2022: guest artist Jason Vautour

  • ALL OF MY SONGS IN THIS PAGE ARE REGISTERED UNDER SOCAN.
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AUGUST 2022

(Photo credit: ME)

I got a new guitar. Getting a new, quality instrument can really inspire playing.

This is yet another last minute song that was started and finished today. My voice was TIRED by the end of it (Vocals done last). Much needed summer venturing has taken precedence over home-recording time. I’m feeling recharged and ready for the busy fall schedule ahead of me.

I feel a bit bad ripping off Soundgarden as much as I did with so much of this song, but DAMN if it doesn’t feel GOOD! Easily one of my favourite bands ever. I feel like it got in the way of the playing of the song in my own way at times.

This song is likely about creating boundaries and also the impermanence of everything and how they can influence one another, giving realization to what is one’s priorities.

2/3 DONE NOW. ENJOY.

“Draw A Line” by Jason Vautour

Sending a postcard to my lover
Wishing well and that they were here with me
The grass is green with envy
The other side is yours not mine.

Take me back when I’m finished
Hope I die before I wake
So many tears followed by a smile
Reign in, draw a line.

Can you spare some change for an artist?
I can’t stay very long
I gotta live so I can build a present
For you and all the world to eat.

Take me back when I’m finished
Hope I die before I wake
So many tears followed by a smile
Reign in, draw a line.

Reign in, draw a line. (REPEAT)

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JULY 2022

This idea came out in a bass lesson. The student had the body of their bass on their lap but not leaning on and touching their body, which makes things so much harder. As soon as we fixed that problem things got so much better them. I then rejoiced in improvised song with slap bass and over it sang the hook “Body to body”, referring to the bass-body and the student’s body. Nothing dirty – just technical.

In the funk genre and style, it would’ve been probably easier to be filthy which I am a fan of, but I thought I’d challenge myself and take this into the PG-rating world (is that still a thing?). You could maybe take the lyrics in dirty ways in your own sexy thoughts and that is 100% OK but they’re all about that universal need of touch.

Go hug someone. NOW.

Do it again. YOU’RE WELCOME.

“Body To Body” by Jason Vautour

Body to body – Body to body

Lean on me and I’ll lean on yours
Mutual support for recreational support
Count on me to be there for you
Its just touch but it means so much

Body to body – Body to body

If you’re cold to the touch
I might just have the answer
I’ll be the heat
to thaw your cool

Body to body – show me what you got to give
Body to body – is the way we like to live

Dogs do it – cats do it
Babies do it – reptiles hug them rocks and they
Do it for fun – do it for love
Do it to get by – and they’ll do it again

Body to body – show me what you got to give
Body to body – is the way we like to live

Our touch, skin on skin, didn’t know how much I needed it (4x)

Body to body – Body to body

(Dogs do it, cats do it, babies do it) …Dogs do it – cats do it
(Reptiles hug them rocks and they’ll do it again) …Babies do it – reptiles hug them rocks and they

(Dogs do it, cats do it, babies do it) …Do it for fun – do it for love
(Reptiles hug them rocks and they’ll do it again) …Do it to get by – and they’ll do it again

Body to body – Body to body
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JUNE 2022

Photo credit: Me.

I thought I had something meaningful and realized in the bag but it was much too last minute for it to be realized in the way I would want to represent myself musically to the world. Perhaps I’ll finish it another time. Perhaps it will be just mine to laugh at and love.

I did have song-sketches this month! Which is a lot more than I can say about the previous couple of months. The FUNNY thing is that the sketches didn’t really result in being prepared by the end of the month. I ended up with this solo guitar instrumental which I like. I guess there is something to be said for a few things – inspiration doesn’t always come even when you meet it halfway, and reacting under pressure using the tools you’ve built up seems to be the best natural representation of who you are.

This instrumental was written yesterday. I basically consider this slow-release of songs over a year to be an album for me. I like albums that have interludes in them to give the mind and ear a break from the pattern of the song-form. This will be that and perfectly timed at the halfway point of the album!

When I improvised this, I was thinking of how I love this area of the world so much. I have been a lot of beautiful places in the world and I still feel this is my favourite. Could be the people? Could be the Nature? Probably all of that and more.

These thoughts were brought on by a few things – missing my friends and family in my original hometown and actually knowing that I’d see them very soon makes me impatiently excited to get there. Also Canada Day is today. It is loaded with a lot of varied thoughts these days. What good and bad we have all come to this far in Canadian history and of course well before that.

This corner of Canada, the Maritime provinces, is the Slab I Love. (“So come on up to the lab….. and see what’s on the slab…. I see you shiver with antici-……….”. I HAD TO… I miss the Rocky Horror gang. XO)

“LoveSlab” by Jason Vautour

(INSTRUMENTAL)

Here’s the chords if you’re interested:

Photo credit: Me.

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MAY 2022

Photo credit: (still me!)

Once again, this is VERY last minute… wrote it from scratch yesterday… I think that beats my cutting-it-close record by a few days. I have NO idea if I like this song and I’m ok with that.

Once again the reason I haven’t been on the writing train is because life got even more bonkers than last month with a regular theatre pit-band gig (Rocky Horror Show at Neptune Theatre in Halifax, NS, Canada!) and other fun but time-consuming gigs.

Lots of fun sounds in this one. It started with a voice memo demo of me mumble-singing along to acoustic guitar chords. That voice memo ALMOST made it into the mix but it made the mix a little too muddy in the end so in the trash it went. There’s some bowed electric guitar and manually played, effected drum machine… it was a VERY nice and fun challenge to manually play drum machine to an established rhythm from an acoustic.

See ya next month. It will be SUMMER then!

“Set Me Free” by Jason Vautour

Making it up as you go out and take the pill
Freeing the space in your mind to take away your will
Letting it go to the point of new returns
Shaping the air with the way your flag unfurls

Why I don’t care
Why do I

Loving yourself every time you breathe is help
Counting your messings is blessing your future health

Why I don’t care
Why do I

Thanks for the way you ignore all of my dreams
Here is the entry to minds that wander
Collecting the soul’s defeat
Burning the arches, releasing the prisoners,
Helping to forge the key

Set me free
Set me free

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APRIL 2022

(Photo credit: ME!)

I wrote this only a few days ago. The demo had a great vibe because it was fully realized on the spot writing of the song in real time. I considered making that the base track but for a few reasons, I decided to recreate it in another take. One reason was that I swore in the demo and I didn’t feel like releasing something with that in it unless I really meant it. It was close but the “no-swears” team won the debate.

Once again, this month even more than last is proving to be busier and busier! One thing ends and another begins. Every project, job, relationship, venture, adventure, journey, trip, fad, et cetera has an actual birth, life and death… and sometimes rebirth as well. My guess is that this song is about mortality and that it isn’t limited to human lives, although human mortality is all-encompassing and pervades all expiring life adventures, informing us of they’re importance and validity within our own. Letting go, starting new, coming back, building a life.

The lyric “Always why, sometimes never, forever again” was something I’ve belovedly had in my back pocket for a really long time and this seemed perfect timing for it to come out in song.

“Always Why” by Jason Vautour

Ooooo…

My eyes are open
I can’t see why you’re leaving
But you’re gone – you’re gone

I can’t tell if I’m breathing
Or if somebody’s on my chest
Pacing, waiting for a bus

Ooooo…

One minute I’m believing
In something I don’t believe in
I think I’ll be leaving this room

Take all of my possessions
I won’t need them where I’m going
Enjoy days like this one – you may not have another

Ooooo…

Gotta finish what you start
Until its death do you depart
Are we finished yet?
Never.

Always why – sometimes never – forever again (3x)

Ooooo…

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MARCH 2022

…probably how it looked when I wrote the first riff to this month’s song…
(Photo Credit: Jason Vautour)

March 2022 sucked in so many ways. There was a few good moments but so many lows. The big one being just the state of the world right now. It hasn’t been very inspiring to pick up an instrument and have fun with things being so dark. I did have this one idea keep rearing its head like a stubborn tuft of grass making itself known over and over again through a pavement crack. This was the riff to “Winner”. I can now look at it thankfully and like a glimmer of hope or Spring’s promise of nicer weather.

The lyrics were something that came after the music. I got the chord changes and the melody in place then got into lyric mode. I was completely out of the game this month with daily journalling, which is an integral part of staying open and flowing when writing lyrics or probably anything.

I had no theme, intention or story going in. I just free-formed the verses, drawing from scenes inspired by feelings in the moment. I’d then write some more and the chorus came from edited ramblings in the same sitting. I ended up with some unintended double-entendres (especially in the choruses) that work better than I could’ve dreamed of. Some lyrics really don’t make sense but lend well to the overall vibe of the song. In hindsight, the lyrics seem to be about how we as humans have memories that sometimes unintentionally change over time or can be fabricated from half-truths or unknown lies that we can believe just enough to let them eventually become our own truths, whether they actually are or not. I think some of us are more prone to this than others. I count myself amongst the memory-fluid, to whatever end.

The instrumental aspect of the song came together quickly and completely when the time was right. When lyrics were finally written, small changes were made to the song-form to make sense with the flow of the words. “Winner” went through 3 or 4 different recorded versions before I settled on this one, which I’m FINALLY OK with. I was loathing the other earlier versions to the point of thinking I may not have a song this month because I invested so much time in this and I wasn’t yielding any other ideas. Also, I had seriously considered releasing a voice memo version of just me and an acoustic guitar.

This was the only song I wrote this month on my own, for myself. Thankfully I have musical family in band members that I create with. These groups were much more fruitful than my own solo output. The great thing is that every project I involve myself with creatively (including me, solo) affects all the others in positive, progressive ways.

Once again I’d like to thank my musical brother Clinton Charlton for asking me to do this. As frustrating as it is at times, it is always rewarding and fulfilling in beautiful and unexpected ways. 1/4 done!

“WINNER” by Jason Vautour

Step inside of your front door
Empty your pockets on to the floor
Basic time for
Reconvening
Patterns emerge from the smile
Of a dog you wished that you had when you were a child
Painful thinking
What could have been
Pieces fall into
made-up falsehoods you lay claim to

You win again
You won again
Fate can have its day with you
but days will get the best of you

Slipping on your new shoes
the ones that you brought home from the mall
You thought it was a good deal
Until you tried to walk the walls
Take it off (TAKE IT OFF)
Take it all off (TAKE IT OFF)
Time for
Retribution, substitution, absolution.
Pieces fall into
made-up falsehoods you lay claim to

You won this time
Maybe not again
Days will come and days will go
but nights will get the rest of you
You win again
You won again
Fate can have its day with you
but days will get the best of you
You win again
You won again
You win again

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FEBRUARY 2022 (2 songs again!)

“Two Days In One” by Jason Vautour

The title comes from my laziness in copying and pasting the first half of the song into the second half. It did also seem like a good title for an old detective movie or TV episode. To balance my “laziness”, I would go on to edit things so that instruments came and went in a fashion that gave a sense of story development and orchestration.

This came out instrumentally first. A melody then came from improvised mumble-singing into a microphone over only a few tracked instruments. That melody was carved out on the spot and pretty much stayed as is from inception.

This is basically an instrumental that wasn’t intended to be that. I just got overly focused on the arrangement aspect of the song which got me sidetracked enough from writing lyrics to feel like it didn’t need them at the time. Perhaps too daunting. Perhaps I was scared. Still, I do love the melody and feel like it is strong on its own without words at the moment. It may get lyrics in the future.

One idea that I really like is to leave the more “detective / jazz-noir” section as a wordless background vocal and overdub a deep-voiced, intimate storytelling of a “mystery song” the narrator is puzzled by or is in love with. Eventually the spoken-word section leads into that “mystery song” at the uplifting and lighter chorus part after the harmonies. Perhaps its a woman’s name? I heard “Joanna”. My friend Jessie heard “Rosanna” before I even mentioned what I had heard. Perhaps the narrator can’t remember the song title and is asking for help from you, the listener, as to what the damn song title is. We have all been there.

I love this idea of a song within a song. Perhaps the narrated version will be a bonus track for a future month’s episode. Deadlines are merciless, especially when you’re committed.

photo credit: Jason Vautour

“Lost Train” by Jason Vautour

VERSE 1:
Lost in space
Float on forever
Free as dust
Endlessly dance
Thoughts real, as body feels
Two become one
With every breath
Swim to the beat

CHORUS:
Lost train
Riding seconds of time
Move within the rhyme
Wrapped up in the moment
Feels like a crime
I’m all mine

VERSE 2:
Would you mind a suggestion
That you may not understand
You can take it your way
And ride, ride, ride
When your feet hit the ground
There’s some things you might forget
But you’ll always have the sound
Of what hasn’t happened yet

CHORUS

END:
Lost train (4x)

This one is all about getting “lost” in the music. It can 100% be about anything you deeply immerse yourself in to the point where you are living it whether it is music, discussion, sport, sex, food, etc.

I recently had this thought and commented on someone’s online post about it – that this feeling is directly relative to the universal concept of time and space, where we ALL reside. It is like feeling lost in SPACE but knowing exactly where you are in TIME.

Some of these lyrics may have funny, redundant or contradictive meaning to you if you’re big on grammar and literature. I am not a literary scholar but I do highly respect those that are and want give it my best regards while still being true to what I am feeling. There’s always a way. Sometimes that way isn’t obvious to me or the listener. It is always there.

Normally I’m not a big fan of “songs about music”. There’s something about it that feels lazy to me. I usually get over these kind of stupid grudges at some point, in some way. One thing that helped push me to be OK with the idea of me writing a “song about music” was my friend Ryan’s online post about how birds sing at dawn to let other birds know that they made it through the night alive, checking in with one another. My life has been all about making music. Nature surrounds and moves through us. It manifests through all creatures’ voices. That notion hit me heavily, emotionally.

I had the other song (“Two Days In One”) pretty much complete earlier in the month. I felt like I laboured over that one and that I hadn’t really dug into the more urgent and immediate songwriting side of me enough this month so I sat down with all the aforementioned inspiration very late in the month (Feb. 26-27!) and started frantically scribbling poetry related to that. After writing felt “complete”, I started throwing a beat down at a tempo that instinctively felt right for the vibe and also for the rhythm of some of the phrases that stuck out more than others. Over that, I began singing from the gut and having a visceral and immediate interaction with the page – scratching and frantically rewriting words, drawing arrows so my brain could follow at a later moment of performance. The vocal performance is something I feel like I could’ve done better on but I’m OK with it. You wouldn’t be hearing it if I wasn’t.

All of the other instruments were an after thought. My singing style asked for certain sounds. It was nice to instrumentally react to a singer again like how I would on someone else’s recording but it is me this time! Lots of Depeche Mode, New Order feelings came out with some Pretenders and Prince nods at the end solo section.

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JANUARY 2022

Hi!

This was a horrible month to start but also good as any. I both hated and loved this experience because it set me to task on a deadline about something that is all about me which is kinda new for me. I don’t consider myself a songwriter. I do it sometimes. I’ve always been a player who plays on other peoples’ songs. Now I’m everything to my songs. Pretty scary. Pretty exciting. I’m considering it school – of me, for me.

Interestingly, both songs had at least half of them written while walking. Something for me to see as a strength or at least tendency or comfort.

Journalling has been something I struggle to keep up with doing daily. I know that it is a great exercise in flowing and opening up, which is from what I have always understood, key to songwriting from a genuine place. Noted.

SO, I ended up feeling good about not one but TWO songs. They’re drastically different in tone and content. NOTE: I am NOT good at mixing. Perhaps that will be something I’ll improve upon as the year goes on. I am more focused on the writing but damn the recording can be fun. This is more about getting things finished with the help from the pressure of a gentle monthly deadline. How good it is…? I’ll do my best. I may look back and think, “what a waste of time” or “wow! I made a lot of great strides”. That doesn’t matter now. Just doing does.

“Anything Is Everything” by Jason Vautour

Watching the sun rise, begins cold like the dead
Sunrise, warmth comes
Life comes back again.
Try it some time. Get born again.
I’ll say anything to keep you here.
It isn’t a lie.
It’s what you needed to hear.

Anything is everything to me
Anything is everything to me
I just gotta make you see
Anything is everything to me

Kiss the earth, embrace the sky
Let the air flow through you
You’re just a kid of the sun and moon
One thing they’ll never do is give up on you.
I’ll say anything to keep you here.
It isn’t a lie.

Anything is everything to me
Anything is everything to me
I just gotta make you see
Anything is everything to me.

“ANYTHING IS EVERYTHING” was written pretty organically. I watched the sun rise one morning and was really fed and fueled by it. I was thinking a lot about healing and how we can do it alone and how sometimes others help us.

I started by recording the air on a windy day. With no beat in place I then randomly strummed a G chord every so often for about 4 minutes. Next I laid a drum machine and vocals down. I sang through an acoustic guitar that sympathetically resonated notes that were in tune with notes I sang. This was something I always wanted to try. I theorized that what I heard on an old Radiohead record was this. It comes close. I like to try things.

I had the privilege of playing a stringed deer skull instrument (below) that was made by the legend Jerry Granelli (R.I.P.). I wish I had taken an opportunity to study with him. I was very surprised and honoured to be able to use this one-of-a-kind Jerry contraption. I had seen Jerry perform before. You could never say that man was not 100% mind, body, and soul PRESENT. I was inspired by thinking of what little I knew of him. It really added a dimension to the recording that was welcoming and nurturing… kind of like how I think of Jerry was from all I’ve heard about him from friends who knew him well.

granelli-o-phone

Thanks to Mike Belyea for helping me out with finishing recording both of these songs.

“Porch Pirates” by Jason Vautour

Porch Pirates
On the horizon

A desperate fleet
With nothing to eat
Looting your porch
For a mystery treat
Masters of the seas
Or so it seems…
Take my beloved bounty away
Where is my pepper spray?

Porch Pirates don’t really care
Walk the plank
Consumers take air

Porch Pirates
On the horizon
Brazen and intrepid fools
Are at your door
Fire!!!

“PORCH PIRATES” was almost entirely written on a cold morning walk. I passed by a package left on someone’s doorstep and thought – not that I would’ve – how easy it would be to run off with it. I immediately started hearing the song in my head and practically sung it how it is now into my phone’s voice memos. Cracking myself up as the lines came to me walking down the street by myself, I must’ve looked fairly sketchy. Gotta get it. Here ya go.