Sundaysong Singalong, 11-2-14

It was a gorgeous day and a gorgeous set of people this morning singing along in Little Stacy Park. Maile made a pot of Chai Tea for everyone, Gray played along on uke, lots of old friends and kiddos showed up, and the weather could not have been nicer.

My printed songbooks seemed to be a vast improvement on the transparency projector… we sat in more of a circle and people could actually read the words! Listen below to a few clips from our singalong set, on Soundcloud.

Sundaysong Singalong 11-2-14, Soundcloud player






October News

October was a month of fantastic firsts. We threw our first Sundaysong Singalong outside at the park to great effect. A bunch of cool folks came and really dug it, singing Beatles songs while kids make chalk art on the sidewalk. We’ll do it again the first Sunday of November.

Ralph and J Play Along on Waller Creek

And I played my first gig with my new battery powered pedalboard and vocal amp. My dream of amplifying the magic paid off, and I think Ralph and I were able to make that sweet spot into a dreamy space for the Friday lunchtime crew. This stood in stark contrast to the campus gig Ralph and I played the week before, by the turtle pond, without amplification, where I belted out the songs and struggled to be heard over all the distracting background activity.

Maile, Anais and I also checked out a cool festival an hour north of Austin called Art Outside. Considering that art outside is basically what I consider my mission these day, I had to check it out, and I’m glad I did. Cool music, vibe, grounds, and format. Weaving visual and performance art in with the music festival added a real richness that made it feel more participatory and authentic than just a hipster-hippy party.

hipster hippy,

Waller Creek Peace Concert

Ralph and I work together at UT. I’m a web guy, he’s an IT guy. We both love music and play guitar. So we teamed up last week to put on a little peace concert in a sweet corner of campus as part of the Hearts of Texas Charitable Campaign. This was a fun gig for me because I had Ralph backing me up, and because it was the first time I used my new portable, battery powered pedalboard and vocal amp.

Now I can sing my softer, sweeter songs and still be heard outside. Now I can layer loops and delays. And I can do it in the most scenic, remote locations, because it can all be battery powered.

Here are three tunes from the beautiful concert on Waller Creek last Friday. Thanks to everyone who came out and for the perfect weather.

This first video is of Ralph playing over a loop I laid down before the concert while Earl took pictures and I finished setting up. This is one of the things I’ve been wanting to do, be able create this rich soupy ambient background music outside, for sweet spaces like this one. I love how the loop and Ralph’s improv get mixed with talk, trucks, beeps, birds and other background noises.

The first song we played was an old one of mine that I love but rarely play, The Train Into The City. Again, this fingerpicked song is too quiet to be easily heard outside without the amp.

Here is one of the covers we played, Van Dieman’s Land, the only U2 song I know of by The Edge.

Tunes for Turtles

Ralph and I played a set at the turtle pond this afternoon. It was a gorgeous, sunny, 85-degree day and all the turtles came out, along with a bunch of friends from around the UT-Austin campus. Carlo snapped a great set of reflections in the water, presented here, upside down.

We opened with one of my songs, I Can See You. Check out all the background noises: birds, planes, bells, trucks… the hum of the buildings and the buzz of the Friday afternoon exodus was our backdrop.

We closed with a cover of Cat Stevens’s If You Want To Sing Out Sing Out:

j and ralph w guitars, reflection in turtle pond

Jessica snapped a pic of me after everyone had gone and caught some cool colors in the sun flair.j w guitar infront of turtle pond

I Am From

A friend from high-school posted a poem by her 9-yr-old daughter Vivian on Facebook last week. I printed it and brought it home to read to the family and nearly teared-up each time I read it, I thought it was so beautifully done. What a wonderful portrait of childhood. Very Whitmanian, if you ask me.

I Am From
By Vivian Stang

I am from the dog that barks at night
and the cats that roam around my street.

I am from Cape Cod and the warm blue sea.
I am from hamburgers and their wonderful, juicy taste.

I am from the Sarabinh and
Charlie branch and their love for me.
I am from my grandma’s brownies and sponge cake.

I am from my sister’s tight hug
and warm happy smile.
I am from my cat meowing when she wants food.

I am from soccer, kicking the ball through the field
and passing it to my teammates.

I am from running with my friends in the park
and sitting while our ice cream
drips onto the ground.

I am from my cozy bed
and playing with my sister on Saturday mornings.
I am from my mom reading stories to me in bed.

I am from sitting on the couch and quietly reading.
I am from chatting at the dinner table with
my family.

I am from joking around with my with my friends
and getting out of bed to give my parents
hugs every morning.

I am from gulping down my mom’s chocolate cake
and cleaning my room, while listening to music.

I am from riding on the back of a horse,
feeling the wind brush against my face.
I am from making sandcastles at the beach.

I am from laughing with my friends
and reading to my little sister.
I am from playing UNO with my grandparents and
listening to my grandma play piano.

I am from biking with my mom,
while watching the endless bike trail.

I am from the things that make me, me.

Here’s my first attempt at my I Am From poem:

I Am From
by Jason Molin

I am from my first little record player, singing along, “We sail the ocean blue and our saucy ship’s a beauty!”

I am from the alley behind the house, kickball, or a soccer ball against the wall, or setting up ramps and riding off them over and over again, jumping trashcans with Matt.

I am from walking to school, skateboarding, bussing or riding my bike back and forth along Connecticut Ave. or Reno Rd. I am from forgetting my books and having to go back to school. I am from getting a ride home with Mark or Saul or Mrs. Brady.

I am from crazy beautiful flawed teachers, Mr. Emerson, Stick Sturtevant, Mr. King, my ceramics teacher, what was his name? What would I be without their passion and patience? I am from Manfred and Gurland, my philosophical fathers.

I am from my mother’s beautiful house, the oriental rugs, the walls full of art and shelves full of books. I am from Al’s meals, dinners in the kitchen, with guests in the dining room around a turkey, well-spiced sautéed vegetables, an interesting soup, pecan pies, occasionally meringues. I am from long conversations afterward, talking around the fire until we’re tired.

I am from singing at church, from the trumpet what was my father’s, from high-school musicals, from the acoustic guitar I used to sing my soul over and over and never stopped. I am from jamming and singing whenever and wherever and those who join in.

I am from The Song of Myself and The War of Art, I am from If You Want To Sing Out, Sing Out and Love Rescue Me. I am from Across the Universe and One Love.

I am from Maile’s animals, her loving name for everything. I am from Anais’s art, each dance, song, drawing, story, and scene.

I am from walking or biking the streets of DC, NY, Dublin, and Austin, lost in thought, noticing reflections, singing to myself, snapping pics or jotting down ideas, rethinking the strategy, making resolutions, noticing signs and designs, catching people’s eyes.

I am from the rhythm of words, birdsong, dancing and hugging and kissing in the sun. I am from staying up late, disappearing through the smoke rings of my mind. I am Sylvester as the stone, waking early and meditating on a world with and beyond me.

Sundaysong Singalong Goes To The Park

This morning’s singalong was a great official public debut – at Little Stacy Park, 11am-12pm – and the weather was ideal. So was the crowd of 20 or so friends and a strangers who sat on the stage or laid and played on the grass.

My old-school transparency projector did the job and we almost made it through all 20 of the songs I had printed on film before the hour was up. Kids played and made chalk-art while we sang.

Here is the end of the last song we sang together, the trippy Beatles ending on Revolver, Tomorrow Never Knows, followed by our closing bell.

I began and ended the set with a ring of my new singing bowl and a moment of silence. A few people mentioned they liked the ring of the bowl. I think it added a nice cue for entering and exiting the musical meditation.

Our singalong set (with a few we didn’t to crossed out):

  • One Love
  • Three Little Birds
  • With A Little Help From My Friends
  • Take Me Home, Country Roads
  • This Land Is Your Land
  • If You Want To Sing Out, Sing Out (With intro and sing verse/chorus)
  • Mr. Tambourine Man
  • I Shall Be Released
  • Forever Young
  • Blowin In The Wind
  • Lean On Me
  • Swing Low, Sweet Chariot
  • Across The Universe
  • Let It Be
  • Amazing Grace
  • Rainbow Connection
  • This Land Is Your Land
  • I Still Haven’t Found What I’m Looking
  • Tomorrow Never Knows


September News

I love new years, and better than a new calendar year is a new birthday year. So after turning 42 earlier this month and feeling like it had brought many answers, I set out again to refine my sound and vision for Fall’s shows.

This meant getting some new (battery-powered) gear that will allow me to bring some of the sonic magic I make in the studio, outside, to remote settings. It meant playing with new loop and delay pedals, many nights in a row.

It also meant bringing new ideas to the music-council for feedback. Thanks to Earl and Airshp for all the help envisioning and refining it with me. Channel J is on the way!

Stay tuned,

LOVE by John Lennon (For Gray and Lauren)

Gray and Lauren got married a few weeks ago, so I worked up this old favorite to perform at the wedding. How much more simple, beautiful and true can a song get?!

Love is real, real is love
Love is feeling, feeling love
Love is wanting to be loved

Love is touch, touch is love
Love is reaching, reaching love
Love is asking to be loved

Love is you, you and me
Love is knowing we can be

Love is free, free is love
Love is living, living love
Love is needing to be loved