First Original Music On Windup Wire – San Lorenzo

San Lorenzo by No Show Ponies.  I’m putting up this track as a kind of experiment.  I’ve always wanted to create a site where I could put my writing and music all in one place.  One of the things that I like about blogging is the way that different kinds of things can exist next to each other, like a multi-media collage.  I’ve been working to change this site over the last month with my friend Chris Saunders.  Chris has been essential in helping me take full control over this blog.  Unfortunately, because I have been on the road so much, it is slow going, as just keeping it up to date takes a fair amount of time.  Anyway, although I still need to do some work on the site as a whole, for the first time I can post music that I have written directly to this site, without having to use a link.

No Show Ponies is a band that currently consists of myself, on bass and vocals on this track, my brother Ben, on guitar here, and Alex Moralez on drums and percussion.  We recorded some songs, mostly live, to a analog tape machine two years ago with the great Austin musician Ramsay Midwood.  NSP has been primarily a rock band, but we treated this song as minimally as possible.  The only overdub here is some very light percussion by Alex.

I’m still working out how I want to present my music here and because of that, and the fact that I just started working with my brother again after a year long hiatus, I wanted to choose something that was not entirely representative of what we do.  I always really liked the way this song came out though, as it has a haunted quality in the performance.  (If you listen on headphones, and any musician prays that you listen to their music on proper speakers or headphones instead of tinny computer speakers, there are some strange noises in the background that I can’t account for.  Ghosts in the machine perhaps.)

I’m really proud of this song as a piece of writing.  (Pride cometh before the fall!)  Although this song was written with a very specific location in mind, I feel like the writing is expansive enough that it could just as easily become another place in the imagination of the listener.  I purposely cross-pollinated images from Italy with things that could be in a western movie.  (There is an obscure reference to my favorite western, The Wild Bunch.)  I’ve also always been struck by art that includes a memento mori in it.  (Read about memento mori here.)  “Remember that you have to die.”  However, if you think this song is bleak, I hope it also includes the idea that there is love and beauty in the world, as well as an interesting strangeness.

San Lorenzo

Riding down through painted vistas
Against the rising of the sun
Either the dove shall be released
Or it’s the cold steel of the gun

Your beauty it haunts me
Makes me want to do something bold
Last I saw your naked shoulders
Get covered up in San Lorenzo

Kids are burning insects
With lenses in the street
I begin to feel the presence
Of a divine comedy

Your beauty eludes me
I never felt so alone
I’d give anything to go back
And pass the time in San Lorenzo

Walking past mass graves
Endless skulls and endless bones
Merchants and slaves
All sharing the same tombs

Your beauty, it comforts me
Makes me forget all I know
I’m hoping for a chance encounter
On the way to San Lorenzo

By Jefferson Brown

P.S.  If you like the track, feel free to pass it along to friends or to make it part of some other kind of multi-media collage of your own.


Performing in Dallas This Weekend

Banjo Girls

I’ll be performing songs I wrote at a backyard concert this weekend in Dallas, Texas this Saturday, August 15th.  This concert has been put together by Banjo Girls.  You can get details and tickets at the above link.  This is was originally going to be a solo show, but my brother is returning to Texas and this will now be trio show, as we perform with drummer and percussionist Alex Moralez.  We will be performing songs from the No Show Ponies catalog along with new songs from an upcoming solo release that is in the can.  I’m extremely excited about this show.  The space is small, so if you are interested please get your tickets now, before they sell out.


Live Music Tonight

For those in the Austin area, I will be performing tonight at Volente Beach with No Show Ponies.  I’m excited for this show as I will get to perform with my brother Ben, who is in Austin for a limited time only.  It’s adult swim out there so the show is 18 and up only.  Tickets are $9, which gets you to hear a whole night of live music, along with swimming and water rides.  I was skeptical to play what is primarily known as a water park, but everyone I have talked to speaks highly of the place and especially their adult swim nights.  We are the last of several bands and we go on at 10pm.  We will be performing songs off of our album, A Manual For Defeat, and more.


Tonight my band No Show Ponies will be playing at Hole in the Wall in Austin at 9pm.  I try not to over promote my own shit on here, as I want this site to have value in and of itself.  However, tonight is a special show as my brother moved away a year ago and this is one of the very few times we may get to play music together for the immediate future.  Above is a Joe Strummer song that we often cover.  “Going to the Mountaintop”!

If you want to hear us here is a link to our record that we recorded two years ago in Austin with Ramsay Midwood at the helm.  Recording mostly live to some quarter inch analog tape.  You can stream the album in full.

Sleeping Like a Baby in ATX Tonight

Comedy is what happens to others
Tragedy is what happens to you
If I ever get through the gates of heaven
I’m gonna punch the first thing in view
Since the Ides of March, I’ve traveled far
Through Appalachia and Dixieland
Searching for the one who
Sees me as I am

I’m sleeping like a baby
Still chasing that dream
Never sure if what I’m wishing for
Is dignified or obscene

I went from Paris in the springtime
To Hitler in the first chill of the fall
Taking up arms against
All of nature’s laws
Maureen, oh Maureen, she was my first true love
And I often think of who will be my last
She’ll need an iron will and selective memory
If I’ve learned anything from my past

I’m sleeping like a baby
Still chasing that dream
Never sure if what I’m wishing for
is dignified or obscene

There’s snow on the pines and ice on the road
And it’s getting hard to steer 
And I’ve found myself laughing at
The things that I used to fear
The things that I used to fear…

I’m sleeping like a baby
Still chasing that dream
Never sure if what I’m wishing for
Is dignified or obscene

Sleeping Like a Baby by No Show Ponies.  This is the first song I wrote after moving to Austin, Texas.  It was on our first album we made here, The End of Feel Good Music.  The album as a whole is a mixed bag that didn’t turn out quite like we imagined.  It ended up being too alt-country in our minds, which was our fault, but we accidentally stumbled down that road.  However, this song, strangely also the most country of all the songs, was one that turned out exactly like it should have.

I’ll be performing it tonight down at Hole in the Wall in ATX.  Show begins at 10pm.

One Hand is Kind, One Hand is Cruel

Baby, let me remind you
You’re ahead one
And behind two

I’m the kind to lay it on the line
But this world is as vicious as love is blind

One hand is kind, the other is cruel
You can have the Kingdom, but may never rule
One hand is cruel, the other is cruel
You can enter the Court, but only as a fool

Baby, let me explain
Most are only as generous
As they are vain

I’m the kind whose always on time
You’re the toast of the town, but there’s another in line

One hand is kind, the other is cruel
You can have the Kingdom, but may never rule
One hand is kind, the other is cruel
You can enter the Court, but only as the fool

Oh I’ll caress your neck
But if you ever talk back, if you ever talk back…
I’m the kind that lays it on the line
Time after time, after time, after time…

Another set of song lyrics from the distant past.  I found some old demos and I clearly don’t have any other blog ideas yet.  Hey, at least I’m honest!  The idea at the time was that the God of the Old Testament was talking to mankind in the form of a relationship song.  However, I think that unless I explained that it just comes across as a piece of sexist clap-trap.  Hey, again, at least I’m honest…

Strange Brew Today

I’ll be playing down at Strange Brew in Austin, Texas today with my kid brother for the first time in months.  I had a band with my brother for many years that has been on hiatus while my brother attends law school.  After a searing 3 hour rehearsal yesterday we decided to turn my solo show into a rock show.  We’re also going to be joined by the great Austin songwriter Kacy Crowley.  Detrimental to my wallet, I’ve always had a strange relationship with the whole self promotional thing.  However, I can say without any doubt we are going to bring it today.  Playing with my brother, and longtime drummer Alex Moralez, yesterday made me feel like I was on a rocket taking off for Mars.  Together, let’s celebrate Jesus’s birthday early today by drinking and smoking! (Hey it’s not like it was meant to be celebrated by shopping.)  4pm start time.

No Show Ponies Live Performance

I usually don’t like the way YouTube videos of shows turn out.  The lighting is usually bad, the sound worse, the way it’s filmed makes you want to crawl into a cave and die.  However, this one turned out pretty good.  This is my former band, No Show Ponies, playing at Strange Brew in Austin, Texas.  We played the small listening room in Austin earlier this year.  It is one of the best sounding rooms in Austin.  My brother Ben is on guitar and vocals.  Alex Moralez, who is also playing with me in my current solo project, is on drums.  The set is a mix of original songs and covers, but it is only part of the set.  On that day we covered Joe Strummer, Lou Reed, John Hiatt, and Jackson Browne.  The rest of the songs are ours.  Some of them our from our album A Manual for Defeat, and some are newer.  If you are bored at work today, plug in your headphones, pretend to look busy, and have a listen…

Yesterday’s News

Friday’s star is Monday’s clown
And summer’s bride is divorced and down
Tomorrow’s rulers haven’t yet been born
She’s got a big mouth, but she’s been warned

Here’s a fact in a world of half-truths:

Keep your head up
There’s nothing you can do
At some point we’ll all be yesterday’s news

Meet the day with a fiery sword
Or with a pen and the written word
It makes no difference to me you see
Whatever helps you sleep

Here’s a fact in a world of half-truths:

Keep your head up
There’s nothing you can do
At some point we’ll all be yesterday’s news

Our hearts are filled with love baby
But our heads are filled with doom
It does no good to deny it baby
Just remember that I’m here with you tonight
Only for tonight

Keep your head up
There’s nothing you can do

At some point we’ll all be yesterday’s news

One time when I lived in Pennsylvania my band No Show Ponies got a big spread in the local paper.  My parents, in a moment of pride, hung it on the fridge.  The next day I remember seeing it there and laughing to myself that I was now yesterday’s news.  I wrote the above song later that day.  Last night I found myself on stage with Rock N Roll Hall of Famers Eric Burdon and Ian McLagen.  Shortly afterwards I was walking out the front door of The ACL Live venue and into my less than fancy Kia Forte.  A few minutes after that I was home alone with my dog as my only companion.  It reminded me of those words that I wrote years ago.  I revel in such contradictions.  We’re all just human beings trying to do the best we can.  Don’t get too big for your britches son, the gods are watching, always ready to laugh at your expense.