Become a patron!
Subscribing on Patreon.com for as little as 1$ a month is the best way to directly support my work!
I had a blast chatting with the inimitable Ronn Benway, roaming busker and cartoon maker, for his podcast, Ronn Benway Talks to Friends and Strangers. Click the photo above to listen!
The Halloween Tapes: a new EP by Vinegar Creek Constituency Duo
So Bryson and I made a record during the Halloween thunderstorm of 2019! Vinegar Creek Constituency Duo Sessions: The Halloween Tapes is almost ready to go to print. I've created a simple preorder campaign to help us raise funds to finish the album, a 5 song EP comprising 3 brand new songs and two VCC fan favorites reworked for duo arrangements. We're really proud of this little record, beautifully recorded at the superlative Right Coast Recording by the wizardly Bobby Gentilo, who could scare you more than any ghoul who'd ever dare try. Click here to check out the campaign and order one!
MOE Stories Podcast
I had fun playing a couple songs and talking with Steven and Kevin on the MOE Stories Podcast last week. In the episode we discuss my latest projects, the origins of Vinegar Creek Constituency, and how Tom Waits' The Black Rider album taught a stoned teenage me how to let the ol' creative freak flag flutter in style! Click the pic to listen on Spotify!
Yondersongs Episode 3: The Ballad of Little Bigfoot
I'm proud to bring you episode 3 of Yondersongs, my new musical storytelling show. This one was the most fun yet! In this episode we're on the trail of a legendary monster said to haunt the forests and backroads of my Lancaster County PA home. We visit remote byways where the creature has been sighted, talk with a paranormal investigator, and play music by a campfire in a haunted forest. If that ain't good tv, what is?!
Yondersongs Episode 1: Letters from Centralia
Dear friends, fans, well-wishers, and emotionally uninvested internet lurkers,
I'm pleased to offer you my first effort on my new project, Yondersongs, a musical storytelling travelogue show.
Your feedback would be appreciated! I'm excited by the possibilities and challenges this project presents to me as a songwriter, travel writer, and novice video tinkerer. Please share this if you dig it, and please subscribe to the Yondersongs YouTube channel if you haven't yet (on youtube more subscribers = more clout = greater chance of monetization).
If you'd like to directly support the creation of future episodes and the emigration of future story songs from Dreamland to the world at large, click the big red "become a Patron" button at the top of this page to see how you can join the illustrious Patrons of the Arts who help keep this rickety dream machine running for as little as one measly buck month!
Happy Monday, buddies- I hope you enjoy my little show.
New Song Demo- "I'll Be Your Darkest Before the Dawn"
Here's a demo of a new song rendered with acoustic guitar, telecaster, and vocals. It's based on a sort of barroom country/ honky tonk feel and structure, so try to imagine it with incredible, artful musicians filling in the gaps with a piano, electric bass, drum kit, and pedal steel and you oughta get a feel for where I'm going with this.
The inspiration for this song was a joke I have on myself regarding my romantic track record and the fact that most (maybe all?) of my long-term girlfriends became happily married to the men who came after me. I imagined a shadowy character offering this as a service, handing women in bars his business card, reading "Let me be your darkest before the dawn," which gave me and some friends a chuckle. The lyric is probably mostly tongue in cheek, with just enough (I hope!) genuine self pity to make it satisfying as an achey breaky honky tonk song. I hope you like it, and I'm always open to feedback!
New song and video: "Back to the Angel Maker"
During a songwriting session back home a few days ago, a mellow, jazzy little tune started coming to me which I quickly pushed aside. I didn't really like it much, wanted to work on something else, so I did. But when later I hopped on my bicycle to go to the grocery store, the damn song followed me, fluttering around my brain room like a disoriented fruit bat, insisting on itself, making itself updespite my refusal to work on it. Cut to today, when I sat down in the beautiful harborside flower gardens at Prescott Park in Portsmouth, New Hampshire, and nailed down the trim on this little tune that wouldn't take "no."
Why? The song seems to be talking about how being right here in the world right now can be a pretty fine thing (or at least one hell of a ride), and sitting there among the flowers and salty wind and seabird cries and sunbeams, I grokked it. I sat there for hours, writing and practicing the song, shooting and editing the video, and every minute of it still felt like vacation. And you know what? I think it's quite a nice song in spite of my initial efforts to consign it to the dumpster. Also,
*Pitch alert: It is my mission to bring you songs and stories from places near and far. If the ripples I make in this world resonate with you, if you find any value or lift in my work, please consider becoming a subscriber at Patreon (http://www.patreon.com/leodisanto) for as little as a measly buck a month, yall! In today's digital marketplace, you have the power to bypass traditional gatekeepers like record companies and support independent artists directly. I use Patreon not just as a creator but as a patron of other fine creators. I promise I'll work as hard as I can to make you feel proud to be in my corner.
Or, as usual, just enjoy the video. Please share!! Big yuge love from Portsmouth! Stay tuned for more New Englanding.
The Beatles- "And I Love Her"
One of my earliest and most vivid musical memories is of wearing out my parents' original copy of The Beatles "Hard Day's Night" record on our old turntable (which would later become my first band's makeshift loudspeaker). The first time I ever recall a piece of music making me shiver involves this song, "And I Love Her." I remember sitting in front of the speakers, overwhelmed by emotions an 8 or 9 year old nervous system can only begin to grasp, mystified, floored by this strange magic of sound. To this day the song is deeply embedded in what romantic desire feels like to me- it is the sound of longing in the heart, of fluttering in the stomach.
New song demo- "We Haven't Yet"
We Haven't Yet
I sometimes dream of a woman who, as far as I'm aware, doesn't correspond to anyone I know in my waking life. In these dreams I'm in love, and waking brings a keen heartache that lingers a few moments as I rub the last strands of dream fog from my eyes and stagger towards my coffee grinder, the pain of being suddenly torn from the side of a true love. I find this feeling incredible and so very heartening, as it is evidence that the feeling of romance, for which we so often look to others, exists fully-fledged inside the corridors of our own minds, simply awaiting discovery. But then I wonder, what of this woman? This is a love song to that dream lover, to whom I sing, "I don't believe we've met; we haven't yet."
Would you like to hear this record made with a band of killers instead of me faking my way around all the instruments (ex: that pitchy slide guitar should be pedal steel)? As I write the songs for my next solo album, every dollar I earn releasing my demos on Patreon will go towards making the new album a reality. For a fraction of the cost of a cup off coffee each month you could be my patron (how jazzy does "Patron of the Arts" sound after your name?!). If you find value in my work, please consider checking out what it means to become a patron at http://www.patreon.com/leodisanto
Or don't, but please do enjoy the new song!
"Almost Empty Things"- new original song and video
I've set myself a pace of writing at least one new song a month as I work towards my next solo album, and so far I'm on track. This new song is a sort of little Zen prayer, a meditation on what the Buddhists call "emptiness" as the true nature of things. I hope you like it and find some joy and inspiration in it.
"You Make Me Feel So Young"
A couple hours of singing in the sunshine and an after work river towns field trip with my dog had me crooning last night about feeling young and spring having sprung. Only 2nd time using my fancy camera and 1st time using fancy lights, and I totally blew it on setting up the shot, so I just used editing effects to make it look like I'm on old-time tv. Fuggedaboudit, eh?
New song- "Anna and Martin"
A month or so ago I stumbled across the true story of Anna Swan and Martin Van Buren Bates, two 8 foot tall humans employed as traveling circus "giants" in the late 1800's who married each other. It's a tale so rare and beautiful that I felt the fairest creative approach was to just get out of the way and tell their story as directly and simply as I could (those of you familiar with my love of over-the-top wordplay might appreciate that challenge). My friend, the incandescent Robin Chambers, contributed beautiful violin and vocals to the recording.
I set the song to a collection of photos and drawings of its protagonists.