The Furious Light

The New Album From David Ullman

Enough

When the water is rising
And the wolves are at your door
And you’re through with all the fighting
But you don’t believe no more 

When you’ve knocked on all the gates
And you’ve stood in every line
But you cannot bear the weight
And your whole world is on the line 

When your well has gone dry
And there’s no faith left in your cup
When the world has passed you by
And you feel like giving up
Just try to look me in the eye, now
Because you know I’ll call your bluff
When you say you’ve had enough 

When the sun is hanging low
And this city gets so dark
And there’s nowhere you can go
And no fire coming from your spark 

When your heart is caving in
And you fear you might be beat
When all your hard-won hope
Is giving way to defeat
Don’t you dare give in, now
Lay your troubles at my feet
I’ll tell you when you’ve had enough 

No title or tide can deny
That four-alarm fire in your eyes
Keep the punches coming; I don’t mind
I’ll decide when I’ve had enough 

Have you had enough?

“Enough” was the first song I wrote for the what would become The Furious Light album. I started working on it Halloween, 2012—about a month before the Light The Dark record was released.

My wife and I had moved from Cleveland, Ohio to Northfield, Minnesota, and I had spent the previous couple of months trying to create some interest in the new album and looking work as a video producer to help pay the bills.  

I was watching television coverage of “Superstorm Sandy" and the people affected by it when I was moved to write the first verse, which is virtually the same in the recorded song as it was on the top of the page dated 10/31/12. 

While I was really struck by the strength and resilience of the people I saw on TV, I quickly felt unqualified to write about such monumental struggles (who did I think I was, Bruce Springsteen?). So, the song took a more introspective, personal turn. It ended up as a pep-talk of sorts to myself. "Enough" is about digging deep and finding the resolve you need to keep you moving forward.

The music started out as the song “Everyone Is Somebody Else (Anymore),” which I co-wrote with my poet-friend Theresa Göttl (now Brightman) in 2009. Theresa penned the lyrics, and I came up with chords and a melody to which to sing them. 

When working on the stanzas for “Enough,” I found I was hearing them in the melody for “Anymore.” Once I transposed the new words over the old music, things came together pretty quickly. 

 

Quite a lot happened in the two years between when the song was first drafted and when this next development occurred. Some details of these intervening years will be divulged in the subsequent song-blogs; but, for now… 

Let’s jump from November 15th, 2012 (when the video demo above was recorded)  to November 14th, 2014 when my longtime drummer Brian Yost took his first pass at the percussion for this song. He’d listened in preparation for the session, but he hadn’t actually tried playing anything when this live rehearsal was recorded.

Yost had flown out from New York City to record with me and was playing a Vintage Champagne Sparkle Drum Kit on loan to us from my pal Joe Hinz.

I hipped him to the one change in the song that might trip him up; otherwise, what you hear here is Yost's instinctual playing. Then, at the end you’ll hear my thoughts on it (Spoilers, I say it’s “perfect”).

The other notable thing about the above rehearsal is the bass track recorded by my brother (also named) Brian. He knew Yost was in Minnesota recording drums and wanted him to have a sense of what the bass would be doing for the album take. I'm pretty sure he did so at the expense of sleeping that night in order to get it to us in time-enough to inform Yost's performance on the record.

We sent Brian the rough mix of our basement rehearsal, and my brother sent us back the track posted here. I really dig his bass part. He told me he capo-ed it, which I think is pretty cool. Yost liked this take so much that he lobbied for it to be the album version.

Here's what Brian has to say:

PRODUCER’S NOTE: This is what I referred to as Dave’s “Michael Jackson” song. I don’t know exactly why, but MJ would be proud. Dave’s lyrics really shine, and by the end will punch you in the gut with brutal honesty. My favorite part of recording was doing it 3x, haha. No, but honestly, I enjoyed setting Dave up with a great Fender on Fender tone. And once Yost sent the drums, I had fun crunch-timing a bass part. Then Tara brought icing to the cake.

The “3x” he is referring to are as follows: The first time I recorded it in his bedroom studio during a trip home to Ohio in March, 2014. This version ended up feeling too fast for me. The next time (different trip), we slowed it down and even built in a tempo-ramp (up) for the second half of the song. I think he’s counting the basement take as the third time.

“Tara” is Tara Hanish, the cellist I met on my last album. She is a killer player and a great gal. This is a quick video I grabbed of her working out her part during the recording session for the album on Christmas Eve 2014.