Pause For Effect
Pause for Effect Podcast
Vulnerability b/w They Don't Know

Vulnerability b/w They Don't Know

Two questions from the mailbag and a Kirsty MacColl cover.

No transcript...

***This post has been updated from a version that was sent previously—spot the difference!***

💌 Hi, folks. We recently released a new (version of a very old) song called “I’m In Love.” Listen to it here.

🚐 The endlessly talented Erin Rae will be joining me on my solo tour in April. Woop woop! Show are selling out—tickets available here.

🎵 For paid subscribers, I’ve got a cover of Kirsty MacColl’s “They Don’t Know” and a pair of questions from the mailbag about vulnerability in songwriting and having too many acoustic guitars on stage. Have at it, friends.



The SBD Mailbag is open for business. Got a question you’ve always wanted to ask? Send me an email and I’ll answer it here in the newsletter.


Solo Acoustic with Erin Rae:

4/01 - The State Theatre - State College, PA
4/02 - Rams Head On Stage - Annapolis, MD
4/03 - The Southern Café and Music Hall - Charlottesville, VA
4/04 - Neighborhood Theatre - Charlotte, NC
4/05 - The Grey Eagle - Asheville, NC
4/06 - 40 Watt Club - Athens, GA
4/07 - Music Farm - Charleston, SC
4/09 - The Upstairs at Avondale Brewing Company - Birmingham, AL
4/10 - For the Record Music Hall - Florence, AL
4/11 - George’s Majestic Lounge - Fayetteville, AR
4/12 - Rose Music Hall - Columbia, MO
4/13 - TempleLive - Wichita, KS
4/14 - Slowdown - Omaha, NE
4/16 - Armory FoCo - Fort Collins, CO
4/17 - Fox Theatre - Boulder, CO
4/19 - The James Theater - Iowa City, IA
4/20 - Vivarium - Milwaukee, WI
4/21 - SPACE - Evanston, IL
4/22 - Urbana-Champaign Independent Media Center - Urbana, IL
4/23 - The Pyramid Scheme - Grand Rapids, MI
4/24 - The Blind Pig - Ann Arbor, MI
4/25 - Bridgeworks - Hamilton, ON
4/26 - Le Ministère - Montreal, QC
4/27 - 3S Artspace - Portsmouth, NH
4/28 - Levon Helm Studios - Woodstock, NY


Pause for Effect is Slaughter Beach, Dog’s monthly newsletter, demo dump and freewheeling personal essay repository. For more:

hi jake,

I feel like writing music can make one feel very vulnerable, but at the same time, it's a wonderful time to explore storytelling. do you fluctuate between singing memories and telling stories between each album or do you like to stick to one more than the other?

is there anything that makes writing about one easier than the other?

thank you and looking forward to your next writing journal!


Vulnerability gets harder as I get older. Life cools off, emotions are tempered. It's more painful to sit with nuanced truth. Usually I walk away feeling a little queasy. More often now I like to tell someone else's story, informed emotionally by my memories. Giving fiction a human leg to stand on. Sometimes it helps me better understand myself. It's less like bloodletting, more like looking at my problems through someone else's eyes. For now, that’s the season I’m in.

There's an Elliott Smith quote I've mentioned in this newsletter before—Carson Daly is administering a profoundly uncomfortable interview on TRL, asking if Smith ever writes lyrics about the conversations he overhears in the grimy bars he frequents. He replies, "You can't cannibalize the bar, man."

I think about that a lot. Not just cannibalizing the bar, but cannibalizing your selfhood. Tilling the soil of your being until the whole landscape is wasted. You have to keep something for yourself. A little plot of tomatoes, maybe. Not for the selfish pleasure of secrecy or ownership, but for nourishment. When I start treating myself like a machine, my songs sound like they got spit out of one. That's not good for anybody.

Hi Jake! Long time listener, first time caller. I was wondering if you could talk a little bit about your live setup for tour. Specifically the most recent CLWS setup. I saw you at the Theater At The Ace and noticed you had 3 or 4 different acoustic guitars, along with an electric that looks like a double hum Jazzmaster. I'm also curious if you're playing all your guitars through the Fender amp I saw on stage or if the acoustics are going directly into the PA. Thanks in advance and hope to see you live again soon!


We've got a few songs in alternate tunings. Historically we've avoided playing them because it's too much of a hassle, but these days I'm lucky enough to have the real estate on stage (and the inputs at FOH). My primary guitar is a Gibson Country Western Limited made sometime around 2015. It's the same specs as a Hummingbird but without all the flash, hence its nickname—The Blingless 'Bird. That's my baby. I started looking for a double recently and was frustrated to discover that they only ever made 65 of them, so the prices are a bit inflated.

Last year I picked up a 70's J-45 that I've really enjoyed playing. It’s not as full-bodied as the Country Western, but it’s more balanced and clear than a modern J-45, not quite so dark. That's what I use for our songs in D standard, like Bobcat Club and My Girl. Next to that I've got Zack's Guild, which stays in C standard for Surfin' New Jersey.

The electric is a K-Line San Bernadino. I've always loved the slightly worn-down and woody tone of it, but I'm growing a little tired of the way it plays. Adam's got me thinking about trying an old Casino. We'll see what happens there.

On this last tour I had everything running through a Fender Deluxe Reissue. One channel was the K-Line, and the other was all three acoustics. It was a bit of a mess on stage, but it worked. I use the amp tremolo and reverb for everything, which gives the acoustics a lot more character when they’re blended with my DI's. The Country Western runs through a Baggs Venue, the J-45 hits a Tonedexter, and the Guild is through a Baggs Para.

I have a hate-hate relationship with gear, so I count myself lucky to be surrounded by a small army of diehard knob twisters on stage. Zack hooked me up with the Deluxe and the Guild (and got me running my acoustics out of the Deluxe), Adam gave me the Tonedexter, and Ian is my right-hand EQ tweaker. (Ian also gracefully traded me his enormous pedalboard when I ran out of room for all my acoustic DI's. Bless.)

Pause For Effect
Pause for Effect Podcast
songwriting and snow shoveling from Jake Ewald of Slaughter Beach, Dog.