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Aluminum Oasis

Michael McNevin

Collection of recent songs, with a couple older ones. Guitar & vocal, about how I sound at live solo concerts, straight ahead. Plus a few extra guitar parts here and there. For fun I was calling it The White Albume at gigs, a demo I burned on my computer, one at a time on my Mac. For the sharpie demo CDs, I spelled it wrong on purpose, so as
Collection of recent songs, with a couple older ones. Guitar & vocal, about how I sound at live solo concerts, straight ahead. Plus a few extra guitar parts here and there. For fun I was calling it The White Albume at gigs, a demo I burned on my computer, one at a time on my Mac. For the sharpie demo CDs, I spelled it wrong on purpose, so as not confuse me with the Beatles. Ha ha :). Probably deserves a better name, since it's now out on the web for downloading. So, it's the Aluminum Oasis Collection, with Aluminum Oasis as the first track. Americana, Folk, storytelling lyrics. Most tracks recorded by Tom Prasada-Rao in a Niles CA living room. A few other tracks (#3, #9, #11) recorded at Phil Bennett's home studio in Pleasanton, CA.
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Singles

Still Red

Michael McNevin

This song represents my Dad and I for sure, in our ranch days way back when. We had some land, a few horses, enjoyed the hills above the Russian River in Sonoma County outside of Cloverdale, CA. We weren’t cowboys, or hardcore ranchers, far from it. The character in this song is a hybrid of my Dad, and who I imagine his alter ego is in a cowboy
This song represents my Dad and I for sure, in our ranch days way back when. We had some land, a few horses, enjoyed the hills above the Russian River in Sonoma County outside of Cloverdale, CA. We weren’t cowboys, or hardcore ranchers, far from it. The character in this song is a hybrid of my Dad, and who I imagine his alter ego is in a cowboy life. As I watched my dad work all his life at construction, installing storm drains and sewage stations, joined him on jobs all the way through my 20s, I got to see how much he enjoys the simple things, how he goes about enjoying doing new things outside of work. Always up to something. Finally watching him retire into the fall of years, I wondered what he’d do with himself. So, in this song Still Red, the character is a retired from the ranch work, and long done with being a rodeo rider. At 75, he’s done with cattle, horses, fixing fences, and he's turning the barn into a man-cave. In figuring out how to live ’the fall’ of his years, he sits in a comfy chair, enjoys the view of the back 40, has a coke machine in the shed next to unused tools, and listens to a clock radio that doesn’t keep time. All hat not cattle, but the barn’s still red. He may hit the track, play some poker, or play some pool, maybe ride the mechanical bull, or at least talk about doing it. Burning daylight is a common theme. My Dad sometimes says that, when I ask him what he’s up to. "Just looking for something to do, burning daylight". Sun’s long gone but the sky’s still red. I have a companion song for this character too. An old rodeo rider, now at 50 years old, decides to try the Livermore Rodeo one more time. It’s called "Buck 39". That’s another song, but it sort of belongs in the trilogy of this guy in his various seasons of life. I haven’t written one about him as a young man yet, I have ideas for it. There are a number of underlying meanings, personal ones overlapping with some true life experiences. Mainly, I’m hoping this guy is enjoying retirement as much as he enjoyed working, riding. Like my dad, now 86, he's kept himself healthy enough to enjoy the twilight years. Another of my Dad’s old sayings; "Shoot Luke, the air is full of birds”, meaning life is good at the moment, point it to the sky, can’t miss.

This Etch A Sketch drawing is one I did at the edge of the lower meadow at the Kerrville Folk Festival, looking out on the adjacent field. Circa, 1998. Staring a drive to Texas tomorrow for a fall 10-day version of that festival tomorrow morning. I’ll be sitting right about where that guy is, in camp Coho.
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Hob Thrasher

Michael McNevin

Met Hob in the Phoenix airport, Thanksgiving weekend. My Dad Jack and I were waiting on a plane. Hob walked by with his family, his grandson was carrying his fiddle for him. I was strumming my Martin backpacker, Hob stopped and said hi. Seasoned bluegrass guy meets young folkie, we settled on Wabash Cannonball so he could jam. I did my best to
Met Hob in the Phoenix airport, Thanksgiving weekend. My Dad Jack and I were waiting on a plane. Hob walked by with his family, his grandson was carrying his fiddle for him. I was strumming my Martin backpacker, Hob stopped and said hi. Seasoned bluegrass guy meets young folkie, we settled on Wabash Cannonball so he could jam. I did my best to keep up with him on rhythm. A little crowd gathered around. Then we said goodbye, my Dad and I wrote the song on airport bar napkins. My Dad was in his mid 60’s at the time, now Dad is 86, about the same age as Hob was when we met him. Though we never saw Hob again, I sang the song at shows for 13 years more years, until an audience member told me he googled the song and learned Hob had just passed away, his obituary showed up. Turned out Hob was from Tuscaloosa Alabama, lived to be 97, died in the Spring of 2013. He played in a bluegrass jam every Thursday night, up to the Sunday he passed away. Beloved in the area, he carved his own fiddles.
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Margaret 1956

Michael McNevin

Margaret, 1956
Indie-folk, Americana.
A ’day in the life’ song for Margaret, then a 17-year-old teenager in 1956, living in the Mission District of San Fransisco. Cutting school, she buys a plane ticket to LA, spends the day on a Hollywood street corner, hoping to be discovered. The same corner where starlet Lana Turner was discovered, she goes
Margaret, 1956
Indie-folk, Americana.
A ’day in the life’ song for Margaret, then a 17-year-old teenager in 1956, living in the Mission District of San Fransisco. Cutting school, she buys a plane ticket to LA, spends the day on a Hollywood street corner, hoping to be discovered. The same corner where starlet Lana Turner was discovered, she goes home at the end of the day, with no regrets. Six years later Margaret returns to the area as a wife and mother of four boys, living a different life than before. They live down the street from the Rose Bowl in Pasadena, where she becomes a sidewalk fan of the big parade. A Mother’s Day tribute, I love and miss you mom.
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Cradle To Grave (McNevin & The Spokes)

Michael McNevin

“Cradle to Grave” started out as a folk ballad, now it’s got a pub feel too. A Catholic and a Protestant walk into a bar… sounds like the start of a joke, but really it’s the song premise, environment, and vibe for two Irish ExPats in a pub in Fort Worth, Texas. Sharing a whiskey together, they both miss Ireland, their north and south roots.
“Cradle to Grave” started out as a folk ballad, now it’s got a pub feel too. A Catholic and a Protestant walk into a bar… sounds like the start of a joke, but really it’s the song premise, environment, and vibe for two Irish ExPats in a pub in Fort Worth, Texas. Sharing a whiskey together, they both miss Ireland, their north and south roots. Jameson whiskey comes from County Cork in the south (some of McNevin’s origins are from there too). Bushmills is from Belfast, a whiskey of the north. I wrote this song for a film, about an Irish family reunion. After reading the script for “Three Days In August”, I also imagined the Irish ExPats who hang out in SF’s irish pubs, in particular Ireland’s 32 on Geary. There happens to be more than one pub across the US with that name. There are 32 counties in Ireland, fun fact. I’ve played at the one in SF. Easy to imagine a conversation between the two, with an eye on a soccer match on the overhead TV, talking about their neighborhoods, families, friends, teams, home. Where the pub treatment of the songs adds festivity, I hope folks hear the ballad in here too, it’s not just a drinking song, even if it sounds like one, it’s for any Irish ExPat living anywhere, in a quiet pub or a loud one. Sláinte!
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The Man On The Levee

Michael McNevin

4th of July in Sacramento, CA, many years ago, heard a black man playing trumpet on the Sacramento River. The Man On The Levee celebrating life, enjoying the river breeze with his jazz trumpet. The Sacramento breeze becomes the warm breeze of the Mississippi Delta. The trumpet takes on the tone of a civil war bugle, with the battlefield smoke -
4th of July in Sacramento, CA, many years ago, heard a black man playing trumpet on the Sacramento River. The Man On The Levee celebrating life, enjoying the river breeze with his jazz trumpet. The Sacramento breeze becomes the warm breeze of the Mississippi Delta. The trumpet takes on the tone of a civil war bugle, with the battlefield smoke - Blue and Grey - same as the uniforms of the North and South in the war against slavery. The bridge goes back further; centuries of fighting for freedom, against it, stepping on it, winning it back, repeating history. All the way back to Moses. Last verse is current day again, peace time, folks in their lawn chairs enjoying fireworks in the Sacramento sky without so much on their minds, as had been for the black trumpet players ancestors up to the 1960s, and up untill now, still. A patriotic song for soldiers of war (no matter which war), a song of being together as a country celebrating freedom. And from this particular black jazz musician, a perspective on what his family and ancestors have gone through to get it. Freedom means different things to different people, as it does to him.

Here also is a live solo video version, youtube, quick take during last year's lockdown, at The Mudpuddle Shop in Niles, CA. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FOqUQt29bZY

You can support Michael with tips on Paypal or Venmo too:
PayPal.me/MudpuddleMusic 
Venmo.com/MichaelMcNevin
Thanks for tipping, its how i make a living!
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Prey

Michael McNevin

The story behind the song “Prey”

2020 was a kitchen sink of history and hardship and hope. So much happened, a linear lyric about it all would be 20 minutes long. So, it jumps around with vignettes and symbology. Starting with a reference in the first verse, “Asleep by 8:45, like a one-two punch.” On surface, it is a mention of the working stiff,
The story behind the song “Prey”

2020 was a kitchen sink of history and hardship and hope. So much happened, a linear lyric about it all would be 20 minutes long. So, it jumps around with vignettes and symbology. Starting with a reference in the first verse, “Asleep by 8:45, like a one-two punch.” On surface, it is a mention of the working stiff, tired, not making it too easily on the wages. Underneath, it is also a reference to George Floyd’s experience; 8:45 is one second shy of how long George had a knee on his neck.

The BLM message shows up more clearly at the end, with the voice of Rayshard Brooks, who fell asleep in his car at a Wendys drive through in Atlanta. Out on a burger run, killed by police in the parking lot the day before his daughter’s eighth birthday. Part of the song's intent is to remember Rayshard Brooks and his family, and George Floyd too.

The middle verses reference our ingenuity and promise of what we can do, juxtaposed to the pitfalls we create with our industry, us verses the planet. Aspirations of human flight and progress aside, a pterodactyl tree is a long look back to the dinosaurs (and a meteor that killed them), comparing that time to ours, the two-legged animals on top of the food chain. Wars and pandemics (The “Damn Panic”) are two ways to go for us, all tragic. Nobody expects to die during a burger run.

The Wright Brothers, all the tech and industrial talents of the 19th century, got us to the moon with a jar of Tang. That triumph should give a perspective of us back down on the planet. Our gifts being a blessing and a powder keg, mother nature has taken a lot of our abuse, has shown us a long fuse, but she’s at the end of it. Seven billion of us, not handling our business with climate too well, the planet’s life, ocean, species, ecosystems, societal woes, peace.

Time on a houseboat, screwing around with a potato gun, is something fun to look forward to again. Fireworks in 2021 on July 4th weekend will probably be pretty epic. Young people spinning their cars in sideshows is dangerous as hell, but, hey they’re kids and they’re blowing off steam.

Summer 2021 is coming. The wildfires raging in the West the last few years, were not the main news of 2020 (by a long shot), even here in California. Whatever solace or enlightenment I hope for in 2021, still wrapping my head around 2020.
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