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Left-leaning Improvisations on Patriotic Tunes for (what’s left of) Independence Day

I had a whole rant planned for this episode—a musical/verbal elegy on the disaster our country has become under the regime of he-who-shall-not-be-named.

But let’s face it, there are plenty of podcasts—like Pod Save America—that are more effective at ranting against the grotesquerie in D.C. than mine. What I’m good at is ranting through music, and that includes instrumental music like this.

What, you didn’t think a person could rant through the piano? Think again. And enjoy (what’s left of) independence day!


Episode #16 Transcription


So I was going to do this episode for Independence Day, 4th of July called elegy for the America that never was and I actually did a couple takes and uh, something didn’t feel right. The first one was just spectacularly angry, partly because I was just in a bad mood, but also because I’m just, you know, America right now, it’s kind of my state of mind about the whole thing. And so I said, okay, I’ll, I’ll redo it. It just seemed off the charts. And then I did it again and I was still angry. Not so much because of my general mood, but because I’m still angry and then I realize this just doesn’t feel right. It’s not going anywhere. Besides, you can go listen to Pod save America or something like that for that type of liberal rant. You don’t really need me for that. But I got some really nice solo piano improvisations on themes from patriotic songs, themes from the republic gone bad.

So I’m just gonna leave it at that. This is mostly going to be music, hardly any talking. The first thing you’ll hear right now is me doing an improvisation on My Country Tis of Thee, which strictly speaking is a British song. It’s, you know, God save the Queen or King or whoever’s in power at any given time, that we adapted. I believe at some point after we fought off the British, we took their song and made it My Country, Tis of Thee. So that’s up. And then I’m going to play you an improvisation on the star spangled banner, which we also, we stole from the British as well. It was an old English drinking song, which is kind of appropriate. I have a partial improvisation on that. And then I’ll go out with a recorded version of that same tune from three years ago from my album blues preludes and feuds, same tune, different rendition.

So it’s a patriotic music fest as expressed by an angry liberal American. Enjoy!


And then there’s this, or part of this, followed by all of this. You’ll see what I mean.


So as I was playing that about halfway through where it gets into the groove part, where it goes into this kind of swinging groove waltz, I realize I’ve recorded this. I did this rendition about three years ago in my album Blues. Preludes and Feuds. And as I was thinking about that, as I’m playing, I’m thinking I’m going to screw this up cause I’m thinking about that. And so I did, I screwed it up, but there were some nice things in there so I left it.

So I just got to face it. This episode wants to go wrong on many levels and I’m going to just give up and end with this version of star spangled banner. I call it star-spangled minor. I recorded this in 2016, again, the album is blues preludes and feuds.


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