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Music » Sound Stories & Interviews

Strict Diet of Songwriting

Paleo wrote a song a day for a what?



In 2006, David Strackany, known by the stage name of Paleo, took on an ambitious project. His goal was to write a song a day for an entire year. The Song Diary, which Strackany successfully wrapped in March 2007, resulted in 365 complete songs, and a shorter collection of selected recordings—a winding soundtrack of life, death and learning stretched over 54,434 miles of touring. His rambling, shaky-voiced songs aren't for everyone, but his commitment and attention to craft are undeniably impressive.

"Getting good at anything is about practicing. Practicing until your skill becomes dispassionate and surgical," explained Strackany in an interview with the Source. "You have to just put words down and put words down and put words down and never stop to revise or erase for a while." Strackany's writing post-Song Diary is clearly a well-practiced craft. His most recent album, 2011's Fruit of the Spirit, is lyrically concise, musically atmospheric and slightly obtuse in a Daniel Johnston sort of way. Paleo doesn't shy away from harsh, ambient white noise or ill-advised vocal reaches, but it all works to tell his twisted stories. It's a dizzy and winding album with a charming complexity absent on his previous recordings. "On Fruit Of The Spirit, I was working in the Midwest, so I was lucky enough to enlist some of my favorite artists from the region: Minneapolis, Lawrence, Chicago, and around Iowa—a troupe of over a dozen in total. The sum effect was disjointed, even chaotic, but labyrinthine and utterly alive," said Strackany. Paleo will be joined by Esme Patterson of Denver, Colo., folk collective Paper Bird, a waltzing six-piece with a penchant for unlikely time signatures. Patterson's voice has a classic jazz quality to it, a purity crossed with controlled vibrato and causal swing often masked by modern indie vocalists who care more for sounding strange than sounding clean. Local singer-songwriters Amy Bathan and Olivia Holman open.

Paleo, Esme Petterson, Amy Bathen and Olivia Holman.

Mon., April 21

7 pm.

Volcanic Theatre Pub, 70 SW Century Dr.


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