Where the Sidewalk Ends EP
released: May 20, 2018
I hope I don’t one day wake up to a lawsuit for using Where the Sidewalk Ends as the title for this EP (any Shel Silverstein fans out there?) because then I’ll have to change the title, and I really don’t want to do that. Musically, Where the Sidewalk Ends is a bit of a progression for me: I let myself be more “popish” this time around; I wrote songs with a groove to them; I imagined what they could sound like if you added drums and bass and guitars. I hadn’t done much piano work since Bloom, and it was time I got back on the keys. I started working on these songs about a year after Andrew McMahon in the Wilderness released their first album, and comparing tracks now, I can hear the influence. While the acoustic version of this EP is the only one currently available to the public, I’m still working now and then on a “full version” that sounds a bit like My Favorite Highway’s Anywhere But Here EP. (So if any producers, labels, etc. are reading this and want to hook me up…)
Lyrically these songs come out of a time of growth that was different from almost anything I had experienced before: I was happy and felt like I knew what I was doing with my life. The opener, “Where the Sidewalk Ends,” was inspired by playing Legos outside with my four-year-old neighbor—and by the twenty-six-year-old man I was dating at the time, who also enjoyed playing Legos outside. It’s about leaving the cold, certain, anesthetized concrete path we’ve always walked and stepping into the colorful, beautiful, adventurous, wild unknown that is always around us. It’s about seeing the world with the eyes and heart and mind of a child and coming back to a place you were before and learning how to make it home again.
“Where the Sidewalk Ends” heads straight into “You Were the One,” a eulogy to the hopeful, the dreamer, the dancer, the creator, the artist and the messages we carry with us long after they are gone. “Liquor and a Head of Medicine” follows this and was the first track I wrote for the EP. Its lyrics are 100% true and autobiographical—I really did sit at a sidewalk piano on a Sunday morning after drinking too much alcohol, looked out the people in the park as storm clouds rolled in, and wrote this song. It’s about drinking while taking antidepressants and how this makes everything seem way worse than it really is. Its about the despair that coexists with hope—the first two tracks—and is a reminder that the despair will pass: the sun still shines despite the rain.
Next is “Hope For All Mankind,” which I wrote after my fourteenth nephew was born. (Yes, you read that correctly: fourteenth. I now have 18 nieces/nephews.) If you’ve ever held a newborn, you’ll understand the hopeful terror behind the lines, “As I held you in my hands / I help the hope of all mankind / As I held you in my hands / I smiled and prayed that we would get it right.”
The EP closes with “When the Embers Fall Down,” which, in retrospect, was definitely subconsciously influenced by the closing track of the aforementioned AMMITW album, “Maps for the Getaway” (best song on that album, in my opinion). On the surface, “When the Embers Fall Down” is a love song. It’s also a lot than that more for me, however. There are some strange things going on in the world right now, and some nights when I go to bed, I honestly wonder what I’ll wake up to find has happened. This song is about that. This song is about moving forward in love even when the world is crashing down around you. It also references my favorite movie, Seeking a Friend for the End of the World, which touches on similar themes. I highly recommend you watch it.
And that’s Where the Sidewalk Ends. Or really, as the adage goes, where the rest of everything begins.
All songs written, performed, recorded, and mixed by me.
(c) All the Losers Win (ASCAP)