jazz at the station, pandemic edition

We don’t get around much anymore, as the song goes, and live performances and live audiences are in short supply. But one silver lining to a pandemic is that we sometimes deliver music straight into your home through wires. Jazz at the Station was good enough to host us for a socially distanced performance for their monthly session at Ogden’s Union Station.

On stage in a nearly empty ballroom at Ogden's Union Station.
Performing on the stage of a nearly empty ballroom at Ogden’s Union Station. (Photo credit: Karyn Johnston)

For us, the best part of it all was that we had this moment to get dressed up and play from a stage for an hour, albeit without a physical audience. It was a nice chance to feel like ourselves. While it’s not the same as being there, it was recorded for the public record.

Someday, one day, we’ll see you in person again. We’re looking forward to that.

I only ever loved your ghost

Here’s offering number two from our pandemic demo sessions — tracks recorded in separate homes and pasted back together. Unlike our pandemic debut (Don’t Get Around Much Anymore), this is a song we’ve played before in front of audiences. Still, it takes on a different character when we’re isolated, and we were able to play around with the dynamics. In some ways it’s a better fit for quiet isolation than a late Friday night at the bar.

Stick around past the first verse into the second and see if you have the same reaction that Anna did.

I Only Ever Loved Your Ghost, by Jens Kuross, performed by Standards & Substandards
Anna, a socially distanced and disaffected college student, responds enthusiastically as the second verse surprises even her jaded sensibilities in this troubled time.

I Only Ever Loved Your Ghost is composed and originally performed by Jens Kuross. Here’s his version, which is worth listening to for comparison and because it’s simply a great song.

Jens Kuross performing live.

We learned about this brilliant piece when we were in The Proper Way studios and Scott Rogers had us listen to it. We started playing through the chords along with the recording and we loved it from that first moment. Shane Osguthorpe of The Proper Way did this Tom Waits-esque version. Again, it’s a fun comparison of what this song affords, but it’s also just fantastic in its own right.

Sublime version from The Proper Way.

We’re still working in our isolated corners, rehearsing new stuff for some future day as well as laying down tracks that we can share. We hope we hope we have a few more samples soon.

don’t get around much anymore

As we’ve navigated the pandemic and all of our distancing, we’ve been trying to figure out how to make music together while separated. There have been comedic failures and overall it’s just kind of sad not to be in the same space and work on things at the same time. Playing in the same room and riffing off of one another is how we naturally function.

So, we’re kind of proud to show this off, our first pandemic demo, Don’t Get Around Much Anymore, by Duke Ellington. This is the product of us each working on our own track, building on what each of us creates separately, and then mixing it back together. It’s inconvenient and inefficient, but it’s fun to hear it work when everything is layered correctly:

Don’t Get Around Much Anymore, from our pandemic demo sessions

We thought this worked to share right now for a few reasons. First, we all don’t get around much anymore, and especially since this refers to Saturday evening social events, this Saturday felt just right. Also, it happens to be Ella Fitzgerald‘s birthday, and she puts out classic renditions of this standard.

But mostly it’s just fun to share and for us to keep working on stuff. We learned this from scratch and we have never actually played this all together in the same room (yet). This is not as much fun, but we’re learning new things as we go. We’ll see what it sounds like when we actually get to play it live!

Our separate spaces for making our separate tracks.

Stay tuned! We think we’ll be able to share more things like this in the near future.

virtual & physical

There’s not a lot of news to report these days. We keep to ourselves in our 4 separate units, keeping in touch in all the ways that people do, emailing and texting and Zooming to connect with each other and figure out how to share and play music when we’re only connected by long wires and radio waves.

This gives us a little bit of a chance to experiment with new ideas. We talk a lot about how to remove hiss from a microphone recording and how to synchronize tracks we’re all working on individually. So, there’s new music we each get to work on and some potential new ways to share stuff and connect with the world virtually.

Along those lines, Spotify just gave us a way to setup our profile and establish more of a presence on that platform, which is fun to see, in addition to our place on Apple Music. Take a look and add us to playlists to share with friends.

In the more real, physical world, we have 500 really great, holdable and present new business cards. For the time being, one of them is making a great bookmark until these have a chance to come along with us to gigs in person.

Business card as bookmark.
S&S custom bookmark in Adam’s reading on science teaching. Best of all worlds.

Until then, stay tuned for side projects and other updates. Be well and take care!