SONG BLOG

cropped-Tobias-Headshot-Sidefview.jpeg

(SCROLL DOWN TO LISTEN TO NEW SONGS AND READ THE BLOG)

divider-gold

OWIE KATOWIE


 

 

Project: Songs From The Man Cave
Song: Owie Katowie
Style: New Orleans Style R&B
Me – Lead and backing vocals, organ, drums
Louis Rogers – Backing vocals
James Rohr – piano,
Kevin Harris – Bass
Engineered and partially mixed in my “man cave”, S.I.T.H. Studio here in Washington Heights, NYC.
Andre Fratto stepped in with the final mix and mastering

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

This song, similar to the other ‘Twin’ song Baby McBee, is full of puns, double-meanings or double entendres. At first blush one may think this song is about a union boss on the work scene but, alas, the union boss is a reference to my son Owen. At times he has a solid, blue-collar, tough-guy look about him. Thus, the nickname Union Boss was born. Likewise, our other twin son Sawyer is always smiling. He really knows how to turn it on! For some reason his grandmother pulled out the name Good Time Charlie due to his happy nature (no, not the other inappropriate meaning).
I have a love of New Orleans-style music whether it be Cajun, Swing, Blues, R&B, jazz, etc. For whatever reason, this feeling was on my mind when the hook for Owie Katowie was born.
The piano solo is performed by one of my best friends from my college years – James Rohr. He is a great musician, singer and song writer based in Boston. His band – The Blue Ribbons – has become a mainstay of the greater Boston area music scene. Please check them out here on Band Camp or on Facebook. The band members have been playing together for over a decade and you can hear it in their music. They’re mix of Americana music styles has been described as “Ray Charles and Tom Waits on a pirate ship with Sun Ra and Captain Beefheart.

WE’ll MEET AGAIN

Project: Songs From The Man Cave
Song: We’ll Meet Again
Style: Pop ballad
Me – Lead and backing vocals, piano, bass, drums
Vienna D’amato Hall – acoustic guitar
Andre Fratto – acoustic guitar
Engineered and partially mixed in my “man cave”, S.I.T.H. Studio here in Washington Heights, NYC.
Andre Fratto stepped in with the final mix and mastering

The Story

Have you ever read the book Many Lives Many Masters by Brian L. Weiss? It’s an interesting look at people who have memories that they shouldn’t have. They describe a life in detail or a village or people they have never met, yet where did this information come from? The suggestion is that the memories come from past lives.

I myself have had dreams that seem so vivid and real and from another era. Like entering a castle where I “lived” and knowing what would be around every corner before I turned it.

The amount of seemingly random factors that had to occur in order for my wife and I to meet are astounding. When we met we both felt like we knew each other. We grilled each other regarding where we grew up and the people we knew and couldn’t come up with anything. Yet there was an intense dynamic, a gleam in the eyes, a type of deep ‘knowing’ between us that was and is profound. I can’t shake the feeling that we have known each other before…

THE WARRIOR

Project: Songs From The Man Cave
Song: The Warrior
Style: Psychodelic Rock
Me – Lead and backing vocals, acoustic guitar, organ, synthesizer, drums
Larry Miller – lead guitar, sound effects
Steve Elliot – lead guitar
Jeff Hanley – bass
Barry Rothman – bird sounds, ancient flute, war sound effects.
Engineered and partially mixed in my “man cave”, S.I.T.H. Studio here in Washington Heights, NYC.
Andre Fratto stepped in with the final mix and mastering

The Story

This song is part of a healing process to deal with the experience of deep trauma. Some years ago I experienced a horrific personal attack that left me hospitalized. After many staples in my skull to stem the bleeding and several hand surgeries and a metal implant to repair a compound fracture in my left hand, I was physically better but certainly not psychologically. Writing and playing music was and is a great way to heal and I am so grateful that I have that avenue to explore my feelings.

The title of this song can apply to anyone. We all end up, in one way or another, fighting for our life. Sometimes it’s simply to pay the rent and put food on the table, sometimes it’s in a hospital bed fighting disease and sometimes it’s a soldier on the front lines. In some ways we are all warriors. No disrespect to those who actually enlist and face the ultimate sacrifice. In fact, this song pays homage to both literal and figurative warriors.

How can we express the idea or feeling of sacrifice, loss, or victimization in words? Words alone seem limited, but combining verse and music can be a powerful tool for expression.

Life can be wonderful and also a terrifying rollercoaster ride. While we are engaged in our battle to survive as literal or figurative warriors we can end up doing things we never thought we’d do. Whether through happenstance or willful blindness we can end up doing “things we don’t choose” (as one of the repeating lyric says).

Finally, regret is a lousy thing to go to the grave with but maybe there are some things that just can’t be forgotten or mistakes that can’t be mended in this lifetime. Unfortunately, at the point in my life when the attack took place I was somewhat blind to possible negative outcomes and the universe served me up a platter of misery. The regret part comes in due to the fact that there was an innocent that was psychologically harmed that day, and for that I will always be deeply sorry. This song is an artistic expression of many of the feelings I struggled with as I went through a very dark time in my life.

Lyrics

Don’t ask why, I had to say goodbye
Don’t even try, to guess the reason why
I had to go, there are things you don’t know
Must I sacrifice? You know that I would die
For you, there are things I must do
Baby daughter is safe inside while chaos reigns outside

Paradise awaits us on the other side
Electrified, it’s true our souls will rise
I don’t want to go, I’m sure that you must know
Please, please, please don’t cry. This bird too must fly
It’s true, we do things we don’t choose
The western wind is blowing forth, our future changes course.

It’s true, we do things we don’t choose
I’ll see you on the other side, it’s not so grand
This great divide!

 

TROUBLED TIMES


Support Independent Music! Request on Spotify. Share the Youtube video, tweet, FB, etc.

An Upper Westside Story - Tobias Gebb and Trio West

deepwater1

Project: Songs From The Man Cave
Song: Troubled Times
Style: Alternative rock/new classic rock?
Mood: End times with a slice of hope
Me – Lead and backing vocals, acoustic guitar, organ, percussion
Larry Miller – lead and many rhythm guitar parts
Darren Lipper – bass
Andre Fratto – a supporting rhythm guitar part
Engineered and partially mixed in my “man cave”, S.I.T.H. Studio here in Washington Heights, NYC.
Andre Fratto stepped in with the final mix and mastering

The Story

Back in 2010 the Deepwater Horizon oil spill was in the news every day. It was a disturbing experience for me. Everyday BP oil was churning out into the Golf of Mexico with no end in sight. It went on for weeks and weeks. For me, a person who is very environmentally aware, it was a painful experience. It literally felt like I was being poisoned along with Mother Earth. It just so happens that during this time I went down to the New Orleans Jazz Festival so I was right in the immediate area. Certainly some good times were had but there was also a sense of dread in the air. Add to this an experience down in the Bayou that I won’t go into detail about, but was somewhat traumatic, and which heightened the dread. Additionally, I would be remiss if I didn’t also mention the fact that dudeepwater2ring this time I knew that my first marriage was coming to an end.

This was the backdrop and some of what informed the first inkling of an idea for this song. Thus, it has a dark tone. However, this little melody and idea sat around for a bunch of years and stewed…. In that time, my life has gone through a remarkable transformation (there will be songs to come about this and some you might have already heard like Baby McBee). A decision to go back to college led to the fated meeting of my soul mate, Amber along with her dog Cody, my canine friend. Then, marriage and two beautiful healthy twins (Owen and Sawyer) came along to join my older son Emmett at home. In fact, my life has gone through such an incredible transformation that I can’t think of it in any other way except that it’s a true miracle!

But even though I can say with confidence that life is so wonderful I can also say that the future of humanity worries me. Especially after the recent 2016 election! Even if you are not a parent you can feel the churning changes in society and the environmental shifts. But as a parent I can’t help but to feel extremely concerned for my children’s future. Without wanting to get overtly political, this song Troubled Times is somewhat directed at those on our pretty blue-green planet that don’t seem to comprehend what is going on at a deeper level. Some of these people are in fear of losing their perceived power and future generations can be damned. They seem hell-bent on preventing change. Some of these people are in fear of losing their dogma, so that when facts and data bump into their distorted perception, they must bury their heads in the sand and/or “call the kettle black”. Some of these people fear others who are different from them and want these differences to disappear from their daily world. In short, it is fear-based thinking.

However, there is hope. Although this song is a pleading with humanity, and particularly those who are close-minded, I still see glimmers of hope everyday. The greedy can wake up and see the light, which in turn will help the needy. The “blind” sometimes wake from their fear-driven dreams and embrace love and trust instead.
May the human race get their act together and not fade away!

The Song – composition/harmony/theory

This composition is actually a common song form in the world of jazz – the blues with a bridge. I think most people would not recognize this song as a blues, but indeed, the main verses are based on a minor blues; something that, for instance, John Coltrane, loved to play. A blues with a bridge was also popularized by jazz musicians like Sam Jones and Wes Montgomery. A minor blues simply means that instead of going to the four (IV) chord, the flat six (VI) chord is played. Also, in the case of this song, instead of playing flat VI – V, it is flat VI – flat VII to the one (I) chord. In this case, C major, D major, E min. Additionally, instead of playing the IV chord in bars 5 and 6 I substituted it with the flat VI (C major).
Also, speaking of the flat 6th, the general sound of this dark song is an E minor with a raised 5th (the same as a flat 6th, for the most part).

Lyrics

Troubled times in the Golf of Mexico
Black water spreads out to where nobody knows
If there’s hope for the greedy then there’s hope for the needy
We must try, you and I, or fade away

Troubled times from those that don’t believe
Stick their heads in the sand and deceive
If there’s hope for the blind then there’s hope for our kind
We must try, you and I, or fade away

Some escape into fantasy
Sometimes we need some amnesty
Come on babe rest your head for a while, and smile
We’ll go the extra mile, not fade away

Trouble times in body and mind
Racked by stress and disease of every kind
If there’s hope for some with cancer then there must be an answer
We must try, you and I, or fade away

We need a break from the insanity
Sometimes we need some amnesty
Come on babe rest your head for a while, and smile.
We’ll go the extra mile, not fade away

Not fade away, not fade away, no, not fade away, no, no, not fade away

 


page-divider-300x20

BABY MCBEE (feat. Ron Blake)

 

Support Independent Music! Request on Spotify. Share the Youtube video, tweet, FB, etc.

An Upper Westside Story - Tobias Gebb and Trio West

Project: Songs From The Man Cave
Song: Baby McBee
Style: Funky Blues/Retro Blues/Blues with a hint of jazz
Mood: Upbeat and humorous
Me – Lead and backing vocals, piano, bass, organ, drums
Ron Blake – Tenor Saxophone
Engineered and partially mixed in my “man cave”, S.I.T.H. Studio here in Washington Heights, NYC.
Andre Fratto stepped in with the final mix and mastering

Well, what can I say? Having twins is absolute magic with a little bit of “holy crap! my life is a little out of control!” Please excuse the humorous use of foul language in this song. Baby McBee is actually a play on words. In the hospital, the identifying sticker on my son Sawyer’s crib and milk said, ‘Baby MC B’ – which stands for baby, male child B. The letter B was used because he came out second and my son Owen came out first – thus the term Baby MC A (Baby McKay). When I saw the Baby Mc B label I immediately thought, that’s a song title! I really didn’t know if I would ever write one until suddenly Sawyer was home and the song just came out.

This song deals with the delema of having one baby sent home and one still at the hospital. All the references to a ‘show’ refers to either our scene at home with Sawyer or the scene down at the hospital with Owen and all the nurses that would serve him head to toe (special thanks to the great doctors and nurses at Columbia Presbyterian Hospital).
No, no, our life isn’t really a shit show. Just sometimes……. 🙂

 

LYRICS

Baby McBee, you’re a sight to see, how does your garden grow?
Baby McBee, you’re a treasure to me, I’ll teach you all I know
Baby McKay has got something to say, why don’t you come on down and watch my show
Yeah, watch my show.
You’ve got tons of time to watch us grow
now watch your life turn into a frickin’ shit show

Baby McBee, take a good look at me, just watch how my eyes glow
Baby McBee, I’m in love with thee, I love to watch you go
Baby McKay, has got so much sway, we don’t we go on down and watch his show
Yeah, watch his show
We got tons of time to watch him grow
now watch our life turn into a frickin’ shit show

Sax solo (go Ron Blake!)

Baby McBee, you’re like royalty, I’ll serve you head to toe
Baby McBee, you’re heavenly, with that angelic glow
Baby McKay has got my heart on display
Why don’t you come on down and join our show
Yeah, join our show
We got tons of time to share and grow
Please don’t let our life turn into a frickin shit show
released October 11, 2016

CREDITS

I played drums, bass, guitar, piano, organ and sang.
Ron Blake played tenor saxophone.
I engineered and produced the recording in my “man cave” (S.I.T.H. Studios) with special help from
Andre Fratto – my audio doyen – who adds that final magic!

Super Babies Super Babies Sleep

PLEASE USE THE CONTACT PAGE TO INQUIRE ABOUT LICENSING TOBIAS GEBB’S MUSIC