2. Can I Call You

 The jam where it began... (May 2013)

This song began in a cabin in Northern California where we (Mia Dyson and band) had just played for a few thousand people during sunset/moonrise.

"I don't want to go to sleep tonight, I just want to sing this song
I don't think I'll get more high tonight, my mind is already gone"

Just in case you couldn't hear exactly what we were singing, there it is. Draw your own conclusions.

I write notes to myself along the way. Here's what I thought as I filed this one away in my workbook:

The first thing I'm hearing as I set out to write this next group of songs,
and it deeply moves me, but towards what I can't quite say.
That night in the cabin away from absolutely everything, the one lightbulb hanging from the ceiling. Could be an homage to that experience, but it feels like something else.



Refinement and First Try Recording (September 2013)

My bandmate Lee Pardini came up to our old house in Ventura and we spent a day working on a general refinement of the structure of the song. 

I couldn't get away from the lyric I had improvised when the song first appeared, so we recorded a demo with Lee on bass, me on drums and guitar and a very quiet vocal meant to be replaced.

You can hear the germ of the idea in there but it had yet to take shape. 




Zac came up to visit and together we found our way to the heart of the song. I love hearing Zac on demos, he has such a powerful voice. One interesting thing listening back to this (aside from the unfinished lyrics) is the way we're switching off line by line in the verse and we're each doing our best imitation of each other. It's hard to tell who is who. 


The "Easy Magic" session (may 2015)

Zac and Mariana had left to get groceries so Joe was filling in at the piano. Sam Smith and Sam Bolle had guided us into this beautiful musical trance and night had fallen.

Here's Sam Smith:

All the songs came together fast, but especially this one. What I particularly heard in my head was the single punctuated crack that comes in at the end of the song. I just hit whatever was nearby that wasn't a drum -- which happened to be a music stand. I hoped that when I heard the final mix, Jason (Mariani) would make it sound like out of some dream. And he did!

My other co-drummer on this, by the way, was Sam Bolle on bass. Those rolling 16th notes that I kept going on the floor tom were merely floating along with Sam's bass line, and I love times like that when multiple band members hold the rhythm together.


Sometimes, as we are sitting at the studio mixing these songs, Jason (Mariani) will "solo" something for me to hear how he's achieving an effect. In this case, we thought you'd like to hear how Jason's helping Sam's drums pulse throughout the song. 

Here are the original drums without effects:

And here they are with the pulsing effect added (best in headphones):

(Sidney, Clark, Pardini)

DRUMS - Sam Smith    GUITAR - Dylan Allen    PIANO - Joe Ballaro      BASS - Sam Bolle
SYNTH - Oliver Newell     ADDITIONAL KEYBOARDS - Zac Clark    

ARTWORK by Aaron Taylor-Waldman

underneath my breath
in the back of my mind
the last summer day
that took you away
you left me behind

I don’t need a reminder
I don’t want a sign
I want you to come back
as simple as that
back to where I am

can I call you when I can’t get to sleep at night?
when I wake up alone
I’ll tell you what I see when I close my eyes
you can tell me when you’re coming home

got your picture framed
just the other day
picked up a book you read
but you never finished with
when you were my age

I keep moving on
but that’s not what I want
I want to see you here
I want to hold your hand
You been gone too long

can I call you when I can’t get to sleep at night?
when I wake up alone
I'll tell you what I see when I close my eyes
and you can tell me when you’re coming home

can I call you when I can’t get to sleep at night?