Last Drags cover Shipe

One of Eugene’s steadiest bands is The Last Drags, fronted and led by my friend Pat Kavaney. Pat consistently works a ton of songs into their set. A wealth of originals & covers. What’s really cool is the way he covers songs of his friends and regional colleagues–including yours truly (below).

I have been a part time member of The Last Drags. Pat loves jamming with friends and he knows how to make them comfortable sitting in.

Here’s a tasty morsel from Portland where he has none other than the great Al Toribio joining at The White Eagle, playing on my song “Waiting on You.” It’s appropos, as Al played the original lead guitar on the album from which this came–Sudden & Merciless Joy (1999)

They do emphasize the funky-friendly side of the tune. (This surely comes from Pat’s love of Steely Dan.)

Music’s Edge Rock Camp @ WOW

In mid-lockout session with Ebbage. He’s really cracking the whip. (Lead vocals completed for 4 songs in one day.) The early results suggest the best stuff I’ve ever done. Going into the second day with high hopes–gotta concentrate and be careful to keep the eye on the ball (As Ebbage says.)

But now I’m taking some time with my morning coffee at Muse in Seattle to think and talk about the second 2010 installment Music’s Edge Camp, at which I’ll be teaching all next week. (Monday the 7th through Friday the 13th.) This is the 3rd year for me. And each time it is an exhausting, rewarding and uplifting experience that I look forward to all year.

It’s directed by Tim McLaughlin. (One of my bandmates in The Blue Rebekahs.) It’s happening at WOW Hall. There’s still time to register, if you’re a kid in the Eugene, OR area between the ages of 10 & 17.

The other instructors are Zak Johnson and Ehren Ebbage.

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Shipe & Ebbage at work on the New Album

This morning, I’m in Seattle, with my bestest music buddy Ehren Ebbage, about to go into the studio for our 3rd of 4 stretches of work on the new Shipe album.

It remains untitled, but finally comes into creative focus as I understand where this material comes from, and who the character (or set of characters) is that makes this album. One of the songs is called “Love Belongs to Everyone,” which could turn out to be a title cut. But I’m afraid it won’t do, because it’s one of those “means-the-opposite-of-what-it-says” lines, which nobody will get until they listen to the song a few times.

And besides, an album of that title, judged by the title alone, will be easy to dismiss at first as a lazy collection of hippy, one-world, one-love musical platitudes. To that, I say, “What’s so funny about peace, love and understanding?”

Ha… If only that was what I actually had to say. (The song itself is as dark as any I’ve written, featuring a highly disturbed character. But at least the chorus is uplifting… uh… in a kind of mournful way… You’ll have to hear it, I guess, and you’ll see what I mean.)

So, am I making another Sudden & Merciless Joy?

No, I’m not. But, yes, this album comes from a restless, worried place. It’s not the domestic placidity of Yellow House. After all, I was ungrounded, moving from Eugene to San Diego to Yellowstone and back to Eugene, enjoying life, but struggling to get leverage in my endeavors. I should have indulged in sunny California mellow melodies, and wide open Yellowstone Big Sky . But this guy went further inward than outward.

That said, I insist that he’s not so existential as SMJ. He’s more like the Blue Rebekah storyteller who lodges at Yellow House.

If that has you wondering how this album is going to sound, all I can say is, “me too.” I’m in the capable hands of Ebbage, and I trust him all the way. Together, we’ll make sure the whole thing makes a good damn bit of sense.