Just Be Simple
There are certain songs that just hit you in that spot that you say, “Damn did I dream that? Is that me you are talking about?”. The kind of song that jumps in your ears and replaces your own skeleton with it’s own words and sounds.
When I first heard this beautiful beautiful beautiful song, it stung straight through with a clarity of who I was, and that new skeletal presence now forever inside me just stretched a bit further than my own skin, smoothing out wrinkles and giving me growing pain aches again. I felt tight, alive, like my bones might pop through my skin.
I remember learning it on the guitar a decade ago and playing it late nights to myself, and later on at shows when I ran out songs of my own and ran into courage to try to give voice to something that has been previously put to tape perfectly. Perfectly, without a single flaw from sound to intent.
I remember wanting to do a cover of some rock ballad when I was a boy, maybe 15 or so, and a professional musician 3 times my age, admonished that if I wanted to cover a song, I should first be able to listen to it 30 times in a row without getting tired of it before I could think of sharing it with others. With this song of Jason’s, I could scrounge up an old Radio Shack endless loop cassette, put this track on there, and then drive coast to coast.
Even hearing it now (over and over) while I write this, it still gives me chills to hear Mike Brenner’s lonesome lapsteel on top of warm warble of Jim Grabowski’s Wurlitzer. Those two sounds start and you just know you are not going to be able to get away from this song. And when the words come, well, you are stretched to except who you are, how life is, and how despite ourselves, just how beautiful it can be, when we let it. Just Simply beautiful.
About the recording: I had envisioned doing a very very sparse skeletal piano version of this, and then had the fortune of meeting Peter Hess (Clarinet) from the very first Songs: Ohia record, we decided to do the track together. Peter suggested we record it at a GödelString Studio halfway between our houses in Brooklyn, with his friend Joel. When I discovered that Joel was originally a pianist on versions of early Songs: Ohia tracks that never made it to release, I knew it had to be, and turned the piano over to Joel. Joel sat down at the piano and the 3 of us hit record after a once through (well actually Stephen Bartolomei hit the record button). It was a great honor to play such a special song from such a special man, and to play it with people who had played with him, gone to school with him, etc. and even more to record it in the way that Jason would have wanted, straight to the point, sit down play it, do it, record it and if it’s good…..then share it. Thank you to Joel who recorded it and for he and Peter who played on it, wonderful to share this with you and you all.
Jesse Poe is a singer/songwriter who led the musical collective Tanakh.