Derek Senn | How Could a Man

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Folk: Alternative Folk Rock: Americana Moods: Mood: Quirky
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How Could a Man

by Derek Senn

Razor-sharp lyrical wit, stellar production, and an off-kilter worldview permeate these twelve unique tracks which tackle subjects ranging from domestic malaise to songwriting travails to the ecstasy of lining up a babysitter.
Genre: Folk: Alternative Folk
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  Song Share Time Download
1. Alaska
2:50 $0.99
2. How Could a Man
4:02 $0.99
3. Botox
2:38 $0.99
4. Be Careful What You Wish For
4:27 $0.99
5. Have a Nice Day
4:07 $0.99
6. The Nuclear Family
3:35 $0.99
7. Babysitter
3:36 $0.99
8. Pretty Things
4:24 $0.99
9. Cold Calling Can
3:57 $0.99
10. The Song Mine
3:10 $0.99
11. The Oil Oligopoly
4:28 $0.99
12. Some Chase a Girl
4:47 $0.99
Downloads are available as MP3-320 files.


Album Notes
She’s a yogi / she’s a reader / she’s an unapologetic eater / a carnivore poor pigs, cows, and chickens / she’s even-keeled until crossed / that’s when dishes get tossed / don’t bequeath your fine china to her / she’s a laundress / she’s a gourmet chef / an EMT she won’t shy away / she’ll suture cuts / she’ll pick a tick right off your nuts / if you puke your guts out she’s there to console you.

Thus begins the title track from Derek Senn’s latest album, How Could a Man. The song is a dedication to his wife, who also graces the cover photograph. It captures her glancing into the bathroom mirror, nine months pregnant and contemplative. The picture aptly represents several of the album’s songs, which serve as dispatches from the front lines of domesticity. “Be Careful What You Wish For” is a wistful snapshot of the couple savoring a week alone sans kids, as they feebly attempt to revisit their wild-oat-sowing days. “The Nuclear Family” begins as a chugging folk number about a crumbling marriage before launching into a boisterous chorus en Espanol replete with flamenco handclaps as Derek shouts “Estoy Aburrido!!” “Have a Nice Day” juxtaposes lyrics about the tedium of the mundane with power pop as Senn drawls over a bass groove: “My twelve thousand nine hundred and ninety-seventh day / and one thing is for sure / I’m gonna get a pedicure.”

Those familiar with Derek’s previous two releases—The Technological Breakthrough and Avuncular—appreciate his penchant for mixing the sorrowful, the absurd, the humorous, the nostalgic, and the caustic into a cocktail that is equal parts upper, downer, and salve. He gave us such gems as “The Shit We Keep,” (the world’s finest ode to consumer hoarding), “Monica Lewinsky,” (the world’s finest ode to the world’s most famous intern), and “Whoop de Do’’ (the world’s finest ode to a canoe). Derek adds to this legacy on How Could a Man with “Babysitter,” which is, well, the world’s finest ode to lining up a babysitter.

Derek Senn recorded his first two albums in San Francisco and Oakland, respectively, with acclaimed producer John Vanderslice (Spoon, Mountain Goats, Death Cab For Cutie). This time, Derek stayed close to home, recording with Damon Castillo at Laurel Lane Studios in San Luis Obispo, California. Rather than repeat the usual flurry of recording an entire album in six days as he does with Vanderslice, Derek took a protracted approach with Castillo that allowed for more experimentation, contemplation, and revision, resulting in twelve unique tracks, some with groove, some with bounce, some with stark simplicity—and all with great storytelling.

Damon Castillo assembled fine session players to complement Derek’s songwriting. Longtime Castillo bandmate Kristian Ducharme added myriad keyboards, including Moog, B3, mellotron, Juno, Wurlitzer, Rhodes, and good old-fashioned piano. Drummer Paul Griffith, who has toured with John Prine and Todd Snider, lent his percussive talents. Derek sings and plays acoustic and electric guitar throughout, while Damon’s flat-wound bass plays a prominent role.

Derek Senn’s songs are lyrically driven and acoustic-guitar based, but he’s a rocker at heart, and Damon Castillo has captured the best of both worlds. How Could a Man allows for opportunities to turn it to 11, to shake it, and to, well, folk.



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