Friday, November 20, 2009


It's hard to believe that seven months have passed since the debut of Breathless version 2.0. In late March, I put together a benefit for a local church. One of my performers happened to be Gabriel Newell. In the parking lot of the venue, I casually threw the idea out there that he should let me jump on his song as I helped him load in. Gabriel said he'd be game, and then I think we both concentrated on the matter at hand. However, this, essentially, was the beginning of the journey.

The very next day, I was on my way to Atlanta and all of a sudden, this verse hit me in the middle of traffic. Those of you who know me know that I write in my head a lot, so I started putting it together and editing on the road, and maybe an hour or two later, I had a solid sixteen bars.

This took place on a Saturday, and the following Tuesday, I told Gabriel that I had a part ready to go. He got up to perform later in the evening, and he put me on the spot by calling me up. He also called up Megan Howard, who is an incredible musician as well. You can peep her here:

While up there, we briefly talked about who would come in where and what cues would be given. Shortly thereafter, we executed, and one of my personal highlights of this year was born. The feeling from performing the piece that first time was amazing and still gives me goosebumps when I think back on it.

Since that time, I added another part at the very beginning of the song at the urging of Rick Rushing. I don't have video of us performing the version we have now, but I do have some video of the first time we performed the piece together. You can find it here:

Also, here's a video of me performing my part live at the Bessie Smith Strut in June:

If you're curious as to what I'm saying, here's the text to the song:

Honey, you leave me
restless as the sea
reckless as can be
& I'm losing sleep.
I can't keep
doing this
I'm pussyfooting making all attempts not to ruin this.
I'm new to this
kind of vibrant experience
I'm curious to be baring witness
to how far we could be taking this.
I'm willing to be making this
known to the cosmos
that you are the most awing star to grace the dark.
I want to trace the constellations of your beauty marks.
Baby girl, your beauty marks the mind.
Intelligence is the most striking kind
of sexiness that I could hope to find.
I want to make my move but, see, I'm trapped within this bind,
& you have no idea what you're doing to me
I believe you cast some sort of spell
& now your voodoo is moving me.
I'm breathless --
& no shame can claim me
It's plain to see I'm breathless...
& baby doll, you're the cause of it all.

You leave me breathless like
the first time I saw the day
begin to bleed its way
into the face of the night,
making new morning & new beginnings.
Now new feelings are
forming deep within me
forcing me to stop pretending
your divinity
doesn't interest me.
When you speak to me,
my demeanor's hard for me to try to keep,
like water in an open palm.
If I surrendered my facade
I'd give poetry
as a dowry
to your God,
but I'm breathless.

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