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The Dreams Inside
The Dreams Inside: This Americana-y style song, is a story for anyone who has ever had a lofty goal. Whether its making your way in The Arts, or just getting through college, we all have those moments where we believe we might not have what it takes to achieve our dreams. While echoing those self defeating thoughts, the song also reminds us the more important part of our self: The fact that we ALL have what it takes, and that right moment can come at any time( “In the wind, I can smell the scent of a change not far away”). Surrounding yourself with other people going through the same process, in their own roads through life, keeps you from feeling isolated. Funny enough, I wrote the rough draft of this song by myself one night. I made a wonky home recording. HATED IT! Nearly threw it away. My dad liked it, but he’s my dad and he likes everything so i didn’t think that mattered. Hanging out with Sarah for a writing session the next day, I showed her the rough track just for the heck of it. She REALLY liked it, but saw that the voice of the song needs to be given to everyone, not just to the singer. We wrote another verse talking about the friends and their part to play in our own story. Finally adding for each chorus: “I Hold Inside the Key to my Reality.” Then, “YOU Hold inside the Key to your reality.” Finally ending the song with “WE hold inside the key to our reality, and theirs dreams inside of me.” The picture taken is by our producer Matt Richards at Avenue Record Company as after we showed him a go through of the song, and he decided right then and there, we were going to record a “scratch track” that he could start laying instrumentation to. We having just finished writing this song, had to sit down and run it a few times so we could give him the purest form of the naked song. Right after its completion we donated it to The Pathway to Hope Foundation in Overland Park, Kansas, and their continued pursuit to raise money for the research and treatment mental illness. People suffering those conditions have an even GREATER challenge in believing and staying true to their dreams, but the fundamentals are the same: you’re never in it alone. A year passed since our donation, and we were asked to play together at this years fundraiser Gala reception, where I had been solo the year before. After our performance was over we went to have dinner with all five hundred and fifty contributors to the program, our songs recording was played over the PA system. They said the song had inspired them so, as an organization, that they built the entire theme of that years fundraiser on “The Dreams Inside.” We had never felt so humbled, and never expected the song to have such an impact on people trying to make a difference in the world. We hope those that listen to it, find inspiration in their life’s endeavors as well.
The Ballad to Move On
Way back when….
So this is a bit of a dated picture(look at dem pixels). But this was taken very shortly after we wrote this next song, that 5 YEARS LATER, made it to our CD! We saw an ad for Columbia Records going through multiple cities, setting up showcases with very professional looking acts to consider them for signing. We at that time, had played 3 songs at a small coffee shop open mic in a small town 165 miles away from Kansas City. But we decided we were ready anyways, so we made a super pretty Wix website with lots of pictures (that we took for eachother) of us playing guitar on sofa, and a snapshot from that coffee shop performance. We had actually placed in a songwriting contest which helped out to. Never made anything past the home page, but apparently they didnt look either….Finally, we had to send them a recording of a song. We had one shot at it, but we didn’t have a song that we thought would work. So we spent all night, writing, recording, and then mixing and mastering from our home Pro Tools SE (Shitty Edition) and made “The Ballad to Move On: A multi paced story told by two characters moving their different directions.” It worked! We got to showcase! Obviously we did not get signed, but the tips the representative made concerning our stage presence, and eye contact with each other, became the basis for our entire performing style to this day:) Stick to the man as we did, and enjoy this NON HOME RECORDING version of the song!
Cooler Than Her
This year we got to experience Folk Alliance International Conference together, at The Westin Hotel at Crown Center. One of the coolest things about these 5 days and nights of pure inspirational classes, late night showcases, jams, and interviews, is the opportunity to participate in the “Songwriter’s Breakfast.” On one of your first days at the conference, you draw a random songwriting prompt from a jar, and then somehow on days where you MIGHT get 4-5 hours sleep TOPS, you work in writing a song that you present on the final morning of the conference. The prompt we drew was “you are cooler than she is.” So after finding no time to even crack the notebook open, we found ourselves down to the final night. We came up with this fun song, consisting of all the things that annoyed each other from driving style, to grooming habits, and all the other things you come to understand about any one you’ve spent a lot of time with. Just as friends, we had spent 15 hour days experiencing all the amazing events there, while slowly succumbing to exhaustion and wanting time away from it all. So we used all of the tension we had built from living practically standing on each others heads, into a cutesy love song about how all the bad habits don’t matter, we are still good, and I’m “Cooler Than Her.”We even used Sarah’s boyfriend, Justin, playing “Dragon Age” as inspiration for the line “I may be her Knight! But I sit on the Throne!” This picture was taken at 6 am on the final morning of the conference(soooo tired…), and we performed our song live a couple hours later, went to our separate homes and died:)
Wherever You Go
Our Single from the “Synesthesia” Album, “Wherever You Go” is a story song about Love AFTER Life. Sarah and I had just been to a house concert for the record label MudStomp Records where at the time I got to showcase solo. Sarah got to join me on a couple of our older songs near the end of the set, we met a couple great local folk/roots musicians, and left the entire experience deeply inspired. We went back to our pen and paper, and started humming the melody of both the verses and the chorus but it would’t make it beyond that point for 3 MORE YEARS! Around February of this year, on a exceptionally cold day, the formula came together for how the verses would go back and forth to tell the story. Written on paper it looked like this (W for Wyatt S for Sarah;) Example taken from verse 1: the left two blocks in the picture
W:…I wonder where…you’ve been….
S: Feels like a thousand miles away…
W: No one’s seen you since back then…
S: I see you staring at my grave
WS: I can feel you, but you went away!
W: Death Came and she is gone
WS: I hold our memories everyday!
S: Cause the love…was way too Strong!
WS Chorus : Can’t take me away, my love will stay with you Wherever You Go
For the rest of your life you’ll never be alone
Everyday is one more closer to you, oh my dear our love will show, wherever you go…
Wherever You Go
From there the story unfolded itself through our pens and paper. We didn’t want a depressing death dirge, but a symbol of hope for wherever we end up on the other side of this life. Everyone you’ll ever meet, has lost, is losing, or will lose, people that they care about in their life. The point is to still live a full life, and know that that love will always be there, “Wherever You Go.”
P.S. Thank you to the Spotify Playlists, Art of the Song, KC Cafe Radio, and all the local and regional DJ’s that gave us such great coverage of this song, in tandem with our September tour down to Austin, Texas and back. Without you, music just sits there. You’re amazing:)
Alright with Me (Ft. Michael Turnbo)
This is a live video taken from multiple camera angles (and some extra take angles thrown in for fun) by our producer, Matt Richards, at Avenue Record Company. He made us this amazing promotional video that has helped us so much in having quality footage, to be considered for better venues. The recording on the album though, has the amazingly talented, humble spirited violinist from right here in Kansas City. His name is Michael Turnbo. He really brought it to life for us, as even when we wrote it, the design was to have violin be a main stay. You rock Michael, and thanks for making the dream come alive!
at Crows Coffee
Out of Touch
“Out of Touch” is one of our more rock oriented songs on the album. The live performance is just as fun, though a much more humble approach with tambourine and guitar! The song itself was first inspired after we saw the amazing 2006 movie “Once” , with Glen Hansard. His powerful vocals, and heartfelt yells of the pitfalls of life in his home of Dublin, Ireland. Once again the music presented itself readily within the hour after watching the movie. However, it would take another 4 years, and help both from Sarah and Matt to bring the song to life in the recording it is today. It’s definitely a different tone and style from our more “up beat” and “happy” material but we get to be many things, and tell many stories as The N!te Owls. I’m thankful after it’s long incubation period, to have it out there for people to enjoy wherever they are at in their lives.
Just the Same
This is another one of our more “folky” songs. A back and forth ballad of breaking up and moving on to whats new, while not really having handled what was. The thing that makes this song special is we use it as a action piece in our music. At folk alliance, we performed in many hotel rooms, emptied of their beds, and replaced with fold out metal chairs. You get to perform at the back side of the room and people come in and watch you perform. Instead of just standing and playing the song like we do any other, we would set one metal chair down and sit on the corners of the seat, back to back, facing away from each other. From there I would sing my lines trying to face her, but she would look away. When she would follow with the answering statement, I look away. Finally on the chorus, “You told me you’d always be there….Just the Same…Goodbye,” we would turn and face each other. This caught on so heavily at our showcase performances, that when we went down to Austin, Texas for the Southwest Regional Folk Conference, one audience member when we announced the song yelled out, “ IS THAT THE CHAIR ONE?!?” We still use action with the song in our live performances and that’s what makes this particular song stand out.
We’ll Be Fine
It began as an adventure…
Back in 2015, Sarah and I had heard about the Blood Moon coming in August of that year. So we took off the time to go camping to enjoy it! Now we don’t mean camping like going to a legit camping site and paying money…we decided we were just gonna walk with our lives on our back, down a long winding trail going through most of the north portion of Kansas City, and finding a place off trail to set up camp, and make food with whatever we caught or cooked. Gonna go full modern Davey Crockett! Only problem is their is no such thing as free land anymore, and everywhere we went, was someones back yard or close to it. All along the trail though, we met all sorts of people that stopped to talk to us with our sleeping bags and walking sticks, and fanny packs on (how could they resist?) and told us what THEY thought the blood moon meant. Some said it was an astrological blessing for the zodiac, some thought it was the beginning to the “end of times” and some people never looked up and could have cared less either way.
Finally we gave up on the camping idea, and just went home and unloaded our stuff. We walked to a nearby field (not this field, their were overpasses and homeless people, it was downtown at night….) and watched the blood moon. We thought of all the people we had met that day, and how we still had an amazing time despite not doing what we set out to do. So we sat in that field (seriously it was like the only picture of a field I had with us in it) under the blood moon, and we wrote a song about how it doesn’t matter what life throws at you, as long as you’re with the right people. This song although the LAST on the album, was the first to be recorded for my solo EP “Factory Made” in 2016. It was also the single released for that EP. Diana Ennis with KKFI 90.1 and Kathy Forste with KC Cafe Radio were the first two to play it locally in a regular capacity, which we will always be very grateful for.
We got played where?!
Our friend, Don Simon, at that time with MudStomp Records, placed our song on a compilation CD that made its way to many different hands. From there we heard about how are song had been played in as far away as Switzerland just from this CD and folk DJ’s doing what they do after an International Conference.
Our friend, fellow local musician, and do it all audio/video extraordinaire, David Haken helped us out making that recording come to life with a video shot at a lake, and in the pretty field photo shown earlier above (that field). We were a test case for him as he made his Gypsy Wagon Studio debut, as a traveling live performance/video making service.
In Austin, Texas…
We got guitars with the neck made out of the sound waves from our individual harmonies of the words “We’ll Be Fine,” thanks to Matt sending us a photo of the sound wave images while in the studio recording someone else! This song means the world to us. It’s the first time we heard what you could sound like in a big studio. It’s is still one of our favorite songs to play, and we never leave it off of a set list.