What’s This (unreleased)
This week’s Friday Freeload song is a previously unreleased outtake from the No Discretion album that came out in 2004.
During the recording, which I started in 2002, shortly after the release of Under the House, my first solo record in years, I made a trip from my current home in Knoxville back to my hometown of Jackson, Miss. While there, I spent an afternoon with my old pal Neilson Hubbard in the guest room of his apartment, dubbed Mr. Lemons Studio in honor of Neilson’s late cat.
I’d met Neilson several years earlier when we were both living in Oxford, Miss. He was in school there and I was hiding from the music business. He also had a cool band called Spoon (who eventually changed their name to This Living Hand in deference to the Texas Spoon) with his high school buddy Clay Jones and violinist Helena Lamb. Neilson and I became good friends, going bowling at University Lanes and playing together (I recall a coupla later TLH gigs on which I played bass and Garrison Starr played drums).
So I jumped at the opportunity to work with Neilson when the occasion presented itself. Also on hand for the session was one of my oldest and dearest friends, Bruce Golden, who programmed some rhythm tracks to work from. We recorded two songs: “The End of Time”, which made it on the record and this one, that didn’t (we recorded something like 18 songs for that disc). For “What’s This,” I played two tracks of acoustic guitar, sang the vocal and left it up to Neilson to finish it up. On a subsequent trip, I added the seasick-sounding guitar “solo,” but Neilson played everything else. He’s a talented guy.
I only have a vague memory of writing the song, but I was in the middle of a writing binge so they were coming quickly. I did have a friend of mine in mind when writing this, but there’s nothing literal to it at all. It was just a scenario I dreamt up.