Long Way Out Wednesday 12: Gooseberry Girl

Gooseberry Girl The final free track is “Gooseberry Girl,” where the album and the story of The Long Way Out begins. Although it isn’t the oldest song of the dozen, it is the first song that I ever wrote on the harp. (My songwriting beginnings were on the guitar.) The title came to me after learning from a Scottish friend of mine that in the UK, the term “to play the gooseberry” is the equivalent of the American phrase to be a “third wheel.” Despite its sweetness, it’s a bit of a sad song, although it ends with a hint of hope for companionship in the future.

Thank you for listening to my music. I appreciate your open ears, and I hope you’ve gotten a chance to enjoy The Long Way Out.

Long Way Out Wednesday 11: Sing Along

Sing Along
The penultimate free track of the series is “Sing Along.” Probably the oldest song on The Long Way Out, this track nearly didn’t make it onto the album. However, thanks to an amazing last-minute effort by the audio engineer, Ariel Bernstein, as well as several friends who brought more friends, a sing-along party came together and this track happened! With the rest of the album almost wrapped, Ariel let us descend upon his own home, fed us all, and recorded this track live in four takes. We even made s’mores over an open flame (bunsen burner!) to capture that authentic campfire experience. It was a reminder to me of how much I needed the help of other people to make this album, and how impossible it would have been if it were truly a solo project. I was incredibly grateful to Ariel for hosting such a gathering, and to each person who came to contribute his or her voice to the song.

Sing Along” is free for the next seven days. Here’s your chance for your inner Girl Scout to get her kumbayayas out—take it! Hang your coolness on the coat rack and pick it up again on your way out.

Long Way Out Wednesday 10: Happy

HappyThis week’s free track is “Happy.” I chose it for this week in honor of National Coming Out Day on October 11th, since coming out is partially what this song is about. It comes from a place of very deep pain, but transforms that despair into a resolution to be true to one’s self and one’s heart. It also addresses the pervasive effect the church’s teachings about sexuality have on individuals, as well as the hypocrisy in what people tolerate vs. what they truly accept.

I hope this song provides some comfort and catharsis for anyone who has struggled with the process of coming out. Life does eventually get better; there are many others who have gone through the same harrowing process, and there are plenty of people who will accept, welcome, and embrace instead of rejecting, ostracizing, or merely tolerating.

Long Way Out Wednesday 9: Lampworker

LampworkerThis week’s free track is “Lampworker.” Lampworking is like glassblowing, but on a miniature scale. Instead of a huge, hot furnace and a long, heavy metal rod, a single flame is used along with small metal skewers. With lampworking, you can make things such as small figurines and beads. My song “Lampworker,” in fact, is all an extended metaphor for making a glass bead by lampworking. I was recently going through my jewelry and found a bead that I had made by this method during my college days.

Lampworking is a fun art form; getting to sculpt molten glass is pretty cool. I recommend taking a class if you ever get the chance, and I also recommend having a listen to “Lampworker” and downloading it while it’s free!