This alternate live performance of “Hover” was recorded for an unreleased “Live at Sun” E.P. The recording took place before the Sweetwater Sound concert version (posted previously) and differs in that the instrumentation is more acoustic based and a cello appears in place of the keys.
We drove down to Memphis from Nashville for the sessions, which lasted from 6p.m. to 2a.m., and then immediately drove back to Nash afterward. It was definitely a long exhausting day. A week later I had been notified that Sun Studio’s hard drive crashed and our sessions had been lost. They were able to recover the drive, though, so we eventually got our tracks. Unfortunately by the time they were mixed, out of the six songs recorded, I was only happy with three. Ultimately the E.P. idea was scrapped and unreleased.
This original home demo for “Better With You” has some how become the unofficial-official version for casual FTA fans over the years. Technically not rare, in fact, this particular demo has leaked throughout the internet more than any other Five Times August song, even full band album tracks. This is usually the first download new fans find. Despite it’s popularity in the file sharing community, this demo has never been officially released on any album to date. Recorded October 2003, it is finally included on “Rare, Live, & Unreleased” a mere eight years later!
This cover of Fleetwood Mac’s classic “Landslide” was recorded live at Sweetwater Sound Theater in 2009. It’s unfortunate that I’m asked more often than not why I decided to cover The Dixie Chicks, who also covered this song in 2002. I didn’t, I covered Fleetwood Mac!
This was a half finished song I had been working on for the unreleased “Snapshots” album. I had been experimenting with my guitar playing and alternate tunings, trying to get more complex with my finger-style technique, most likely under the influence of Lindsey Buckingham. I was writing a lot of dark songs around this time, most notably the single “Fix Me,” which was one of the few that got finished and released. It would have been great to follow up the mainly cheery and upbeat “Life As A Song” album with a dark and quiet introverted album. It seemed to be heading that way! If you listen carefully you can hear my foot tapping the floor in this recording, I like that.
This track was recorded live in studio just prior to the release of the album “Brighter Side” in early 2008. A handful of fans were invited to come in and watch the performance as it was being filmed for television. I’ve always tried my best to offer unique experiences like that to the fans of Five Times August. I like keeping a good rapport with my audience, I think every entertainer should. I get frustrated when I see the media spotlight shine attention on those not setting a good example, being a jerk for no reason, only doing good deeds to take the focus off their own messed up life. “The Lighting” was a song I wrote directed towards the celebrities that have screwed up so many times, but are somehow welcomed back into society with open arms time and times again.
Preparing to release an album these days isn’t as easy as recording the songs and sending the album out to the stores to sell. It’s become common practice to offer each of the major stores their own exclusive item or downloads in addition to the album. This is why you see an album at Best Buy that has a bonus disc only available there, then you will see the same album at Target with two bonus tracks not available on the iTunes version, which has three music videos and two OTHER bonus tracks as extra content… it’s all very confusing! When the album “Brighter Side” was released in 2008 I had to supply several stores with a variety of extra content. This track was recorded for that purpose but ultimately never used. Enjoy.
I had been dealing with several months of writer’s block, hadn’t been able to write anything. As I sat at the piano one day my wife Kelly was getting ready to leave the house to run some errands. Before she left I frustratingly asked her “What should I write about!?” She said “Write a song about what it would be like if I died and you didn’t have me anymore.” Now, when your wife tells you something like that you don’t mess around. So, there I was alone in our house with that thought and by the time she came back, maybe an hour or two, I had written this song. It was instantaneous. This live performance of “Break” captures a lot of the solitude I felt the day I wrote it. Nobody else, just me and the piano.
This is another track recorded live at the legendary Sun Studio in Memphis, TN. “Surface” originally appeared on the album “Brighter Side” and was eventually remixed and edited for “Life As A Song.” This live take strips the song down to a pure acoustic treatment with two guitars and a cello.
This version of “Sorry” was recorded 3 years before it’s official release on 2005’s “Acoustic Sessions Volume 1.” Already a funky little tune, it’s a bit more quarky in that it has some experimental guitar playing throughout. Additionally there’s a pretty neat solo in the end. I think this was my first attempt at scatting in a song which can be a bit awkward at times. Overall a fun little recording though.
This is one of the few songs I have very-very little recollection of. I remember always planning to change the title of the song and I think I played it live at a coffee shop once. Other than that I had completely forgotten about this song for years until I found it on an old computer. One of my biggest regrets in archiving my material is that when I was younger I deleted a lot of my earliest home recording sessions without backing them up on another hard drive. I’m not sure why I made such a stupid decision, who knows what other oddities similar to this have been lost forever. Maybe one day I will forgive my 18 year old self for doing that. Until then, I still hold a grudge!