Launched!

This week: Oodles of Noodles

Friends, welcome to the first entry of For the Record! I hope this finds you well. I’m so grateful for this opportunity to be in better touch with you as we all move forward. Thank you so much for joining me as I begin work on my next album.

* VERY IMPORTANT: I miss several things about touring, none more than meeting and talking with all of you. Did you ever watch Felicity? I did. I woke the other morning wanting to communicate with you the way she did with her friend back home. Every Friday, I will send out recordings of me answering your questions, telling stories, and musing generally the way I typically would between songs onstage, at the merch table, or when we’ve run into each other before the show at that one place by the venue that serves salads. If you are so inclined, please send questions/memories/thoughts/ to thao@substack.com. If you send a voice memo I will probably include it in the recording! Looking forward to hearing from you.

Ok here we go.

INITIAL PROGRESS REPORT:

I Am in the Very Early Stages.

Very early stages offer some of the greatest gifts of my life: playing music without yet worrying what will become of it. Meandering around on an instrument is both necessary and luxurious. I’ve wanted to play piano since I was a kid but never had steady access to one until a few years ago. With so much touring and travel, I didn’t really start learning and practicing until the pandemic. Next on the piano agenda: Committing more chords to muscle memory so I can start experimenting with different progressions and start building songs. But for now: the deeply satisfying (perhaps just for me) Piano Noodle.

I Am Keeping it FRESH on My Primary Instrument:

One way I love to keep it fresh is to start loosening the tuning pegs of my acoustic guitar at different rates and strumming intermittently until what I hear holds both intrigue and promise. The tuning Gibson (my guitar) is in below is: DADF#F#C#. Again, it’s so fun to just wander up and down the neck and see what can or shouldn’t happen. I do believe I’ll be able to write a song in this tuning. But first: Exploring a New Tuning (and noodling).

I AM BUYING NEW GEAR ON A WHIM

Another thing I like to do is buy instruments I can’t necessarily say I need, and then use that guilt/frugality as motivation to write songs on them, thereby justifying their expense. I don’t know what that says about my relationship to money or guilt but employing this combo absolutely helps with songwriting. Years ago, I bought this amazing acoustic squareneck lap steel on a whim at a shop in SF when I went in for strings:

I wrote Squareneck (from Thao and Mirah) and Nobody Dies (from A Man Alive) on this beauty. The tunings for both those songs are in C#, because that’s what the guitar was tuned to when I bought it and I believe in using what the universe provides.

In the video below, I’m playing a Meloguitar lapsteel I just picked up from my neighbor down the street! This one is joining our family tuned to A#. My Return on Investment meter predicts we can all expect at least a couple songs in A#.

Thank you so much for joining For the Record. You’ll hear from me soon. Please remember I’d love to hear from you as well! Email me at thao@substack.com.

I leave you for now with this old song on a new acquisition.

yours,

thao