The Super Naturals

November 4, 2014

hank-williams-eric-cunninghamBack in April I created a Facebook page for my new imprint: The Super Naturals. It was originally me and two other supernatural ladies and we had a show booked opening for Holly Golightly at the end of April. It was a whirlwind of practices, arranging songs, changing up instruments and teaching my lovely niece Emily how to play the bass inside of a month. Well, long story short, Emily got a migraine, Holly lost her voice and the show was fortunately cancelled. Not sure we could have pulled it off as a twosome…but Helen & I were willing to try!

Ramblin’ Man by Hank Williams is the first song I learned to play on guitar. It’s got two chords. His songs are the best ones to play when you’re learning guitar—they’re simple and fun to sing along to. I’m not the kind of ramblin’ man that Hank was singing about but I do have a restlessness that manifests itself in other ways. I can say though that when I was about 23 I did try to jump a train car from Alexandria, West Virginia to Seattle, Washington with a young, charming lad that I met in D.C. Lucky for us, security stepped in and told us to shove off so we slept outside in a park by a fire station with blankets given to us by kind firemen. Next day I bought a plane ticket to Seattle.

Since I’m a bass player by nature this arrangement is very bass/drum centric. My friend Andy Henry graciously played guitar on the track. I’m thinking that the Jim Kissling mix gives it a very supernatural sound. Wouldn’t you agree?

In keeping with the friendly spirit of this blog I asked Andy to cover a Hank song too. These are the results…enjoy.

Blackbird v.2

June 1, 2014

Christmas Time Is Here

December 18, 2011

Since I haven’t posted anything in a long, long while, I thought it would be a good idea (mostly because I’m lazy) to post an old Come Ons Christmas tune. Don’t Forget To Feed The Reindeer was my favorite Christmas jam when I was little, probably because it was about animals and nothing at all about Jesus. The Come Ons arrangement is poppier and less skilled than Peggy Lee’s version. We recorded it to tape in our practice space at my brother’s glass shop. Enjoy!

Hope you are all having a peaceful holiday.

A Summer Song

August 15, 2011

I’ve been trying to record and post this song for two months. When I was considering cover ideas for the Frankly Speaking documentary trailer this one felt like a good fit for the movie, for me, for this summer. I’ve always loved A Summer Song, its gentle vocal harmonies and guitar accompaniment wrapped in a beautiful string arrangement, evoking sad and sweet memories of summers gone by. My version, of course, sounds nothing like THAT, but I couldn’t very well do a copycat seeing as I don’t play the guitar or the violin.

My father passed away at the end of June. Since I’ve talked about him in several posts on this blog I felt I should mention that now. That fact also affected my ability to get this song recorded and posted in a timely fashion. Since he’s been gone I’ve been very busy with work as well, which I hope to never take for granted. Walking dogs and petting kitty cats is pretty great even when you’re happy. When you’re sad it’s awesome too.

I think my dad would have really enjoyed my version of this song, me being his baby daughter and all. But he loved popular music, much more than my mom ever did. I would play Otis Redding or Billie Holiday in the house and my mom couldn’t stand it! My dad would always ask me what I was playing, who was singing… Music made him happy. Sometimes I feel sad when a memory of him pops up in my head and sometimes I feel relieved that he is not suffering anymore. I do know that I haven’t cried much since he’s died.

So here it is…


June 17, 2011

I am pleased to report that the Tambourine Project is back in full swing. Today’s collaboration songs come courtesy of my friend Chris Sutton who was in Detroit recently, blissfully snoring on my cat-pissed couch and playing bass with the Dirtbombs. They performed a record’s worth of oldie Detroit techno hits for the Movement electronic music festival at Hart Plaza. When he’s not slumming it in the Motor City, Chris is the touring bass player for The Gossip, who are not on tour at the moment. I met him when he played drums in a band from Olympia, Washington called C.O.C.O.  He temporarily joined The Come Ons when we went to Spain in 2005 and recorded a groovy 12″ single with us too, fuzzing out some freaky guitar noise on Donna Summer’s I Feel Love cover.

I asked Chris to participate in my latest blog project without any idea what we would do. I had no lyrical inspiration, no bass line brewing in the back of my skull. When he actually agreed to my fun and games, I was stumped. It then became twice as difficult to think up something we could collaborate on. That Sunday while the DBs were practicing, I dropped my mom off at church and went to the mall. It’s how I spend my Sundays lately, walking around Laurel Park Place, buying socks and underwear, stopping at the Coffee Beanery while averting my gaze from the Godiva kiosk. I wasn’t expecting to find a flash or even a flicker in this place of glossy floored suburbatude that could serve my Tambourine Project needs. Then later, while walking out to my car in the parking lot, there it was on a Honda CRV license plate: 2CHIL4U.

Chris Sutton has to be one of thee most “chill” people I know. Maybe it’s the weed, but he’s got that laid-back, cool-with-the-world-and-everything-in-it-ness that I kind of envy. Of course, he also lives in Portland.

I texted him right away.

Two days later we recorded bass and drums, tambourine, hand claps, egg shaker, keys and vocals. I wanted the lyrics for both songs to be kind of a call and response, like UTFO’s Roxanne, Roxanne…only minus the record scratching. So Chris did a little rap on his song and I wrote my response based on his rap. It’s all in fun.

Chris Chill

D Chill

Barbara Ann

May 14, 2011

I recorded this one on my Casiotone MT-400V. A little online research on the keyboard turned up this guys blog:


Makes me feel like I need to go to school to really use this thing. I’m not a music nerd, or an electronics geek. I kind of wish I was, then maybe I would get more interesting results.

Thought I’d post this just for fun. If you’re not a fan of the original (like me) you might just hate this version too.

Barbara Ann

Johnny Nash

May 8, 2011

I’ve been on the fence with posting this song, not really sure that I like the version I came away with. I recorded this by request for the trailer documentary I spoke of in my Beach Boys post. I think Johnny Nash is great and I like “I Can See Clearly Now” even though it’s one of those over-played radio songs. Not surprisingly, an instrumental version is being used for a current allergy medicine advertisement.

The original is weird sounding when you give a good listen. There are distorted horns and accordion and great vocal harmonies. I tried to emulate some of that weirdness with my Casio SA-21. It’s got all kinds of distorted sounding fake instruments on it. My favorite is the spacey sounding thing I put on the final verse. It’s called Cosmic Sound, and I have to agree, it’s what I imagine the star-filled cosmos to sound like.

Johnny Nash has a beautiful voice. I had to drop the key on this song because I can’t sing it like Mr. Nash and because I had a tremendous cold last week. It was a fun and sometimes frustrating challenge to perform everything in one take; no “punching in” as they say. Jim played guitar and bass on the song – thank you! I did not have the patience for either. The song sounds mellow, not exhilarating like the original. But what can you do? I didn’t have any bongos. All that really matters is my mother-in-law loves this song, so…Happy Mother’s Day!

I Can See Clearly Now

Esquire Magazine

April 26, 2011

Ok. Here’s the link to the “Last Night in Detroit” songwriter challenge from Esquire Men’s Magazine. I got the line wrong. Good stuff!

Last Night in Detroit

The Beach Boys

April 25, 2011

I did not grow up loving the Beach Boys. Maybe it’s because my older siblings liked hard rock and the Beatles. They were hippies and burnouts that smoked pot and did other assorted recreational drugs. That didn’t really fit in with the Beach Boys sound. As an adult, my un-appreciation only grew. Those ubiquitous songs “Fun, Fun, Fun” and “Barbara Ann”, played endlessly on oldies radio when I’d rather it was a Motown song by Stevie Wonder or Marvin Gaye. Then, playing in bands and hearing other musicians talk about the great Brian Wilson, the amazing vocal harmonies and production on Pet Sounds, still I couldn’t wrap my head around it. I think I could never get past the grating falsetto. Maybe the silly, light-hearted lyrics had something to do with it too.

I’m not going to say that my opinions have changed much. I’m not announcing that my next project will be covering Pet Sounds from beginning to end. I would rather eat a raw pork chop. But I will concede that Brian Wilson wrote some pretty great songs. The best one, by far, possibly one of the best pop songs ever written (I think Paul McCartney said this too) is “God Only Knows” from Pet Sounds. What can I say, but the song makes me cry.

The reason I’m blogging about the Beach Boys is because I recently recorded a cover of “God Only Knows” in my little basement studio. Last year, I was introduced to a friend of a friend who is working on a documentary. Filming herself, her family and her father as his brain is slowly consumed by Alzheimer’s disease, the story is personal and painful. Her name is Joleen Firek and she is an accomplished writer, director and film producer. She needed music for the trailer and will hopefully need music for the film once funding is secured.  Her father loved the Beach Boys and they shared many moments on camera, dancing and singing together through the painful progression of his illness. Here is the link to her blog where she talks about her dad. I am grateful that she asked me to contribute music to her project. I’m still working on a few more covers of the 1960’s pop variety and hopefully they will fit with Joleen’s vision for the film. My Tambourine Project is on hold for the moment, but in the meantime, I hope you enjoy this song…
God Only Knows MP3

Tambourine Project #2

April 2, 2011

The E.N.D. Tambourine Project presents the second installation of musical collaborations for your listening pleasure. This time I worked with my old bandmate, Bryan Foreman, an affable guitar player and good friend. He had an idea for a sweet little chord progression that he wanted to write a song around, so he passed it along to me and the fun began. The song he wrote – “T. Rex, I Love You” – totally rocks. I get the song stuck in my head and it makes me want to shimmy-shake!

Bryan and I co-wrote two songs in this very same fashion on the last Come Ons cd Stars. Bryan had some ideas for two songs so he gave me a cassette with a home recording on it. I proceeded to destroy both songs (I am Deanne the Destroyer, afterall) and then rebuild them again with somber, melodramatic song lyrics.

Since I’ve launched this new musical project, my dear old friend Patrick told me about something Esquire magazine is producing where a handful of song writers (all men, by the way) get together and write songs around a specific lyric line. I don’t know who comes up with the initial idea, but the first one is called “Somewhere in Missisippi.” Here’s a link to the video.

So the moral of the story is, no matter how special or interesting you think your ideas are, all over the planet, many people are having the same idea as you.

The next Esquire production is supposed to have Detroit songwriters (I think they’re all boys too) write a song around the lyric “Bury Me in Detroit.” I heard that Brendan Benson and Ben Blackwell were appointed to write songs for this project. I look forward to hearing what they come up with and if I find a link, I will post it here.

It’s officially Spring now. Play ball!

T Rex I Love You

Pepper Sand

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