albums » Archive

Amanda and Zach stand among mountains in the desert

love morris + rbk = new music for you

As a band name, rushmore beekeepers kinda started (and continued) as a joke. When I saw the film Rushmore I immediately claimed the name, regardless of a lack of both band members and bees. Off and on over the years rbk has had guest musicians, sometimes improv at live shows and a recorded song here and there, but it’s been some time since this was a band.

(Cue dramatic music)

Meet love morris! If you haven’t heard her electro folk mini-album, have a listen here. You may already know love morris rbk-wise from her singing and bass on “the name of every building.” We’ve performed together in various musical settings over the years and, for the first time in many years, have collaborated on a bunch of songs.

love morris (also know as Amanda Hawkins) is all over the new album, co-producing and contributing vocals and a variety of instrumentation. It’s the first album we’ve recorded as a duo (!), which not only makes the songs sound one million times better but is also seriously overdue; Amanda is an amazingly talented musician and one of my favorite people and we should just always be in bands together.

We recorded semi-Postal Service style, mostly because I live on the road and Amanda’s house doesn’t have wheels. I recorded my parts, sent the files to her digitally, and she recorded at her home studio in Arizona. Every time she sent a finished song to me it was like getting a birthday present, or whatever the better version of a birthday present is. The band, as it were, has never sounded so good, and I’ve never been more excited to share new music.

The new album, a reasonable distance, will be available for preorder soon, so until then here’s our first single, “fighting monsters.”

Earlier today I found out that a site called legalsounds[dot]com is selling my music (written, performed, and recorded by me and people very close to me, at our own expense) without my consent and when that particular album is available for free. Reading through some posts by others on their Facebook page, it looks like they are going out of business or at least can’t currently accept payments.

If you’re buying music, especially from an independent/DIY artist, please look for an artist’s official website or find them on bandcamp.com, amazon MP3, or iTunes. You can make direct contact with DIY artists on a number of social networks, so if a website ever looks weird or you have any questions, please try reaching out directly.

I don’t really care if third-party sites host free downloads of my music, although I always like to be aware of them. It’s not all about the money, unless someone’s being sheisty.

Speaking of free music, the album the site has for sale is 52 of 28, my song-a-week project from 2010/2011. I have it set up so you can name your price; $0 is perfectly fine with me, especially when compared to giving some jerk(s) your hard-earned money.

Another octave mandolin folk song for your listening pleasure!

Although we never really seem to get much fall weather in Las Vegas, I still look forward to this time of year. Even if it’s just the idealized version of it in my head, fall is my favorite season. (Almost fall isn’t too bad, either.)

The octave mandolin and vocals were recorded at the same time (second take) late one night; I came home the next evening and was immediately inspired to add some bass, drums, and harmonica. You can dance, if you want.

why don’t we just drive out to the forest
we won’t stop till we see some different colors
we’ll have lunch down by the creek
it’ll say that big city has nothing on me

why don’t we just walk into the desert
we won’t stop till the car is out of sight
we’ll find a rock, climb it carefully
it’ll say that big city has nothing on me

i don’t care what other people say
there’s nothing like a warm house on a cold day
and i don’t know what other people say
it’s always the right time to pack up and get away

you can fall in love in the middle of the desert
you can be prepared, you might be surprised
you can sing loud or sing it softly
this big old world has nothing on me

A little over one year ago, Carrie and I went to Joshua Tree to stay at the Joshua Tree Inn and see the place that Gram Parsons found so inspirational. While visiting Pioneertown, we met Eric Bevel, who, as it turns out, does some amazing woodworking. Somehow we started talking about musical instruments, and he showed me a really nice bass he had made. I casually talked to him about having him make me an instrument and got a business card, but it took me awhile to email him about making me something.

I’d been wanting to start playing octave mandolin; I’ve always enjoyed the sound, and I often found myself wishing my mandolin had a lower range. Having a fairly uncommon instrument I’d never played custom-made seemed like a great fit, so I contacted Eric about the project. He was excited and willing to take it on, even never having built an octave mandolin before. Since I’d been impressed by his work, I wanted to give him as much freedom with the design as possible. I gave him my feedback on body style, color, some of those things, and even those elements came out strikingly original.

We were in communication throughout the whole project (I got to see a lot of neat in-progress pictures, and since then have seen a bunch more), and we met at Kelso Depot in California for the exchange, in the middle of the desert, old time Vegas style. It was so exciting to play this instrument for the first time. Even being outside it sounded amazing (better than the fancy acoustic rooms in certain bigtime music retailers), and even after seeing all of the pictures I wasn’t prepared for the beauty of the instrument, and I’m still marvelling over all of the unique handmade touches. I just can’t believe people can do such amazing things with their hands. Most of my other instruments are factory made, and they still sound nice, but meeting the person who made this instrument, seeing all of this hand-crafted detail, hearing the difference in the sound of the wood, and knowing where pretty much every piece of it came from is something entirely different.

I plan on incorporating a good amount of octave mandolin into my new songs, so stay tuned! (Pun definitely intended.) For now, here is a little song I wrote on the octave mandolin. At different points, this song includes guitar and regular mandolin; I wanted to play around and see how it sounded with these instruments. Expect some more elaborate arrangements in the future. It’s going to be like a hootenanny up in here.

Also, if you think Eric Bevel’s work is absolutely amazing, unique, and beautifully crafted (which you should) and you want to talk to him about making you something, I bet he’d love it if you email him.

Two happy campers.

Page 1 of 31 2 3