iTom: Free Music From Tom Smith

Music in every style -- except dull. Tom Smith, the World's Fastest Filker and the prototypical geek folk-rocker, releases new music for free download on a regular basis. (It was a song a week for almost a year.) You can subscribe to the RSS feed, purchase a better-quality MP3 of the song, or purchase three months' worth as a downloadable album.

Friday, October 26, 2007

iTom 4:0: Smith and Legend

The fourth collection of these songs is now available -- only $8.99. Thanks for your patience on this one.

Next week: The first part of Herbert West, Re-Animator: The Musical.

No, really.

Thursday, October 25, 2007

052: (Don't Gotta Be A) Big Star

Self-indulgence here. Please allow me to gloat a bit. Or at least savor the moment.

Y'see, of all the ideas I had for the last song on this album, this wasn't any of 'em.

But I realized awhile back that the emphasis of the album had shifted, become more personal. And recent news reports about this entertainer or that athlete and their veddy veddy oppressed circumstances, all the baggage that goes with the Great American Myth of what it means to be successful, brought into focus two things.

First, many of them seem to spend in an average weekend, or evening, or lunch, what I make in a year. Can't tell what good it does 'em.

Second, I think I'm happier than they are. I think I'm a lot happier. I'm nowhere close to rehab, I don't have to squeeze into even a custom-fitted tux for any awards show, I have no need or desire for any of the ridiculous trappings that go with that level of wealth and fame. And the things I always thought were the most important, being able to make music and perform and be happy... I'm there. I'm right there.

And it's wonderful.

I've got everything. I've got my nearest and dearest. I've got my family and my friends and my stuffed bear. I've got fandom and The FuMP. I've got my guitar and my computer and my recording gear. I've got the freedom to create the music I want, and a bunch of fantastic people to sing it to. And when I was in the pit of despair in the mortgage industry I used to mutter that if I was doing something I loved I wouldn't have to make a lot of money, just enough to pay the bills and maybe get a DVD now and then, but I'd be happy. And then I lost that job and couldn't get another and went full-bore into the music and now I have enough to pay the bills and maybe get a DVD now and then and I was right.

I think I've got a hell of a rest of my life in front of me. I think I'll end up doing better financially, and there's more, and I think better, music coming all the time. I'm even getting to be a little famous. (Especially around Talk Like A Pirate Day.) But, y'know something? If I never go any further than this... it's all good.

I've won.

And I could not have done it without you. Thank you, from the bottom of my heart.
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(Don't Gotta Be A) Big Star
Words and Music © 2007 by Tom Smith
Released under a Creative Commons Noncommercial ShareAlike License

Teenage cuties sell out stadiums
In the blink of an eye,
Rappers threaten to end their careers
If their fans won't buy.

Record labels treat customers
Just like common thugs,
Lame-O singers with fake boobs
Make news by doing drugs.

That's the mainstream music biz,
That's all I ever hear,
If that's what they think music is,
I think I'll stay right here.

Don't gotta be a big star,
Don't gotta be a big star,
Don't care if the big guys never call.

If getting to where they are
Means always going too far,
Don't gotta be a big star... at all.

Used to sit in my cubicle,
Dreaming great big dreams,
Concerts, movies, TV shows,
Dancing fangirls' screams.

Went to bed each night half dead,
Woke up just the same,
Thought that I was trapped there, no one would
Ever know my name.

And then the rat race kicked me out,
My songs were all I had,
I plugged into the Internet
Since then life ain't so bad.

Don't gotta be a big star,
Don't gotta leap the high bar,
Don't gotta limo filled with girls and bling.

It's just me and my guitar,
I still drive a used car,
Don't gotta be the Next... Big... Thing.

I'm not the kind of artist
That they want on Tee Vee,
Just a fat old hippie, there ain't
Nothing much to see.

But I can make you laugh like mad
Or cry from love or pain,
I can sing a song you'll never
Get out of your brain.

I've got all of you, and all this
Music we can share,
You wonder, will I hit the big time,
I'm already there.

Don't gotta have the limelight,
I'd rather get this rhyme right,
Not in stores and never hope to be.

I only
Need to make enough off this,
To never
Go back to that office,
And there's at least a million more like me.

Don't gotta walk the Red Line,
Living between each headline,
The paparazzi waiting for my fall.

No fortune I need to bring in,
I've just got to keep on singin'.
I'm happy and I'm free, and that ain't small.
Don't gotta be a big star -- I've got it all.

Thursday, October 18, 2007

051: Undead Happy Trees

Bob Ross was way cool. He was one of those artists who thought everyone could create, and he loved showing people how he did what he did, how they could do it too.

And he was always so calm. Sedate, even. His voice... so soothing... so... very... sooooothing....

And I figured he'd be that way even as a brain-eating zombie.

Happy Halloween, everyone.
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Undead Happy Trees
Words and Music © 2007 by Tom Smith
Released under a Creative Commons Noncommercial ShareAlike License

Life is art, and art is life, that's what I used to think
Till the happy little accident that's pushed Earth to the brink
The dead are rising everywhere, on human flesh they feed,
They always ask for brains because they know that's what they need,
But somehow I got lucky, because I'm still pretty smart,
Either that, or my profession didn't need much brains to start,
The other zombies shamble, they move and think so slow,
So they're the perfect audience for my painting show

Load your two-inch brush with liquid white, but don't you let it dry,
Phthalo Blue and Cadmium Yellow sweeping 'cross the sky
Broad strokes with Mountain Mixture, stippled with Dutch Elm Disease
Pull down and gently brush across, and look there... you've got
Undead happy trees.

As zombies, we don't have the fine control for small details
So stick a number six fan brush right through your hand, that never fails,
A palette knife is good for rolling on some Van Dyke Brown
And also slicing pieces off that guy you grabbed uptown
Now add some shrubs and undergrowth and a riverbank with stones
And another layer of Liquid White for all the skulls and bones,
For living flesh, use Alizarin Crimson and Bright Red,
A few circles and some thin dark lines, and look there... severed heads!

Now some blue and crimson mixed together finish off that sky,
Just because you're dead and rotting is no reason not to try,
There's an artist deep inside you, he went well with wine and cheese,
And his family is fleeing to be caught by... the
Undead happy trees.

Now, the mountains should be greens and browns on top of orange streaks
Which represent the glow of towns that have burned back there for weeks
And the bodies bobbing in the river should be reds and grays
Use Titanium White to highlight those that've been there several days
Add some details to the foreground, broken toys, someone's lost shoe,
Now it's finished, add your signature -- yes, yes, an "X" will do,
Be sure to take care of your tools, don't let palatte knives get dull,
And clean your brushes, whack them dry, on an easel or a skull.

Each painting is a new world, made how I want it to be,
And so my world's a happy place, my zombie friends and me,
Humanity may all succumb, but I will take my ease
And paint the screaming victims of my new friends... the
Undead happy trees.