Magic Beans

A few years ago I had a funny 'little' idea. I would make a song cycle that told the story of Jack and The Beanstalk. I wrote two songs and played them for my little one. She liked them. 

Well, like many funny 'little' ideas I have, the songs sat in a dusty corner for a long time after that. In some sense the songs were like Jack's Magic Beans. They were strange things that didn't seem all that...oh, what's the word...'useful.' I kind of chucked them into the back yard of my life and forgot about them.

A few months ago I came across these ditties and played them for a mysterious stranger named Jacob Silver. He put his ear to these funny beans. Told me how to put 'em in the ground. Said he'd be back to see how they were coming along. I laughed. These old beans couldn't ever grow, could they? Sure they could, he told me. 'Put 'em in the ground. I'll water 'em for you. You put 'em in the sunshine and we'll see.'

That ol' Jacob Silver he was right. Those funny songs sprouted right up. They're growing bigger and stronger every day.

Come spring, I'm going to climb my beanstalk right up to the sky.

Jake SilverComment
On Giants...

The Beanstalk gang is back at work this week after a strange interlude that deserves far more ink than we could possibly spill here. We’ll tell that story another time!

Old Jacob Sliver and I gave our demo tracks a listen and we made an ambitious plan to add some insanely cool players to the album this month. But I ain’t gonna tell that story today either!

I want to tell you about something else. 

I want to tell you about the giant.

It’s a funny thing to have to say, but you do really need the giant in the Jack in the Beanstalk story. And you need that Giant to be a real bad fellow. The Giant in Jack in the Beanstalk is not ‘misunderstood.' He’s not bad because he had an unfortunate childhood—or because he wanted to be a painter, but he ended up in politics. The Giant in the Jack in the Beanstalk story is bad because it is in his nature to be bad. And that’s an important part of the story.

You’re probably asking why I’m saying all this, so I’ll go ahead and tell you. 

Not too long ago I was on a little road trip with my little family, and, as sometimes sadly happens, on the side of the road we ran into a person who was a bully. Now, this fellow may have been having a bad day, or maybe we misunderstood him, (or maybe he wanted to be a painter but ended up in a different profession) but needless to say none of that was really important, in the moment that he decided he wanted to bully me and my little family, he became a kind of ugly monster. 

Don’t you be alarmed on our behalf! I’ll tell you that nothing actually terrible happened in our encounter with this big bad bully. We managed to escape his terrible clutches with no visible scars. Just like lucky Jack. 

But…as my precious almost 4 year old daughter was right there in my arms during this unsettling encounter, she naturally had some questions. 

Question One: Daddy, who is that man? 
Question Two: Daddy, why is he like that? 
Question Three: Daddy, what did we do for him to want to treat us that way? 

You’re right if you’re thinking “those are good questions!", but I felt like a pretty sorry dad as I stared blankly at her trying to figure out how to explain certain complicated and difficult things to a very young child.

And then it came to me.

I said to her “Darling one, I want you to look over there at that man. You know that song I’ve been playing for you about that mean old Giant on the Beanstalk album? That song that scares you and makes you feel a little sad? We’ll that man over there is what the giant looks like. That's the giant right over there. And his song is going to be over in a minute, and we’ll be on our way. Just like in the story."

And it didn’t matter to her any more what this bully’s deal was, because in that moment she understood that he was just wrong for behaving that way, and that’s really all there was to it. It wasn't anything we did. He was just being a giant. 

I’ve been thinking about stories a lot since that happened. And why it is so important that we tell them. And why when we tell stories they need to have giants in them. Real giants. Because it is the story that teaches us not to be afraid. It is the story that tells us not to despair. It is the story that reminds us not to ever think that the giants will always win and we can’t ever beat them. 

Because they don’t.

Not in my world. 

And that's what I wanted to tell you about today! 

And now!!!! Here’s the lyrics to the giant song…for those of you who like that kind of thing. 

The Giant Song

See me coming
I’m a great big shot
I’m gonna take me
Everything you got
Fee Fee Fie Fie Foh Fum
I smell the blood of a little one
Fee Fee Fie Fie Foh-Oh

Little people I grind their bones
I eat your crops
I step on your homes
If you have ten
I’ll take nine for my own
nine for my own
nine for my own
Fee Fee Fie Fie Foh-oh

See me coming
See me coming
All the little ones run
I take your joy I steal your fun
I’m the biggest best one under the sun
I’ll have it all
you’ll get none
you’ll get none
you’ll get none. 

See me coming
See me coming
I’m a great big shot
I’m gonna take me
 (whatever) you got
whatever you got
whatever you got
Fee Fee Fie Fie Foh Fum
I smell the blood of a little one
Fee Fee Fie Fie Foh-Oh

Jake SilverComment
Who's Playin'?

Some say it takes a village. I say it takes the greatest city in the world. A place where if you keep your mind and heart open you'll end up hanging around with some of the most amazing humans to be found anywhere. 
But, the fact is Beanstalk has not been just been a NYC project. Some of the incredible people listed below are roving far and wide and have sent us tracks from wherever they happen to be. 
hen we started this project last year, we never could have anticipated that so many incredible people would drop in to the sessions and drop their talents into it.  
It's truly an honor to have such great players to bring this concept album to life. 
Here's working list of folks who you'll hear playing, singing, and generally having a good time on Beanstalk. 

Jefferson Hamer
Kristin Andreassen
Stephanie Coleman
Robin Macmillan
Jacob Silver
Julia Joseph
Jeff Cubeta
Tami Stronach
Karina Denike
Sam Reider
Mike Merenda
Morgan Price
Tom Ayers

Jake SilverComment