Monday, October 12, 2015

Album Production Resumes

Production of Under the Mountain resumed October 3, resulting in an unscheduled demo, "The Little Tree," a short appendage to the "Needle's Eye" thread.  Yesterday, we released a rough demo for "Hard Times (Shining: Part 2)."  We're not prepared to call the songs finished yet, but we're off to an auspicious start.  We will begin production on the second version of "Needle's Eye (Christian & Dorothy)" and its dependent, "The Pall Bearer," by the end of the month.

Sunday, July 5, 2015

"Cap'n Jessie," Beloved Laptop, Found Dead

Cap'n Jessie didn't start Pawn's Logic, he just gave us a chance to do something we'd never dreamed of before: record songs the way we imagined them.

On July 3rd, we bounced what would be his last mix for "Cloudburst" a track written for our planned concept album, Under the Mountain. We managed to upload before Cap'n Jesse did a spontaneous (and inappropriate) shut down.   Cap'n Jessie's battery was dead some time ago, so we knew he was living on borrowed time.

It was through Cap'n Jessie that we preserved our cover of "Time in a Bottle," from our one and only gig, Bethannie & Chris's wedding.  Ed hasn't picked up a guitar since then, but he played all of the brass on "Calling Me Home, and we still have plans for him to record trombone tracks for "Big War (Shining: Part 1)" and "In Dubious Battle."  Cap'n Jessie helped me realize the potential of my own acoustic songs, "All We Got" and my signature ballad, "Under the Mountain."  It allowed us to put Bethannie's voice into our original songs, "In the Dark" and "So Free," as well as multiple covers: "Hallelujah," "Hush," "Oh Holy Night," "Hark! The Herald Angels Sing," and "Baby Mine."  Not only did we record and mix all of our music on Cap'n Jessie, we also made all of our videos, including "Needle's Eye (Christian Jr.)" and "Tobacco Road."

Cap'n Jessie was named for the Mountain that inspired the title track of our concept album.  Of the 15 tracks written for Under the Mountain only two have not been committed to some form of recording: "Hard Times (Shining: Part 2)" and "Needle's Eye (Christian Sr. & Dorothy)."  We hope to resume recording soon.

Under the Mountain
Track Listing

1. "Calling me Home"
2. "Under the Mountain."
3. "Big War (Shining: Part 1)"
4. "In the Dark"
5. "So Free"
6. "Hard Times (Shining: Part 2)" *
7.  "Needle's Eye (Christian Jr.)"
8.  "Tobacco Road"
9.  "Cloudburst"
10. "All We Got"
11. "Legend" **
12. "Needle's Eye (Christian Sr. & Dorothy)." *
13. "Through the Darkness (Shining: Part 3)"
14. "Shining Star" ** +
15. "Under the Mountain (Reprise)" +

All tracks available in for streaming (in some form) from Pawn's Logic on ReverbNation ( and SoundCloud , except + available only on SoundCloud (, ** available only from Jack Nielsen on ReverbNation (, and * written but not currently available as sound recording.
                   R.I.P., Cap'n Jessie.

Tuesday, February 4, 2014

Plans for 2014

I decided last year during the Guitar Center Singer Songwriter contest that I've been doing stuff ass-backwards.  Instead of writing songs and releasing them with all the bells and whistles under the name of Pawn's Logic ™, the plan is to work through an acoustic version and release a rough demo under my own name.  "Big War" is my first, purely solo effort since "Legend."  It's available for download for a limited time only from my ReverbNation solo page. You can stream "Big War" and other stories, below.  Look for "Needle's Eye" in March, or thereabouts.  "Dirty" is still being written, so I don't expect to have it ready for Pawn's Logic ™ before May.  I have at least one new instrumental planned for this year, and expect a re-release of "In the Dark" with Bethannie on vox.

The finalists for the Singer Songwriter contest all had professional grade videos and professional-sounding songs.  Several videos that I had personally dismissed as contenders for the finals--because I thought they were too polished--made it in.  "All We Got"  is a good contender soundwise, it's just a matter of  making a professional-looking video.  There's 7 months to perfect the four remaining tracks and tape and edit videos for all five.  After trying  to cram the taping and recording three live videos and a doing a lousy job of getting 3 more videos from previously recorded works--all in six weeks--this is not as much time as you'd think.

Jack Nielsen Singer-Songwriter: A Legacy of American Music: Pete Seeger (1919-2014...

Jack Nielsen Singer-Songwriter: A Legacy of American Music: Pete Seeger (1919-2014...: This post is long overdue.  Pete Seeger was a titan of American music.  There are simply no words that can describe just how vital this man ...

Thursday, December 5, 2013

Another Christmas Blown

Sunday, November 10, 2013

Explaining Pawn’s Logic ™

Essentially, Pawn’s Logic ™ was formed in the Nielsen living room, shortly after Chris Oakley proposed to our daughter, Bethannie. 

When Bethannie was a girl, I used to play "Time in a Bottle" on the guitar and she would sing.  We never played shows, so I never concerned myself with the limited sound my guitar could produce.  After Chris proposed, Bethannie asked me to accompany her on guitar so she could sing "Time in a Bottle" for Chris at their wedding.  I recruited my son, John Edward, on nylon string acoustic guitar to fill out the sound.  We practiced for the better part of a year and made our debut at Bethannie and Chris's wedding.

It was our one and only gig.

Since then, John Edward has only picked up the guitar a few times, though he has jammed with me on trombone.  At the time of this writing, Bethannie has recorded several covers, including "Time in a Bottle", and has even started laying down vocal tracks for our original song, "In the Dark."  When she and Chris decided to have a child, they wisely agreed that their family would always come first, so music tends to move at a snails pace for us.  Our granddaughter is the best thing to happen to us since our own children and we wouldn't have it any other way.

The original music recorded, ostensibly under the Pawn’s Logic ™ banner, is layered from music written on my guitar(s), often includes some electric guitar, and from time to time, some electric bass (always MIDI instrumentation).  When I entered the Guitar Center Singer Songwriter 3 with Don Was contest, I realized I've been doing everything back-assward: I've been releasing all of my work under the Pawn’s Logic ™ banner, without ever recording a simple demo.  Hearing "Under the Mountain", "In the Dark" and "So Free" stripped down to just me and a single guitar has made me cringe on some occasions, while making me proud at other times.  Putting "Legend" into the world under my own name was terrifying, but it's a story I wanted the world to hear, even if it's not fully fleshed-out yet.

"Legend" begs for the Pawn’s Logic ™ treatment, if only to emphasize the melody and dynamic structures, but it won't happen any time soon.  Other songs are in the works, to be sure, but before adding the additional thoughts in my head, the guitar and the voice will stand alone, as they do with "Legend":

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Support Jack Nielsen!

Jack Nielsen has decided to take his songwriting to the next level.  As a songwriter, he leaves it all on the floor.  Now, he's going for broke--The Guitar Center Singer Songwriter 3 with Don Was: the next great American songwriter.  Let's give it "All We Got" Logicals!  Our campaign for this week is "Just press play and walk away."  You don't have to sit through every one of the six videos--get up, stretch your legs!  If the sound is distracting you, mute it.  If you want to check your email or log your facebook status, open another tab--it'll keep playing.  Only have a few minutes before you have to close up your laptop and be somewhere?  Every view is worth a point, so you'll help "move mountains" just by playing the first video!  Just press play once a day, and thanks for your support!