13) Fillmore

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.

13 Fillmore (The Proof In the Pudding)

by Christian Kiefer — 2006-02-11 @ 08:39pm (EST) — Alt/Indie, Folk, Rock

What I probably should have done is written a song about how great the Fillmore is as a venue. I just saw Jeff Tweedy of Wilco do a solo show there last week and had a wonderful time. But I didn’t write that song.

President Millard Fillmore was, as all of the Presidents in this era, deeply concerned with the country’s growing awareness that slavery was perhaps not the best idea. Fillmore was a great compromiser, which in the end only meant that he got kicked out of office rather quickly. His great legacy was the Fugitive Slave Act, which he passed in order to placate the Southern states (who were on the verge of war), and which ultimately pissed off whatever friends he had up north. Without friends, he was pretty much hated by everyone. Compromise in government just doesn’t work, or so it seems.

As a song, this reminds me heavily of Buffalo Springfield, particularly of the early Neil Young song “Mr. Soul.” It wasn’t intentional, but then again influence seldom is.


  1. PlushBaby | 2006-02-11 @ 08:52pm (EST)I love the sound of your little midget singin partner – but he sounds like he is cold, maybe a pygmy fleece would help 😉 But sersiously, the tremelo type voice effect track works well in places but can get a little too much leaving me a little nausiated. This could just be my jelly like state, leaving me susceptible to vibrations in the air. XD Overall the song has a good feel. 🙂
  2. mike skliar | 2006-02-12 @ 01:50am (EST)interesting sounds and vibe. good use of that central riff, which is, as you point out, very mr-soul-like, but thats ok. lyrics are a bit fragmented for me, maybe needs a bit more rhyming or something? neat effort tho,, and i like that tremelo high voice, tho i agree with plushbaby that it might not be needed everywhere.. tho it doesent bother me
  3. jroberts | 2006-02-12 @ 02:15pm (EST)A bit of a departure, stylistically. I like it, particularly the melody when it approaches the bridge … or the chorus. Anyway, the melody is great. The tremolo part is a clever bit of cleverness. The more I listen to it, the more I’m impressed with your songwriting range.
  4. jeff pitcher | 2006-02-12 @ 02:53pm (EST)wait, this is the tremolo i meant to comment on. so many songs. i gues the other voice was the wah. yes, the tremolo is bit much for me, but the song is damn good. what a strangely compelling vocal melody. the simple fact that you wrote a song about millard fillmore called “the proof in the pudding,” is fucking great. i love the “oh no,” part. this song makes me feel like driving an old plymouth.
Published in: on May 13, 2008 at 9:20 pm  Leave a Comment  

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