Credit Where Credit is Due

As far as copyright and publishing is concerned,  a ‘songwriter’ is the person that comes up with the lyrics and the melody to a song. There were quite a few instances on Reality Jockey, however, where I felt the guest musicians contributed so substantially to a song that it created a vibe I never could have achieved on my own. For this reason, I’ve decided to give these players writing credit, so they can shower themselves with pennies after the songs get played on Spotify, or maybe pay a bit of their rent if one of these tunes lands in a film or a tv episode.

If you followed along with my RPM Challenge in February of last year, you will remember the song Shangri-La. I wrote the chords and the lyrics, but invited Traci Weingardt to play bass and sing backups. The bass part she came up with totally transformed the song, and she should definitely get credit for that.  Traci also came up with her own backup harmonies, which were much different (and definitely cooler) than what I would have come up with for this song.

I asked my friend (and Boolean Knife member) Mike Koelling to play bass on the song Rookie of the Year. Once you hear the song, you’ll see why I felt he should get a writing credit as well. I’m no slouch at electric bass, but Mike just blew this song out of the water. He built an incredible groove, essentially pulling the whole track together. I can’t imagine how the song would have turned out without him.

Mike’s brother Tim Koelling is a bad-ass sax player and has appeared on many songs of mine over the years. On Reality Jockey, he appears on three. For the song Decidedly Blue, Tim took my chord chart and rough recording home and arranged parts for Tenor and Alto sax, both of which he played on the recording. The song was released awhile back exclusively to my Patreon patrons through the Kaleidoscope project, but the song was too good to not be on this album.

Finally, I invited my friend Zach Smolinski to play finger-style acoustic guitar on the song Clothes of the Devil. All the guitars, actually. Even though I told him what chords to play, Zach went about his parts in a way I never could have, and came up with a rhythm figure that I built the entire song around. While not really a by-the-letter ‘writer’ according to common standards, he definitely deserved credit.

As I mature as a musician (and a person, probably) I’m learning more about the magic that collaboration can bring. Reality Jockey, like all my previous albums, visits many different sonic lands, but all of these musicians and their contributions take my sound to a whole new level and, going forward, I can’t imagine recording any other way.