So a few months ago I got a call from a guy in Louisville, Kentucky
telling me about this new covers project he was putting together and
asked if I'd contribute a track to benefit Teach for America. The
idea is that our generation of songwriters was "mentored" by those
who came before, and in this spirit we'd cover a track from some of
the greats of the sixties and seventies.
"It's rare to meet an artist whose creativity wasn't buoyed by a
teacher," said Gary Guthrie, the project's producer. "Whether it was
an art teacher, band director, literature professor, speech coach, or
the kindergarten teacher who told them that it was OK to color
outside the lines, there's usually someone who provided a key with
which to open the artistic soul."
I was asked to do "I hope I don't fall in love with you" by Tom
Waits. I had a great time doing this, pushing myself to try something
new in the spirit of mentorship. We set the whole track up around a
looped heartbeat on a cardboard box. Todd Sickafoose and Jonathan
Goldberger joined in the fray and we had something in a day When I
would engage in an inner dialogue with (my "mentor") the beat sage
Waits, as to whether I was moving a good direction, he would say
something like "Did you know that Mel Blanc (the voice of bugs bunny)
was allergic to carrots? I'm just saying.."
The covers compilation is called "After the Gold Rush" and is out now
as a digital download, showcasing a slew of my heroes and friends,
folks like Okkervil River, Neko Case, The Swell Season, Pieta Brown..