Words & music by S. J. Tucker
Guitars, vocals, percussion: S. J. Tucker
Cello: Betsy Tinney
Guest backing vocal: Michelle Dockrey
Tracked & mixed by Tony Fabris, Monkey Brains Studios Seattle
"Were-owl" is a direct result of collaboration with someone I've never met in
person. I found myself thrown together with artist emilycarding
last spring in
project. The idea of the project, hatched by
friend and photographer kylecassidy
and others, was to pair creative
people all across the world and give them a month or so to collaborate on something,
anything new. All we had to do was say "yes" to the following question: if you
had the chance to make a damn fine piece of art with another human being, would
you take it?
Emily and I talked over email. We laid out our websites for each other--I sent
her a link to my bandcamp site
, where she could listen to all of my recorded
work, and she sent me a link to her online gallery
, where I could view all of
her drawings, paintings, and digital art pieces. We agreed to trade a song about
an art piece for an art piece about a song, and we turned each other loose.
I wandered through Emily's online gallery, clicking on anything that caught my
eye. The piece that stopped me in my tracks was a photoshop treatment titled"Were-Owl"
--a depiction of an owl with a very human face turning a worried glance
upon a full-moon sky. I couldn't look away from his expression. I knew
at that moment that I'd be writing a song about him very soon.
Meanwhile, Emily fell in love with my Wendy songs and decided to include me in
her Neverland Tarot deck (still in progress, right Em?), depicted as Red-handed
Jill/Green-eyed Sue, on the Queen of Wands card.
It's one thing to know that you've inspired somebody. It's another for it to
be mutual and simultaneous. Emily's piece brought out of me a tribute to the
wild creature in each of us, to the uncertainty and danger of love, and to the
wonder of loving someone who's a bit outside your ken.
(I do admit a tiny homage to a certain goblin king, here, but who wouldn't?)
About the recording:
"Were-owl" originally appeared as an internet single, July 2009.
You can meet that incarnation of him, listen, and read the lyrics here
He's been remixed and polished up for his appearance on Mischief
, thanks totfabris
, who toiled away for days upon days to satisfy my every
artistic and technical whim.
"Were-owl" is just one of the many songs on Mischief
for which Betsy wrote a
gorgeous cello part. On this song and on all of the others, she recorded
with her stunning black carbon fibre five-string, Raven, beloved of
has a beautiful cameo appearance on the last chorus of this song.
Those of you who know and love her voice should be able to find her
Interesting facts: I composed "Were-owl" in St. Louis, in my friend Stephen's
basement, where Ginger and I were mixing the Tricky Pixie album together. I
wrote it in the key of B-flat minor, which is the same key it's recorded in.
In order for the cello part to be playable in that key, stealthcello
had to tune
her entire cello down a half-step. This is why, when we perform "Were-owl"
live, we play it in B minor-so that Betsy doesn't have to re-tune mid-show.
Special thanks to Em, Kyle, Monkey, Vixy, and Betsy.