03) Thomas Jefferson

Back in February of 2006, Jefferson Pitcher, J. Matthew Gerken, and I set about writing and recording the original demos for these Presidents songs as part of the February Album Writing Month challenge (www.fawm.org).  We wrote and did demo recordings of 42 songs (all but G.W. Bush) in Februrary–28 days and 42 songs.  Sheesh. 

In any case, as part of that, we wrote little texts to accompany each new song as we got them up on the FAWM website.  I like looking through them now as they seem part of a crazy, crazy time. 

Burr Settles, a fine songwriter in his own right and the FAWM-lord, was kind enough to get me an html backup of all the original texts we wrote, and it includes the comments other songwriters wrote on the demos as we got them up.  I’m including those as well.

03 Jefferson (the mouldboard of least resistance)

by jeff pitcher — 2006-02-02 @ 10:01pm (EST) — Alt/Indie

i return. excited as last year, but overwhelmed as i have so little free time this year. alas. anyway, as christian kiefer wrote, he, matt gerken and i are writing songs about the presidents. i have been given those divisible by 3. so, jefferson. he and i share the same name, which was my initial lyrical content, but it all changed which i suppose is the point.

this year, i happen to be quite a bit busier than last and so the songs will be super-rough. a good thing perhaps. i’ve also given myself a rule this year, which is simply that i will use no effects on instruments, as i tend to rely on them all too heavily. it turns out that jefferson had quite an affinity for billiards (which was illegal at the time in virginia) and he was the first president to live in the white house. and quite an inventor. i read last night while writing, that he invented the moudlboard of least resistance which was a new form of plow back then.

cheers to all jeffersons.


  1. Burr Settles | 2006-02-02 @ 10:33pm (EST)i like it. rough but good. so you’ll paint the red wooden house white, huh?
  2. jeff pitcher | 2006-02-03 @ 12:08am (EST)incidentally, thomas jefferson (as i discovered last night) was the first president to live in the white house…i imagined it as a dream of his. the red house shall remain.
  3. Steven Bacon | 2006-02-03 @ 11:01am (EST)i like it too. i could vividly see the picture you paint with this song. cool rock out jammy part at the end. I could see this being used for a documnatry or era movie. your voice sounds great too…. wow….it must be tough trying to come up with lyrics about dead presidents..
  4. Eric Distad | 2006-02-03 @ 11:40am (EST)I too like it. Good guitar work. Raw in a good way.
  5. Steven Wilson/Plasticsoul | 2006-02-04 @ 05:27am (EST)Okay, first off…what are you recording on? This sounds great! What mics are you using? The acoustics sound beautiful, same with your voice and the drum at the end.I love the song. Great concept. While listening I was able to close my eyes and see everything you described in your lyrics. The music fit the lyrics very well, very Americana/Appalachia (is that the right word?).If this is “rough” I don’t want smooth. Keep ’em coming.
  6. j matthew gerken | 2006-02-04 @ 04:32pm (EST)Beautiful. I am among the folks that got to hear this song live last night at a house party in Sacramento. The audience was warned about the mouldboard, but when that lyric came, the audience burst into laughter. What a title. What a lyric to try to work into a song! Beautifully recorded and executed. I like the loose jammy part at the end, too.
  7. CageyHouse | 2006-02-04 @ 07:14pm (EST)Man, this is pretty. Great lyrics. If I didn’t know what they were about, they’d still be strong enough to be about just about anything.
  8. Todd Norem | 2006-02-04 @ 07:42pm (EST)Damn. Minimal is good. If every song I listen to on FAWM has half of the potential as this I’ll be sceaming for this sort of challenge every month. Keep going..you’ve got my ear.
  9. friendof | 2006-02-06 @ 01:29pm (EST)Wow, this is right up there with some of the best indi music out there. Really great job. I love the President concept. lol. Kinda like Sufjan Stevens’ 50-states project. Can’t wait to hear more.
  10. tomtomtom | 2006-02-06 @ 05:04pm (EST)especially love the singing on this one…
  11. Ben J. | 2006-02-06 @ 08:27pm (EST)My god, what a voice! Incredible. And beautiful playing – this is the kind of stuff I aspire to (well, can’t really do much about my voice…)To be honest, you could be singing about milk cartons and it would still sound amazing… ..and I love recordings with people talking in the room. It’s kind of honest, it’s like saying “this is just me playing, nothing special, listen if you want” rather than putting the artist up there on the pedestal. It brings the audience right into the room. Love it.Oh, am I supposed to be offering constructive criticism..? Er… hmm.. Ok, you haven’t posted nearly enough songs. 5 minutes of singing about milk cartons would do, just lemme hear more! 😉

    Superb. This is why I can never consider myself a singer.

  12. jeff pitcher | 2006-02-07 @ 08:16pm (EST)i thank you all so much for your compliments…if you knew me well, you would know how much it means to hear that you like my voice. you would perhaps be surprised what one can “do about their voice” ben. for years, people told me mine was awful and that i should stop singing. i just worked really hard at getting better. i haven’t listened to your stuff yet, but i promise you too (anyone) can learn to sing better. but thank you. dearly. as for what i’m using to record, it is the exact same equipment i had last year…perhaps i’m becomming a better engineer. a $150 mic, and the onboard preamp on my tascam 1884 mixer, into digital performer. that’s it. cheers. and thanks again. i’ll try to listen to all of your stuff too, just so bloody busy this year. keep at it~
Published in: on May 13, 2008 at 9:14 pm  Comments (3)  

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3 CommentsLeave a comment

  1. Thomas Jefferson’s descendants exist to this day. Laurence Herman “Gus” Versluis is the distant cousin to Thomas Jefferson through Christopher Branch.

  2. The Alaska State Trooper Troy Lynn Duncan is the cousin of Thomas Jefferson.

  3. An American hero, Randall Kent Burris is the cousin of Thomas Jefferson!

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