If I Were Me

by Jacob Smigel

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    Also includes PDF of liner notes...
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  • Compact Disc (CD) + Digital Album

    6-Panel digi-pack with collage artwork throughout by JRC (@onewordlong) and lettering by Tom Miller (@futuristiclieutenant) with 20-page booklet of liner notes. Digital download (via Bandcamp) included as well. It's a one-man operation over here... but I'll try to get any physical media to you as soon as I can.

    Includes unlimited streaming of If I Were Me via the free Bandcamp app, plus high-quality download in MP3, FLAC and more.
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  • Custom "If I Were Me" office supply merch!! Printed notepad (50 pages) with same dimensions as the CD itself (5.5" x 5"), supported with a cardboard backing. Includes two "If I Were Me" pencils made from incense-cedar... perfect to keep by the phone, for jotting random notes, or writing an "if you were you" themed to do list. It's a one-man operation over here... but I'll try to get any souvenirs to you as soon as I can.
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  • Poster/Print

    High-quality 12" x 18" art print of "If I Were Me" poster by Tom Miller (@futuristiclieutenant), Edition of 30 which are numbered and signed by Tom. Includes protective plastic sleeve. Will shipped rolled in a 3" tube with protective sleeve in place or flat if you prefer (please get in touch for this option). It's a one-man operation over here... but I'll try to get any souvenirs to you as soon as I can.
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  • Full Digital Discography

    Get all 8 Jacob Smigel releases available on Bandcamp and save 35%.

    Includes unlimited streaming via the free Bandcamp app, plus high-quality downloads of Band Nerd Love, If I Were Me, The Carol Tapes, Hope This Passes The Secretary..., I Stayed Up All Night, New Mexico, Full Grown & Talking About Fountains, and Animal Diseases. , and , .

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1.
The Shadow 04:05
Little bit of fluff, that creative stuff, brushed away to the edges Of an examined life, kids and wife, hear me out I don’t regret it Who would I be, if I were me? What would happen if I act fearlessly I cleared the land, with my own spade, from such crooked timber not a straight thing was made Your parent’s fears, mixed with your own, you made up a garden but nothing has grown!! Yes. There was a drought, but the time in the desert helped me figure it out With a serpent coiled around me, jealous though the lover be Hissing and writhing, hurting me Saying “let me help you manage your time” Saying “let me help you manage your time” The shadow’s arc, the shadows dark, bending down long and slender The shadow-self, what’s on the shelf, to feel like a great pretender Pay it well, give it your time, respect the thing don’t trivialize You can have two lives, a double-feature, up all night coaxing truth from the ether!! And yes. There was a drought, but the time in the desert helped me figure it out Though other doors have opened, and I could’ve walked right through If I weren’t such a work-a-holic But now I’m blessed to be standing here singing my songs to you
2.
I’ve yet to meet a soul who doesn’t mind The first big break up in their life On a cassette tape lost long ago Lives a person that some of us know… who said: Your name is an indelible word written on a page Your name is a word and it will never never never be erased I was a small scared little man when I saw you on that stage When I saw you up there girl, oh something changed It was band nerd love… It was band nerd love… I clench my jaw it hurts me so You know the scariest faces are always our own And the enemy lives in the worst place… he’s within And your name is an indelible word written on a page Your name is a word that will never never (never never never) be erased I was small scared little man when I saw you on that stage When I saw you up there girl, oh something changed It was band nerd love… It was band nerd love… Yes, it’s band nerd love…
3.
Should I have a coffee or should I have a beer? I’m unsatisfied When it’s one or the other I just can’t decide No matter the grip the pleasure’s gonna slip in time Looking for a punctuation mark to put on mine Are my senses lying to me about how good this next one’s gonna be? I’m left regretful wanting more on my plate If you’ve ever been drunk and hungover at once…. you can relate When I reach the summit I’ll finally sit back and relax Till then I’m checking my lists to make my plan of attack Don’t need the space in the front the back burner’s for me Got a couple a projects I’ve been working on indefinitely Are my senses lying to me about how good this next thing’s gonna be? I’m left regretful wanting more on my plate If you’ve ever been stressed out and bored all at once…. you can relate I’m a one trick pony and that’s where I’ve got you all fooled Never needed Rolaids® till I got out of school Now I’m working long hours like I’m supposed to do Miss our babies growing but I’m still in love with you Are my senses lying to me about how good this next year’s gonna be? I’m left regretful wanting less on my plate If you’ve ever been asleep and awake all at once…. you can relate Should I have a coffee or should I have a beer? I’m unsatisfied When it’s one or the other I just can’t decide
4.
It’s probably nothing, that little twinge of chest pain My dizzy spells, my hands they swell, my doc calls me the “worried well” So, it’s probably nothing, I just slept on it wrong My vision’s blurred, there’s a ringing sound, something must be going round… Or maybe it’s something… when my heart skips a beat My breath ain’t right— it’s worse at night— If I can slow it down I’ll be alright And I feel hungover, but that can’t be right I’m a hundred percent sure I didn’t drink last night!! So, it’s probably nothing, that metallic taste The pain I feel, I know it’s real, the sickness comes with every meal But it’s probably nothing, chalk it up to my age I feel like I’m gonna die, my blood pressure’s never been that high Or maybe it’s something… when my heart skips a beat My breath ain’t right— it’s worse at night— If I can slow it down I’ll be alright If there was a blood test for what I’ve got, then I would be fine And someone would be deserving of the Nobel Prize!! So, it’s probably nothing, a bad sandwich I guess Could be hormones or allergies, my family thinks that I’m a mess But maybe it’s something, that little lump in my neck I’m bruising now and I’m coughing still, let me google-it… just to check It says it’s definitely something… when my heart skips a beat My breath ain’t right— it’s worse at night— If I can slow it down I’ll be alright
5.
The windshield’s dirty that I’m looking through, with bug guts stuck like super glue And I can get ‘em off, if I try. Even the Hoover Dam, is still soft inside The sun has riz and the sun has set, well here I am in Texas yet Taking songs for a walk, that came from my mind, I guess I own them so… I shuffle behind If we fly like crows, we could make that show, but we've gotta take the long way around We’re coming in late, and we hope that you wait, it’s always better when we have a full crowd I’m not a musician, I got something to say, I wanna ramble and get away, On a musical-vacation for the working poor, I wanna breath some air that ain’t been breathed before I wanna breath some air that ain’t been breathed before “Waste your life, be an artist” they used to say, I heard that one a lot back in the day Acting like an artist is this thing outside, not another part of me in the same guise The bathroom stalls have got no doors, I’ll use my mic I can’t use yours It smells so bad… and I hate to say, I guess we played some shows, should’a never been played But I’m playing hard enough to break a sweat, I’m getting good, I ain’t got there yet My voice is blown out from singing loud, because you never know who’s in that crowd Well the bands I saw when I was young, they’d send you home feeling alive You stay up late and you wanna create, I wanna play that role in your life I’m kind-of-a-musician with something to say, I wanna ramble and get away, On a musical-vacation for the working poor, I wanna breath some air that ain’t been breathed before I wanna breath some air that ain’t been breathed before “Waste your life, be an artist” they used to say, I heard that one a lot back in the day Acting like an artist is this thing outside, not another part of me in the same guise “Waste your life, be an artist” they used to say, I heard that one a lot back in the day…
6.
This Town 03:00
We built this town for dogs, people knit them little sweaters they wear Groomed, shampooed, and perfumed, you know that’s the way We built this town for dogs, people walking them here and there Carrying baggies to clean up their uughh!! you know that’s the way If the aliens were watching on high, what would they say? “We know who’s in charge today… being waited on that way” We built this town for cars, roads sprawling from place to place Washing, detailing, rotate, and oil-changing away We built this town for cars, take my photo on the hood they say Daddy’s Ford doesn’t run, but it still made the will anyway If the aliens were watching on high, what would they say? “We know who’s in charge today… being cared for that way” We built this town for phones, what pretty jewelry and sleeves they wear Embraced with eyes locked on the face, you know that’s the way We built this town for phones, what pushy notifications in there It’s the posting and boasting that brings out the worst I swear If the aliens were watching on high, what would they say? “What are they looking at all day?” “A shame to see them enslaved…” “Will they every find their way?” “I hope they break free some day…”
7.
The Library 03:45
Put your scalpels down, take a look around At the final expression on the face Of every body in this place The mind that endured all the suffering is gone But something else lingers on that I know Best lend your books out son while you’re around They say when someone dies, that a library burns down Call everyone who ever loved me Bring every shaman to jiggle above me Bring holy chrism to rub me Bring everyone and they might see That the mind that endured all the suffering is gone But something else lingers on that I know!! Best lend my books out son while I’m around They say when someone dies, that a library burns down Call everyone who ever loved me Bring every shaman to jiggle above me Bring holy chrism to rub me Bring everyone and they might see
8.
There’s a movie montage happening right now You can see it if you just close your eyes We’re learning, improving, we’re figuring it out And the passage of time is implied Show me what you’re working on man And I’ll shake my head “yes” or “no” Show it to me once, come on, show it to me twice And I’ll give you the “thumbs up” sign Well you know that it only works in the movies When their rushing towards the end Our lives drag on, just waiting in lines And we never call on our friends But there’s a movie montage happening right now You can see it if you just close your eyes We’re learning, improving, we’re figuring it out and the passage of time is implied Show me what you’re working on man And I’ll shake my head “yes” or “no” Show it to me twice, hell, show it to me thrice And I’ll give you the “thumbs up” sign
9.
Duncan 03:28
(Words and music by Paul Simon): Couple in the next room, bound to win a prize, they’ve been going at it all night long Well I’m trying to get some sleep but these motel walls are cheap Lincoln Duncan is my name and here’s my song… here’s my song My father was a fisherman, my mama was a fisherman’s friend And I was born in the boredom and the chowder So when I reached my prime, I left my home in the maritimes Headed down the turnpike for New England… sweet New England Holes in my confidence, holes in the knees of my jeans I was left without a penny in my pocket Oh ooh ooh wee, I was about destituted as a kid could be And I wished I wore a ring so I could hock it… I’d like to hock it A young girl in a parking lot, was preaching to a crowd Singing sacred songs and reading from the bible Well I told her I was lost and she told me all about the Pentecost And I seen that girl as the road to my survival Just later on the very same night when I crept to her tent with a flashlight And my long years of innocence ended Well she took me to the woods, sayin’ “here comes something and it feels so good!” And just like a dog I was befriended… I was befriended Oh oh what a night, oh what a garden of delight Even now that sweet memory lingers I was playin’ my guitar, lying underneath the stars Just thankin’ the lord for my fingers… for my fingers
10.
You left the original in the copy machine And the door put up a fight You should be pushing not pulling This heavy guilt through your life Just think “It’s not my fault” “I can’t tell sugar from salt, (My fault) when they clearly look the same,” (My fault) you and I are not to blame For things so poorly made Cause everyone’s turned the wrong burner on once or twice Despite the helpful symbols painted on the side of the stove Well it’s not just the old you do it too They say hot water is on the left And that the cold is on the right (yeah right) And that I type really slowly That I’m the hunt-n-peck type!! Then why are these light switches taped down? And why is that thermostat encaged in plastic? Are you getting annoyed? Are you becoming enraged? Then say with me!! “It's not my fault, I can't tell sugar from salt, (My fault) when they clearly look the same (My fault) I'll just keep refreshing the page… (My fault) I can't swap cell phone calls... (My fault) or work the automatic bathroom... (My fault) or program my sprinklers…" (My fault) but you and I are not to blame For things so poorly made Because everyone's turned the wrong burner on once or twice Despite the helpful symbols painted on the side of the stove Well it's not just the old you do it too

about

When I left for medical school in 2007, I knew it would require that I place music (and other artistic pursuits) aside for a time. I comforted myself, planning to direct my creative energy in to other things in hopes that this would be satisfactory. I was creative at times, but I never quite found the balance that I was hoping for. I suppose that if I had two lives to live, I’d be an ER doctor/family man in one of them— which I am for the most part— and in the other I would have never stopped making music, and instead have followed that pure creative energy where ever it could take me. Considering I have just one life to live, I need to do both. "If I Were Me" is a reaffirming of my priorities, an experiment in being true to myself, and a trial in keeping artistic expression at the forefront of my life— and it happened just in time.

My friends in the band "Deer Tick" recognized this deficiency in me and offered many times over the years to collaborate with me to make music again if this were something that I ever wanted to do. The desire began to stir in me around 2018— having finally gained some agency over my career and feeling settled as a husband and a father of three— in 2019 I set my mind to carving out more time for songwriting by limiting social media and news of all forms (which I had grown too fond of honestly) to focus on my inner artistic self. This created a much needed space, where along with the stolen moments of nap time, night shifts, and hill country drives, this album was imagined.

To make the album a reality however, I relied on Dennis Ryan and John McCauley of Deer Tick, as producers, drawing on their experience to plan the recording sessions. In December 2019, Pre-COVID, Deer Tick had just finished setting up their own recording studio in Nashville, TN. We were able to gather there for three days to bring these songs to life. It was a wonderful experience, a creative and intuitive recording session, filled with laughter, family, and good food— which was also free of technical glitches!! It was the type of experience you can’t help stepping out of to note just how special it is, something that will likely never be recreated. We hit the ground running and recorded the bulk of the album in three days. Most of the tracks were recorded live— and having never played the songs as a group— we captured most of them on the second or third take. This is testament to Deer Tick’s musicianship and their intuition as performers. Some of the resulting tracks surprised me, while others came out just as I had imagined them, and it is my pleasure to finally share these songs with others.

-Jacob Smigel

credits

released September 8, 2020

All songs written by Jacob Smigel (BMI) except where noted

Produced by Dennis Ryan, John McCauley III, and Jacob Smigel

Recorded at the Karate Do Studio in Nashville, TN Dec. 9th through Dec. 12th, 2019 with engineering by Dennis Ryan. Additional recording and mixing with Dennis Ryan in East Providence, RI Jan. 14th through Jan. 16th, 2020.

Album art throughout was created by JRC, @onewordlong

Text illustration by Tom Miller, @futuristiclieutenant


I am forever grateful to the members of Deer Tick (John McCauley III, Ian O'Neil, Dennis Ryan, and Chris Ryan) for offering repeatedly over the years to help me record music again if it was something that I ever wanted to do. Little did they know, it was never far from my mind. Thank you also to Dennis Ryan who helped plan our recording sessions, engineered them, and then carefully mixed the recordings with me over many weeks. Thank you to my wife Nicolette for helping me slip away to focus on this project, and to our friend and baby sitter Luna Broesche for her thoughts on these songs when they were in their early forms and helping to give me space to work on them. Thank you to my brother Jesse Smigel for being a sounding board from day one, and an additional thank you to Deer Tick’s loved ones who blessed this project as well, especially Vanessa Carlton. Album art help came from JRC and Tom Miller, to whom I owe a great thanks as well.


INSTAGRAM: @smigelmusic

More info (and weird zen): www.jacobsmigel.com
Management: management@jacobsmigel.com
Music: jacobsmigel.bandcamp.com

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Jacob Smigel Austin, Texas

When the house plants are doing well... I think that says more about me.

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