Fire Escape. A song. Written & performed by Charles Westerman

So this is by no means very polished, but I’ve wanted to shoot and post one of my songs for awhile now (thanks to Brendon for doing a good job shooting it in one take). Songwriting is a hobby I picked up when I got to college, and as far as hobbies go– it’s one of my favorites. By now I’ve been doing it for about five years. I consider myself way more of a songwriter than a musician, so though the guitar playing is very average and simplistic, if one was going to try and appreciate the song, they’d listen more for the lyrics and my attempts to layer unique, more complex melodic deliveries over the top of simple four-chord progressions. In other words, try and listen to how the song was written and created rather than listening to the song.

This is a love song, written for no particular girl, but rather its more of a tribute to all the best nights I’ve had with some pretty amazing girls it didn’t end up working out with. It’s an attempt to accept that old annoying saying about how its better to have loved and lost, than never to have loved at all. Anyway, it’s called Fire Escape. I hope you enjoy it. And Happy Valentine’s Day!

<p><a href=”http://vimeo.com/59632424″>Fire Escape</a> from <a href=”http://vimeo.com/user10547437″>mOUNTbRENDON</a&gt; on <a href=”http://vimeo.com”>Vimeo</a&gt;.</p>

Fire Escape Lyrics–

(Verse)

i sat with my lips pressed against the ink script on your back

everything i read is just fine

your big curls cover my eyes like some chocolate colored house blinds

everything i see is just fine

(Bridge 1)

and i rise with your sun dress

and i melt into your hot mess

as we spill over the edge of the earth

we drop like flaming arrows

yeah we fall like special sparrows

singing providence will make us work

and we don’t fear the end

because we don’t know when it is

for now we can finally fly (2x)

(Chorus)

and we blew up on your fire escape

in pieces of you and little bits of me

we were shooting up the night

and i finally got the feeling that i got the best of time

for once it was on my side and

i tangoed with the clock with it’s hands locked into mine

and we grew up this way

with a little bit of give and whole lot of take

(Bridge 2)

yeah lets just take

lets just take time to make time

we can’t stop it, but we can slow dance to the rhythm of the night

feet not to the left, but dressed just right, i’d say we’re at our best tonight

(Chorus)

and we blew up on your fire escape

in pieces of you and little bits of me

we were shooting up the night

and i finally got the feeling that i got the best of time

for once it was on my side and

i tangoed with the clock with it’s hands locked into mine

we grew up this way

with a little bit of give and whole lot of take

(Bridge 2b/Outro)

yeah lets just take

lets just take time to make time

we can’t stop it, but we can slow dance to the rhythm of the night

feet not to the left and dressed just right, i’d say we’re at our best tonight

well i sat with my lips pressed against the ink script on your back

everything i read is just fine

your big curls cover my eyes like some chocolate colored house blinds

everything i see is just fine

A Man Without a Human Head (released) – mOUNTbRENDON

My album has been released. If you’re interested, you can listen to it at the link below and download it too. Or if you see me sometime, I can sell you a physical copy that includes a short story and the color brown. Thank you for your love and support, I hope I can return it in some way.

 

Enjoy.

 

http://mountbrendon.bandcamp.com/album/a-man-without-a-human-head

Bon Iver Meets the Grammies – By: mOUNTbRENDON

Here’s another writing assignment I did for my Nonfiction class. The assignment was…

Pick an emerging celebrity on whom to focus. Depict the present cultural moment by describing this person’s rise.

Enjoy.

 

Grammies

 Four years ago, in 2008, some guy named Justin Vernon, along with his band called Bon Iver, secluded themselves in a cabin in Wisconsin and independently recorded, produced, and released their first full-length album titled For Emma, Forever Ago. With help from the Internet, the album was circulated slowly until a small, independent record company called Jagjaguwar Records signed the band and rereleased the album as a more complete physical copy. It got some nice reviews from the likes of Pitchfork and Spin Magazine, but many of the reviews said that the recording quality was poor and the words were too difficult to understand.

 

– – –

 

“I would get up there and be like, ‘This is for my parents, because they supported me,’ because I know they would think it would be stupid for me not to get up there,” Justin Vernon told the New York Times in 2011 upon finding out that Bon Iver was in line to be nominated for four Grammies, including “Best New Artist”, for their 2011 release of their second album, Bon Iver. “But I kinda feel like going up there and being like: ‘Everyone should go home, this is ridiculous. You should not be doing this. We should not be gathering in a big room and looking at each other and pretending this is important.

 

– – –

 

Meanwhile, a man somewhere in the Midwest turned to his friend while browsing the Internet on his laptop.

“Who are the Baha Men?” he asked.

“Not sure,” his friend replied.

“Must be worth checking out. They won a Grammy.”

 

– – –

 

“We wanted to play our music,” Vernon told Billboard after Bon Iver was offered to perform at the 2012 Grammies. “But we were told that we couldn’t play. We had to do a collaboration with someone else…Rock n’ Roll should not be decided by people who have that job. Rock n’ Roll should be the fucking people with a guitar around their backs. And their friends. And their managers.”

 

– – –

 

Thousands of other independent artists quietly cheered Vernon on as he accepted the award for “Best New Artist” on National Television during the 2012 Grammies. However, they did not applaud the award itself, or him even being there, though it was certainly an encouragement to many. It was more his reaction that found their respect and admiration.

“It’s really hard to accept this award,” Justin Vernon said in his acceptance speech. “There’s so much talent out here, on this stage, and a lot of talent that’s not here tonight. It’s also hard to accept because when I started to make songs I did it for the inherent reward of making songs. I’m a little bit uncomfortable up here, but with that discomfort I also have a sense of gratitude to all the nominees, all the non-nominees, that have never been here and never will be here…”

 

– – –

 

“Bon Iver? Really? Over J Cole? Who are u? Wait, I know, a 25 year old wit a comb over…FOH!” someone posted on twitter.

“Who is the bon iver guy?” another post read, not unlike countless others. “He looks like a homeless guy.”

“Who the hell just won Best New Artist..bonnie blue, bonnie bear, scooby doo , yogi bear like who is this baldin white man w a combover.”

 

– – –

 

Months later, Bon Iver once again disappeared into the shadows of popular culture, perhaps to cabin in Wisconsin, or maybe to quietly go about touring the U.S. Perhaps both. One can only speculate at this time.

 

Such Lazy Saturday Poetry It’s Sunday (Bleeding Inc.)

After making a big fuss about how I was going to post my poetry every Saturday because it’s the easiest thing I write and I have plenty of it, it’s been about a month since I’ve done one. Ugh. Do your job Charlie. Anyways, I missed yesterday, but I figured by posting one today I’ll get myself back in the mindset to remember to post next Saturday… and the Saturday after that… and the Saturday after that, etc.

So for todays installment I’m going to post the lyrics to what I’d consider to be one of the best — if not the best — song I’ve ever written.  It’s called “Bleeding Inc.” If my technologically incompetent self can ever figure out how to post videos from my flip cam on this blog, I’ll post a performance of the song itself, but for now, here are the lyrics.

Bleeding Inc.

Verse I

Twelve generations of pain, thirteen is prayin sayin let this be the day that the saints march our way

It’s a good Friday for swimming to the finer side of things, we call for rain to get the floodgates bursting

And you can say, that endurance is a song I’ll never sing

But the rhythm never stops when it comes to lions like me

We’ve got those everlasting chest beats

Chorus I

And we will shatter mirrors, and see through smoke

That came from the flames always burnin up our jeans

So let me cheer you up, like real good news

It’s not too soon to be free from the things that the devil tattooed on you

Verse II

Time bombs for clock shops it was hotter than sriracha when Big Ben went up in flames and got the bridges burning

The violent silence of writing, stabbin my pen through the wall tryin to get to the heart of the message I bring

I just wanna stop, stop stop,

I need the moment to pop, pop, pop

That the reason for the shots shots shots shot shots shots shots shots shots

And you can say, let the drinks spill like blood in a war scene

But the battle never stops when it comes to soldiers like me

We’ve got those everlasting chest beats

Oh don’t ya know we’ve got that never endin’ head flow

Chorus II

And we will shatter mirrors, and see through smoke

That came from the flames always burnin’ up our jeans

But let me cheer you up, like real good news

It’s not to late to be called by the name of the Christ inside of you

Oh don’t ya know, we’re the coolest kids

But son, you should know, gotta cool it kid

Bridge/Outro

We’re the coolest kids, walkin around, we like our beat down low and our feet to the ground

Don’t ya show it kid, that hurt in your eyes, I can’t talk right now I got my pride on the line

Can’t talk right now I got my pride on the line

Can’t talk right now I got my pride on the line

Can’t talk right now I got my pride on the line

 

Fun. album review “Some Nights” — By: Charles Westerman

Maybe the first time you heard the band “Fun.” was when their number one hit “We are Young” topped iTunes this month.

For me, I’ve followed them since I saw them open for my favorite band Manchester Orchestra at a show in Denver in 2009.  This was shortly after they released their freshman album “Aim and Ignite,” so please, trust me when I say their second album “Some Nights” is no sophomore slump.

I’m not telling you to go buy the “We are Young” single off iTunes. I’m telling you– for pete’s freaking sake– to buy the whole album. For $9.99 you can buy yourself a friend for life.

Classified on iTunes as an indie pop trio, “Fun.” Simultaneously combines catchy melodies with a soul-depth Justin Bieber could only dream of.

For serious indie fans, “Fun.” is made up of a dream-team indie musical triumvirate: Nate Ruess (former lead singer of “The Format”), Andrew Dost (former jack of all trades of “Anathallo”) and Jack Antonoff (lead guitarist of “Steel Train”).

Translated for all the rest of you, what I’m saying is that if “Fun.” was a woman, I’d find her awfully sexy.

Ruess is a unique and talented vocalist. It is a classic pop-style voice, but with an almost irritated-intensity to it.

For me, the lyrics, combined with the instrument of the song-writer’s voice is the foundation and soul of an album. Ruess has done something very unique in “Some Nights” by combining the ease and release of a simple catchy chorus with the intelligence of verses that deal with his most intimate and personal relationships: God, his parents, siblings, best friends, women, and music fans.

He sings about his quest for peace in the midst of sorting out these relationships and hopefully reconciling them (think an indie Kid Cudi).  The third song on the album “Carry On,” I think best embellishes one of the core messages of the album,  “May your past be the sound / of your feet upon the ground / carry on.”

But Ruess understands that he’s singing to a culture that confuses what’s “depressing” with what we actually need to take a good-hard look at in our lives. He masterfully packages his painful issues with hopeful melodies and hooks that draw in the listener.

“Fun.” pairs traditional alternative band instruments with every sound-maker you can imagine: vocal synthesizers, trumpets, flugelhorns, glockenspiels, violins, etc. As musical-artists, they are capable of expressing themselves at a level few can match. They are creative, original, intentional, thoughtful, honest and well… fun.

One of the main themes in the album addresses the party scene, yet with much more intellectual view than most music that sings about this topic.  It explores the relationship between the confusion of fulfillment and emptiness that comes with the party scene.

In their first track “Some Nights,” Ruess addresses the nights where he encounters emptiness. The bridge perhaps best illustrates their attempts to grasp the issue, “My heart is breaking for my sister, and the con that she called ‘love’ / but when I look into my nephews eyes / man, you wouldn’t believe the most amazing things / that come from some terrible nights.”

It is tragic to me that our generation really has few artistically talented bands that we value.  Bands like “Fun.” give me a glimmer of hope that good musical taste can once again become a trait of our culture.

Unhitch that Plow– By: David Landrus

Song:

Mumford and Sons – Thistles and Weeds

Post:

Farming is a topic that doesn’t really enter into our daily patterns of thinking in the 21st century; unless you’re watching a documentary that talks about how nutritionally deficient America is, or driving back to school through the beautiful rolling wheat fields of the Palouse. Whether you acknowledge it or not, farming plays an intricate part in all of our lives. In actuality, our country was founded on agriculture, and it wasn’t until after WWII that large farms and conglomerates were responsible for our food production. Farming, surprisingly, is very interesting and the people that bear the title of farmer are even more interesting. Many parables told by Jesus actually pertained to this topic, and there is one in particular that I would like to bring to your attention. So sit back and enjoy some Mumford while I have you ponder this quote, “unhitch that plow off your back.”

Jesus said in Matthew 9,

37 Then he said to his disciples, “The harvest is plentiful, but the laborers are few;

38 therefore pray earnestly to the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into his harvest.”

As a matter of fact, he said it twice. Here’s what Luke recorded in Chapter 10 of his biblical contribution,

2 And he said to them, “The harvest is plentiful, but the laborers are few. Therefore pray earnestly to the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into his harvest.

Most of the time, the Bible says something once and moves on to other statements to strengthen the point. However, there are times when the Bible will repeat itself; one example is Jesus starting a statement with the disclaimer “Truly, Truly I say to you”. This might seem excessive, but I promise you that Jesus had nothing resembling a stutter. In Hebrew culture, repeating something twice witnessed to its importance, and futhermore, repeating it thrice witnessed to the statements(or Gods’) perfection. The fact that this verse is repeated in separate Gospels therefore witnesses to me its importance. But why is it so important?

Land is commonly measured by the unit of acres; but how big is an acre and who decided its size? Well let me tell you! An acre was originally the amount of land that one man could tend to in a days’ time. Now I want to apply that definition to a topic at hand, our lives. Many times we feel weighed down by all the things we have to do in our days. Whether its school, or a job, or community service, or a relationship, or whatever you find yourself doing today, that is your acre. All the while the laziness within is appealing to us, “You work so hard in the field everyday, just unhitch that plow off your back. It would make your days a lot easier.” Granted, many of us don’t “entirely” listen to this voice, but we do allow it to affect our actions at some level. I’m not saying that all of us are throwing in the proverbial towel because the truth is that many of us realize that quitting is not an option; but we do get awfully comfortable watching our favorite sitcom on Netflix each night as our relationship with God gets shoved to the side. As we do this, the voice in turn encourages our self pity and entitlement and, without noticing it, we start agreeing with it. “Yah! That’s right, I have been working hard! I just spent all day getting my school work done and now I NEED me time. Maybe my friends want to get drunk tonight.”

You’re sunk…

Let’s go back to what Jesus said now. He said that the harvest is plentiful! Those are positive terms that he’s talking in folks. The harvest IS something that is to be desired. And then with all the insight that you would expect from the Son of Man, he accurately states that “the laborers are few.” God just called every lazy servant out, including you. And he’s actually being nice! Read the parable of the talents (Matthew 25:14-30) to see how laziness is rewarded in reality. But that’s not my point. My point is that you should rejoice! There is a harvest, and its plentiful, and we are being called to put our plows back on every morning when we wake up! Lastly I want to leave you with a verse of encouragement. This one comes from Matthew 11:

28 Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.

29 Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.

30 For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.”

A word to the wise, “get used to your plow and harvest all you can until the master gives you a bigger one.”