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Published December 9th, 2014 at 5:02 am EST/EDT
firesongblog

I just added almost four hundred spam comments to the digital circular file, (including this gem–”If my problem was a Death Star, this article is a photon torpedo.”–someone doesn’t know their Wars from their Trek) so if you’re trying to make any legitimate replies to one of my posts, I’m sorry, but I probably just deleted it. Go ahead and try again if you like. I’m sorry that so many people feel the need to be assholes.

Work on current recording projects has been on a bit of an hiatus lately due to the recent holiday here in the States (our American Thanksgiving) and a family tragedy. My Husband the Fantastic Guitarist and I plan to get back to work on my upcoming album, “[untitled]“, this coming weekend. My next session with Barry Childs-Helton is either tomorrow or next Wednesday–I need to check my calendar, to which I do not currently have access. Either way, keep an eye on the studio Facebook page for more information as it becomes available.



Published October 12th, 2014 at 11:04 am EST/EDT
firesongblog

Well, you can probably guess from the title of this entry that I sadly haven’t much news for you regarding “[untitled]“. But I thought I would pass along what news I do have so that you at least know what’s been going on.

Wax Chaotic has been touring really heavily this year, which was our intention from the get-go. That’s one of the reasons why I wanted to have “[untitled]” out at the same time as “Faces in the Fog”—I knew we wouldn’t have a lot of time to dedicate to it once we hit the road for the year. What I hadn’t really predicted was that not only would we be time-poor, but we would be exhausted both physically and mentally, as well. I think I knew somewhere in the back of my mind that such a thing would likely happen, but actually experiencing it is another matter.

So what time we have had to get into the studio has partially been spent decompressing from a very active touring season. To date, we’ve done nineteen shows in ten states and two countries. We still have two more shows scheduled for the year (which are thankfully local). It has been a whirlwind of fun, but it’s left us sadly little time to dedicate to recording for “[untitled]“.

After our most recent show in New Orleans, we were hoping to dedicate some more time to studio work. Our next show isn’t until November. We’ve been home for about a week, though, and we still haven’t been able to get anything done. Sean brought home con crud, which has left him too lethargic to work through the necessary practice sessions. I have been so exhausted from our travels that I barely have the energy for housework, and so stressed that even the thought of the same makes me want to run and hide. (I’m beginning to think I have some sort of undiagnosed anxiety disorder. And yes, I have already made an appointment to speak to someone regarding it.)

And just yesterday, we had to send our nineteen year-old cat off to the great beyond. So it’s been kind of a rough week.

But on the positive side, Sean’s cold appears to be waning. I’m not exactly feeling any more relaxed, but I’m trying to work on that. So maybe after this coming weekend, I might have some good news for everyone.

Again, I’m sorry that this project is taking so long. If anyone has any questions regarding other setbacks (eg., “Why is this CD still not finished?”) or our current timetable, you’re welcome to send them my way. I will do my best to keep you posted (though unless I have any BIG news to spread around, most of the progress-related updates will likely be posted to my Facebook page).

And if you’re reading this and have been eagerly awaiting the CD release party, don’t worry, it hasn’t happened yet, and you haven’t missed it. I will be making damn sure that all of the necessary parties are aware of its scheduled time and date when such have been arranged.

So your weary bards continue onward and hopefully studio-ward. We will complete this project, and it will be the best work we can manage. It’s just going to take longer than I really wanted it to, and for that I am incredibly sorry.



Published March 24th, 2014 at 10:00 am EST/EDT
firesongblog

This song is a step back into the world of the fantastic. I do love writing my fictional tales in song form. Also, I have long been a writer of fictional prose, as well. In point of fact, there’s a series of novels I’ve been working on since the late 90s. Around the end of 2012, I once again got to work on one of the novels in that series, and I was absolutely consumed by the work. I think I spat out close to forty thousand words in about five or six days. It got to the point where, even when I was away from my computer and focusing on other tasks, part of my mind was always still in the storybook world. Of course I didn’t find myself transported into the world I had made, but still, the mental fixation was enough to inspire this song.

Thus far this album has songs on it to honor the darker shades of my past, the bright gleams of both past and present, and various passions and scars. It needed a song to honor The Writer. This is that song.

Getting Lost
Lyrics and music by Katt McConnell

I started writing the other day,
A book that’s been long in the making.
Out through my fingers, the words found their way,
They consumed me in dreaming and waking.
I visited realms I wrought with my pen,
Their denizens, of my mind’s descent.
And though I’d step away now and again,
They would follow wherever I went.

       Just close your eyes,
       As you once more reprise:
       There is no reason to worry.

       It’s clear to me now—
       I see that somehow
       I’m getting lost in the story.

It began with events half-remembered,
Envisioned as though I’d been there.
I lived a life half-dismembered,
In the world of the real and that of my chair.
As any writer will tell you they do,
My characters had wills of their own.
But this was a bit different, and as the word count grew,
It got much harder to find my way home.

       Just close your eyes,
       As you once more reprise:
       There is no reason to worry.

       It’s clear to me now—
       I see that somehow
       I’m getting lost in the story.

Next came the waking visions,
The sightings of fantastical creatures.
Rendered with nature’s precision,
I knew their outlandish features.
The night I awoke and parts of my bed
Were swapped with wood wild and black,
I whimpered as I pulled the blankets over my head,
For I knew there was no turning back.

       Just close your eyes,
       As you once more reprise:
       There is no reason to worry.

       It’s clear to me now—
       I see that somehow
       I’m getting lost in the story.

Now in the mornings I waken
Confused, bewildered, afraid.
My grip on my sanity’s shaken,
For I’m now in the world that I made.
I’m not sure how I got here, or how to get home,
But this nightmare’s the worst that I’ve had.
If the gods hear my pleas in their heavenly dome,
Let it be that I’ve simply gone mad.

       Open your eyes
       To the alien skies—
       Now is the time to worry.

       I’m not in right now,
       Because some way, somehow,
       I’ve gotten lost in the story.

To read about Track 13, please visit the entry about “[untitled]“.

And please keep an eye out for further release information. We’re getting really close, now!



Published March 17th, 2014 at 10:00 am EST/EDT
firesongblog

To read about Track 10, please visit the entry about “Break Out“.

Given the theme of this album, its track list would not be complete without a song about the gloriously terrifying wonder that is being a musician. This vocation fills me with wonder and elation and fear and worry and every emotion within the range of human passion. I would not trade any of this for the world. And I am so lucky to have so many of you who care enough about this music I’m making that I get to keep making it.

So here’s to passions that consume us in the best way, that inspire us to reach for new heights, that keep our spirits burning with devotion and wonder even in the darkest of times.

Dancing in Flame (Tapestry of Me)
Lyrics and music by Katt McConnell

I have laid myself open,
       in part and in whole,
Forgoing the safety of skin;

I have made self-exposure
       my primary goal,
Turning outward when I would turn in.

I have spread my arms wide
       as if thinking them wings,
And jumped only hoping to fly—

There’s a maddening fire
       making me do all these things,
And I’m happy to stoke it high.

       I bare my soul in note and verse
       Lest my heart split at the seams,
       And still I am always left to wonder
       What this aching means.

       Caught in a firestorm trepidation cannot tame,
       I am joyously dancing in flame.

The day is a race to see
       how much I get done,
How far I can make my flames spread.

There’s aren’t enough hours
       before the retreat of the sun
Signals that I must lay down my head.

Night heralds the crescendo
       of the deafening roar
That ignites the spark of my soul.

It builds the inferno ‘til
       when I sleep, anymore,
I am only just banking the coals.

       And every dream I bring to light,
       Every song that I create,
       Is a balm, a cage, a penance,
       Another scar crossed off the slate.

       Caught in a firestorm the rat race cannot tame,
       I am joyously dancing in flame.

               I…
               Am ever burning…
               Both fire, and smith.
               I…
               Am ever burning…
               A furnace fed by myth.

Not every fire
       burns to destroy—
Some fires burn to create.

So I pick up my pen
       and lift up my voice,
And singing, I conflagrate.

       They leave me gloriously broken,
       Makes me ache deliciously,
       These melodies that form the warp and weft
       Of the tapestry of me.

       Caught in a firestorm uncertainty cannot tame,
       I am joyously dancing in flame.



Published March 10th, 2014 at 10:00 am EST/EDT
firesongblog

In late December, 1999, I was twelve. I left Cleveland, Ohio, where I was living at the time, to visit my dad in Indianapolis for the second week of my Christmas break. I know that at least one night during that week, we stayed at the house of two of his friends. I’ve long forgotten the reason why, but that’s not important. What is important is that that was the day I met the man who is now my husband.

I was instantly attracted to him, but shy. It didn’t help matters that I knew he was significantly older than me. So we got to know each other a little bit at my dad’s friends’ house—he was there because he was also friends with our hosts—and then I returned to Cleveland after New Year’s and didn’t think anything more about him.

See, at the time, I was in love—or thought I was in love—with a boy I knew through my mom’s primary social group. And I was a bit heartsick, because he was utterly uninterested. I did get over him. It helped that that following summer, after I turned thirteen, I once more went to Indianapolis to visit my dad, and this time, we were again staying at the same friends’ house.

Side track explanation time: My dad lived in Vermont at the time, but returned to Indy for his summer visitation, because this is where my sister and I are from, and thus, have a lot of friends and family here. Our dad also had a lot of friends there, so it was really best for everyone to just return to the familiar stomping grounds.

So my dad and I are staying with his friends, and their friend Sean is also often at the house because, well, he’s their friend. This time when we met, there were sparks. We knew that there really shouldn’t have been sparks—we discovered the age difference was actually ten years, not less than that, as Sean had thought (he mistook me for older). But we fell in love that summer, despite knowing we were in for a whole lotta heartache.

But five years later, I turned eighteen and returned to Indianapolis to live with him.

Five years after that, we were married.

And three years after that, I wrote this song for him as an anniversary present. I kept it secret for about six months, even going so far as to have a secret meeting with my good friend Cernowain Greenman of Greenman and the Muse to get the song chorded. Then at a house concert in August, a couple of weeks after our actual anniversary, Cern was nice enough to accompany me while I performed the song for Sean as a surprise. You can watch me sing it really terribly on YouTube. I hadn’t much time to practice the song with the guitar, so my performance was pretty shaky.

But that didn’t matter. It just mattered that Sean loved (and still loves) the song, and that I am so incredibly lucky to have a partner with whom I fall in love all over again every day.

In a Hundred Different Ways
Lyrics and music by Katt McConnell

I packed up my dreams
       and took them with me that summer—
It’s been so long now,
I can’t recall
What all
Was on my mind.
But I never conceived
       what we would be to each other,
Or just what I’d be lucky enough to find.

       I couldn’t believe what was happening—
       That it was then, and it was you.
       I counted all the ways it was wrong
       And it was right,
       Then took a leap—and said, “I love you, too”.

               I cannot sound the depths
               Of the heart you stole away,
               And how I feel, mere language
               Cannot possibly convey.
               So you may never see it, love,
               But each and every day
               I fall for you all over again
               In a hundred different ways.

I hoped that love would be
       somewhere in my future.
I was content to wait
For the day
When it found its way
To me.
Loneliness is a difficult
       storm to weather,
But we each found a port in the endless sea.

       We knew what we were in for at first,
       That the difference and distance were great.
       But in the end, the time and heartache
       Were worth it,
       For good things always come to those who wait.

               I cannot sound the depths
               Of the heart you stole away,
               And how I feel, mere language
               Cannot possibly convey.
               So you may never see it, love,
               But each and every day
               I fall for you all over again
               In a hundred different ways.

So now here we are, together,
       some thirteen years later.
We’ve shown the ones
Who claimed
That time
Wasn’t on our side.
Nothing I am in my life
       will ever be greater
Than being the one you chose to be your bride.

       I don’t know what the future will bring,
       But it’s enough that I get to hold you today.
       We have a love that’s only common
       In fairytales,
       And that’s not something even time can take away.

               I cannot sound the depths
               Of the heart you stole away,
               And how I feel, mere language
               Cannot possibly convey.
               So you may never see it, love,
               But each and every day
               I fall for you all over again
               In a hundred different ways.



Published March 3rd, 2014 at 10:00 am EST/EDT
firesongblog

To read about Track 7, please visit the entry about “Coat of Scars“.

This song is dedicated to the many cohorts I have had over the years, and all the craziness we’ve created together. I wanted to write a song for them, and also let them know just what they’ve meant to me. I am one for whom experiences are made more enjoyable, more meaningful, by having someone to share them with. So here is a song for all of my partners in crime.

Fun Fact: When I was younger, my primary group of friends lived in my dad’s neighborhood. They were right across the street, in fact. The activities described in this song are mostly things I did with them, and they included things like flinging naked Barbie dolls into a tree (whilst laughing maniacally the whole time), racing marshmallow Peeps in the Creek (winning was indeed determined by whichever melted the quickest), going for walks on the same creek when it was frozen solid, swimming in the same creek, playing in the rain and mud (what is it with kids and digging large holes in the yard, anyway?), and building couch forts.

Not mentioned is the game we used to play whenever the mosquito spraying truck would come through the neighborhood. It was this slow-moving thing with lots of lights and its own specific siren, so we always knew when it was coming. We would all run out and run after it, shouting, and keep running as fast as we could until we got to it…at which point, we would run from it shrieking in terror, sometimes rolling on the street in front of it (I did mention it was slow-moving), and just generally acting as though the world were ending.

…if I’m this strange as an adult, is it any wonder I was that strange as a child?

I can only wonder what that poor driver thought…

Partners in Crime
Lyrics and music by Katt McConnell

Our poor parents had no inkling
       Of just what it was they bore—
They somehow never imagined
       They could create such terror,
But we hit the wide world running
       With mischief in our eyes,
A talent for wreaking havoc,
       And a penchant for mud pies.

And when we met, we found a resonance
In the other, and we knew,
A kindred soul had come by chance,
And “just me” became “we two”,

       So let’s away, let’s away,
       There are legends for us to write!
       Let’s away, let’s away,
       For adventure is in our sights!
       We’ll spend the day in our own version
       Of once upon a time,
       Where the exploits often vary,
       But we’re always
       Partners in crime!

It may be ninety-seven,
       Or it may be ten below.
Whatever the weather,
       Back to The Creek we go.
When it’s froz’n, it’s time for walking,
       When it’s warm, let’s take a swim—
Hey, I’ve got some marshmallow birds:
       The first whose melts will win.

Later if I’m of the opinion,
And if everyone agrees,
That dress-up’s getting boring,
Then Barbie dolls belong in trees.

       So let’s away, let’s away,
       There are legends for us to write!
       Let’s away, let’s away,
       For adventure is in our sights!
       We’ll spend the day in our own version
       Of once upon a time,
       Where the exploits often vary,
       But we’re always
       Partners in crime!

               It’s the stories that we write together
               That make the world come alive,
               For nothing feeds my spirit
               Like the wonders we contrive.
               Adventuring is richer
               With a cohort by my side,
               To share in the experience,
               And match me stride for stride.

We have raided all the closets
       For every blanket long or short.
In conjunction with the sofa,
       They make a lovely fort.
In the hazy gloom we rest,
       And maybe have a snack.
Then later in the afternoon,
       Perhaps a tiger will attack.

Come go out and brave the downpour
So heavy I can’t see my nose,
We’ll carol at the thunder’s roar
And dance all day on dirty toes!

       So let’s away, let’s away,
       There are legends for us to write!
       Let’s away, let’s away,
       For adventure is in our sights!
       We’ll spend the day in our own version
       Of once upon a time,
       Where the exploits often vary,
       But we’re always
       Partners in crime!



Published February 24th, 2014 at 10:00 am EST/EDT
firesongblog

I am insanely lucky. There are, in my life, countless wonderful, loving people, whose affection for me and general awesomeness is as depthless as the elation it creates in me. They banish the shades and shadows of my past and grant me light to find my way forward. I would not be who I am without them. I owe all of them a great deal, and I can only hope that debt can be repaid by doing what I can to continue to be worthy of their esteem, and by paying it forward to other lostlings whose hearts have long been achingly empty.

This album had to contain a song for them. Yes, this song is directed at the women in my life; there are, to be sure, many men whom I hold in such high regard. But most of the strongest influences in my life have been women—sisters, mother figures, strong, (com)passionate women, chosen family and blood relatives alike—and so it was my natural instinct to write this song for them.

I love you all.

Lost Girls
Lyrics and music by Katt McConnell

I sing of you, sister,
Of the light that you spread to my heart,
Of the wondrous warmth of your healing hands,
And the way they knead heartache apart.

I may have had some trouble finding my way to the light,
But bit by bit, you’ve shown me how,
Through needles and pins and thread late at night,
And every song to ease the pain,
Your crazy sense of humor and animated laughter,
And every dance in the rain.

I’m fortunate to have known you
And been part of the story of you.
So I sing of you now, my sister,
And the special mischief you brew.

       Somewhere, somehow, we were lost—
       Whether we strayed or were cast away.
       But somewhere, somehow, we found each other,
       And together, we’ve forged a new way,

       We’ve pointed our ship toward the fairest of weather,
       This motley crew of girls being
       Lost Girls
       Together.

I sing of you, my sister,
Of the light that you find in the dark,
Of the music in your everyday,
Of your brilliant, starlight spark.

You dare to love the joys savored by only a few,
And I exalt in the way that you love them.
With passion forever springing forth anew,
You teach me to love what I love without fear,
To delight in the learning as much as the knowing,
And to walk, though the way is unclear.

You constantly amaze me
With your loving, creative mind,
So I sing of you now, my sister,
As you knit with the ties that bind.

       Somewhere, somehow, we were lost—
       Whether we strayed or were cast away.
       But somewhere, somehow, we found each other,
       And together, we’ve forged a new way,

       We’ve pointed our ship toward the fairest of weather,
       This motley crew of girls being
       Lost Girls
       Together.

I sing of you, lady mothers,
Of the love that you give to us all,
Or the arms that offer us endless warmth
And catch us whenever we fall.

We are always inspired by your boundless strength and patience,
And you’re quick with a laugh or a smile;
Our love for you is as deep as the ages,
And we will all of us be very accomplished daughters
If we spread half as much good throughout the world
As we navigate its waters.

You teach me how to love,
And how to be loved in return.
So I sing of you now, lady mothers,
And all the lessons from you I have learned.

       Somewhere, somehow, we were lost—
       Whether we strayed or were cast away.
       But somewhere, somehow, we found each other,
       And together, we’ve forged a new way,

       We’ve pointed our ship toward the fairest of weather,
       This motley crew of girls being
       Lost Girls
       Together.

I sing of us all,
Sisters,
Mothers,
And daughters,
And however our paths may cross,
Of the stories written in scars,
Of the lessons learned from loss.

This family we comprise may not be without its flaws,
But I wouldn’t trade you for anything.
My life is woven with splendor because
I have the honor of you joining my story
And being part of the ones that you’re writing yourselves,
And of sharing the treasure and glory.

It’s a mutual miracle,
And it is no small thing that we do.
So I sing of you now, my ladies one and all,
And the adventures that we’ve been through.

       Somewhere, somehow, we were lost—
       Whether we strayed or were cast away.
       But somewhere, somehow, we found each other,
       And together, we’ve forged a new way,

       We’ve pointed our ship toward the fairest of weather,
       This motley crew of girls being
       Lost Girls
       Together.



Published February 17th, 2014 at 10:00 am EST/EDT
firesongblog

To read about Track 4, please visit the entry about “Buttons“.

This song pertains to a difficult subject, but it’s one that I really felt needed to be addressed.

Psychological abuse is a very real thing, though as with most invisible ailments, there are many who disregard it as being “all in your head”. …of course it is all in your head, and that’s the problem. Psychological abuse is someone deliberately pushing your buttons to manipulate you. It’s particularly insidious because on the outside, it looks as though the victim is overreacting when they go into meltdown mode. It transforms the victim into an overly-emotional, melodramatic drama queen, and the abuser into a victim. It can be difficult to explain to someone who’s never experienced it, and it’s almost impossible for someone to spot when they don’t know what it looks like.

It comes from a wide variety of sources. It comes from lovers, parents, friends, coworkers, employers, siblings. It has many faces. It has many means.

So I wanted to let the world know that yes, we are here. Yes, there are more of us than you realize. Yes, we need your love and support just as much as someone who was battered or sexually abused.

And I wanted to let the victims know that the abuse doesn’t have to define them. There is a way out of the sickness into a world not crippled by rot and infected by that evil. There does exist solid ground, and you can find your way to it. There is hope.

We are hard to see, but we are here. And more than that, we are here for you.

Hand-Me-Downs
Lyrics and music by Katt McConnell

               We’re hard to see,
                       but we’re here.
               We’re products of
                       mind games and fear.
               We are the hand-me-downs,
               Picked apart and broken down,
               And left to mend the pieces…
                       …of ourselves.

Oh, the marks, they don’t show,
But every one of us knows
They can be scratched open
       like a scab.

Injuries are hard to heal
When we question if they were ever real—
And it’s so hard to cope when
       so many don’t understand

That not all abuse leaves visible signs,
Not all injuries are of the physical kind.
It’s high time, even if the scars are old,
That the truth be told,
       So the world will know
               That

               We’re hard to see,
                       but we’re here.
               We’re products of
                       mind games and fear.
               We are the hand-me-downs,
               Picked apart and broken down,
               And left to mend the pieces…
                       …of ourselves.

Those of us who before have tried
To trust another in our lives
Now know trust never comes freely…
       it’s not a right.

For when our trust has been repaid
With lies, we can become their slaves—
The truth is always hardest to see
       by gaslight…

What from the outside seems like a normal conversation
Is really about control and manipulation.
They keep their victims under their thumb
So the realization can never come
       That we are not alone
               And that

               We’re hard to see,
                       but we’re here.
               We’re products of
                       mind games and fear.
               We are the hand-me-downs,
               Picked apart and broken down,
               And left to mend the pieces…
                       …of ourselves.

There are systems in place
Whose signs are hard to trace,
But their workings wind tight and bind
       just like chains.

They know our frailties
And make our true realities
And they reshape our minds,
       so that we will forever remain.

We don’t notice them when they have us ensnared,
We can’t get out to see how they’ve had us impaired,
They just consume us as a flame burns a wick,
And numb any thought that they might be sick,
       And they make it so
               That

               We’re hard to see,
                       but we’re here.
               We’re products of
                       mind games and fear.
               We are the hand-me-downs,
               Picked apart and broken down,
               And left to mend the pieces…
                       …of ourselves.

       This isn’t a subject many people will talk about.
       Some prefer to just pretend it’s not real.
       But I will sing, and if I have to, I will shout,
       If it means someone hurting can heal.

       Know loves, that you’re not alone…
       And know too that it can get better,

               For we may be hard to see,
                       but we’re here.
               We’ve ended the games
                       and stopped the fear.
               We may be hand-me-downs,
               But as we may, somehow we’ve found
               A way to pick up the pieces
                       of ourselves.



Published February 10th, 2014 at 10:00 am EST/EDT
firesongblog

This song is pure, unadulterated silliness (because there had to be some lighter material on this album).

Cats have been a major part of my life ever since I was born. My parents had several cats, and so, starting from the day they brought me home from the hospital, I have been around cats my entire life. There is nothing like being in love with a cat. And I do fall in love with my cats, sort of in the same way a parent might fall in love with their child. They are, to me, very much tiny people with four legs and fur. And they very definitely each have their own personality.

This song is about two of our cats: Sawyn, who is our youngest, and Morgan, who is our second youngest. Morgan is a longhaired tuxedo cat; by her build and fur, we’re pretty sure she’s at least part Maine coon. We got her off the street when she was a few months old, and she was quite antagonistic for most of the first year we had her. She’s especially stubborn, even for a cat, and I swear she has a legitimate case of Oppositional Defiant Disorder; she will do something you told her not to do just because you told her not to do it. So having her in the house was very difficult for a while, but I’m glad we worked through it. She’s starting to turn into a real sweetheart.

Her full name is Morgan le Fey, because she earned it, and we’ve nicknamed her Magpie because she will steal literally anything, even if it’s something that clearly has no interest whatsoever to a cat (like lettuce leaves or sugar snap peas…which she then plays with, because apparently the green stuff makes excellent toys). The first thing she did when we released her to socialize with the other cats was catch a mouse that had gotten into the house the same day. That ended with a thirty-minute play session with the corpse in the bathtub until she got bored.

The second cat mentioned in this song, Sawyn, we acquired when she was only eight weeks old. She was a tiny ball of tortie adorableness whose face mask made her look constantly worried. She ended up being sequestered for more than two weeks because she came to us with kennel cough, and she was pretty sick for a while. She did eventually get better, and the first thing she did when we released her into the rest of the house was go after Morgan.

Keep this in mind: At this point, Morgan was huge. As I said, we think she’s part Maine coon. She is a big cat, and there’s not an ounce of fat on her. Sawyn, on the other hand, was only about two and a half months old, and was suitably tiny on her own, not even in comparison to Morgan. But she took one look at this cat who was six times her size and decided the proper course of action was to pounce at and chase after this cat and try to play with her.

I will not lie, it was pretty hilarious to watch this tiny kitten put Morgan in her place. Part of the reason why Morgan got her name is because she enjoys terrorizing one of our middle-aged cats, who just happens to be named Gwynever. So Sawyn gave Morgan a taste of her own medicine, and the two became good friends. I think that’s actually a big part of the reason why Morgan’s mellowing out as nicely as she is.

But this period made for some really hilarious cat antics, some of which I have included in this song. And as any cat owner who’s ever had kittens can tell you, hyperactive kittens are a special kind of crazy.

So this is my song for two of my beloved fuzzlets, the title of which comes from my mom’s name for when cats become hyper. She says their crazed running about is caused by a wild hair stuck, erm, someplace.

Wild Hair time
Lyrics and music by Katt McConnell

It’s a lazy afternoon on a Saturday.
The cats that are asleep have the right idea.
We humans of the household
Knit or game our time away.
…but life is not as tranquil as it might appear.
For suddenly there’s thunder rolling up the basement stairs,
The sound of sharpened claws sliding on linoleum.
Then the whirlwind hits the living room as a streak of fuzzy black—
There ain’t no doubt about it, that time again has come.

       It’s Wild Hair Time,
       As my mother would say,
       Wild Hair Time
       When the hyper kitties play.
       I can’t believe their antics—
       Who knew cats could do gymnastics?
       Better guard the draperies,
       It’s Wild Hair Time.

Our yearling’s never been timid—no, she’s the bravest of our cats.
She’d climb the couch—or your pant leg—when she was barely weaned.
Now she’s climbing, paw by paw,
Up my chair back’s narrow slats,
No doubt plotting mayhem and mischief like a furry, little fiend.
Sure enough, she climbs onto my shoulders as I sit,
Tensing for a leap from her newfound higher ground.
I look and see her target: The cat one year her senior,
Who she gleefully ambushes without a sound.

       It’s Wild Hair Time,
       As my mother would say,
       Wild Hair Time
       When the hyper kitties play.
       I can’t believe their antics—
       Who knew cats could do gymnastics?
       Better watch where next you step,
       It’s Wild Hair Time.

The pouncing sends the youngest two around the living room,
Swatting, biting, kicking, rolling on the floor.
They stop to smooth some fur,
Because there’s always time to groom,
Then shortly, sure enough, the war begins once more.
Their tussles take them somewhere outside the area of my ken—
Next thing I know, I’ve cause to wish I wasn’t wearing shorts,
For I am once again a springboard for the yearling, to my surprise—
I didn’t see her coming, and I swear she teleports.

       It’s Wild Hair Time,
       As my mother would say,
       Wild Hair Time
       When the hyper kitties play.
       I can’t believe their antics—
       Who knew cats could do gymnastics?
       Better switch to lead-lined trousers,
       It’s Wild Hair Time.

Afternoon or evening, Wild Hair Time claims no hour,
So often times we’re treated to opera at 4 am.
They’re like capacitors with fur,
Surging before I’ve even had my shower,
And “anytime” is the right time for ruckus and for mayhem.
I’m just happy when their tails puff up to the size of mutant pine cones,
And the speed at which they run around alludes to what’s in store,
That neither frenzied fuzzlet was graced with human thumbs,
For they’re smart enough to understand what the doorknobs are for.

       It’s Wild Hair Time,
       As my mother would say,
       Wild Hair Time
       When the hyper kitties play.
       I can’t believe their antics—
       Who knew cats could do gymnastics?
       Be glad the doors don’t have levers,
       It’s Wild Hair Time.



Published February 2nd, 2014 at 10:00 am EST/EDT
firesongblog

To read about Track 1, please visit the entry about “Cracked“.

This one is a little difficult to introduce. I’m not certain what to say about it. I could tell you that it’s yet another re-write of a poem I wrote in high school—I was quite a prolific writer in high school—but that fact is likely not especially interesting. I could go into detail about all of the ideas this song references…but some things are best left vague. Perhaps especially these things.

Just know that, in a way, it is better now.

Weekend Job
Lyrics and music by Katt McConnell

They never said it would be easy.
I guess you’ve had it harder than most.
I look at you today and see
Only potential’s ghost.
You used to be a superhero—
At least you were when I was nine—
I think that somehow despite all the bullshit,
At least one of us turned out fine.

       And though looking back is uncomfortable,
       I think finally, at least, I know why.
       Yeah, they never said it would be easy,
       But was it really that hard just to try?

               What can I be for you this week:
               A pet, a weapon, a pawn?
               Proof you’re not a total slob?
               I could appear for ego boosts,
               And otherwise stay gone—
               You tell me. I’m your weekend job.

Nothing’s opaque to a child.
I think you forgot what it was like
To feel that special kind of confusion,
That you somehow weren’t doing something right.
I know now it wasn’t my fault,
But children aren’t that unassuming.
And looking back now, it seems that, somehow,
There was always yet one more shoe looming.

       You never got it, I know—
       You still can’t quite grasp it today.
       For all your intelligence, you’re just too mulish,
       And will probably always be that way.

               What can I be for you this week:
               A pet, a weapon, a pawn?
               Proof you’re not a total slob?
               I could appear for ego boosts,
               And otherwise stay gone—
               You tell me. I’m your weekend job.

       All children will outgrow their parents,
       But this isn’t quite really the same.
       I forgive you for what you couldn’t help doing…
       But I just can’t keep playing your game.

               What can I be for you this week:
               A pet, a weapon, a pawn?
               Proof you’re not a total slob?
               I could appear for ego boosts,
               And otherwise stay gone—
               You tell me. I’m your weekend job.

               I was your weekend job.



Published January 27th, 2014 at 10:00 am EST/EDT
firesongblog

I’ve actually already talked about this album. That being the case, I’m going to filch a pertinent paragraph from the original post:

It has been suggested that I shouldn’t call this album “[untitled]” and simply leave it at that, that I should instead conceive a more descriptive name for it. But “[untitled]” is its name. The title track is the only one that fits into the category “Where I’m going”, and those of you familiar with the song will already be aware that it is one gigantic question mark. It is not more defined because I was not more defined when I wrote it, and this entire album is a much more personal and specific reflection of me than most of my other work. It is about history and questions and laughter and no few scars. It is me, laid open, picked apart by poetry, and threaded through melody. It is a journey through the Self. And I can’t wait to share it with you all.

I really can’t explain this album any better than I already have. So for now I will simply leave you with the now official track list. You’ll note that some of the song titles are hyperlinks. This is because those songs have already been discussed on this blog, and so, like the old “Cold September Ground” tracks now reincarnated on “Faces in the Fog”, don’t need to be detailed any further.

Thus, next week, this series continues with “Weekend Job”.

Track List

  1. Cracked
  2. Weekend Job
  3. Wild Hair Time
  4. Buttons
  5. Hand-Me-Downs
  6. Lost Girls
  7. Coat of Scars
  8. Partners in Crime
  9. In a Hundred Different Ways
  10. Break Out
  11. Dancing in Flame (Tapestry of Me)
  12. Getting Lost
  13. [untitled]


Published January 21st, 2014 at 10:00 am EST/EDT
firesongblog

Now that you’ve met the new songs that give “Faces in the Fog” its name, perhaps you might like to know when you can get your hands on a copy of not only it, but “[untitled]” as well. I’m very excited to finally tell you. See, we’ve been working on “Faces in the Fog” since September of last year, and work on “[untitled]” technically began during that crazy Lyrics Dump thing we did, so this announcement has been a long time coming. Feel free to do a little drum roll at your computer if you like…

“Faces in the Fog” will release on Friday, April 11th!

“[untitled]” will release either in June or July. I had intended to release them both at the same time, but it looks as though we need to push “[untitled]” back by a couple of months. But no matter! I would rather have it done well and released late than have it be on time, but not made the way it wants to be made. “Cold September Ground” taught me that lesson.

So for “Faces in the Fog”, digital copies of the album should be ready immediately via Bandcamp, while physical copies will ship on or around April 22nd. The reason for the delay is that Wax Chaotic’s tour starts on April 13th, and will be taking us to Chicago, Winnipeg, Canada, and then hopefully to Minneapolis before we return home and can actually start stuffing and shipping packages.

But that release date is not very far away at all. Thinking about it is actually making me a little dizzy.

But the title of this entry mentioned something about CD pre-orders. So get this: We’re already accepting them. Yes, you can reserve your copy of either or both albums almost three+ months before they’re due out. How? By making a pledge to my IndieGoGo campaign that will fund the printing and promotion of the albums. There are a few different reward levels available that effectively allow you to pre-order either or both CDs, depending on your preference, and if you feel like splurging a little, you can get some nifty, limited edition extras, to boot.

Important Things to Note:

1.) I will not be able to afford to create physical copies of either CD without the success of this fundraiser. Period. My primary source of income is currently freelance web and graphic design, and most of what I make is quickly gobbled up by making payments on my student loans.

2.) I need to be able to effectively promote these albums in order to sell them. That means touring and performing for people, ideally in a wide variety of places, so I can keep making new fans who like the music on the CDs, but don’t already have copies. To that end, my IndieGoGo campaign will have stretch goals. The initial goal is just the bare minimum I need to get the albums printed. To promote them, I have to reach my stretch goals. There will be nifty extras that become available whenever a stretch goal amount is met.

3.) I absolutely need your help. I need you to make a pledge to the campaign if you can (and if you were intending to pre-order one or both CDs anyway, this way we both win). Whether or not your financial situation allows you to become a backer, I need you to share this project with your friends and family. Don’t just hit “Share” on Facebook and spread the link around without any context—include a personal message to let your readers know why you think I’m worth their time and attention. It is crucial that you tell people this. How often do you click on random, non-contextualized links on social media sites?

I really cannot accomplish my goals without your help. So if you enjoy my music and want to get your hands on more of it, please do what you can to get my IndieGoGo campaign up to its goals.

In the meantime, the rest of this week will see the publishing of a new series of posts, called “From Composition to Completion”, in which I’ll be detailing the process by which my music gets made. If you’ve ever been curious about my songwriting process, or how it is a finished recording is created, you won’t want to miss this series.



Published December 2nd, 2013 at 10:00 am EST/EDT
firesongblog

As I announced in August, Dragon Scale Studios’ next big project is a dual album endeavor. The first album we’re working is called “Faces in the Fog”, and will contain all of the tracks from “Cold September Ground”, our first project, completely re-recorded, re-mixed, re-mastered, and in some cases, even re-arranged, as well as six brand new tracks from which the work draws its name. We’re thinking of these six new tracks as an EP, so when combined with the “Cold September Ground” content, the end result is something altogether different.

Creating the production notes posts for “Cold September Ground” was a lot of fun, and gave me a chance not only to talk about the process of creating each track, but also allowed me to share the lyrics and the songs’ backgrounds prior to publication. I have decided, therefore, so continue doing production notes posts for “Faces in the Fog”, and then for “[untitled]“, which is the second album that will be part of this dual release.

I’ve already gone in-depth with the original “Cold September Ground” tracks, so those will not be covered in this series. To learn about them, look them up under the “Cold September Ground” production notes tag. Obviously since we’re re-recording everything, the process will be somewhat different this time around, but I don’t think that I need to go into great detail for every single one of those songs. Plus the lyrics and the inspiration behind them have already been described.

Instead, we’re going to start this series next week with a post about “Hush and Shush”, track 14 on “Faces in the Fog”.



Published October 12th, 2013 at 12:34 pm EST/EDT
firesongblog

Hey, folks! This is just to warn you that with work steadily progressing on the dual album project, I’ve decided that some things need to change on this blog. Mostly this will involve my going through the back entries and changing things that shouldn’t affect anyone but me, but one big thing that’s going to happen is that I intend to change how this blog is located in my server-side organization. Instead of being part of the firesongproductions.com domain, it’s going to be moved under the dragonscalestudios.com domain. This will affect any links and bookmarks. I doubt this will matter to anyone but me, but I wanted to put the warning out there just in case.

And maybe one of these years I’ll finally get around to updating the design of this damn thing…



Published August 22nd, 2013 at 12:11 pm EST/EDT
firesongblog

No, we’re not starting that again. Ye gods.

But the promotion was named after the blog tag, and now I need to use the blog tag again.

Yesterday, a lovely lady by the name of S.J. Tucker posted some lyrics to her Facebook page, and due to the overwhelming response to them, she thought she’d run a contest based on them. I am not really intending to enter the contest, necessarily, but I did want to run this song of mine by her to make sure my inclusion of the titular phrase from her song was kosher. Though I guess this did rather inadvertently turn into a follow-up for “Little Bird”.

I’ve had the idea for this song for two years. It is a direct follow-up to “[untitled]“, and it’s been gestating for a while. Yesterday, it finally came spilling out of my head. I love it. It is what I hoped it would be, and it’s definitely got stuff in it I know I’ve needed to hear (a lot of which I’ve been actively trying to keep in mind for the last few years…especially the stuff about patience). So here is my not-entry to the “Little Bird” contest.

I’m glad this one finally came out of hiding.


Trust the Road
Lyrics and music by Katt McConnell

“Come here, Little Bird,”
       Said the Vagabond Matron,
       ”Answer me this question:

“To find what you seek
       On the road you’ve been walking,
       Would you pay heed to this lesson?

“I am the Keeper of
       Pathways and Journeys,
       And all roads that wander through life.

“I am the bringer of wisdom
       And courage to those
       Who would march to my fife.

“The road is a mistress
       Best not taken lightly,
       But set foot out your door and you’ll find

“A life more enriching
       Than one spent in comfort,
       Where complacency deadens the mind.

              ”Whatever you wish to find on your journey,
              Whatever it adds to your load,
              Take to your heart this lesson, Little Bird:
              Wherever it leads you, trust the road.

“So weary you are,
       So footsore and road worn—
       When was the last time you rested?

“Take care, for my byways
       Are where courage is tempered
       And the mettle of dreams is tested.

“I could tell you which fork
       Leads to which destination,
       And speed up the trip that you’re taking.

“But then you’d miss out
       On the joys and the mystery
       Of the story that you’re the one making.

“Don’t be so impatient
       To arrive at the outcome
       That you miss all the sights on the way.

“Don’t fret if you find the road
       Ahead of you blocked for a time,
       Or if something should lead you astray.

              ”Whatever you wish to find on your journey,
              Whatever it adds to your load,
              Take to your heart this lesson, Little Bird:
              Wherever it leads you, trust the road.

“If you find yourself walking
       A stretch cracked and pitted,
       Remember, Little Bird, don’t despair,

“But take heed of the lessons
       Presented as pitfalls
       That you will find here and there.

“Remember to dance,
       Remember to sing,
       Remember the joy of the journey.

“Remember that patience
       Is as valued as ardor,
       And that sometimes, it’s best not to worry.

“While you are pursuing
       What glory calls to your soul,
       Don’t get lost in where you aren’t yet.

“There is merit in walking
       Every step of the road,
       So, Little Bird, don’t forget

              ”That whatever you wish to find on your journey,
              Whatever it adds to your load,
              Take to your heart this lesson, Little Bird:
              Wherever it leads you, trust the road.”



Published August 5th, 2013 at 7:06 pm EST/EDT
firesongblog

Whew. The Lyrics Dump Promotion is finally over. Well, ok, almost. Seven of the nine songs are recorded and released. Soon it will be time for a brea—

Nerts to that, time for the next project.

I mentioned that my next project would actually be TWO albums, and that is still very much the plan. Now that I’ve gotten a few kinks worked out, it’s time for the big reveal—what albums I’m going to be doing next, and what songs will be on them. The first one involves some old, familiar friends.

Album Name: Faces in the Fog

Track List

  1. Cold September Ground
  2. Kiss Me, Jak Frost
  3. The Garden
  4. Fall from Grace
  5. Runaway
  6. The Stallion and the Rose: The Choice
  7. By Blood
  8. Wet Velvet
  9. Jack the Ripper
  10. Stepping Stones
  11. The Stallion and the Rose: The Debt
  12. The Singing of Dragons
  13. 9 Lives
  14. Departure
  15. Hush and Shush
  16. A Flame that Burns in Darkness
  17. Gray One
  18. A Long Walk
  19. Faerie Dreams

If you’re noticing that a lot of that first one looks familiar, there’s a good reason for that. See, I made “Cold September Ground” sorta backwards. I made it before I knew what I was doing, for one, and I made it before I knew if anyone would really be interested in it. Well, people are. In fact, by my standards, people are pretty damn interested (you’ve all given me cause to keep making music, so I consider that pretty damn interested). There are things I wanted to do the first time around that I wasn’t able to do partially because of a lack of experience, but also because of a lack of time. CSG was a student project. I had to have it finished by a certain date in order to graduate from college. Now that I’m all graduated ‘n stuff, I wanted to take another crack at it. I didn’t do as well on it as I could have, and it’s actually made me kinda sad.

The CSG content will not be remixes. They will be entirely new recordings. What’s more, most of them will also have extra things thrown into the arrangements, if I have my way. For example: I originally wanted a violin part in “Jack the Ripper”. That wasn’t possible the first time around. Another example: The lead accompaniment in “9 Lives” was intended to be a chiptune. That also wasn’t possible. This time around, I can add in all that nifty stuff that didn’t make it into the final cuts the first time.

The reason why this album will be called “Faces in the Fog” and not something like “Cold September Ground Version 2.0″ is because of six additional tracks at the end that are essentially an EP. These are all new, though we’ve been doing “Hush and Shush” at Wax Chaotic concerts for some time. They still fit the theme of the original album, though, so I think they’ll work in nicely.

This redux/EP combo is actually the reason why I intend to do two albums at the same time. I’d feel kinda shitty if my next effort was essentially my first effort, just with some extra stuff thrown in (even if it’s lots of extra stuff, as I intend it to be). But I’d really like to get this one done. I do hope you all will bear with me.

Now for the next one.

Album Name: [untitled]

Track List

  1. Cracked
  2. Weekend Job
  3. Pixie Smile
  4. Wild Hair Time
  5. Buttons
  6. Lost Girls
  7. Hand-Me-Downs
  8. Coat of Scars
  9. Partners in Crime
  10. In a Hundred Different Ways
  11. Break Out
  12. Getting Lost
  13. Tapestry of Me
  14. [untitled]

This one is a heckuva lot different from the other one. Its theme is, “Where I’ve been, where I am, and where I’m going”. It’s a lot more personal, and it’s something I need to get out. You’ll note that some of these songs were actually part of the Lyrics Dump Promotion, but there’s plenty of new content where those came from.

It has been suggested that I shouldn’t call this album “[untitled]” and simply leave it at that, that I should instead conceive a more descriptive name for it. But “[untitled]” is its name. The title track is the only one that fits into the category “Where I’m going”, and those of you familiar with the song will already be aware that it is one gigantic question mark. It is not more defined because I was not more defined when I wrote it, and this entire album is a much more personal and specific reflection of me than most of my other work. It is about history and questions and laughter and no few scars. It is me, laid open, picked apart by poetry, and threaded through melody. It is a journey through the Self. And I can’t wait to share it with you all.

Please note that with the exception of the CSG tracks, which I wish to keep in their original order, the track order of the EP and of “[untitled]” is still subject to change. I’ve put a lot of thought into the songs themselves, though, and so I feel pretty confident that this is what will be on each album. But I must confess that at least half of the material on “[untitled]” hasn’t been written yet. The ideas are clear enough in my mind that I could put names to them, but I’m still working on detailing the specifics.

Sean and I are going to be laying down the initial tracks for things around our practice and performance schedule, and we’re going to start in September. I’m hoping to have both of these albums ready to print no later but hopefully far earlier than the fall or winter of 2014. I’m still trying to decide what—if anything—I want to do in regards to crowdfunding for these projects, but given another announcement you’ll find a paragraph or two below, I’m thinking crowdfunding is likely going to happen. You’ll definitely hear about it if it does.

Because of this project, our tour for next year will be starting later than it normally does. Usually we take a break starting at the beginning of December and then head back out at the beginning of February. In 2014, our tour won’t begin until mid-April. The reason for this is that our day jobs don’t leave us with much time and energy during the week. That means that the weekends are our primary windows for recording, but that’s also when most of our shows are (SF cons especially). By adding an extra couple of months to our break, we hope to make a serious dent in the to-do list for these albums before we again set foot on the road.

And speaking of the tour…

We have decided that we want to release a Wax Chaotic album. It is intended to be a compilation of live performances from our 2014 tour, and we mean to call it “Vagabonds”. We don’t know yet what will be on it, but it seemed like a fun project to work on. (Don’t be afraid to weigh in—if there’s a song you’d like to hear on the album, let us know!).

If all goes well, it will be released either very late in 2014 or very early in 2015. So there’s three albums we’ve got on our to-do list for the next year and a half. We are nothing if not ambitious.

Now allow me to elaborate on what I mean by “if all goes well”.

One of the Super Secret Things we’ve been working on in the background is a fundraising project for our tour next year. The campaign is due to launch September 1st. If you’ve seen us this year doggedly getting video of our performances or asking you if we can record your feedback, this project is the reason why. We’re still keeping lots of the details under our hats for now, but since we have so many events in August, we figured it couldn’t hurt to start promoting our fundraising campaign now.

We’re doing this because the road is no longer whispering or muttering our names. It is practically screaming them. We want to be out in the world, seeing new places and making music for people. I know that for me personally, it is something that practically consumes my every waking thought. It follows me in my sleep, and it keeps me up at night. But in order to be as active next year as I want us to be, we’re going to need help. Thus, we’re having the fundraising campaign.

And I’m probably biased, but some of the backer rewards we’ve decided on are pretty awesome. We’re doing things like custom songwriting, “Wax Chaotic” branded thumb drives with unreleased studio versions of new songs, the chance to participate in a studio version of one of the new songs, artwork, autographed photos, autographed and handwritten lyrics sheets…the list goes on. The point is, we’re wracking our brains to think up all sorts of cool things we can to give you folks in exchange for your getting us out further from home next year.

We’ve been working since May or June of this year to start confirming shows for next year, and slowly they are beginning to cement themselves on the calendar. We even have a few of them to announce when the fundraiser actually launches. In the meanwhile, if anyone out there reading hosts house concerts or is in charge of programming for an SF con, Pagan festival, or other such event, please drop us a line.

Keep an eye here or on Facebook for more details upon the launch of this campaign.

But so that essentially means that Dragon Scale Studios will be producing three albums over the course of the next year and a half or so. And I’m pretty damn stoked about it! I hope you’ll be keeping an eye out for more updates as we’re able to share more information with you. We are so excited about everything that it’s impossible to describe. And you make it happen. You’re kinda awesome, huh?