Ken Stringfellow "Tourniquets"
I first met a pink-haired Ken Stringfellow back in 1996 after witnessing one of the most enjoyable and life-affirming live shows I’ve ever seen. The Posies played a “secret” show at the Corner Hotel in Melbourne, but the secret was out and we were packed like smoked sardines in that smoke filled room. The set was heavy on “Frosting On The Beater” and “Amazing Disgrace” tracks, two of the most perfect power pop albums ever recorded. I felt so goddamn lucky to be alive. The show felt like a celebration of life and living, and my recollection is that everyone in that room was feeling it too, united by these perfect pop songs delivered with such passion and energy. The band pulled a bunch of us in the front row up onstage and I got to bang on some drums. They played encore after encore, including spirited Big Star and Cheap Trick covers, until the venue finally shut that shit down at 2am. The party raged on regardless, and the band hung out and graciously shared their stories and their booze with us.
Anyway, that was then. This is now…
A black-haired Ken Stringfellow recently asked if I might have any suggestions for non-traditional venues with a piano he could play in Indianapolis for his upcoming solo tour. My first thought was “Holy shit! Postal Recording would be perfect for Ken!” and my second thought was “Holy shit! Ken would be perfect for our Almost Live series!” and so here we are..
The show was held at Postal Recording on a Sunday evening to a handful of lucky fans, and the following morning Ken returned to the studio for his Almost Live session. This session was an exception to our rule of recording Almost Live at the titular Joyful Noise office, but rules are made to be broken and we decided to record and film Ken’s Almost Live session at Postal Recording as things were still pretty disorganized at the new JNR headquarters, with boxes piled up everywhere and power outlets yet to be installed.
So at 11am on Monday morning, Ken returned to the studio and gifted us with a brand new song which he wrote right there in front of us. Ken sat down at the 1882 Steinway upright grand piano and laid down a hauntingly beautiful melody which he recorded in just one take. Next came a quick vibraphone overdub, followed by a single take of feedback guitar. We took a short break while Ken worked up some lyrics, then he entered the vocal booth and everything was done and dusted by 1pm. We took a few photos for use on the screen-printed b-side of the 7” you are now holding in your hands, and then Ken hit the road.. the consummate gentleman and troubadour, headed to his next solo show in Columbus, Ohio.
Project manager & video director, Joyful Noise Recordings
Written by Ken Stringfellow
Published by Soft Rebellion Songs (BMI)
Recorded and mixed by Tyler Watkins at Postal Recording