My first record

05Apr11

When I moved back home with my parents near Allentown, PA, after graduating from Temple in August, I had a lot of time on my hands. I had very few friends who still lived in this area. I had a hard time ever being motivated to do anything. Most of the time I felt completely uninspired in a town with no music scene to really speak of. But I had my guitar, and I had lots of time to play it.

I also had a small catalog of songs that had never found a home with any of my previous musical projects, songs I held very close to me, that I desperately wanted to share with people. So I found a few open mics around the Lehigh Valley, and I tried to regularly attend. Unfortunately, when I finally found a place I really enjoyed and that was becoming my new home, The Wildflower Cafe in Bethlehem, the venue/cafe closed for business, a few weeks later.

So I went back to doing what I had began doing in the fall, recording the songs, all written in 2010, piece by piece, on a friend’s borrowed digital, multi-track recorder. And a couple weeks ago, I finally finished the five songs that would make up the EP I had been dreaming up since late summer, early fall of last year. I wanted it to be called Middle of Anywhere.

Those five songs, in my mind, tell a sort of narrative of the ups and downs of my life through most of that year. This is that loose story, song by song:

“Your Crowded Heart”
The majority of 2010 involved a lot of my own sort of soul-searching. At the beginning of the year, my love life was really just fragmented. I had a friend, for whom I had done everything I could think of to help her through some difficult times. But when I was around her, I just had the most overwhelming desire to be there for her in a bigger, more meaningful way. To kiss her, to hold her, seemed like the most fitting way to console her, but it was never going to be that simple of a fix. I left her one night and went home to write this song, one of the most heartfelt ones I’ve written.

It became one of my favorite songs to play with my band at the time, the Natural Result, but somehow, it never entirely felt like a song written for that band, and so I hung onto it for dear life, until now.

Ultimately, it’s a song about unrequited love, and that, my friends, is one of the oldest topics in the book. A new interpretation of a classic motif. There you go.

“Middle of Anywhere”
The title track spawned from a really lousy couple months I had at the beginning of last summer. The semester had ended, and I was still living near Temple, which is a ghost town when classes aren’t in session. I had no job, other than doing sporadic freelance writing. I was basically just ready to go to London, later that summer, but had months to kill.

I was really lonely and in one of the most depressed states I’ve ever been in. I had failed, it seemed, to make any new, meaningful connections with anyone in so long, that I had just lost all self-confidence. I ran into an old friend at a party who jokingly asked, “How’s your love life?” and when I said something to the effect of “dismal,” asked, “Well who are your prospects?” It was at that moment I realized that absolutely no prospects could come to mind and that it seemed I had no prospects in any other avenue of my life.

It was a brutally hot summer, and I would just lie awake at night, sweating, unable to sleep even if my mind would have let me. I just wanted to be on another continent (which I soon would be), but I said to myself, “I want to be in the middle of anywhere but here.”

“Walk With Me”
This may be no surprise to you, but I have not really ever been one for good timing.

Toward the end of summer, I started forcing myself out of my North Philadelphia apartment. I began going to a small open mic on South Street. When you go to a particular open mic regularly, the cool thing is, you get to really know people and become friends with some really great musicians who are all doing something similar. One of the other regulars at this open mic was a tremendous piano player and singer, with whom I quickly became friends. I was enamored by her performances every week, and it seemed like we were establishing some kind of growing connection, despite the time rapidly approaching when I would be off for London.

Needless to say, it basically came down to my own daydreaming of an image of taking her by the hand and taking a walk along the Delaware River at Penn’s Landing (this was the best I could imagine in my current state of despair). The week before I left the states, I decided to play the open mic one last time. That day, I began strumming a simple acoustic progression and I put the daydream to lyrics. In a bold move, I planned on playing the song for her that night. Alas, she didn’t show up, so instead I played it for a bunch of slightly drunk bar patrons, who seemed to enjoy it nonetheless. So much for my last ditch effort at a summer fling.

“Color”
I spent six weeks in London that accounted for the greatest experience of my life. At the end of the six weeks, I went to Paris, alone, and had absolutely no schedule or plan for my trip. It was an intimidating, thrilling and liberating excursion, but at the end of each night there, I would always head back to my hotel with the same sense of loneliness.

Coming home from Europe, I had fully expected to be miserable, having graduated college with no clear path to follow from that point on out. Instead I came home, to find love in probably the last place I would have ever thought to look for it. Suddenly, things were simple, and I was all right with that. Things made sense (outside of London) for the first time in about a year. This is the turning point in the story.

“You Were My Home”
This song really wrote itself, as I was sitting around just reflecting on my time in London in the weeks following the trip. Each of the song’s verses are things I actually did.

We danced in Brixton to live ska until the early morning, when we attempted to navigate the city’s night bus system for the first time, and ended up landing on the wrong side of the enormous Hyde Park. I walked into a Camden Town pub as Amy Winehouse was walking past me out the door to head home, a couple blocks away.

Most people visit London. I lived it. I’ve never gone to a completely new place and felt so instantly at home, but something just clicked for me when I was there. And I would most certainly live there again.

Download the EP for whatever price you choose at www.kevinbrosky.bandcamp.com.

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