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Fancy a little John Donne? I've been playing this for several years, actually -- one Halloween night back when I was a very amateur guitarist I wanted terribly to play something eerie and I had nothing in my repertoire, so I played this until it had the sort of melody I wanted. Recently it occurred to me that I had never actually recorded it.
15 July 2010 @ 12:41 am

He-ey, I have this SHINY NEW WIDGET now! Exciting, y/n?

Anyway, trying to get back into the swing of things -- I keep saying that, I know, but I lost my singing voice for about three weeks with a lingering cold, and MUSIC IS HARRRRD, and mostly I have been panicking and brooding about applying to Duquesne University and waiting for them to say SOMETHING, ANYTHING, and somewhere in the middle of this I turned twenty? What? It is all very peculiar. Am trying to BEAT the lyrics out of me; why are they so slow? So instead you get a rather unexpected sort of cover hearkening back to MY CHILDHOOD. Anastasia was my very favourite film when I was eight and this song has always tasted of magic to me. My obsession with the film as a wee lass led to a larger obsession with the Romanovs, and by extension, the Russian Revolution, and from there it was just a tiny leap to the general political upheaval of the early twentieth century and the First World War, and... my novel. Which, thus far, contains absolutely no mention of Russia whatsoever, but owes quite a lot to many childhood viewings of my Anastasia VHS all the same. So this is all rather dear to me.

Shiny things: discovered that you can, like, DOWNLOAD EFFECTS for Audacity. I KNOW. So that made me feel all proper-musiciany and fancy. Also there is a guest appearance from a tiny hand-cranked music box that the magnificent lady_moriel got me in England last Christmas and which I have been trying to find a song to fit in for an age. ♥

(Apologies for THE GIDDY; I may have had Excedrin recently CAFFEINE IS GREAT)

Er, let's try this a bit more professionally. I've just released my debut album: it's rather literally titled Seven Stories, and you can purchase it right now from Bandcamp. I am ridiculously excited about this and almost feel like a Grown-Up Musician (except for the bit where I've never actually played a real concert). It features re-recordings of several songs here, including a much lovelier version of "Priya Song", featuring Sarah Meholick of Six Impossible Notes on piano, that I am really quite proud of. There is also a brand new song, also featuring the marvellous Sarah, which is heavily inspired by Sarah Slean, Amanda Palmer, and Echo Bazaar.

(You may notice that none of the vampire songs are featured on this album. There is an extremely good reason for that, which will soon become apparent. ^-^) 

Thank you, all of you, for supporting me through this mad venture, and giving me the courage to do this. I never thought I would do this, much less that anything good or coherent would come of it, and yet here I am! You lot are amazing, and I am so grateful.

07 May 2010 @ 03:29 pm
A few changes, dear listeners! Primarily that I will now be uploading my tracks to Bandcamp, which means that, excepting covers (the rights to which I do not own), there will be a mandatory dollar-or-more payment before you can download. Also it will all look much shinier and more professional, wot wot, and you can download the songs in a variety of formats, if you are so inclined, and listen before you do!

Also, as you can see on my Bandcamp page, I have got an album in the ready! The lovely Sarah of Six Impossible Notes is recording a mite of piano for me, and then we shall be all set. I've re-recorded several songs that I did in my pre-microphone days, and wrote a shiny new one, huzzah huzzah! (At least I hope it is shiny.) It should be finished very shortly.

Annnd I have a cover for you lot today, while I get my bearings again and work on some other things. (Was very inspired by my adventures at Merlefest, a folk music festival in North Carolina last week. Sarah Dugas of the Duhks and Phoebe Hunt of the Belleville Outfit are rocking my world right now!) This is one of my favourite songs in the world, and sort of a personal anthem/mission statement for life.

Sigh No More
originally by Mumford & Sons

30 March 2010 @ 04:57 pm
From a poem I wrote last summer, about night-bathing in Nova Scotia. I'm working on approximately three other things at the moment, none of which are behaving in the slightest, but last night something got into me and I started working this one out. That's art, I suppose: it never does what it's told. (That's also cats. Hmmm.)

My Head Is Full of Hymns
lyrics, guitar, and vocals by Jo Robbins
mp3 at Mediafire
download here

at midnight, I slip from my clothes
and go stepping into the dew-dappled dark
and all is hushed with the hush of the dark
and the low-hanging face of the moon
and the stars, stars! shed their skins
slip, slip, silentest
glow greenlights in the long grass
and my head is full of hymns

and I, alone and human
naked and surrounded by the earth
raise my arms
to God and the moon
and my head is full of hymns

all dark-glimmered with glory, glory, glory

Donate, so I needn't sell my soul on the black market to pay for college.
Trust me, you would not want that.

And also: fellow Whedonites! (I know there are still some of you lurking around after "Priya Song"! ^-^) The lovely Sarah, with whom I am collaborating in the future, just covered "Under Your Spell" from 'Once More, With Feeling' and it is absolutely enchanting, wot wot.
16 March 2010 @ 10:05 pm
This one's pretty autobiographical, for once.

My super-sexy smoky croon brought to you today by Sore Throats Anonymous.

Mr Eliot Was Wrong
lyrics, vocals, and guitar by Jo Robbins
.mp3 at Mediafire
download here!

Oh, all the time now
My hands smell of coffee
But the air doesn’t smell like spring
If I lean from the window
I can almost net the sunshine
But the light is still so thin

Every day now
I open the window
To let some new air in
The bedroom is thick with
Layers of history
The winter brought with him

And I don’t know what the birds told you
I’m convalescing just fine
It’s just these winter winds
Underneath my skin
I guess it’ll just take some time

Tell me good morning
I’ve got a story
Twisting up inside my brain
I’m biding my time
I’m borrowing lives
Till the summer opens me up again

And Mr Eliot was wrong, you know
As months go, March is much crueller
I spend all of my time
Waiting in line
Waiting for someone to hand me a future

Oh, all the time now
My hands smell of coffee
I can barely hear myself thinking –

Hey, guys? I'm going to be working a lot more on my music nowdays, and I'd really love to prove to my father that if I work at it, I am not settling by not having a "real" job. (You know, after the three hundred "real" jobs I applied to never called me back even after I went back three, four, five times for eight months. Yay small towns. Good grief, they're like bad boyfriends.) So... if you feel compelled, if you have a little extra change, donate, please. ♥

25 January 2010 @ 05:19 pm
So, I've been working on this other song (a vampiretastic "Scarborough Fair", if you must know, and it's a little bit for lady_moriel cos she's awesome), but the lyrics just... aren't doing what I want them to, and it's been a week, and it's driving me insane, so I learnt to play one of my favourite songs by one of my very favourite songwriters in the meantime, so as not to leave us all hanging. Seriously. This song has made me cry more than once. Singing it is a little bit of a magical experience.

Top of the World
words and music by Patty Griffin; arrangement, vocals, and guitar by Jo Robbins
.mp3 at Mediafire

Donating would make me very, very happy, and less likely to starve to death in college.
14 January 2010 @ 12:08 pm
Sigh. What with holiday bustling and the Yuletide fic exchange and frantically writing essays and college applications, music sort of fell by the wayside. Sorry about that, guys. But here I am again, with a shiny new microphone courtesy of barefoottomboy, Patron of the Arts, which actually arrived, um, about half an hour ago, but I had to test it out -- so you get this song. It's a favourite of my father's, and I heard it sung as an encore at the Midnight Jam at Merlefest Bluegrass Festival by Phoebe Hunt of the Belleville Outfit and the girls of Bearfoot, and it practically gave me visions. I've been playing it for a while, so it was easy to slip into.

Killing the Blues
lyrics by Rolley Saly; arrangement, vocals, guitar, and harmonies by Jo Robbins
.mp3 at Mediafire

Please donate, so I can go see Sherlock Holmes again pay for college! ^-^
17 December 2009 @ 12:01 am
Huzzah, Christmas music time! I've been meaning to get on that for a while, actually, only I was having trouble with my voice (I don't even know, but it was horrible! I am always unhappiest when I can't sing), and the first song I tried to arrange failed spectacularly. Anyway, this is one of my favourite Christmas songs, for the tender, warm illustration of an archaic communal Christmas celebration: but I find most versions irritating as they are very bouncy. Which does not suit, think I. (This could also be, however, because the first version I heard was Neal & Leandra's, which is quiet and by-the-hearth warm.)

Also, a very special shout-out to barefoottomboy, who sent me an amazing set of bells: bells which make their musical debut here. Hurrah!

Ding Dong Merrily On High
words by George Ratcliffe Woodward; arrangement, guitar, piano, bells, and vocals by Jo Robbins
.mp3 at Mediafire

Ding dong merrily on high,
In heav'n the bells are ringing:
Ding dong! verily the sky
Is riv'n with angel singing.
Gloria, Hosanna in excelsis!

E'en so here below, below,
Let steeple bells be swungen,
And "Io, io, io!"
By priest and people sungen.
Gloria, Hosanna in excelsis!

Pray you, dutifully prime
Your matin chime, ye ringers;
May you beautifully rime
Your evetime song, ye singers.
Gloria, Hosanna in excelsis!


If you download, please donate! 'Twould make my Christmas quite bright indeed. ^-^

28 November 2009 @ 07:40 pm
'Tis the season for songs about death! --No, wait, that's business as usual for me. Um. Anyway, when I was fumbling around some time ago trying to find a song to sing during the dregs of the Week of Song, someone, I believe wanderlight, mentioned that they would love to hear my interpretation of this song. I had already come up with something when she suggested it, but it's been in the back of my head ever since, and a few days ago I started getting ideas for an arrangement, which I tried unsuccessfully to record while making pie. That did not work out, but I've spent all this evening playing with it and finally shaping it into something vaguely similar to my original idea.

I Am Stretched On Your Grave
.mp3 at Mediafire
download here!
words and music traditional
arrangement, tambourine, hand percussion, toy piano, and vocals by Jo Robbins

I am stretched on your grave
And I'll lie here forever
If your hands were in mine
I'd be sure we would not sever
My apple tree, my brightness,
It's time we were together
For I smell of the earth
And I'm worn by the weather

When my family think
That I'm safely in my bed
Oh, from night until morning
I am stretched out at your head
Calling out unto the air
With tears hot and wild
For the loss of the one
That I loved as a child

Oh, the priests and the friars
They approach me in dread
For I love you still
Oh, my love, and you're dead
I still will be your shelter
Through rain and through storm
And with you in your cold grave
I cannot sleep warm

I am stretched on your grave
And I'll lie here forever
If your hands were in mine
I'd be sure we would not sever
My apple tree, my brightness,
It's time we were together
For I smell of the earth
And I'm worn by the weather


Please donate a dollar if you download! ♥