Category Archives: mp3

Music to Swear By Preview #8 – Mason Jennings' "Nothing"

Head on over to Music to Swear By to listen to this weeks’ podcast featuring Ryan, John, and me.  Over the course of the podcast we talk about our experiences playing in this band.  I learned a lot about Ryan and John – things they never told me about life, love, the universe.

Like yesterday, I will be unable to post this beautifully-haunting rendition of Mason Jennings’ “Nothing” on account of the stupid laws of this fair land we call, “home”.

Thankfully, YouTube has a deal with the big music publishing companies that allows me to post videos of Mason Jennings’ “Nothing”.  Here is one such recording from May 2008.  Email me if you want to hear the new recording.

Music to Swear By Preview #7 – "I Bombed Korea"

Unfortunately, arcane publishing rules that plague our creative community make publishing this recording a legal liability.  So, if you really want to hear me play Cake’s “I Bombed Korea”, you will have to email me.  Sorry about that.  Stupid Congress.  Stupid media conglomerates (Disney, I’m looking at you…).

BUUUUT, you can listen to me play the song on YouTube (recorded in January 2009).

Music to Swear By Preview #6 – "Let's get funky!"

This song, as you know, is about a song.  The title of both songs is, “Let’s get funky!”.

A few days ago, I stumbled across an old recording of the original song from 1997.  While it has lost the rich horns and Bob’s voice that accompanied the original recording, I am pleased to say that today’s recording has lost none of the luster that made the original a success.

This song and more will be featured in next Wednesday’s Music to Swear By podcast.

Music to Swear By Preview #5 – "Monster"

“Monster” is mostly written by my sister, Liana, who is the most beautiful, charismatic, and wonderful human being on the planet.  Listen to my band play it in Music to Swear By host, Tony’s, basement.

And tune in to the Music to Swear By podcast featuring Cryns #3 next Wednesday!

Music to Swear By Preview #4 – "Run. Run! Run!!! RUN!!! RUNNNNN!!!!!"

RunnNNnnNNN!!!  Here is a solo rendition of our hit music video’s soundtrack, as recorded for the Music to Swear By podcast.

Check out the podcast next Wednesday!  In fact, check out other Music to Swear By podcasts right now!  It truly is an entertaining listen!

Music to Swear By Preview #3 – "Tonight was a wonderful night!"

Check out this fabulous rendition of Cryns #3’s “Tonight was a wonderful night!”, performed by Cryns #3 on the Music to Swear By podcast!

The full podcast will air next Wednesday.

Music to Swear By Preview #2 – Duluth

In this recording from our session at the Music to Swear By podcast, the band plays, “Duluth”.  Enjoy!

The full podcast will air next Wednesday.

Music to Swear By Preview #1 – "Kirsten Dunst"

I recently travelled to Shoreview, MN to record an episode of the Music to Swear By podcast with with co-hosts, Tony, Paul, and Dave.  The guys were gentlemanly and smart despite their penchant for the F-word (or maybe because of it).

Over the next 8 days, I will be releasing a series of 8 recordings Tony made during the podcast both with the band and solo after the band left.

This first song is one of my favorites to play live.  It is called, “Kirsten Dunst”.

Our episode of the podcast will air on Wednesday next week with a preview scheduled to be posted this Friday.

"So Just Be" Audio Commentary

“So Just Be” is one of the first songs recorded for Faraway Farm & The Bird.  The song features some nice organs that were conceptualized by Ryan Arnholt (who also plays bass guitar in this band).  I remember hearing it a couple of years ago and thinking, “Wow!”.  I still feel that way when I listen to it.

I'm Back! *Free MP3 to Celebrate*

I just got back from Singapore yesterday.  It was weird, because I left Japan at 4 p.m. on Friday and landed in Minneapolis at 1 p.m. on Friday.  Did I just time travel?  I don’t know.

But it is 5:30 a.m. now, and I have been up for a long time on account of jetlag and a nap.  My internal clock is all screwed up.

I regretfully have not yet posted my new website, nor have I posted my slightly-soughtafter bootleg recordings of “Quittin’ My Job!” and “Run…”.  If you bought the album and want those bootlegs, just email me, and they will mysteriously appear in your in-box.

For the rest of you, I am providing this album-version of Quittin’ My Job, which features fart noises, cows mooing, porpoise singing, and all sorts of other nonsense in an effort to capture the ridiculousness that became my former employ.  I am trying to get this song into the hands of as many people as possible, so please rip it, forward it, and otherwise tell people about it.  In my dream world, the song would be featured on Dr. Demento‘s Saturday morning broadcast.  So, if you happen to know the Good Dr., please forward this track to him as well.

"You're all that I want." Audio Commentary

“You’re all that I want.” is one of the oldest songs in my current playing repertoire.  It has seen a number of variations since its first appearance back in 2001 or so.  The most recent version, featured on “Faraway Farm & The Bird”, has all sorts of voices coming together to form a powerful message.

"It's time to decide." Audio Commentary

“It’s time to decide.” is one of my favorite tracks on Faraway Farm & The Bird.  It is probably the most forward-thinking of all the songs in the sense that it offers a choice that I can make today (and not a decision that I made in the past).  Originally crafted for …if Howard Roark Could Dance, and finally inspired by Lisa, this song was completely reworked and rewritten to reach its current form.

Sometimes songs will take on a life of their own and see a puberty stage followed by a mature stage.  In its original iteration, this song was full of angst an sadness.  In its current version, the song is sweet and optimistic.

Quittin' My Job: The Audio Commentary


This is my first podcast about Faraway Farm.  It might turn into a series.  Please let me know how it works for you!

"Leaving L.A." Featured on NPR's "The Story" (with Dick Gordon)

Wow!  “Leaving L.A.” was featured on an episode of NPR’s “The Story”.  Awesome!  The song is played at the end of the first segment and can be listened to here.  The song is played for 17 seconds about 1/4 of the way through the episode.  Yahoo!!!

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Noah Kicks Ass! First Masters are In!!!

The recording process takes place in 3 stages:

  1. Recording
  2. Re-mixing
  3. Mastering

Noah just sent me the first masters, and they sound awesome!

We are really in the home stretch now, because this means that we are done with the recording and re-recording of things.  In all actuality, the recording process is a bit more disjointed than I indicate above, with parts being added and re-recorded at my producer’s advice.

Noah is a pro on many fronts.  Recording engineer, musician, vocalist, and producer.  We utilized him in all of these capacities for the new record.  It is a real pleasure working with a pro.  I mean, everyone and his grandma can record stuff these days, but a pro brings something else to the equation.  It’s a work ethic.  It’s a mastery of his craft. It’s a trust. It’s an understanding that this album is his as much as it is mine.  He is an artist, and his signature is all over it in subtle ways.

So, many thanks to my big brother, Noah!  Hip, Hip…Hooray!!!

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The Value of Small Crowds

Last night at played what can be considered a “secret show” at the Dubliner Pub on University Ave.  It was secret, because nobody was there to see it.

Sometimes it is nice playing to a small, quiet crowd.  When I took the stage, there were 6 people in the bar, including the bartender and me.  By the time I finished, there were, probably, 30 bar patrons, talking loudly, clanging glasses, and otherwise watching me do my thing on stage.  To tell you the truth, I had a lot more fun when it was just me and 5 others.  That isn’t to say that I always like performing to small crowds.

Sometimes I like the big, loud, ornery crowds.  Other times I like the intimate, paying-attention crowd.  Last night I wasn’t feeling 100%.  My hands were moving slowly.  As a result, I wanted to do things a bit different.  I wasn’t interested in putting on a big performance as I usually do.  Rather, I chose a bunch of songs that I normally don’t play and performed them to the best of my ability, letting the music speak to the scuffed up floors and empty bar stools.  It was beautiful.

The attached mp3 was recorded at the end of my set when there was a large contingent of busybodies talking and otherwise making noise.  You can get a sense for the difference between a quiet room and a loud room.  Sometimes I like it noisy, sometimes I don’t.  🙂

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Hey Little Sister!

I spent a few hours last night with Nathaniel recording bass, keys, and the shaker on our version of The Meat Purveyor’s “Hey Little Sister”.  Listen to it here!

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Take This Survey | Get a FREE MP3!

We are doing some brand-positioning research for our forthcoming album, and we need your help! Give this mp3 a listen, then take this survey.

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Songwriting Workshop #2 Result

This week’s songwriting assignment was to describe a time you took a chance on something. I didn’t follow the assignment. But that’s totally cool! You don’t need to either! 🙂

This week’s submissions include Ryan B’s first submission, a beautifully-crafted song called Love Me
my submission, a spiritual story about ascending to heaven, called “Amen“. I first had the idea for “Amen” while walking home from Lisa’s a couple of hours ago. I recorded the background melody on my phone, and you can listen to it here. I have this bug in me to write a gospel opera…

“Love Me” Lyrics (by Ryan B.)
Sitting here just drinking
Wish I weren’t alone tonight
I want someone to hold me
And love me ‘til the morning light
What is the problem?
Don’t know what I’m doing not right
Put myself back out there
Still you’re nowhere in my sight

Love me tender, love me true
Love me tonight, and I’ll love you

Have another a whiskey
Maybe I’ll make it two
Not that it matters
Won’t bring me any closer to you
My hands are all but tied now
Don’t know what I’m going to do
Guess I’ll keep on pushing
Hoping just to make it though

Love me tender, love me true
Love me tonight, and I’ll love you

“Amen” Lyrics (By Toby Cryns)
Please take my hand.
Let me guide you to the promised land.
Ain’t noone gonna hold you down.
The good lord has come to town.

Be loved.
Beloved man, I will take you to the promised land.
Don’t you worry ’bout a thing no more.
We are going to open Heaven’s door.


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Songwriting Workshop #1 Result – "Salvation"


I finally turned on the computer yesterday to churn out my first song for the Cryns #3 Songwriting Workshop.

Ever since recording Boulder back in 2005, I have had this dream of recording a whole album of gospel songs that a church choir could sing. In fact, some day I hope to gather a whole church choir and perform said album in a live setting. Just to be clear, I’m talking about those fun, foot-stomping, inner-city choirs. I love ’em! The church choirs I grew up with in the Lutheran and Catholic churches wouldn’t be able to hang with this shit.

The topic of this week’s workshop was “Something Big”. My new song is called “Salvation”, which is just about the biggest thing I could think of – bigger even than my appetite for ice cream. To be saved in the afterlife would be the biggest thrill – and what a surprise it would be! Listen to Salvation!

The song tells a story of life, from confident childhood to unsure adulthood to (finally) salvation in the Lord.

I have always liked thinking about my faith. I don’t actually believe in a benevolent or an angry God for that matter. The only reason I actually believe God exists is because I believe in the Law of Conservation of Matter, which states, “Matter can neither be created nor destroyed,” which causes me to constantly ask myself, “Well then, who created the matter to begin with?”

Still, there are a lot of unexplainable, beautiful things in this world. There are so many varieties of living beings on this planet that it’s hard to fathom it all coming together without divine intervention.


Oh my Lord!
Let your rain fall on me!
What do you do when the gospel comes?
What do you do when the gospel comes knockin’ on your door?
You’ve got to praise the Lord!
You’ve got to praise the Lord, and ask for his sympathy!
He’s got a manger.
He’s got a saint.
He’ll show Ceasar!
He’s gonna save our souls today.
There’s a baby in the manger.
He’s gonna stand tall and get murdered for our sins.
What you gonna do with all those souls?…

What are you gonna do with your soul?
You’re gonna pay the piper!

Oh my Lord!
I found salvation!!!

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