I am releasing my very, very first solo CD as a digital download. The album is called Geography and was originally released under the pseudonym Ichabod, or as it will be listed online, Ichabod Zeuss.
What is Geography all about?
In 1998, I quit my day job for the first time intent on doing music full-time. Before doing so, I released my first solo CD. I loved it. I loved how well-produced it sounded. Even today, I listen to it and I smile. It had some good music on it.
The album was highly experimental. It was my attempt at Alternative Folk music featuring a mix of ethereal songs, bizarre drinking songs, Christian pop, American folk songs, and just plain absurd music. Come to think of it, maybe Ichabod Zeuss should be the pseudonym I use the next time I record something truly bizarre and absurd, instead of that other cool band name I love--Gollum in Chains. Hmmm...?
As with every first recording, this album had quite a few problems, and not just with marketing. It had technical problems.
Geography Is All Fixed Up
I recorded Geography with a new engineer. He was learning studio engineering, just like I was learning how to record and perform. The CD only cost me $8/hour to record. That was an amazing deal, but money was still tight. I let some things slip that I shouldn't have. Most notably, "Reflexology" had a horrible out-of-tune note in my voice. "Freight Train" rocked, except in that one place where I skipped a beat. I was so proud of that album, yet I let these errors stick.
However, thanks to modern technology and years of editing audio, I am thrilled to say that I fixed all of those problems. Now I can re-release the album knowing that any flaws to the album are not technical. They are just bizarre songwriting at it's best... or worst... You decide.
As for me, I still love many of the songs on this CD. I still play "Irish Ballad".
I still love "Freight Train", a song by Elizabeth Cotton who worked for the Seeger family. She learned to play guitar from the Seegers by mirroring them. I learned the song from my dad.
Then there's the misnamed "Reflexology". It's not at all about reflexology. I wrote the word "reflexology" on the same piece of paper where I wrote the song lyric. I wanted to learn more about reflexology. The name stuck.
"Monster in My Mirror" delights me to no end. I sing in the voice of Ernie. It made me happier recently when I saw that Grover actually sang a similar song on Sesame Street.
I still love the lyrics to "Dying Flame". It's a song about the how country music had lost all the country in it. How appropriate that is today!
Oh! And who can forget those incredibly deep lyrics to "Lounging in La La Land." [insert sarcasm]
Okay. Maybe it's not high art. But I am happy to see the album reborn. Because six months after releasing it, I was forced to find a job. My dreams of doing music full-time were shattered. Yet I found a temp job at the University of Texas at Austin. I started practicing daily on the South Mall at the university. In January 1999, the Brobdingnagian Bards were born on the South Mall. Six years later, I quit my day job for good!