Secondhand (EP)

by David Ullman

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about

Q: Can you list each song and tell me about the meaning behind each song?

A: “Secondhand” - It's about trying to find hope when you feel hopeless. The line "Kindness is contagious, so come on be courageous and give your love away" is something I always feel good singing.

“Safe” - I'm not sure what 'safe' is about. The chorus came out of some “scat-type” improvisations I did while I was searching for the vocal melody. I just kept it. I have some inclining or feeling about what it might mean, but it's nothing I could articulate. "Won't you be my TV-dinner-date" is a line that gets a lot of attention. It's a live favorite for some and loathsome to others.

“Start Anew” - A lovey-dovey ballad that I wrote almost ten years ago. It was the first song that I’d written since I was a pre-teen (back then I wrote 50’s-style Buddy-Holly knock-offs!). The guitar part is something I’d been playing for years, and the vocal came about in a similar scat-type way as “Safe.” Actually, it’s because of “Safe” that I chose to include “Start Anew” on DOG DAYS in the first place. After switching the key to the one that you hear on the single, rather than an earlier, m ore up-beat full-band rendition (dubbed the “O.C. Mix”), it ended up reminding me of “Start Anew.” That’s why it re-appears on the EP—that, and because I had a new, beautifully re-mastered recording that I want to share.

“Who Cares” - This one's about taking an objective look at unrequited love. One person is totally consumed with intense feelings while the other is flattered--at best--or simply indifferent. I usually sing about relationships so earnestly. This song gave me a chance to have a bit of fun--maybe poke a little fun at my self.

Q: How was making this CD similar to making DOG DAYS? How was it different?

A: Well, these recordings were initially part of DOG DAYS. As a matter of fact, most of the material for these two songs was recorded in 2005 during the first sessions. It became apparent that "Safe" and "Who Cares" didn't fit the overall vibe of DOG DAYS. A good friend of mine thought "Safe" was too "poppy." He thought it belonged on the "O.C." tv-show. Coming from him, this was not a compliment! This was not the effect I was looking to have, so I tried doing a slightly slower and low-key, more acoustically based recording, which is the one included here. Ultimately, though, neither version fit.

Working with these songs now, in a different context, was liberating. I didn't feel so precious about them as I did when putting together my full-length debut. My brother's a talented producer, and he was particularly interested in finishing “Who Cares,” so I just let him roll with his ideas. I really like what he came up with. Not my best vocal; but, hey... They don't call 'em "B-Sides" for nothin'!

Q: What new experiences did you encounter making the SECONDHAND EP?

A: The drums for this version of "Secondhand" and (the only version of ) "Who Cares" were both recorded in a professional studio, rather than someone's home (like the recordings on DOG DAYS). That was a very good experience for me. After laboring over the tracks and takes on DOG DAYS for three years, it was really cool to go into a recording studio for three hours and come out with high-quality sounds for four songs. Much of that has to do with the talent of drummer Brian Yost, who came in to capture the energy he'd been adding to my live performances at that time (Spring 2008). It makes me really want to the whole process in a studio next time around.

Q: How did you choose which recordings would appear on this CD?

A: Well, “Secondhand’ is the raison d'être this disc. I think of it as a “single,” but more in the traditional sense of the word—indicating a physical release with a lead-track and supporting “B-sides.”

"Safe" and "Who Cares" are the remaining unreleased songs from the DOG DAYS sessions, and I wanted them to have a home—particularly because some folks really like “Safe.” Since it was, for some, a live-favorite, I ran a poll on my website to let listeners choose which version got released (the full-band “O.C. Mix or the more understated “acoustic version.” Hind sight made me really appreciate the full-band treatment, but the acoustic version won the poll—hands down. The “O.C.” Mix is available as an exclusive free download to members of my mailing list.

Q: When you listen to the CD, what excites you the most as its creator?

A: The drums on "Secondhand" and the production on "Who Cares." I also really like the guitar sounds on “Start Anew” and, to be perfectly honest, I’m proud of the artwork. A very fortuitous photo shoot opportunity came my way just weeks before the EP went to press.

Q: What makes you proud to share this with friends and family, and, ultimately, fans?

A: This is the fourth version of "Secondhand" I've released in some fashion, but it is (by far) my favorite!

Q: How will fans react to this CD compared to your previous releases?

A: That's hard to say. People who prefer my solo live shows will likely dig “Safe and “Start Anew.” On the other hand, fans who’ve had a chance to see me with a live band will hopefully appreciate the energy that (Drummer) Brian Yost brings to the table.

Actually, during the studio session when we recorded his parts, Yost predicted people’s reaction. He said that folks would say (reg. 'Secondhand) "Oh that's a cool version of that song I know,” and "Oh! That song" (reg. 'Safe'); then, when “Who Cares” comes on last, they'll just yell 'What the HELL?!?'" I think that pretty well sums it up!

credits

released December 19, 2009

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SECONDHAND (SINGLE VERSION)*
Produced by Brian Ullman, Feb. '05
Drum Recording & Final Mix @ Central 8 Studios,
Akron, OH by Randy Biddle, May '08 / Feb. '09
Vocals & Acoustic Guitar: David Ullman
Electric, Lead & Bass Guitars: Brian Ullman
Drums: Brian Yost

SAFE
Recorded by David Ullman @ Home in Kent, Fall '05
Mixed by David & Brian Ullman
Vocal & Acoustic Guitars: David Ullman
Bass: Brian Ullman
Keyboard Piano: Sean Kammer

START ANEW**
Recorded by David Ullman @ Home '05
Mixed by David & Brian Ullman
Vocals & Guitars: David Ullman
Keyboard Piano: Sean Kammer

WHO CARES
Produced & Mixed by Brian Ullman,
Summer '05 / Oct. '09 @ Home
Drum Recording by Randy Biddle
@ Central 8 Studios, May '08
Vocals & Acoustic: David Ullman
Electric & Bass: Brian Ullman
Drums: Brian Yost

*Exclusive mix of the album version of "Secondhand"
**Also appears on the album DOG DAYS

All Songs by David Ullman / BMI

Photos by Dan Mosora

Layout & Design by DJU

Mastered by Adam Boose @ Cauliflower

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David Ullman Northfield, Minnesota

"Too rock for folk" and "too folk for rock." Embracing both extremes.

Email: dju@davidullman.net

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Track Name: Secondhand (Single Version)
I’ve been searching, can’t seem to find my way
Seems the nights get darker each and every day
This time I’ve wandered too far from home
Friends all around me, but I feel alone

I feel lost and broken, bent out of place
Shall I stay, or do you need some space
Different means all lead to the same end
How can we even try to pretend

I need a secondhand heart
Only slightly ripped apart
I need someone who will always be around
Unrequited from the start
Feel I was born to play the part
Give me someone who will never let me down

Sure I don’t miss what was missing
But oh how I miss kissing you (of course I do)
I miss your lips, your hips, your thighs
Miss the sparkle of your eyes
I know it’s gone now but I don’t know why
How did this become of me
How was I too blind to see
That the one you loved was no longer me
Was my heart in your hands just a pawn
Feelings faded like the night at dawn
Where was it that we went wrong
How am I supposed to heal
When I don’t know what it is I feel
Was it really ever real
I know kindness is contagious
So come on be courageous
Give your love away

With a secondhand heart
Only slightly ripped apart
Gotta somehow get my feet back on the ground
Unrequited from the start
No one’s born to play that part
Just find someone who will never let you down
Don’t let me down
Track Name: Safe
Here I sing just trying to express
In the way I hope that I do best
All these ideas, they are floatin’ round
Trying to keep one, I gotta choke it down
Still I’m not saying that I feel fine
About the way you waste your precious time
Transitory, just like shooting stars
All the deepest wounds seem to leave no scars

Do you believe you’re safe from me?
Be what you want to be
All I want is for us to remain

Times are tough, and love it is always rough
You give your all, but your all is not enough
Like a book on tape, digital escape
Won’t you be my TV-dinner date
Culture satiated with celebrity
All trying to look like the models in the magazines
Where normallacy is the fallacy
Why can’t we make this dream reality

See things as they are
Not as we’d like them to be
But as they were
Were they really

Do you believe you’re safe from me?
See what you want to see
All I want is for us to remain

Do you believe you’re safe from me?
All I want is to believe
That what was lost just might be regained
Track Name: Start Anew
Come on make me feel like I believe
A blind man once, but now I see
Oh you set me free
Won’t you set me free

Come on make me feel like I belong
To feel like this just can’t be wrong

And if you say you want me to
I’ll spend my life with you
Oh to be with you
With you I’ll start anew

Together forever and a day
For you I’ll find a way

Carry on my wayward one
From behind the clouds bring forth the sun
And with you I’ll start again
Both my love and my best friend

You make me feel like I’m alive
And for you I’ll take the dive
Oh to be with you
With you I’ll start anew

And if you just say the word
Sweetest voice I’ve heard
It cuts right to my heart
We will never part

And after all is said and done
My dear, my only one

Come aboard my sweetest friend
On this trip that never ends
Ocean of love strong and true
Rolling waves brought me to you

You make me feel like I believe
Once a blind man now I see
What you’ve done for me
And how you’ve set me free

Now I know where I belong
And to you I sing this song
How happy we will be
Come away with me

And if you say you want me to
I’ll spend my life with you
Oh to be with you
With you I’ll start anew
Track Name: Who Cares
Just cause you love her
Doesn’t mean she cares
I know you love her
But it doesn’t mean that there’s
Not another
Doesn’t mean she cares

Just cause you want him
Doesn’t mean he cares
Although you want him
I know that it’s not fair
Just cause you want him
Doesn’t mean he cares

Chorus:
Seems we always want what we’ve not got
And what we’ve got we cannot want till it’s gone
We want the truth but need the lie
If we love enough, we’ll change their mind

Just cause you need them
It doesn’t mean they care
Even though you love them
It doesn’t mean they share
The same convictions
Doesn’t mean they care

Chorus

Sometimes it’s just not to be
But still you pray and you believe
That I’ll love you, cause you love me
That I’ll love you, cause you love me

Seems we always want what we’ve not got
And what we’ve got we cannot want till it’s gone
If you could only open up your eyes
You'd know you’ll never change their mind
You know you’ll never change their mind