Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Don't Trust a Girl (With a Ukulele)

Back in the spring of 2006 I was in grad school studying arts administration.  I had recently (and accidentally) acquired a ukulele and I was writing a lot of songs I didn't yet know would take over my life, not to mention my arts administration career.  One of my buddies in the program, Craig, was a former professional opera singer with a home studio recording habit.  Every so often he would e-mail a new track he'd recorded to me and a few other friends: a deadpan cover of "Material Girl," some 80s synth pop confections, and a couple of originals (including the brilliant "Brizzing a Little Xmas...to Lockdown," a jailhouse holiday tune that must be heard to be believed).

Our difference of opinion was about something completely geeky and inconsequential -- the correct spelling of a word we disagreed on; I can't recall what the word was anymore.*  In any case, we made a bet.  The terms of the bet were as follows: the loser of the bet would have to write a song about the winner of the bet, as a tribute.  We looked up the word in the dictionary...and both spellings were listed.  And so we each had to write a song.

Craig's song was called "Don't Trust A Girl (With a Ukulele)," and, well, it speaks for itself.  Suffice to say it was a hard act to follow, so for months I picked at a couple of song ideas for him with no results.  Then Craig dropped out of arts administration school to go back to being a professional opera singer, which gave me some more material to work with, and I wrote "Cut-Up," which wound up on the first Sweet Soubrette album.  You can listen to both songs here:

Don't Trust a Girl (With a Ukulele) by Craig Phillips

Cut-Up by Sweet Soubrette

*Craig has reminded me that the word was straitjacket (or, as he would have it, straightjacket).

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