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These songs were recorded at Howl Street in the fall of 2008, on my thirty-third birthday. I booked a couple of hours to feel out some songs that hadn't yet found homes; a hodge-podge of old stuff, really old stuff, and new songs that stood up, but just barely. Shane set me up with a couple of mics and I played through the set in no particular order, taking a break about halfway through, tracking 19 songs in total.

At the time, I didn't feel it went well. I set the session up for fun, something cool to do on my birthday, a no-pressure-type-thing; still I hoped, in my obsessive heart of hearts, that I would lay down these amazing takes and you know, sing real real good. And be super awesome at guitar. A bit chagrined these talents didn't manifest themselves to an extent of my liking, I forwarded the hopeful songs to the band, workshoped the ones that needed work, shelved the rest and moved on.

After the recording Shane started sending me the occasional text or phone call asking me if it was alright if he played the songs we did for a band or friend that was in the studio, who he thought would be interested. I hadn't listened to the tracks since then, and couldn't understand why anyone else would want to, but who am I to judge? Eventually these interactions started to ebb away at my anti-release-stance (which wasn't so much of a stance, just something I hadn't considered, or considered considering) and I gave it another listen. I respect Shane and his opinion so I took what he said seriously; even if I didn't get it, I could tell his interest was genuine, no smoke. His unwavering, albeit low-key and subtle enthusiasm put me onto a different perspective and I started to dig it. A couple of years and a dozen or so random pep-talkish conversations later, I'm ready to listen to him. Beast or butterfly, warts and all...


when your heart is dumb and broken
and there's no words that can spoke the wheels of thought
spinning round your mind
there's a hollow ache that takes the place
of feeling anything at all
except the wall in-between you and me

I've made mistakes before, lord knows
my bed is made upon the floor
I've never known any other way to sleep
I pray someday I'll learn to lay
no more upon bales of hay
sheltered by this wall around me

yes I miss ya, I'll never kiss you again
not ever in this life
you would think that I'd get used to
this shade of deep blue
but it just keeps getting darker every night

a chance was took and it got got
that yellow dog had to be shot
I know it but still I can't stop these tears
my only fear is that I'll never grow
thumbs to climb, breath to blow
down this wall around me

I suppose the sun it does tend to shine
another love will light my sky
if I'm blessed to see another day
them cosmic gears they grunt and grind
what is just is, I'll get by
aint no roof on the walls inside me


from How to Dance, track released February 1, 2011




Jonathan Burks Milwaukee, Wisconsin

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