Honorable Mentions

  • Pixies – Indie Cindy
  • Lana Del Ray – Ultraviolence
  • Andrew Bird – Things Are Really Great Here, Sort Of…
  • Elbow – The Take Off And Landing Of Everything
  • Various Artists – Beck Song Reader
  • Dum Dum Girls – Too True
  • Lykke Li – I Never Learn
  • Nels Cline Singers – Marcoscope

Song Inspirations: Drifting Away

I wrote this song for a songwriting class I took at BYU. The challenge was to write in the “AABA” format. This has been a pretty popular format over the years (“Somewhere Over The Rainbow”, The Beatles’ “Yesterday”) but has become less popular as more emphasis has been placed on having a catchy chorus. With AABA, there isn’t really a chorus; just a verse (which contains the main hook) and a bridge (to take the listener in a different direction). The other feature is using the song title in the first or last lines of the verse (or “A” section). I had gotten so used to writing the other way (verse-chorus-verse-chorus) that I wasn’t sure I could pull it off but I think this turned out to be one of my better songs.

Lyrically, the song in about finding direction in your life. In the first verse, the narrator talks about growing up and feeling restless about his surroundings. In the second verse, we find that narrator escaping by driving on dark highway. He’s not really sure where he is heading and has his car breakdown in the process. In the bridge, he admits defeat, realizing that he needs the help of others to make it in life. In the third verse, after finally getting his act together, he has to say goodbye to his loved one who is now the one drifting out of his life. Irony.

Provo Music Scene Connections

Yesterday, one of my friends from the Provo music scene started this form on Google where you can submit your band, the members in your band and who you’ve recorded and it will plot out all the different connections. Quite a few people have added to it in the last 24 hours (including myself). Running Muse Recording Studio, I got to record several bands so it’s neat to see my connections and how they branch out into other Provo bands, past and present.

To get the full effect, visit: http://provomusic.herokuapp.com/

Song Inspirations: Half Inch Man

I wrote this song around 2004 while I was a missionary in New York City. With the large buildings and the endless sea of people, the experience of living in Manhattan made me feel a lot smaller (despite being 6’4″). I was also inspired by scenes from the movie “Honey, I Shrunk The Kids,” which was one of my childhood favorites.

The musical direction is something of a cross between Death Cab For Cutie’s Transatlanticism and Ben Folds Five. Like Ben Gibbard’s songwriting, I focused on vivid details and imagery with an underlining universal message. The theme behind the lyrics is feeling out of place and overwhelmed yet hopeful for the future and that things will work out.