MUSIC FOR JULY 2021

‘Nothing to Say’

“Nothing to Say,” but I still need five minutes to say it. At this late date I don’t love the lyrics, which aim to explore both my own insecurities and the New Wave sellout of the go-go ’80s. But the song’s inherent drama holds up, enhanced by the elaborate production of this recording made in January 1984 at the Outlook, in Bethel, Maine. Steve Chapman, bass and backing vocals; DH, guitars and lead vocal; Ken Reynolds, drums and backing vocals; Kathren Torraca, keyboards. Remastered from the commercially released audiocassette Six Songs. (Photo by Gretchen Schaefer, August 1984)

 

 

Nothing to Say

MUSIC FOR JUNE 2021

‘Shortwave Radio’

Written and recorded in summer 1981, in the earliest days of the Fashion Jungle, this is yet another interpretation of the old saw, “Wherever you go, there you are.” I started writing the lyrics in an art history class and finished the song over a gin gimlet, sitting at the round red table in my sister’s living room, on a sunny summer evening, with Bob Newhart on the TV, volume muted. “Shortwave” stayed in the repertoire for more than 20 years, from the FJ through the Howling Turbines. But in keeping with this 40th anniversary year of the FJ’s founding, this performance features the original foursome: In addition to yours truly on guitar and vocal, the players are Mike Piscopo on bass, Ken Reynolds on drums and Jim Sullivan on the Farfisa rock organ. “Shortwave Radio” copyright © 1981 by Douglas L. Hubley. All rights reserved. (Photo by Jeff Stanton: The Fashion Jungle at Kayo’s, September or October 1981)

 

 

Shortwave Radio

MUSIC FOR MAY 2021

‘The Ceiling’

Written in 2011, this sad tale was the first song I wrote for mandolin, which I’d taken up the year before, and my second composition of the 21st century after a years-long songwriting drought. Perhaps most significantly, it’s my first contribution to country music’s illustrious catalog of songs that are about parts of a room (“Walking the Floor Over You,” “Hello Walls,” etc.). Performed here in October 2011 by Day for Night: Doug Hubley and Gretchen Schaefer. “The Ceiling” copyright © 2012 by Douglas L. Hubley. All rights reserved.

 

 

The Ceiling

MUSIC FOR APRIL 2021

‘Je t’aime’

Ah, Paris in the spring — what better garden to grow romance? But the real-life romance that inspired this song took place, instead, in Vienna and Stockholm during a long-ago July, which may say something about the prevailing mood. In short, “Je t’aime” is an interpretation, somewhat unfair, of an affair I had with a Swedish girl in 1976. I wrote the song in 1982, the early days of the Steve Chapman–era Fashion Jungle; revived it for the Boarders; and retained it for Howling Turbines, heard here rehearsing it on Aug. 8, 1999. Bass, Gretchen Schaefer; drums, Ken Reynolds. ”Je t’aime” copyright © 1983 by Douglas L. Hubley. All rights reserved.

 

 

Je t'aime

MUSIC FOR MARCH 2021

 

‘YOU WORE IT WELL’

In one of the less usual concepts for a country song, “You Wore It Well” traces the course of a relationship through things applied to the skin. Written in 2013 in New Hampshire and Colorado, it also stands out in my catalog because it’s taciturn. And no minor chords! Recorded by Doug Hubley and Gretchen Schaefer — aka Day for Night, of Portland, Maine — in a September 2016 rehearsal. “You Wore It Well” copyright © 2014 by Douglas L. Hubley. All rights reserved.

You Wore It Well

MUSIC FOR FEB. 2021

‘DON’T SELL THE CONDO’

We knew a woman whose charismatic lover was rumored to be a coke dealer, woman beater, demon in the flesh, etc. This is their story as I imagined it. Sometime during the 1987–88 winter I wrote the lyric over gimlets in the lobby of the Eastland Hotel on a snowy afternoon while waiting for my girlfriend, Gretchen Schaefer, to get out of class. One of my favorite songs I’ve written and, I think, one of the Fashion Jungle’s best. Too bad few people ever heard it. I recorded the first part of this track in The Basement in August 2020, and the coda is extracted from a videotape that Gretchen made of the FJ in Steve and Jeri Chapman’s basement early in 1988. Steve, bass; DH, guitar; Ken Reynolds, drums.

Don't Sell The Condo

MUSIC FOR JAN. 2021

‘JUST A MOMENT IN THE NIGHT’

For years I’d wanted to write a song about three sounds that catch my heart’s notice: a train horn in the distance, pedal steel guitar playing especially by Sneaky Pete Kleinow, and the voice of my wife and musical partner, Gretchen Schaefer. But attempts that hewed close to that literal theme went nowhere — too much plan, not enough song. Finally, in 2015, I found a way to let the words go where they wanted. This song was the result. Gretchen, steel, and train are all still there, but now as prominent elements in a larger tapestry depicting the pleasures and pains of passing time.

 

MUSIC FOR dec. 2020

‘don’t want no star on my Christmas Tree’

Here’s a 2012 recording of a song I wrote in 1978. I premiered it during the talent portion of the holiday party held that year by my employer, the Jordan Marsh department store in South Portland, Maine. I won a poinsettia, but the plant didn’t make it out of the party alive. The angelic choir idea here came from the Mirrors’ short-lived 1980 version of the song.

 

MUSIC FOR NOV. 2020

 
 

‘1,000 pounds of rain’

In celebration of delightful November weather, here are Howling Turbines performing a song from 1994.  The title was inspired by a 1990 Cowlix performance at the Drydock, for which — so as not to disturb the fried-clam scarfing multitudes — we had to carry the equipment up a cast-iron fire escape to the second-story performance area in a pouring rain. I lugged the title around for years not knowing what the song would be about. Finally finished around the time the ’Lix were splitting up, “1,000 Pounds” turned out to be a cry of distress at the advent of middle age.

 

album-art

MUSIC FOR OCTOBER 2020

 

‘(WAITING FOR A) WESTBOUND TRAIN’

In lieu of actually being able to ride a train this year, for October 2020 I’m showcasing “(Waiting For A) Westbound Train.” Written in Colorado in June 2019, the song is performed here in a September 2019 rehearsal by Gretchen Schaefer and me — aka Day for Night. Learn more: Day for Night on ReverbNation.

 

(Waiting For A) Westbound Train