Today, September 29th marks the seven year anniversary of when I officially released the demo LP of my Solo Acoustic Project, which was lazily called Sap. Bridging the Disconnect, a 15-track album of predominantly acoustic (demo) ditties written, performed, produced and recorded by yours truly in a completely solo effort that was not a task for the impatient. A lot of pride went into the creation of the recording project which I started in the summer of 2009 and managed to “complete” in time for my self-imposed 9/29/2009 release date. I went through CD Baby and released it on home-burned discs myself via my label I Rock Recordings, and let them handle the digital retailer side of things.
Warts and all, because the recordings aren’t perfect by any stretch. The production is mostly good, if a bit raw (psst! it sounds a bit like a guy with a voice, a couple of mics, some guitars, a keyboard, drum machines, and a digital workstation doing it all by himself). I’ve said it for years that sure there’s a lot of pride in completing such a project, but damn, I would’ve traded some of that pride for some help.
But, to be sure, every voice, word, beat and note on this album was created and recorded by little ol’ me in my little ol’ studio at home (which at the time was a large closet in my family’s apartment. That’s another thing, trying to find optimal quite time to record quiet acoustic music when your young children aren’t up making noise). I even designed the artwork/layout for the jewel case, using my wife’s photography.
Some fun facts
The project’s name was originally inspired by the acoustic EP Sap (1992) by Alice in Chains, but also the song by Modest Mouse called “Stars Are Projectors” which an acronym of it would spell S.A.P. Then there’s the release date that I chose. Alice in Chains’ 2009 comeback album Black Gives Way to Blue was released the same day. Coincidentally, their classic 1992 LP Dirt — a hugely important album to me as a young man at the time — was also released on September 29th.
Another major inspiration for this project was the late Elliott Smith, whose honey-sweet, silky-smooth vocal style I could never duplicate, but that didn’t stop me from double and triple-tracking my vocals in an effort to get that cool natural chorus effect his vocals were always produced with.
And I would be remiss not to mention both Dave Matthews and Ani DiFranco who both inspired me to finally switch over to the acoustic guitar in the late 90s.
I wouldn’t call Bridging the Disconnect a true concept album, but there is a kind of conceptual theme that runs through it. The title itself refers to the situation we all face as adults in our 30s having lost touch with our friends and familial roots and the need to repair that disconnect. Songs like “Building Burning Bridges”, “So Long My Friend”, “Invisible Fences” and “Savor (Brief Lives)” to an extent deal directly with that theme of reconnecting. “Jubilee” is specifically about people of all walks of life coming together and eating, drinking and being merry because ultimately we need to get along and coexist on this planet together in harmony. And finally, “If Love” and “So Close” are effectively love songs. The rest are introspective ditties or instrumentals. The whole collection of songs is decidedly mellow (somber?) and folky with a touch of rock for good measure.
Obviously seven years later I’ve had different perspectives on this as a single piece of art, thought of countless things I’d do differently today (like add some bass guitar to “So Long My Friend”), but here it stands, warts and all. And on Spotify, no less. I just discovered it on there tonight. I shouldn’t be surprised since it’s been available on iTunes and countless other digital/streaming services for years.