I am so happy today to celebrate 8 years composing and recording as Mount Everest every week. I haven't skipped a Monday in all that time, and I'm dizzy from writing songs. I am also dizzy with gratitude, which is appropriate because this Thursday will be Thanksgiving. I am grateful to my wife, my parents, my family, my collaborators, my friends, and my listeners for the tremendous support and encouragement I have continued to enjoy since the day I announced this project. As a token of my gratitude, as has been my custom, I offer this free download. It features 25 of my favorite songs from the past year.
As I listened back to these songs, I couldn't help but reflect on how profoundly this project has changed in recent years. When I was an exuberant young buck, I used to throw everything including the kitchen sink at each new entry. My arrangements were maximalist and elaborate. It suited those songs, and it suited me.
Since I've scaled back my arrangements, I have often received questions about Mount Everest. Most of them seem to gesture (kindly enough as possible) toward the notion that perhaps I'm less engaged than I've previously been, or maybe even less interested. I don't mind the question. I usually answer that I simply don't have as much time as I previously had to devote to this project. That's not really the whole truth.
The truth is that I am writing the songs that are meaningful to me now, and I have changed a lot in the last eight years. As I retraced the steps of my last year's writing in order to pick my favorites, I heard perhaps the first yearly collection that felt like a cohesive whole since I started this project. My approach to writing feels focused. Sometimes that's just a kind way to say that my songs get a bit repetitive, but for the most part these selections feel fresh to me. Yes, the recordings and performances are rougher because my time is more divided, and over the course of the year there were perhaps a few more weeks mixed in that I'd deem "duds", but those are a part of this project and always have been. I'm so excited about this new collection, and I hope you enjoy listening to it.
As for today's new song, I remained true to the years' writing and stayed unplugged for the closer. I focused on melody and harmony. I tried to create moments. I made an abandoned first attempt at the lyrics wherein I fretted over encroaching fascism in the United States. It had very little of myself in it, so I started over. The revised version traces my steps from the throat injury that derailed my rock and roll dreams in 2009, to my honeymoon this past summer. The terrain it covers accounts for the difference between the author of Mount Everest Year One and that of Year Eight.
Thanks for being here. Hang tight. I'll have another one next Monday.
Here is the blood in my throat
Here I am handing out notes
Here is the dilettante desperate to author
Here is the wolf in my place
Here am I baring my fangs
Here I am
I can be cruel
Did you know that?
Here is the moment I wrote down a word I could use
Here is the token I traded for lighting a fuse
Here is the canopy's song
Here where your branches are strong
Even where the woods are all but forgotten
Here is the turn on the roof
Here are words offered as proof
Here am I
I am unclothed
I am wanted
Here am I lying awake
Now the light's switching on
Here is the howl of the wind
As the curtains are drawn
Here is the instant the light strikes your features at dawn
Your smiling eyes
I'm safe here near the edge