Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Project Song on NPR

This is really cool. Heard it on NPR yesterday. If you're into songwriting at all, it's worth watching (or listening).


Thursday, October 01, 2009

300-Word Story

I assigned a 300-word story to my fiction writing class. I told them I would write one, too, so here it is:

The Last Time
She carefully sifted through his sock drawer to find the pack of cigarettes she knew he hid there, the two broken fingernails on her right hand like little daggers, catching between the fibers of his dirt-stained athletic socks. Lifting the pack of cigarettes from the drawer as if it was a ticking bomb, she walked to the French doors, opened them, and stepped onto the redwood deck outside, the new fall rain puddling in the wood’s striations. She sat on the first step and lit a cigarette, a mist of rain swirling in the evening air. Delicately she touched the reddening bruise now rising around her eye, the blood on her fingers sticky against her face. The orbital bone is cracked, she thought, running her fingertips over the skin, feeling the heat of the contusion, comparing its discomfort to the others. After several long drags, she flicked the cigarette into the soft, wet grass under the purple dusk light and watched as it billowed smoke like a tiny wreckage. Standing, she pulled the white door handle, noticing her cracked fingernails, the blood like a tattoo on her pale hand. Never again, she thought as she carefully shut the door behind her, wondering why she still moved timidly. A smile cracked her face, and she placed a hand over her mouth. No, she thought, then listened to the silence in the house, the stillness, absorbing the odd calm. She eyed the body on the floor, its forceful frame, its girth, its unbridled power now empty, the hilt of the kitchen knife jutting from its chest. Her heart filled and quickened as she stepped over the body – the sole of her white tennis shoe leaving its imprint in the puddling blood – picked up the telephone, and began to dial.

© Jason Roberts, 2009

Old SXSW kudos

I just found this while cleaning out my email inbox. It's a brief review from our 2008 South-by-Southwest appearance. I stick it here because I'm mentioned specifically, although not by name (I'm the lead guitarist). I don't often get press or kudos, so what the hell:

43 Songs About 43 Presidencies

My first big find of the fest: These guys are indeed billed as you see here, but according to their label's Web site, the "band" itself seems to be called: Of Great and Mortal Men. Yet according to Pitchfork, the project they're plugging (still to be released, apparently) goes by the full name: Of Great and Mortal Men: 43 Songs About 43 Presidencies.

Tonight, we get a total of 6 guys playing 8 songs about 8 presidencies, some with the band's introductory explanations as noted: "Rutherford B. Hayes" (mostly about his beard), "George H.W. Bush," "Zachary Taylor" ("he had the most face"), "Andrew Jackson" ("he was a jerk; he was, like, a genocidal f---wad, so f--- him!"), "Warren G. Harding," "Benjamin Harrison," "Ronald Reagan," and one of the generals who became President, though they don't say (and I can't catch) which one.

Leading the festivities is Christian Kiefer (at left in photo), who wrote the songs with Matthew Gerken and Jefferson Pitcher. And the songs are great. "Hayes" is hard Americana, "Taylor" breaks into a spirited hoedown, "Reagan" comes across like a truly touching Steve Earle song (I kid you not), and "Jackson" — ooooo, this is the best, a real scary thing, like the Coen Brothers taking over A Prairie Home Companion. The band is ragged but right, with a remarkable lead guitarist. By all means, track down the three-disc boxed set whenever it sees the light of day.

Yay, me!