I know everyone has been waiting around with bated breath. The great philosophers of our time have fretted and pined over the lost performance that defined a generation, back in the good old days of 2014 when splendorous music flowed easy through the streets like an old McDonald’s quarter-pounder wrapper drifting aimlessly towards a sewer grate.
Well fret no more, great contemplators of crown achievement! At long last it’s finally here, the performance that Rolling Stone has not called “the show of a lifetime” and Ed Sheeran never described as “my most influential inspiration.”
When at first I gave an ear’s gander to our recorded performance from December 9th, 2014, a day or two after the show, I gave a hearty sigh of annoyance and closed my laptop in frustration. It sounded like garbage. Well, more accurately it sounded like someone recorded our show with a Walkman, played it back and recorded it with their YakBak, played that through a megaphone, and then recorded the megaphone with their 2006 Motorola Razr flip-phone.
Did I skip ahead a few minutes and see if the sound quality improved later in the recording? Nah, that would have made too much sense. In my defense, I was leaving in a mere couple of weeks to begin my first solo journey abroad (to South America) and was busier than a billy goat with two peckers.
Turns out, our sound guy Ben just needed a song to get the levels right. I was perusing old recordings yesterday in a fit of boredom and thought I would give the performance another look-over. Lowe and behold, by minute 5 our recording wasn’t half bad. Not half bad… I should say it towers over such trivial works as Dark Side of the Moon like Andre the Giant playing David Spade in a thumb-wrestling match. It makes Peter Frampton’s Frampton Comes Alive sound like a high school garage band recorded through a walkie-talkie with month-old Rayovac batteries.
Okay, if I’m being 100% honest with myself, it’s not the greatest (performance or sound quality). But it ain’t as bad as I’d thought, either.
So you’ll have to bear through track #1 (Sexy Jessica), which I tried my best to salvage, but which still peaks and clips like a sonofabitch. During track #1, it actually sounds like Corey is just picking up his cajon and slamming it against the side of a metal barn door.
Now that these caveats have been made, we’ll talk a bit about the performance. Behind the Strings was a singer/songwriter series I founded and ran back in my hometown of Chillicothe, OH (hi mom!) from 2014-2015.
The gist of the show was simple: Each month we featured an artist (and usually an opener). The performer would explain the story behind each of their songs before they played each one, and the audience would have lyric sheets and a set list sitting on their table if they wished to read along. This was one-hundred percent about the music and we tried our best to keep talking to a minimum and only allow people who were there for the music into the show. For this reason we charged a somewhat steep ticket price and only sold a limited number of those tickets.
We featured some incredible musicians over the months we called Steiner’s Speakeasy our home—Andy Shaw, Brian Ernst, Mike Perkins, Brian Douglas Day, Thomas Dirk, Pete Blevins, Whetherman (Nick Williams), and Talia Keys. In December of 2014, just before I headed down to Llama Land, I took a turn of my own, joined by Corey Gahm on the sex-box (cajon).
During the performance, I share the story behind my songs with the appropriate laughs and cringes along the way. DISCLAIMER FOR ANY EX GIRLFRIENDS READING THIS: Stop reading now. Hit the “back” button on your browser and continue your day like nothing ever happened. I was totally talking about one of my other exes, not you. You were great. Actually, we don’t even know each other. I’ve never met you.
I’m offering the show in its entirety for free on SoundCloud. If you’d like to give me a little pat on the back however, you can pay $4.99 to download the show on GumRoad. (That’s only 31 cents per song!)
FREE or $4.99, entirely up to you!
Download from GumRoad to Help a Brother Out:
Listen for Free on SoundCloud: