Poems And Promises 1991: A Song Cycle

Poems and Promises is an album that never was. First a little background. I first began trying my hand as a song writer before high school when I was performing with my older brothers as an acoustic trio. By 1979, when I began my freshman year, I had committed to pursuing the craft seriously. By the end of high school I had begun to organize my songs into groups of what I considered my best work and recording them. My own personal mixtapes as it were. During college I continued this process and in 1986 I recorded a song cycle called Songs of Solitude. By this time I was thinking in terms of LPs of 45 minutes or less so I arranged things for that format. Songs of Solitude was a collection of demo recordings that I hoped one day might become a full production album. Poems and Promises was my second attempt at the same. A proper album never happened in either case but most of the songs from Solitude did make it onto my 2021 release, Love Cycles and Full Circles, in re-recorded form. I don’t have any plans to do the same with songs from Poems and Promises. The project spans a period of song writing occurring roughly between 1989-1991. In those days it wasn’t unusual for me to write as many as ten songs for each one that made the cut. Then, as now, I also wrote songs that just didn’t fit the project I had in mind for thematic or aesthetic reasons. In the end I boiled it down to 12 tracks. Once recorded, I gave cassette copies of Poems to friends, as well as friends of friends who requested them. Eventually I also distributed copies on CD-R but I never officially released the project before now. Poems and Promises went into the vault and by the time I gained access to the resources to produce a professional recording I had already moved on, both personally and artistically. As a result, Amystery, became my first professional project recorded in 1994. I never returned to Poems and Promises so now I’m releasing it as a kind of time capsule. It represents an important stage in my development as a writer and producer that I now wish to share with a wider audience. I hope you enjoy this little journey into my musical history.

Poems and Promises was recorded on a Fostex 260 four track cassette portastudio in my living room. As such it contains many audio artifacts. My pets where often part of the performance for example. It also contains plenty of musical performance weaknesses on my part as well. Given the advances in digital audio production I could have edited out most, if not all, of these problems but I chose to use a light hand to preserve the original character of the recordings. The result is definitely lo-fi but listenable. I hope you find it interesting.