Shows with Church This Weekend & Next Week

Separately, Cory and I will be playing shows with Portland, OR band Church ( ) in the next few days:

Sunday, May 31 – Lincoln, NE

Duffy’s Tavern (map) – 9 PM

Church, The Sleepover (Cory), and The Ocean Floor


Wednesday, June 3 – Kansas City, MO
Davey’s Uptown (map) – 9 PM

Church, Sally Ride (howie)

Thanks to Chelsea Kibler for helping set this up!

I’ll be playing a set of tunes from Sally Ride records, most of which haven’t been recorded :-)  “Lost” and “Cooky” from Furious Instance, “Coast & Plans” and “While I Was Moving About Flyover Country” from Ventura, and some other, both older and newer, stuff.

MFR Listening Project 001-009

As our fifth birthday approaches in September, I’ve started listening to every release roughly in order, making notes as I go.

Bulleted lists aren’t displaying correctly on the site, and bold/italic text hasn’t for a while, either; I’m starting to ponder a re-design. -h

  • MFR 002 – echoes “nickel EP”
    • Better than I remembered; better execution, better arrangements/production.
    • Good snare sound, which I’ve always strived to re-capture.  Maybe it’s Mom’s high ceilings.
    • The guitars are sort of buzzy/fuzzy, but round enough to work.


  • MFR 001 – Shacker “Knowing Her Best, Blackbeard Defends the Open Sea”
    • Criminally underheard, which is our fault.  We barely played beautiful tunes like “Save You From Me” or “Maybe Tomorrow” live, which had to do with travel and school schedules
    • My kit sounds great.  Love it.
    • The breadth of Cory’s writing, from “Prove It”‘s warped riff and beautiful/trashy progression to the pure power-pop of “One Stereo.”
    • The title and art are so packed with meaning for me, and I’m not sure if that comes across.  In short, they go back to the Don Quixote story, which I love; the nobility within and significance of the impossible or ridiculous quest – tilting at windmills.


  • MFR 003 – Shacker “The Dimly Lit Room”
    • Hearing this brings back strong sense-memories of the night we made this record.  It was in my parents’ living room, James, Cory, Annie and I sat in a circle with mics and things plugged in.  It was raining softly outside; we turned out the lights and lit some candles.  We just pressed record and played; a few songs got second takes, but most were first.  I remember playing the different guitar leads to “Sophia,” and saying goodnight to Annie at the front door.  I can smell the rain and feel the air on the porch, under the porch light.
    • Cory loves how our verse lyrics in “Autumn” – “so much/slightly” – don’t match
    • When Cory recorded “Goddamn the Scene,” he inexplicably said “hip-ters” – we had to overdub the “s” to make “hipsters.”  I think it turned out pretty transparent; no one would know, except I just told you.


  • MFR 004 – Bike “How Is That Possible”
    • I love this record; it’s comfort music for me.  When I’m anxious, it’s aural serenity.  Not because it’s easy listening.  In fact, the opposite; the distance, tension, dissonance, and vague uneasiness of some tracks (“Robot Love,” “He Came To Steal Your Children”) reassure me that I’m not alone.  Of course, other tunes (“Bad Attitude,” “Out of Control”) are pure beauty.
    • If MFR ever had a particular sound, it started to diversify here, and I’m proud it happened so early in the catalog.  Nate is a friend of Cory’s from his California days, and his music was an unexpected gift at several levels.
    • I have a very specific memory of driving home from Minneapolis listening to bike in winter ’04-05 – freezing cold and frosted ground, but no real snow – the sparse stretch between the northern Iowa border with Minnesota and Ames.  Mostly, a certain small bridge in the middle of a shallow S-curve; I’m sure I’d know the spot again, even now.
    • When Nate brought the “Great Distances” bonus track to me, I was skeptical at first, because I loved how the album ended with “To Cure.”  I’ve come around; “Great Distances” is essential to my hearing of the album now.  It’s a coda, playing while the credits roll, after “To Cure”‘s conclusion to the record.


  • MFR 005 – Beach Puppy (Cory Kibler) “Creepy Eepy”
    • One of my favorite MFR releases.  I love the minimal aesthetic, and the piano lines, which came to my imagination in unexpected places: lying on the couch watching The Daily Show, in the car (which I’ve since found is a great place for writing harmonies and overdubs), etc.
    • “Nature vs. Nurture”!!!
    • The piano belongs to Bob & Nan Woodburn, who I rented a room from during my year in the Twin Cities.  My longest mic cable only put the mic within about 10 feet of the instrument, which turned out to work in our favor; their fairly large, high-ceilinged sitting room created a nice natural reverb.


  • MFR 006 – GiLMO “Points of Parallax”
    • Scott and Allen made these tracks for fun, but I’m happy they’re a part of MFR.  Again with the diversity!  And they get catchy with repeated listens; I start to anticipate what’s coming, and get the pleasure of being right.  Plus, these guys can both wail.
    • There was an “As Seen From C” track that was cut from the project; the improvisation didn’t match the level of A or B.  There was also a weird track of all 3 takes playing at once; what was interesting was which recognizable parts of which songs jumped out in moments where the others were relatively quiet.


  • MFR 007 – D-Rockets “Matt Wisecarver’s Secret Fantasy”
    • Derek, formerly of The Return, is another of Cory’s California bros and it continues to be our honor to host the music of such a gifted artist.
    • Count the cowboy hats on the cover!
    • Derek has some other solo stuff released under the name The Ashtray Life – if you can find it online, enjoy!  I have a few tracks on my laptop, which is currently un-turn-on-able due to a blown power supply.


  • MFR 008 – “Furious Instance” (Compilation)
    • “Furious Instance” doesn’t seem to have gelled quite the way I hoped it would.  For myself, I tend to write *albums,* so I don’t have extra tracks/b-sides or lone songs without a home on a record.
    • “…Instance” is kind of uneven, due to the nature of the thing, and some of its weaker tracks are mine (the acoustic “I Don’t Even Know How Right This Sounds,” the live “Tweaky”).  On the other hand there are absolute gems like “Lunch By Yourself” and “Try Harder Or Not At All.”  “Cooky” and “Lost” are good tunes, I think, but will end up on a record eventually; they’re slotted for my “Rogue Demon Hunter,” which will be an album of pop songs entirely devoid of an organizing concept.  (In some ways, heir to the original echoes EPs.)
    • “Pretending to break strings” *never* fails to brighten my day; I always laugh, or at least smile idiotically.


  • MFR 009 – “Nebraska Verses” (Compilation)
    • “NV” was an attempt to create something listenable out of the vast minidisc archives of mostly live, acoustic recordings from what amounts to my and Cory’s college years. MFR didn’t exist when this stuff was put down, but these songs contain the basic idea; Cory’s music, mine, and our friends’.
    • I’ve always like the cover, with the old state highway sign. It was especially resonant, as I put the comp together after seriously moving away for the first time.
    • The comments to each mp3 file contain some good info about times and dates of each recording.
    • The “Yes” interlude at the end of my “Staircase” demo foreshadows the direction h&s was heading, almost two years before “signs.comets.”
    • I love how Mike, Scott’s dad, basically tells the story of h&s in about 45 seconds for the intro to “Mightier Than The Sword.”
    • For a long time, I basically strummed the guitar as hard as possible all the time. (I guess I drummed that way for a long time, too.) It was part immaturity, part from idolizing Dave Matthews, and part trying to match the saxophone’s volume.
    • Listening to “JATC,” I realize what a gift it has been to have started writing songs with others’ poetry as lyrics side-by-side with my own. Charles Muff wrote all but the “Just around the corner” line to this one. For another example, Aileen Nowlan wrote for the unreleased “Wish U B Happy,” also a really early tune. I’m hearing now how the example they set for freedom from rhyme and stock phrasing is something I’ve continued to explore.
    • Besides being a test run for the new ProTools system over Thanksgiving ’02, “God Bless The Strokes” was the first song I didn’t feel had a home in howie&scott. Pure pop/rock/punk just didn’t feel right next to our other stuff. In that way, it’s a major marker on the way to MFR and everything that’s happened since.
    • The insane snare reverb on “One Stereo” came off a dry soundboard recording, meaning that the sound guy was adding it *on top of* the natural reverb of Butler Gym. I could punch him. (Also, for not turning my backing vocals on until partway through the next song.)
    • Ohhh… flat. :-(
    • ScoMo tears into “After Hrs. War,” I love him on that!
    • It’s weird that the three howie&scott songs that end the project are all in 6/8 time; those just happened to be our best performances from that night’s recording. The rhythmic interplay between Scott and I has always seemed to work really well in 6/8. It’s a rich foundation for musical conversation.

The (Songwriter) Always Gets The Girl

Mom sent me a photocopy of this article from the April 18 Lincoln Journal-Star; I found it online here.  She had crossed out “poet” from the title, and written in “musician.”

“The Poet Always Gets The Girl”

By Garrison Keillor

April is Poetry Month, whatever that may mean to you. Perhaps, not much.

Perhaps, what with your nomination to be assistant secretary for human rights running into rough waters because of that silly song you sang at the company Christmas party in 1997, which has been used to make you look like an insensitive jerk, your interest in poetry is practically nil. And, if so: Hey, you’re not alone.

The reading aloud of poetry has been shown, time and time again, to be effective at breaking up gatherings of people. Rather than tear gas or pepper spray, many police departments now use William Wordsworth. Or T.S. Eliot, that small dark cloud of a poet.

I don’t care for poetry much, either; except for my own, of course. (Have you seen mine? Did I forget to send you a copy of “God’s Hand Shadows On My Bedroom Wall”?)

That’s the real message of Poetry Month. Not that you should go back and reread the one about the cherry tree wearing white for Eastertide or the plums in the icebox so sweet and so cold. No, no, no. It’s the month when you should write a poem and see how powerful this can be in winning the favor of women.

Back when our hairy-legged ancestors were living in mud huts, sleeping on piles of animal hides and smelling of rancid grease and wood smoke, men were not attractive to women at all. Fighting with rocks and clubs made unsightly marks on men and left putrefying sores. They squatted around the smoking fires, put ashes on their wounds, exchanged myths, and felt a terrible ache for love and affection.

They longed to see women exhibit an avid interest in them for their own merits and not have to go marauding against enemy tribes and stand toe to toe with their warriors and hack at them and bash their brains out and eviscerate and decapitate them and drag their women away screaming and sobbing. A lousy way of dating, especially as the winner has plenty of hack marks on him and is not so interested in sex now, due to loss of blood.

They longed to make themselves appealing to women. At first, they thought they could do this with tomatoes — then known as the “love fruit.” The lady would fling herself into his arms and his pleasure would be greater than if she were screaming and sobbing.

This worked for a time, but eventually tomatoes became so common that their aphrodisiac powers were diluted. This led to civilization as we know it: music, sport, learning, poetry. Those all began as an attempt by men to impress women who would come home and eat a tomato and come to the bed.

But, the best strategy was to compose a long ode to her beauty: O wondrous O shining Thou, I lift my pen up now to pay Thee Thy due praise, the wonderment of these my happiest days, and so forth and so forth, her lips, her brow, her raven or flaxen hair, her neck, her breasts, her pale thighs, and so on.

Then the Christians came along and tried to put aside carnal pleasure, claiming it was a hindrance to the spiritual life. Christian men hung out in gangs of disciples, devoting themselves to Bible study and prayer. (One thing they prayed for in secret was for women to love them, despite their thorny theology.) They taught their children to endure this earthly sojourn in the faith of reward in the life to come.

But poetry whispers: “Life is a gift and very brief. Seize the day. Gather ye rosebuds while ye may.”

And that is the gist of the poem you are about to write to the wondrous and shining woman. You adore her and you long to clasp her in your arms and smell her hair and kiss the back of her neck. Forget about the cherry tree and the plums in the icebox. Write your own.

Don’t send it by e-mail. Write it on a sheet of clean paper and hand it to her. And as she reads it, put your hand on her shoulder so that you’re right there when she turns to embrace you.

This works almost all the time. You’ll see. Cummings wrote, “springtime is my time is your time is our time for springtime is love time and viva sweet love,” and Cummings got the girl.

Songwriter Power Rangers

swpr 511 copy small.jpgCory and Ember’s Songwriter Power Ranger Series was written up in the Journal-Star this week; congrats!

From Cory:

Hello, all of you:

Recently, my friend Ember and I have been working with Famous Local Music Venue Box Awesome in order to book a songwriter showcase series called Songwriter Power Ranger. The idea is that the Lincoln area has many, many great singer-songwriter types, but for whatever reason, not many of them get a proper amount of exposure. With this series, we want to rally many of these songwriters together in order to create a more cohesive songwriter scene.

The series will run through May and June (and possibly beyond), and it will take place every Monday night at Box Awesome (8th and “O”) from 6 to 9 pm. This is ideal, as many of us are old and don’t like to be out late on school nights. We figured that Monday early evening is a good night to have this, as there’s not much else going on, and so you can swing by after work, have a beer, and hear some of the best acoustic-ish acts that Lincoln has to offer for a mere $4.

The full schedule for May is below, and the kick-off show for this series will be Monday, May 4th, at 6 pm (at Box Awesome, of course; flier is attached). This first show will feature Son of 76, Manny Coon, and Cory Kibler (meh heh heh meh). Most of you have heard my stuff (, but if you haven’t heard Manny ( or Son of 76 (, do yourself a favor and check them out. I’ll send out the flier for each show as they sneak up on us, so that I can remind you people… We really want to make this series a success, and because of the caliber of acts we’ve booked, we know that it will be. We really hope to see you at the first show and every other show afterwards. Tell your friends and family! Google these artists! Pressure your co-workers! Whatever it takes. Hope to see you there! Sincerely, Cory Kibler (and Ember Schrag and Box Awesome). Schedule for May below:


  • Josh Hoyer (Son of 76)
  • Cory Kibler (The Sleepover)
  • Manny Coon


  • Kacynna Tompsett (Thunder Power)
  • Patrick Bradley (The Amalgamators)
  • Emma Nelson (Kaycee and the Captain)


  • Ember Schrag
  • Nick Westra (Crush the Clown)
  • Natalie Illeana


  • Rebecca McPherson (Starla Dear)
  • Gene Hogan (Loup River Band)
  • Meesch (formerly of Standard Models)

May Milestone

On Friday I finished* tracking guitars for Fifty Bears in a Fight.  It’s a solid milestone in terms of recording, one of which I haven’t had for a while.

We recorded my guitars direct to ProTools to re-amplify later; we’ll hook the computer up to my amp, and maybe other amps, play the tracks back through them and record *that.*  This gives us a lot of flexibility in finding the perfect tone, and also lets us isolate the drums and guitars given my limited space and mics.

Next steps include re-amping my guitars, recording vocals, recording Drew’s guitars and other assorted Rudebusch-wackiness, mixing, mastering, and figuring out how we want to release this.

*We have one song to re-record drums on, scheduled for Monday night.  It’s an easier one for me, as far as my riffs go.  After that I’ll be working with Matt to finish up “Not Nothing,” which will let him take his gear home so I can set up my own drums and finish “You Have To Wear the Boots.”