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Chapter Guides for the New Special!

Chapter Guides!

Did you notice that my new special has helpful chapter markers? The times are listed in the description and they’re linked so you can click them and jump to that section!

Or, even easier, when you’re on a computer you can hover your mouse over the timeline to view the chapter names and a preview screen. On mobile the chapter names will show as you scrub the timeline.

And below I’ve made a handy table of contents with links to the different sections if you want to get to your favorite section right this very minute! It also makes it easier to send your favorite part of the special to your friend! Think they’ll like the cowboy song? Boom, link straight to it! Want them to hear the background on William Miller and his failed Bible prophesy predictions? This link is here to help!

And please do keep sending the special around to your friends and colleagues! It’s truly the best way to get the word out on the special and for more people to know the weird backstory of things like Muscular Christianity or how much Henry Ford hated jazz!

Song Genre Subject time
Prologue intro 0:00-1:30 link
Were Those Really the Days? Brill Building Pop Nostalgia and revisionism 1:30-3:45 link
Satanic Panic intro The Satanic Panic 3:45-6:04link
Satanic Panic Heavy Metal The Satanic Panic 6:04-9:34 link
William Miller & Prophesy The Great Disappointment of 1844 9:35-12:35link
The Great Disappointment Emo The Great Disappointment of 1844 12:35-16:06 link
National Anthems Star Spangled Banner 16:06-18:37link
Alternate Anthem National Anthem Burning of the White House in 1814 18:37-20:55 link
Adam Smith and economics 20:55-21:43link
The Invisible Hand Spy Movie Theme Laissez-faire Capitalism 21:43-24:46 link
Henry Ford and Jazz Henry Ford’s anti-jazz anti-semitism 25:00-26:51link
Beep! Beep! Outta the Way! Early Jazz Henry Ford’s anti-jazz anti-semitism 26:51-29:12 link
Stephen Foster “Plantation” Songs 29:12-30:58link
Plug Your Ears and Sing! Stephen Foster White Fragility and Education 30:58-33:28 link
The Frontier Myth The Frontier Myth 33:28-34:26link
The People Who Were Already Here Western/Cowboy Song The Frontier Myth 34:26-37:24 link
Sunshine Pop! 37:36-38:00link
Corporations Are People Too! Sunshine Pop Corporate Personhood 38:00-40:34 link
Muscular Christianity masculinity crises 40:34-42:57link
Work That Bod Disco Muscular Christianity 42:57-46:45 link
1990s Nostalgia 46:45-48:51link
The Ballad of Lou Pearlman 90s Boyband Pop Lou Pearlman’s Ponzi Sceme 48:51-52:12 link
Remember it Better Heartland Rock Closing Credits 52:12-56:53 link

The New Special is Here!

The new video special is out! It’s available on YouTube right this very second and I’m super excited for you to see it!

It’s just over 2 years to the day since I first performed this set of songs to see if there was anything to this idea of doing a whole show of satirical comedy songs based on U.S. History and culture. The show went well and inspired me to do a fully-arranged studio album of the songs and to create a solo theater show around them.

Taking that show to the Edmonton Fringe last summer allowed me to really tighten and punch up the monologues and to perfect the overall flow of the set. At the end of the fringe run I knew I had to create a version of the show that could live online for everyone to see.

And now, it’s here!

Using the full arrangements of the songs from the album and some fun animation, graphics, and live action, I have what I think is a really solid comedy special. It’s not a live concert video like most standup specials, but being a musician in the comedy world has always led me to do things a little differently. A friend who’s a huge movie and TV buff said it sounds like it’s my Elephant Parts, which was a sketch/music/video comedy film by former Monkee Mike Nesmith, and if you know it, it’s a perfect comparison.

Give it a look, I think you’ll like it! And if you know any comedy and/or music nerds, pass it along! Word of mouth > algorithms!

New Special Premieres May 22!

We have a date!

My new comedy music video special The American Songbook: Redacted will be premiering on YouTube May 22! At 9pm eastern the new special that’s part Schoolhouse Rock, part The Daily Show, and part Friday Night Videos, will premiere on YouTube with an online watch party kicking off an hour earlier.

The night before, Tuesday, May 21, there will be an in-person premiere party where we’ll watch the special, have a few beverages, and enjoy some swag at Crystal Lake in Williamsburg, Brooklyn. The party starts at 7pm and we’ll start the screening at 8.

I’m really excited to present this project in this form, it’s the culmination of the work on the album, the live shows, and a few of the individual lyric videos from the album. I think this video and format is the best way to experience these songs and stories, and it’s the perfect distillation of two years of work. I can’t wait for you to see it!

In fact, here are a couple of trailers I made to give you a feel for what’s on the way:

Comedy Special coming this summer!

The American Songbook: Redacted Comedy Special will be coming out this summer!

I’m very excited to be putting all of the work from the live show and the studio album together into one cohesive film available to anyone who can click on a video. Soon everyone can see the material as I envisioned it: funny songs—with intricate, genre-specific arrangements—and joke-filled monologues giving background and context on the topics covered!

I’ve been working diligently on the project all winter, putting together new animated characters, new videos, and the monologues that were honed over the festival performances last year! I’m happy to report that I’m in the home stretch, or at least the home stretch for completing the video. Getting the word out will be an entire project unto itself, but I’m excited about the possibilities of self-released comedy specials and I’m optimistic the special will find a receptive audience.

It will be a little bit different from traditional standup specials, the ones that are shot in a theater or comedy club with an over-hyped crowd. This one is going to be filled with music videos and in-studio intros and monologues—it’ll be part Schoolhouse Rock, part The Daily Show, part Friday Night Videos. At first I was calling the project a “video album” but after consideration I think “comedy special” is more accurate. It is, after all, nearly an hour of comedy presented as a cohesive whole. A friend of mine said it best: “it’s a comedy special. It’s a weird special, but it’s a special.”

So stay tuned for my weird special featuring a set of satirical songs inspired by lesser-known history and cultural trends. And here’s a sneak peak at a couple of the new characters!

Crowd work clips are all the rage!

If you, like me, follow a lot of comedians on instagram or tiktok, you’re seeing tons of clips of comics doing crowd work at their shows. It’s almost to the point that anytime someone in the audience coughs the comic rushes to react so they can post the clip on their socials, just to keep the flow of ‘content’ going.

Crowd work clips are so prevalent the Washington Post even mentions them in their article about tiktok and standup! (That’s a gift link to get you through the paywall, because I’m a giver!)

Crowd work has never really been my thing but I can’t resist making fun of a trend so I wrote a song called “Crowd Work” and left it at that. Enjoy!

Great Big Beautiful World guitar tutorials

Jazz Guitar tutorial

One of my favorite songs on the new album is Great Big Beautiful World, a bossa nova inspired mellow ballad that I really like playing. I like playing it so much I want to teach people how to do it!

This is the jazz/electric guitar version, which is the featured instrument on the recording. I also made a tutorial for an acoustic guitar version, which is a little simpler and has more open chords that sound good on acoustic. That’s below.

To help with the chords I made lead sheets that have guitar chord diagrams, here’s the jazz guitar lead sheet, and the acoustic lead sheet.

This is my first attempt at a legit guitar tutorial, let me know what you think!

Acoustic Guitar tutorial

Great Big Beautiful World live in studio

One of my favorite songs on The Opposite of Afterglow, the new album from The Green L.E.D.s project, is the bossa nova infused ballad Great Big Beautiful World. It’s probably the one I’m the most proud of too. I really like the chord progression and I think the melody weaves through it and ties it together nicely.

I’m also really happy with the lyrics. Not only do they match the feel of the music, they express something I’ve been feeling a lot the last several years—a peaceful awe of being in the moment infused with a dose of melancholy from being aware of the absolute shit-show we humans make of this place.

Anyway, enough of me talking about it, lemme play it:

Learn how to play the song here!

Back in the day whenever I would post a clip of me playing something, someone would inevitably comment “tabs,” demanding guitar tabs for whatever I played. Since I like this song so much and would be beyond flattered and thrilled if anyone else wanted to play it, I made not 1 but 2 guitar tutorials for it! The first tutorial is for the jazz guitar version I play here, the second is an acoustic guitar version that uses more open chords and is a little simpler. (It’s the acoustic guitar part layered in the background of the studio recording). Check ’em out and play along!

It Begins! (pre-sales, that is)

Pre-sales for The Opposite of Afterglow, The Green L.E.D.s second full-length album, are now live on Apple Music and bandcamp! Any orders between now and the release date of Nov 17 come with immediate download of the preview single “Celebrity’s Kid” and count toward release day purchase stats, which is important to all the algorithm bots and such.

To celebrate, I posted this video of me doing a 4-part a cappella version of “Celebrity’s Kid!”

I’m also excited to announce that instead of being a digital-only release, I decided to get a limited number of actual CDs made!

The good people at Atomic Disc do such good work (and they do it frighteningly fast) I couldn’t resist getting a few actual CDs made. It’s just so much more fun to have a tangible product in hand after all of the work I put into the album. They’ll be available at my online store starting the week of Nov. 17!

And with the pre-sales officially started over at bandcamp, you can stream Celebrity’s Kid right now! I’ll even embed a player right here!

I can’t wait for you to hear the whole album, I’m really loving how it sounds and proud of the writing and arranging. Let me know what you think!

Masters have been delivered!

The Green LEDs logoThe mixes have been mixed, the masters are mastered, and the files have been sent through the net-o-sphere to all the digital music sites in the known universe! That means The Green L.E.D.s’ new album will be available to everyone on Nov. 17, 2023!

And did you notice that link above, on the name The Green L.E.D.s? That’s right, to celebrate the new album I put together a new website [ooh, aah]. I figured that with a second full-length album coming out I might as well make the project web-official and secure a domain. And thanks to the ease of WYSIWYG cloud-based design tools the site was up and running lickety-split!

If you’re a Spotify user and want to support the album right now, you can pre-save it to your library with this link.  That way the album is automatically added to your library as soon as it comes out, and since first day numbers really impress the algorithm bots, pre-saving is a huge help.

And if you’re curious what the new album sounds like, check out the advance single that came out this summer on the Shake It Down Tonight EP. In fact, I’ll embed it below so you can listen to it right here.

I’ve been working on this album in the background since late last year, taking my time to get it right, and it’s been a really fulfilling and satisfying process. It provided me a nice escape from all the work I was doing on The American Songbook: Redacted videos and festival run, and allowed me to stretch out and explore some musical ideas away from comedy. I’m really happy with the songwriting and the way it sounds and I can’t wait for you to hear it, so smash that link (as the kids say) and add it to your library toot sweet!

The 1-year Anny of The American Songbook: Redacted!

It’s been a full year since the release party/show for The American Songbook: Redacted studio album! In the year since the album’s release I’ve created 8 lyric videos  and refined the live show into an intelligently silly powerhouse that showcased at the 2023 Edmonton International Fringe Theater Festival. I also made buttons!

The release show took place at the lovely Caveat theater in NYC on October 12, 2022, which was the 530th anniversary of Columbus’ ships arriving in the Caribbean. What better day to launch a project that digs into the myths and beliefs of the culture that’s developed here on this continent? This October 12th is a perfect time to a look at the project as a whole and appreciate the creative journey it took me on.

The lyric videos were a lot of fun to put together and working on them helped me refine the monologues and intros in the live show. And the 7-show run in Edmonton not only gave me the opportunity to tighten and punch up the script, it featured a new opening song that really set up the tone and theme of the show. That song, “Were Those Really the Days?” has been added to the album exclusively on bandcamp, give it a listen, we’ll embed it below for your convenience!

And check out the lyric vides, they were a ton of fun to work on, especially the collaborations like The Invisible Hand, with the hilarious video-making team of Steven Rosenthal and Peggy O’Brien, and Corporations Are People Too!, featuring the wonderful artwork of Dan Pavelich!

And don’t forget the merch! You can still help support the project by picking up some merch! I really love the way the 4-button pack turned out, there’s a cool patch, a keychain, or a sticker sheet!

So what’s next for The American Songbook: Redacted? I hope to shoot the monologues and intros and create lyric videos for the remaining songs, putting them all together into a visual album/comedy special. But that will have to wait until after the release of my next project, a new album by The Green L.E.D.s.!! 

Yes, I’m doing something completely different again, but I’m very excited about it! I even have a new website for the project! Thanks for supporting and helping me pursue all of these ridiculous ideas!

It’s time to DISCO!

This month’s Odd Rock Comedy Hour at QED happens to land right on my birthday! And since my impending age will be the same number as in the name of a legendary disco club (Studio 39, obvi) we’re having a disco party!

There will be comedy! There will be disco songs! Sometimes simultaneously! Anyone wearing 70s or disco attire will get a prize! I am so leaning in to this whole thing!

And lest you think this is merely an ironic or kitschy tribute to disco, let me point out that my 2nd full length studio album American Cheese (released on my birthday in 1998) featured a disco song called Disco Nights, and my latest album The American Songbook Redacted features the disco track “Work That Bod.”

Not only that, one of our guests, Goodbye Charlemagne, just released an entire album of disco songs! And one of our other guests debuted a new disco song at the Odd Rock Comedy Hour earlier this year!

So get ready to boogie on up to Q.E.D. in Astoria for a feverish Saturday night of good fun, great music, and hilarious comedy!

Tickets are LIVE for the Edmonton Fringe!

Ticket links are now LIVE for the American Songbook: Redacted at The Edmonton International Fringe Theater Festival!

Edmonton Fringe Theater Festival LogoI’ll be doing 7 performances of the show at the lovely Chianti Yardbird Suite, a jazz club in the heart of the Old Strathcona Neighborhood, not far from the epicenter of the fest. Here are the dates and times:

Friday, Aug 18, 2:30 pm
Sunday, Aug 20, 4:30 pm
Monday, Aug 21, 9:45 pm
Tuesday, Aug 22, 12:30 pm
Wednesday, Aug 23, 11:15 pm
Friday, Aug 25, 7:15 pm
Sunday, Aug 27, 5:15 pm

Tickets for all shows are available here.

I’ve been honing the show for this festival and I’m really excited about it. There’s even a brand new song! And don’t forget the merch and swag! So much merch and swag!

I even have a button giveaway exclusively for this festival! The fest is a “no handbill zone,” meaning no flyers! So I’m giving away buttons with a QR code for the show’s website. Track me down at the fest and I’ll be happy to give you one. And if you ask nicely I may even be able to give you a comp ticket to the show, just let me know you read this post 🙂

See you in the wilds of western Canada!

Shake it Down Tonight EP released!

Shake it Down Tonight EP!

This past Friday the new single and EP from The Green L.E.D.s was released worldwide! The EP features 4 songs and is available on bandcamp, Apple Music, Spotify, YouTube music, and most other digital platforms! Here, have an embed of the whole thing:

I am really excited to have a new Green L.E.D.s single out and I’m really happy with the way the lead track turned out!

It is definitely influenced by my power-pop roots, especially in the chorus and the backing vocals, and I think it fits in well with the angsty-yet-hopeful vibe of the previous Green L.E.D.s album. “Shake it Down Tonight” will be on a full album by The Green L.E.D.s due out this October.

This EP also features a fun cover of “Don’t Stop ’Til You Get Enough” by Michael Jackson (with some obvious other influences), a mellow bossa nova B-side that I had a lot of fun working on, and a live-in-studio version of “I Can Feel It (Can You?)” which was the first track I wrote under The Green L.E.D.s name and is still one of my favorites.

If you’d like to support the project you can buy the EP on bandcamp, or on Apple Music, and if you follow  and like The Green L.E.D.s on Spotify or Apple Music it’ll really help other people find it!

Enjoy the tunes and let me know what you think!

New Song! “Were Those Really Days?”

“Were Those Really The Days?”

Were Those Really the Days?” the new opening number for the stage version of The American Songbook: Redacted, just went live on bandcamp!  It’s now part of the full studio album, available individually, OR you can get a free download code with any merch purchase between now and the start of the show’s run at the Edmonton International Fringe Theater Festival!

As the staged version of The American Songbook: Redacted evolved, through the development of the lyric videos and the refining of the stories and jokes between songs, I worked to come up with a new opening number that would capture the energy, intelligent silliness, and the vein of dark satire running through the show. I’m really happy with how “Were Those Really The Days?” hits all of those notes, with its nostalgic wall-of-sound production and its allusion to how people use false (or at best idealized) memories of the past to influence the present.

The sharp-eyed among you may notice that the previous opening song, “Remember It Better,” which hits the nostalgia theme through the lens of Heartland Rock, now closes out the album. I still really love the song and I think it makes an excellent epilogue for the project. If and when I get the budget to do a proper video special of the show I imagine this song running over the closing credits (complete with a Cannonball Run-esque blooper reel).

If you’re free in mid-August, come on up to Edmonton, Alberta, and check out The American Songbook: Redacted at the Fringe. I’ll be performing at the lovely Chianti Yardbird Suite, which is a nice mid-sized jazz club and the perfect environment for this show. Until then, enjoy “Were Those Really The Days?” and “Remember it Better” as the nostalgic bookends to a satirical look at American history and culture!

Merch Drop!

Welcome to the virtual merch table!

We just added some cool new merch to our online store! We’ve got a spiffy embroidered patch, an awesome 4-button pack of 1.25″ buttons, a nifty keychain, and a fun sticker sheet, all inspired by The American Songbook: Redacted, my latest album and the solo show I’m taking to the Edmonton International Fringe Theater Festival in August!

ASR Logo buttonIn fact, it’s the trip to Edmonton that inspired this epic merch drop. I was pondering putting together a kickstarter campaign to help support taking the project to the Great White North, but it felt weird to do a big drive for a live event where there was no ‘thing’ to send to supporters. And since my favorite part of kickstarter campaigns is coming up with the fun extras people can get with different levels of funding, I decided to just make the cool stuff and sell it directly without guilting anyone into supporting a campaign.

But wait, there’s more!

Between now and the festival, any merch purchase will come with a free download of the newest song from the show! The song will be released July 7, only on bandcamp, so it won’t be on any of the streaming services.

And if you want to support the show without a merch purchase, you can always pick up a digital copy of The American Songbook: Redacted, or any of my other digital albums, over at bandcamp, where they let you support the artists by adding to the asking price.

It was a lot of fun putting these items together. As soon as I got the patches I put one on my Dickies jacket, and then a navy trucker hat, and both look super cool. The 4-button pack turned out even better than I hoped and will definitely stand out on the merch table, the keychains have my favorite show logo, and the 5-sticker sheet was great to put together because I could put a bunch of sticker ideas in one place!

Look them over and let me know what you think! And if you order between now and the festival I might just sneak in an extra Songbook or Green L.E.D.s sticker as a surprise!

Patch-on-Hat-Modeled

patch on a trucker hat (hat not included), expertly modeled by Rob P.

Jacket with patch, modeled

patch on a dickies jacket (jacket not included), also expertly modeled by Rob P.

Life is a Drag!

I’m not a drag act but I’m really annoyed with all of the anger, vitriol, and threats that have been hurled at them lately so I wrote this song.

On the upside, a Federal judge struck down a Tennessee law banning drag shows, and hopefully the moral panickers will come to their senses soon and worry about things that are actually dangerous in the real world, not just their fevered imaginations.

Anyhoo, I hope you enjoy the tune. Music, lyrics, and arrangement by me; hair & makeup by snapchat and TikTok filters.

© Paravonian