Freeze and Thaw
1. Saint Anthony
2. O City!
3. Waiting for Ruth to Come Home
4. Freeze and Thaw
5. O My God When I Drop Dead (Right Click for FREE Download)
What Is This Wilderness?
6. Devil and the Desert
7. The Limited Voice of
the American Crow
8. Panic of 1837
9. Song of the Jack Pine
10. Love Song for a Prairie Fire
11. Drinking Song of a
The Farmer and the Nomad EP
Click Here for Track Listing
1. Words of Our Waking
2. The News about Michael,
Married in Mexico
4. Eugene, Oregon (Manifest Destiny)
5. Of Indiana (the shallow roots of corn,
the perennial blossoming of peonies)
6. The Farmer and the Nomad (Right Click for FREE Download)
I am currently giving my first double red cell donation at the local blood drive. That’s where they take what they need out of your blood and put the rest back into you with some saline. When the solution goes back into your vein it’s at a much lower temperature than your body, so you can feel a chill crawl up your arm as it reenters the bloodstream. It’s quite a sensation, and I couldn’t help but laugh when it started. Perhaps that’s not an appropriate reaction to my blood “running cold,” but I’m smiling as I feel the life coursing through me.
May 25th, 2009 :: They’ll let you do this from anywhere
I recently installed some blogging software on my phone so I can post from most anywhere, should I ever need to do such a thing. I suppose many people find this useful when they are in airports, coffee shops, or waiting rooms. I, however, am in the middle of a pasture, watering chickens. The water pressure is a little low, and it’s taking a while to fill each bucket. In this modern world of mobility, it seemed like as good a time to blog as any.
May 22nd, 2009 :: Cooking with Jayber Crow: Springtime Pizza
Pete and I both really like to eat, so readers of this blog will have to put up with occasional posts about whatever we happen to be gnawing on. It’s springtime, and that means asparagus and wild mushrooms. Here in Indiana, we’ve been harvesting asparagus out of the garden for a couple weeks now. This past week, my family’s friend Dave (a very skilled mushroom hunter) gave us a pound of morels, so last night I put together some asparagus and morel pizzas in honor of my parents’ wedding anniversary.
Have a great weekend, everybody. We’ll be back with more blogs next week.
P.S. Thanks for all of the comments in response to our post on house shows. Keep ‘em coming!
May 20th, 2009 :: We want to play in your living room
Inspired in part by David Bazan’s announcement that he’s going to be playing more house shows this summer, Pete and I have been talking about how much we like to play in people’s living rooms. We’ve had the chance to do it a number of times, but it’s always something we kind of fall into. Usually we’re approached by a person with a particular knack for hosting, and we are more than happy to show up as the entertainment. We’re wondering, though: what if we took more initiative?
If we issued a call asking for volunteers to host a show in their house, would you respond? Would you be interested in going to a stranger’s home to hear us play? Would you pay a few bucks to get in, like you would at a club?
The house show is a unique experience–so much more personal than other live music experiences. To be honest, I find them more intimidating than playing for larger audiences. When we have a chance to get to know every person who is listening to our music–when every face becomes familiar as we play our songs–the pressure is on not to disappoint. But it makes for an excellent evening.
So let us know what you think. Leave a comment or send us an email (and be sure to let us know what town you’re from). We’d be much obliged.
May 19th, 2009 :: Handmade with Love (now on 100% recycled paper)
Pete and I make all of the CD cases for The Farmer and the Nomad EP by hand. Our motivation for this is based more on thrift than on our love for handmade goods (though we do love us some handmade goods). We’ve been cutting and pasting them together every so often since we released the recording in 2005–at rehearsals, before shows, in coffee shops. We’ve even resorted to gathering a group of our friends together under the pretense of a dinner party and then breaking out the scissors and rubber cement after dessert.
We recently ran out of covers, so yesterday I headed over to Kinkos to print up some more. Neither Pete nor I could remember the name of the cardstock we use, so I asked the guy behind the counter for the book of samples. Turns out it’s called Saw Grass. I’m writing this, in part, so I can look back at this post the next time we forget what paper to use. But who knows, maybe this little piece of trivia will pop up at a show someday, and you can win your own ream of cardstock.
Once the Kinkos guy and I had compared the old EP case I had brought for reference and the sample of Saw Grass cardstock and determined it was a match, I noticed that the cardstock was made using 100% recycled paper. Pete and I worked hard to make the packaging for Two Short Stories as sustainable as possible–using recycled kraft board and soy-based inks–but we never really had the chance when it came to the EP. So, we’re excited to announce that the EP now features packaging made from recycled paper.
I usually stay away from posting blogs, since Zach is generally more eloquent than I am (English Major vs. Art Major). However, the new blog format of our website is inspiring, so I’ll give it a shot.
I am currently studying photo and video at the University of Washington in Seattle. While this is an exciting chance to study something I love, the transition from my Minnesota home to a new environment has been lengthy and often unrecognizable. The initial shock is long-gone, but I’m starting to notice subtle things that have only become apparent nine months after the move.
I work primarily in video and explore people as my subjects. Lately, however, I’ve started exploring the quirks of my temporary home through photography. Maybe it’s an attempt to better understand my surroundings — maybe it’s a way to deal with the defects in our duplex that I’m helpless to fix. Either way, I’m simultaneously fascinated and frustrated by our little white apartment with it’s multitude of flaws. The general neglect, the questionable wiring, the layers of white paint that attempt to unify and cover the flawed surfaces are so annoying, and yet so wonderful.
Below is a contact sheet with a few of the images (not color corrected…).
Just got word that “Saint Anthony” will be played tonight on the Spanish radio program Cielo Liquido, which is aired daily on Canal Extremadura Radio. Our music has appeared on this show in the past, and we are honored every time they give our disc a spin. For those of you who can’t listen live, the podcasts are great. Check them out here. Thanks to Fernando for playing our songs!
May 14th, 2009 :: Live Music
(Jayber Crow at the 400 Bar, March 2005)
Looking at the post from yesterday has me thinking of the past again today. Since Pete and I moved from Minneapolis, heading in separate directions, we’ve had to become much more deliberate about making music. This has its benefits. We use our time much more wisely when we rehearse, for instance. But it makes me a bit nostalgic for the days when playing a few songs was just part of hanging out, and when it was common to have a show every few weeks at the Nomad or the Acadia Cafe.
We’ve traded in those occasional MPLS shows for full out tours, however, and we’re in the midst of scheduling two. It’s incredibly exciting. I still can’t believe that we’re lucky enough to get to drive around and sing songs for a couple weeks at a time. My family was big on road trips when I was growing up, seeing the country and visiting old friends. I suppose touring has a lot of the same appeal. I mention this because we’re still in the planning stages, and if you’re interested in helping us set something up near you, we’d love to hear about it. You can find my email address under the contact info, or get in touch with us through Facebook, Twitter, or Myspace.
Now that I’m all worked up about live shows, I’m going to post a picture from the first time Pete and I ever played live. The photo is blurry, which is a good representation of the evening. (We were still learning songs in the basement before the show, and still thinking it was a good idea if we both played guitar.)
Also, I want to point out that you can leave comments on these blog posts. So, keep in touch.
On the occasion of introducing our newly-designed website, Pete and I thought it would be good to write a few words about how we got started. You’ll always be able to find this on the About page, but we think it also makes a fitting first blog post:
Pete and I met at the Minneapolis/St. Paul airport. We were both part of a program that sends college students to study in Tanzania for a semester, and we spotted each other at the departure gate, easily identified by over-packed backpacks and hints of anxiety on our faces. On the plane, Pete had a seat with some of the other students in the program, and I sat next to a Dutch woman with a baby in her lap. I watched from across the aisle as he had the usual get-to-know-you conversations with the other kids, my tray table filling up with bottles and baby toys while we crossed the Atlantic, doing my best to dodge the occasional spit ups.
In Tanzania, we roomed together during orientation, oversleeping our alarm on the first day and struggling to learn basic Swahili. We took trips, wandering around downtown Dar es Salaam to haggle over handmade, child-sized guitars with spray-paint-paint-jobs and traveling for three days on dirty trains and buses to the heart of the continent to visit Victoria Falls. We were fast friends, but we never really brought up the idea of making music together. At the end of five months, we went back to our respective colleges and fell out of touch.
It’s funny that our friendship started in such an exotic place as East Africa, because at heart Pete and I are just two guys from the Midwest. We both had the small town upbringing; we both feel at home in humid summers, freezing winters, and miles and miles of farm fields. In the end, this is what brought us together. A few months after graduating we both found ourselves in Minnesota—Pete in Northfield and me in Minneapolis.
We started hanging out again, and sometimes we would pick up our guitars. Someone in Pete’s family had given him a mandolin for graduation, so he began playing that, stopping in the middle of songs to learn the chords he didn’t know. At some point we became a band, making frequent trips up and down I-35 to try out new songs for friends in living rooms, record demos on our laptops, discuss the merits of creating a MySpace profile, and toss out possible band names over beers at the Contented Cow. It was a great way to spend a Minnesota winter, and in the spring of 2005 we played our first show at the 400 Bar in Minneapolis, opening for a friend’s band.
When it comes down to it, this is what making music means to us: it’s about moving through the seasons with friends, singing songs about the things we know and love. We are ever grateful for all of the people who have joined us in this, and we hope we get to do it for a long time.