Some people Bloviate - I just Blow Wind Blow

Oddities (EP) - Release Notes  

Let's start with the details:

Track 1

Title Howlin' to Moan
Written by Jack Yoder
Release Date 12/30/2020
Jack Yoder Guitars & Vocals
Vito Lella Drums
Rusty Byrd Bass
Recorded, Mixed & Mastered Georgetown Sound (2015-2020)

Track 2

Title Six More Miles (to the Graveyard)
Written by Hank Williams Sr.
Covered by Jack Yoder (feat. The Ramblin' Shakes)
Release Date 12/30/2020
Jack Yoder Guitars, Vocals, Harmonica & Lapsteel
Vito Lella Drums
Rusty Byrd Bass
Recorded, Mixed & Mastered Georgetown Sound (2015-2020)

Track 3

Title Pain
Written by Jack Yoder*
Release Date 12/30/2020
Jack Yoder Guitars, Vocals & Bass
Vito Lella Drums
Recorded, Mixed & Mastered Georgetown Sound (2015-2020)

*part of the music is a derivative of music written by members of Curious Jeorge. They should contact me through this site.


Oddities is anything but a one-off project. The musical precedent for all three songs on Oddities go back to a band I was in during the late 90's. A band called Millwood. But the sound is something I’ve been cranking out through car stereos and guitar amps since long before that band. 

I always look kindly on those days in Millwood, the same way you look back on your childhood and say, “Man! I got away with a lot of stupid shit!” Millwood was “formed” during the late 90’s in San Francisco and was a barely functional excuse for a band with only two core players. The drummer and myself. The rest of the players were a rotating cast. They were great players but the two people at the wheel couldn't drive for shit. 

We practiced, wrote and recorded, but couldn't keep it together long enough to go play an actual gig. To go from a couple of highly functional bands to that time-consuming “garage” band was hard to justify and had a big part of me eventually putting together a solo show. That we called the Millwood album, "Butt up, Face Down" couldn't have been more perfect.  Our brains and their output may have been heavily addled, but the music was damn good. It bore repeating. And it didn’t seem fitting for it to die at the corner of Haight and Gough st. 

In 2015 I started recording new versions of some of those songs in my new studio up in Georgetown. My good friend, Vito Lella (from Jack Yoder and the 2 Piece Suit) put down the drum tracks. Rusty Byrd from Ol' Hickory played Bass.  

I cut all the rest of the tracks as the desire struck. Six More Miles was the first to be finished and was originally released as a single in 2016.  

As I was working on Wagonload I entertained the idea of adding one or more of these tracks, but in the end it didn't make sense. Still, I loved the vibe of these songs and really wanted to release them in some way.   

Howlin' to Moan was originally written as a Blues song in the Piedmont tradition of Blind Willie McTell with a driving, almost droning, low-note rhythm. In Millwood that met up with an Iggy and the Stooges kind of mentality and became what you hear on Oddities. I wrote it shortly after having moved to San Francisco and as songwriting goes, was the beginning of a highly productive year and a half. 

That song has been reinvented several times over the years. Notably, there'll be another version on the re-release of my 2012 album with the 2 Piece Suit.  That should be ready by spring of 2021. I love having several different versions of the same song out there. If I feel there's a unique way to approach something, then I have no qualms with putting it out.  

Six More Miles (To The Graveyard) was written by Hank Williams Sr. It's a song that never made it into my solo acoustic set. For no particular reason other than It just never sounded right to me the way i played it acoustic. But in the context of a band? I love the sound of it. Then it sounds like a steam engine at its finest.  

I tacked on the intro to it after the fact. After it was initially recorded.  Basically, because I felt like it. Looking back through old recordings I found that thought time and again. “Hey, this thing really needs an intro. I’m gonna add an intro!” I haven’t regretted any of them yet. 

Pain began as a leftover from a long ago band. Back in the early to mid 90’s I was in a band with several different names, Curious Jeorge, Shift and, eventually, Velvet Jones. It wasn’t a very good band, but it had its moments. Many of those songs started as good riff-rock, only to get deflated by overall bad songwriting. But a good idea is a good idea. I don’t know who came up with the riff for what eventually became Pain, but I could never let it go. It’s shown up in several projects and has been reworked many times. The version on Oddities is the one Vito Lella and I arranged in the 2 Piece Suit.  

The lyrics were inspired by one REALLY annoying person. In San Francisco I had a studio apartment that was mostly a recording studio. It was a pretty communal building, as in, most of the time our doors were open and people just streamed into your apartment, drank your booze and left as the day ebbed and flowed. It was a Live/Work loft space and practically all the residents were creatives. That communal nature worked to inspire a lot of art, music and late night conversations. That was until one particularly annoying girl moved in down the hall. The root of the problem was that she was, well, smokin’ hot. So you kinda wanted her around, but in small doses. In the end, her annoyances became too much. The doors shut and we all resorted to secret door knocks. The building I lived in was on this corner. I don't have a picture of it from my past and today it looks completely different.


I never want to be one-dimensional when it comes to music. And fortunately, I never have been. In life, as in music, I'm given to wild tangents and distractions. My last album, Wagonload,  starts squarely in the Americana genre (which is a catch-all genre to begin with) and ends in the Blues.  

So why wouldn't I follow that with an EP that's, well, Cowpunk?  

My answer is a simple question. Why the hell not? 

I guess there's a lot of reasons for it. I really wanted these versions of those songs to see the light of day. But they didn't fit on Wagonload or on my next album.   

I still believe in the concept of creating a cohesive album. It's clearly a dying concept, but I really don't care. For me, to have put any of the tracks from Oddities on to Wagonload would have been too wild of a mood swing. Of course, now they live together on playlists, but that's where we live too. I'll bet your Thumbprint Radio is as manic as mine.  

Oddities has always been there. I entered the Redneck Underground in the mid to late 90's and I'm still there. And although there's really only one true Cowpunk song on the EP (the cover of Hank Williams Six More Miles to the Graveyard), Howlin' to Moan and Pain live as comfortable bookends to it. 

Pancho and Lefty - Release Notes  

This thing took me 19 years to record! That’s a lie. All combined it took about 2 weeks. It’s just that the beginning and the end were 19 years apart.  

In fact, it was lost for over a decade. Found and saved, by my Dad, the morning of trash day in a Florida suburb. And if it wasn’t for the guitar solo, I probably could have cared less. Not about the song, of course, but of this particular version. 

But first, the details: 

Written by Townes Van Zandt
Covered by Jack Yoder
Release date 12/12/2020
Jack Yoder Guitars, Vocals & String arrangement
Ed Behan Bass
Recorded at Rockin' 'Lil Space Pod Studios (2002)/Georgetown Sound (2020)
Mixed and Mastered at Georgetown Sound (2020)

Pancho and Lefty has been in my live set for over 20 years. Townes Van Zandt wrote Pancho and Lefty and originally recorded it back in 1972. I was 4. The first time I heard the song was from Willie Nelson’s version of it recorded in 1983. I’ll admit that I didn’t start to hear anything about Townes Van Zandt until the late 80’s (Likely through a Steve Earle interview in some magazine somewhere). But by then, Willie Nelson’s version and phrasing was completely ingrained in my head. 

I recorded it when I was trying to put together a demo. For booking gigs. But the whole thing took a turn at the solo. The solo is the reason why it’s been stuck in the back of my head for almost 20 years. Had it not been for the solo, it would have stayed a demo and have been forgotten. 

I was living in the French Quarter on the corner of Chartres and Iberville (I lived on the top floor of the Blue apartment building in the picture). On Sunday, January 20th of 2002, I had the apartment to myself and I started recording the rhythm track. The equipment I used is actually a big part of the story. When my Grandma on the Yoder side of the family passed away I took the inheritance money and bought items that I thought I would keep and use forever. I wanted something I could always remember them by. I bought 2 guitars and a good recording mic. The first guitar was a Fender Resonator I named John King after my Grandpa. The second was a Takamine EG 340 SC and named it Anita for my Grandma. The Mic was an Octava Vocal Mic, But I’m not sure which model.  

I used the Fender Resonator, John King, for the rhythm track. One thing I had quickly learned about that guitar was that if you changed to mic placement, it took on a whole different sound. All acoustics do that to an extent, but not like John King. In this case, he sounded like a beautiful archtop.  

The following Thursday (1-24-2002) I had the apartment to myself again and sat down with Anita to cut the solo. Now, I have no idea where the solo came from. It’s a comp for certain. I was in the habit of cutting several solos until I found something that worked. I’m not much for working stuff out for too long because I'm pretty lazy, but this solo employs a style and structure that I don’t really use. That's something I always found odd. What inspired me to play like that? I really don't know.  

The harmony lines were accidental. I had a couple of passes unmuted on the playback and they inadvertently lined up in certain spots and naturally harmonized. In the end, it was one of the best solos I thought I ever did. Warts and all. Because it ain’t spot on perfection. And that’s half the reason I love it. 

The timing of this is also part of the story. I recorded this around Mardi-Gras 2002. That’s significant because of two things. It was quiet enough to record acoustic tracks. A rarity itself for the Quarter during Mardi-Gras. And I always had a large amount of money after Mardi Gras.  

I would always buy something substantial with that money. That particular year I bought a new desktop computer to record with. The old one, the one I originally recorded Pancho and Lefty on, I gave to my Dad. And fortunately, I didn’t erase the files on it when I copied them to the new computer.  

Fast forward 3 years and 8 months and it's 2005. I was recording a new album. That version of Pancho and Lefty was going to be on it. This would be the first album I put out since I left San Francisco in 2001. At this point I was living in the lower Garden District of New Orleans. In late August of 2005 I took all the electronics and instruments in the apartment, wrapped them in plastic and packed them in an interior closet. The most protected spot in the apartment. I grabbed John King and some clothes and set out for 3 days in Memphis. An attempt to avoid the 3 days of no electricity (and no air-conditioning) as Katrina passed over. 

Six days after Katrina, still in Memphis, I watched my apartment building burn to the ground on CNN.   

I have a problem of never giving up on an idea when I think it's good. That notion, alone, is not always a good idea. But in this case I'm glad I never gave up on it. That recording had stuck in my head when I thought I had lost it. Somewhere I found an MP3 version of it that was poorly mixed. I think it was on a data CD but I'm not sure. So that was there to tease me. I tried re-recording it,  but it never had the same "magic" (for lack of a better word).  

Then, in 2014, I remembered that I had given my old computer to my Dad. At the time I was actually looking for an old loop library I thought was on it.  

That conversation went something like this… 

Me: “Hey Pop's! Do you still have that computer I gave you forever ago?” 

Pop's: “Well, yeah. It's out on the sidewalk.”  

Me: “Huh?!?!” 

Pop's: “(laughs) Well I ain't using it so I threw it out.  Don't think the garbage truck's come yet.” 

I talked him into retrieving it and we figured out how to pull out the harddrive over the phone.  Eventually I received it in the mail.  

I was really focused on getting the loops library in it, so when I looked at the files and noticed Pop's had erased almost everything in there I didn't bother to look any further when I found the files I was looking for (and only found them because they were buried deep in a file tree). It never dawned on me to look for Pancho and Lefty. I just figured it had been erased.   

Say what you want about 2020 (it'll all be true), but I found I have a lot more time to do things like...dig through old computer files.  

And then it was just there. It's a bit like turning a corner and running into an old friend.  That kind of friend where you just pick up wherever you left off. The time apart doesn't matter, they're just there again after all these years.   

Even though Anita had been lost in that fire, here she was again. In a waveform I could see and hear. I had eventually replaced her with a very similar version. Another Takamine. I bought the original one because I loved the sound and feel of the guitar. I could literally feel the guitar breathe and resonate. Her replacement was exactly the same in that respect.   

And then the two Anita's finally met.  

The only difference I could hear was in the microphone I recorded through.   

So when you listen. The first guitar you'll hear is the new Anita. Followed quickly by John King as he sounded back in 2002. And then there's the original Anita at the guitar solo. She's boosted because,  well, it's a guitar solo, but I find it virtually impossible to distinguish a difference between the two. They meet and pass the baton seamlessly.  

This is a great time to mention that my old friend and bandmate from Elroy's big Machine, Ed Behan, is on the Bass. I finished this recording in Denver, but Ed cut his track for me from his studio in Atlanta.  Ed always has the knack for playing just the right thing.  It's an intentionally understated Bassline, but without it, the guitar lines simply don't move as well. Thanks Ed! 

And as for the Strings? The strings wouldn't exist on this track if it wasn't for the solo. The melodic nature of the solo inspired every note of the string arrangement. And needless to say, that arrangement took the most time to put together. String arrangements don't come naturally to me. They stretch the limits of my limited knowledge of music theory.

It's a little weird to take such an incredible song from such an iconic songwriter and put your own spin on it. I don't play covers because I need an extra song in the set. Although let's be clear, I need more songs in the set when I'm playing a 2, 3 or 4 hour show. I play the covers I do because I love them.  Because I am a fan of them. So when I record them for a release, I do my best to do them justice.   

Oh, and for you guitar nerds, it’s played in “Drop D” tuning. Even the guitar solos. That way, every time I’d hit the Tonic, the D’s, the guitar would really resonate.