New EP Launch: Which Way? (January 28, 2022)

I am excited to announce that I will be launching an EP of original music in early 2022 called Which Way? The songs blend an acoustic indie sound with driving hand rhythms, playful lyrics and soul. The EP will make you think and tap your feet in equal measure. As Frank Agbro, a Washington DC-based musician, empresario and radio DJ (89.3 WPFW) put it, "The songs here a highly original and thought-provoking, with a strong underlying groove and deep lyrics."   

This project comes on the heels of my extended demo Unwind Your Mind in 2019 and Side Hustle, a collection of covers completed in 2019. Having played all the instruments in the first two projects, including guitar, vocals and over a dozen percussion instruments I am now joined by some of DC's finest up and coming musicians on Which Way? These collaborations add melodic layers and textures to my hand rhythm-driven sound, blending in sax, flute, violin, bass and additional vocals.

The result is hypnotic, with lots of space for improvisation amid a 'live sounding' recording, expertly captured by sound engineer Ben Mellott of Nothing But Noise  I am deeply grateful for the spot-on contributions by my fellow musicians Raycurt Lemeul (violin), Matt Lawrence (bass), Jimmy Kreutzer (sax), Sirtaj Kaur (vocals) and Maksim Tsvetovat (flute) -- they are the  'special sauce' of the EP, blending in colors and moods that stretch the music while reinforcing the original compositions.  

Something unexpected happened on the way to making Which Way?What started off as another project of covers morphed into originals, with most of the songs coming about mysteriously, pried loose by intuition. Cooking up lyrics and melodies has been an unexpected joy verging on obsession.    

My music combines hand percussion, quirky melodies and lyrical word play in a soulful indie vibe. I rely heavily on intuition, rhythmic exploration, and subconscious thinking in my songwriting approach. Hopefully this promotes originality, allowing me to retain a distinct voice while straddling different genres and influences such as soul, Indie, world music, rock and folk music.   

Layers of percussion drive these songs forward, creating an ambient and syncopated backdrop that is a bit unusual in melody-driven Indie music. The lyrics may dominate the conscious mind but the beat comes first and sets the parameters on where the songs go. The use of hand percussion rather than drum set gives the songs a natural, intimate and home-grown feel while at the same time offering an exotic feel. Dan Lipton, a masterful singer-songwriter, said, "This project is a percussive lyrical journey—from political commentary to introspective scrutiny, and the spaces where public and private meet."   

There’s no overarching theme here but recurring ideas loop in and out of the tracks. There are songs that veer into politics, others that explore ethical and psychological dilemmas, and others that mostly play with words and beats. The disorientations of our “plague life’” are not front and center but form a background context, as does my hiatus from office life, adventures in fatherhood, an uneasy dependence on technology and environmental degradation, amid the toxic setting of Trumpian chaos. But it is not all gloom and doom as the sometimes-dark commentary is leavened by fun beats, lyrical wordplay and elements of hope and redemption. I’ll leave it there. Hopefully Which Way? will fill in the gaps even if the way forward remains uncertain. 

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LYRICS FOR WHICH WAY? EP

Unwind Your Mind 

If you snooze you lose and if you lose you choose the blues/, 

and with the blues you choose your ruse, or so says Dr. Seuz / 

it was something like that or maybe not quite, coulda sorta mighta been more like….. When you fell on your head and your head bled red you were taken for dead until you told your friend ‘hey unbend my head.’ 

so slide slide slippity slide u think you’re moving up and u’r falling behind/ 

so drop that rut before you’re dead and play with your mind a bit instead and re-learn to be silly like when you were young when you were only serious about having fun. ((short pause, edgy progression next))) 

got a 4 year old who’s reminding me how to rhyme and find time to unwind my mind. Like he’ll say I’m not tired. I’m just wired so get me some milk and a big fat tire; / 

Or I found a dinosaur’s tooth in the yard, I tried to bite it and boy it’s hard;/  Or time to rise and shine cause it sunny outside and I feel fine/ Let’s play a game, you be the bad guy and I’ll be a French fry/ 

/ You know what, King Tut met a duck on a truck, what luck/ Or the kitty cat wants to eat so let’s feed its teeth and give him meat  Or don’t be late cause I’ve got a date with a grape isn’t that great/ 

so slide slide slippity slide u think you’re moving up and u’r falling behind/  so drop that rut before you’re dead and play with your mind a bit instead / and re-learn to be silly like when you were young when you were only serious about having fun. 

THE DRONES 

listen up grunts, I got something to say/ 

 (Just one word:  Obey) / (power up and fire away)/ (listen well and don’t your stray) 

 (ah uh hey oh) attention, stand straight fall in line. Shoot, plunder then surrender / 

we’ll rain shock and awe on your people, drop a drone or two at dawn/ launch it from a cubicle, starbucks in my palm/ 

just a stroke of the keyboard, and it might feel like a sham,/ 

but you’re home for dinner and a movie with the fam/ 

so cue up the baddies with deadly aim/grab the joystick and make it rain/ It’s just a souped-up Atari on your computer screen/ It hardly feels real when you don’t hear the screams 

attention, stand straight, fall in line. Shoot, plunder then surrender 

 (if the drones get you down try to smile they say it changes your mood, tricks you into feeling goood)x3/ 

it’s just another dumb war in a land you can’t spell/ for a cause you can’t tell, at a cost we can’t shell 

 we’ll see some losses sure, and while that’s not swell, if it’s another guy’s kid then what the hell/.. 

it’s mostly remote done by remote control/ 

you got your earphones on blasting rock, and roll 

while you click and scroll, click and scroll, click and scroll, click and scroll, click and scroll, click and scroll,    then fire away 

and on and on it goes, what can I say: Disobey. 

Fire away! On and on it goes and on & on it goes and on & on it goes and on & on it goes…..it’s just play! 

On and on it goes and on & on it goes and on & on it goes and on & on it goes…..What can I say? 

On and on it goes …..it’s just a video game! 

On and on it goes …..you shut t Listen up grunts, I got something to say. Just one word: he screen it goes away 

On and on it goes and on & on it goes and on & on it goes and on & on it goes…..So disobey! 

ON THIN ICE 

Skate on thin ice, on melting ice caps/ don’t mind the cracks just mind the gaps / Ready or not we’re in for heavy weather and we’re not… even in it together 

Breathe in breathe out take a pause… find the cause/ 

Breathe in breathe out make some laws/ fix the flaws/don’t wait for chaos.  Breathe in breathe out/ It's your only job and its called survival, like the cockroaches do and the cockledoodledo, you know they're doing it better than me and you, me and you. 

 There’s a storm comin on and the rain is piling high but don’t hide, go outside / We’re in a trance, sleepwalking by chance and back on 

you try to glide but slip and slide/ The ice cracks and wants to take you down down /  It seems we’re caught in a trap of the past and the land has become quicksand, a morass/  Watch ice turn to water and water placed on boil as we bathe in our waste and oil 

Breathe in breathe out, take it in, let it out; ommm/  It’s you’re only job and its called survival, like the cockroaches do and the cockle-doodle-do, you know they're doing it better than me and you, me and you 

Gotta get past the past, find a way back to now. You can skate, swim or roam but can you find your way home? / 

 We’re in a bind, ice is on the thaw, damn where’s that mantra, lost in the inbox, it’s time for a planetary detox, / 

Don’t slip don’t Slide, don’t get pulled into the tide, we’re on the edge but still alive./ 

If the ice cracks or melts, or rather when, remember to swim to shore if it’s still there then.  / If it’s still there then… 

Don' forget to breathe on your way out/ You gotta think like a kid now, like your kid’s kid now. 

WHICH WAY?

Shuffled down the street feeling alone, barely a pulse, nobody home 

So its time to decide which way you’re gonna go. Out on your own or, where the buffalo roam, Take a straight line home or veer off the road/ 

 Worked in an office for a decade or more/Another google monkey. a corporate whore/ Not sure where I’m headed but I’m closing that door/  ‘Cause I Got dumber by the day, number by night/ stacked up some bills but the price wasn’t right  / Was upright but each day more uptight/ tangled up in rot and Caught up in proxy fights 

Pecking away at the screen for the team/ Parked my butt each day in an open cage/ Head shrunk for pay but I was too bored to escape 

that place / So it’s time to decide… 

Now I’m outta the cage but still cant get no satisfaction/ Hustling on my own, moving through a sea of distraction/ Caught Under gigabytes of 

inaction/ it gets easy to do nothing all day/ 

got hypnosis by the screen but you got no traction  / well at least you’re 

lost in thought all the same / 

 Don’t got a gig, not sure I want one/ Least not one that wants me back 

/ between complacent and apathetic/ or just pathetic a bit scared / 

How can I monetize my mind and stay sane at the same time?/ 

The future’s hazy and feels like a maze, I’ll poke around, I’ll 

get there/Just not sure the how the why the what the when the where 

I used to follow all the rules,  At home and work and school 

Do the work more or less on time/  Apply to the right places, excel, 

shine/ Make folks proud, don’t talk too loud/ Hit the books, playball, 

and ignore the gnawing doubts/ Prepare for domination/ Gonna join 

the master-class /Thought I was the one giving a class in kicking ass/ I 

was killin it, the world was mine/Well, you wake up one morning and 

find you’re only killing time/ Stroke, stroke, heart attack tack tack.. 

side effects might include.. Stroke, stroke, heart attack tack tack..) 

ANALYSIS PARALYSIS

I’m a bit mixed up, 

d-d-dazed and confused, 

stumbling in a maze 

can’t read the clues   

My time’s almost up 

Here come the blues 

lost in the haze 

got nothing left choose   

When indecision’s a permanent condition  / 

And you’re… wracked with doubt   

All your wishes, lack conviction 

And there’s… n-no way out 

Analysis, paralysis! 

Welcome to my mind 

Analysis, paralysis 

When all you got is time 

Analysis, paralysis 

You’re tangled up in answers 

To questions you can’t find 

Could go here or there, up or down, 

front, back or sideways or run to the ground 

inside out or downside up 

like walking downtown with your eyes wide shut 

so edge ahead, fall back and stall for time 

you’re stuck in a rut, in the same mind grind 

you’ll drift around, meander and wander 

And find another angle or two to ponder   (rat a tat tat) 

When you’re drowning in choices  you got more to lose 

a little money in the bank’s an excuse not to choose 

keep eyeing every little road not taken 

flip a coin to break the tie 

either way you’re numb so why even try 

so eenie meenie miny moe…rock paper scissors  / tictactoe 

ask Siri, maybe she’ll know, and if not go with the flow, or its… 

Analysis, paralysis! 

Welcome to my mind 

Analysis, paralysis 

When all you got is time 

Analysis, paralysis 

You’re tangled up in answers 

To questions you can’t find 

I’ll stay lost in the maze wandering the haze, searching the way for days and days, let’s hope it’s a phase/ I sure am confused + dazed/ you think you’re on a mountain top, Bill: you’re on the side of the hill/ you think you’re on a moutain top Jack: you’re in a cul de sac  / you think you’re on a mountain top Pete: you’re on a dead end street, on the side of a hill—a molehill, in a cul de sac with your friend Jack now that’s a fact 

THE CIRCUS

Elect a clown, expect a circus 

You try to look away but .. can’t avert it 

like stumbling on an accident or the scene of a crime 

But the spectacle’s on your dime and unfolding in real time 

So come one come all, it’s a monster’s ball 

 Guess what? The laugh’s on us all, y’all  

Now we’re on the trapeze without a net 

And its way too late to say Nyet        

You’ve got Putin calling the shots with 

oligarchs in yachts preying off the rot/ cranking out toxic bots 

Watch the clown car cabinet rolling down the avenue 

They’ve paid to play and now were paying up the wazoo 

 It’s a motley crew, some are dancing with the stars, 

some are behind bars and let’s hope the rest aren’t far) the 

Most are at the trough at the gold plated tower 

And one’s in Moscow getting a golden shower 

Whether you like it or not doesn’t much matter 

The Selectoral College will throw your vote under water 

So grab some popcorn or some Fentanyl 

And come one come all, To the monster’s ball 

The rearguard revolution will be televised and tweeted 

You’ve got nepotism and crony capitalism in a dead heat now 

It’s a circle jerk in a circular firing squad 

and the collateral damage is spreading far and wide 

it hits the huddled masses, the poor, the working classes, 

cause it’s a government of fat cats, plutocrats and other asses  

the strongman’s a strawman grasping at straws and pussy 

a carnival barker on the take taking orders from the enemy  

ladies and gents come one come all, / we’re in a free fall…. 

it’s just a monster’s ball    instrumental 

Now we’re on the trapeze without a net 

And its way too late to say Nyet        

You’ve got ) Putin calling the shots with  oligarchs in yachts/ preying off the rot/ and cranking out toxic bots 

Remember in this circus there is no safety net 

 You fall through the cracks you break your neck 

You hope the risks are somehow remote 

Then you remember whose got the nuclear codes 

We’re all circus animals now.. 

Especially if you happen to be black or brown 

IF you come from a Muslim land 

Looking for freedom, screw you, you get a ban) 

The circus elephant looks on idle and mute 

Ready to scoop the circus master’s puke 

It’s like when you flush the toilet And the waste keeps rising 

The joker’s cackling at the moon while the tide keeps climbing 

Not to worry, climate change is a hoax 

At least that’s the official joke told by lobbyist folks 

running the Environmental Pollution Agency 

Where science, like the air we breathe, has gone a bit hazy 

Come one come all, Its just a monster’s ball (transition F#màGm-àF#m) 

The toilet’s funk spilling over your feet / and your jaws just clench  

You’re feeling overwhelmed, tangled up in blue/ So what to do? What can you do? / 

to soldier through,  sometimes ya gotta scrape the shit right off your shoes  Scrape the shit off your shoes 

Don’t succumb to the show and clown, vote the circus right out of town 

I mean get in it, to win it so even the Selectoral College can’t rig it