(The following notes are pulled off of the Bandcamp page verbatim.  They're collected here as one document, or you can click through song-by-song on the Bandcamp page.)

This isn't a "greatest hits." I don't have hits. And what I do have is only debatably "great." It's also not a "best of" exactly. It's more just a collection of stuff I enjoy playing, alongside some stuff I haven't played in a long time, and supporting four songs I've never released as a solo artist before. When you've got 8 albums, sometimes people don't know where to start...so this is an introductory piece for new folks, and a different look at some old familiar songs for the long-timers.

I didn't want to just slap already existing tracks into a playlist. I wanted something that felt like a stand-alone album. So with that in mind, every song here was recorded in November/December 2016. These are all new, all acoustic versions. Just guitar and vocal--like you came to see me in a coffee house. I've always felt that's the truest way to see a songwriter--it's sure the truest way to see me. I used as many "first-takes" as possible, so it'd be as real as I could get it. Just like I said over ten years ago in the liner notes for the "Grounds" record--I left the mistakes in. This is me, unfiltered, unpolished, and mastered a little quieter than usual since it's an acoustic album. :)

I thought about just doing the four unreleased ones as an... EP. Then I thought about doing something similar to Wayne County--an EP with a few standalone new pieces and a couple old ones. Then I decided that it's been ten years--I've been releasing records since before some of you had kids--and maybe it'd be fun to look back. So I did this. Every solo record is represented at least once. All the way back to "Grounds." I tried to focus on songs people have told me they liked. I ended up playing some I liked too. It was a fun walk down memory lane, and a nice nod to whatever's coming next, too.

I hope you enjoy this, and I hope everybody knows how grateful I am to have been allowed to do this for over ten years!

I'm not doing an "official" CD release...this was intended to be download ONLY... But if anyone wants a CD copy, I'll burn one for you with a hand-made, hand-written cover--no two will be alike. Just click the "Contact Derek Brink" link on this page. Maybe I'll even throw in something extra, since you took the time! :)

* Denotes previously unreleased.
 

Outdoor Summer Concerts

One of the "2015 Singles." The more peppy of the two--although the other ("Becca's Song") means more to me emotionally. I like this song as an opener. Played around with some of the lyrics/pacing. I like how it came out. The tone of this song set how I ended up approaching the rest of the process, including the mixing/mastering. Had to remove some "popping p" sounds, so it pretty much decided the whole EQ for the rest of the album! :)

Slip Away

Opening track from the "Ink-Stained Fingers" album. An uncharacteristically upbeat lyric, for me. I like playing this one. I get wrapped up in it. In this version, I got so wrapped up I said the word "fuck" where it didn't belong. But I'm keeping it. Sometimes an alternate version needs a fuck in it.

The Last Folk Singers*

NEW for 2016. This is my favorite of the new songs. The title and some of the concept (especially in the first verse) is lifted from Chris Bachelder's novel "US!" That novel imagines a world in which Upton Sinclair is resurrected from time to time to try to bring about a Socialistic society. And each time, he is inevitably murdered. There's a character in there that is supposed to be Sinclair's son, a musician who calls himself "The Last Folk Singer." I started writing a concept piece about just the idea of a "Last Folk Singer," but I couldn't crack how to do it without just stealing from the novel...so this song happened instead.

Aside from that, it's an excuse to name-check some of my heroes and get out a handful of my views. It's a fun one for me. And I like that it appears in this format, rubbing shoulders with some of my very Christian stuff. I like the balance of how I describe Jesus here placed against how I talk about Him in "Fall Apart."

Plus, this one feels relevant with Donald Trump entering the White House soon.

I Go...*

This is an example of why I said there are four "previously unreleased" tracks, instead of four "new" ones. "I Go..." has floated around at least three different bands of mine. And in fairness, I believe my brother and I did put out a version on our short-lived "Two Hangmen" project, of which there were only 25 CDs made and if you blinked, you missed it. (Might end up putting that out somewhere, sometime...who knows?) But this is definitely the first time I've officially released it as a solo artist.

Definitely written in my "I wish I were in Son Volt" phase... The song itself is about escaping the pressures around you and getting back to who you are. It's a signature piece of mine amongst those who know it. It seems to mean something different to everyone who hears it, so I'm not going to say much more and ruin it for anybody. But I will say there is a real Logan County that I was referencing...and a lot of the people to whom this song means something would be disappointed if they went there. :)

Fall Apart

The very first song on my very first album. It's interesting to be doing this one again almost twelve years later. I'm not really the same guy I was then. But I still believe this...just maybe not as optimistically. If I wrote it today, there'd probably be a few "if/then" statements worked into the lyric. Actually...if I wrote it today, it'd probably be "Transience." Huh.

Remember Me

I sometimes forget how emotional a ride this one is for me. I talk about my grandparents in particular in this song. I carry around some guilt for not doing more to be closer to them in their later years (particularly Grandma, who was in a nursing home at the end)... And lyrically, this one's kind of challenging to get through as a result. It turns out that feeling increases with time...learned that doing this album.

Not Okay

A more recent favorite of mine (and others from what I hear!). This one came out this year and has some word-play I'm pretty happy with. In my head, it's a Pearl Jam song. It's a fun take on seeing the end of the tunnel, even though there might be a shitload of tunnel left.

Being There

I've always liked this one. It's in many ways a nod to the Peter Sellers movie of the same name, but it's got an abstract quality that makes it stand on its own, without knowing the movie. This is one that I know I've got a few friends who've made it part of their personal soundtrack...so like I said on a different song, I don't want to say too much and risk ruining it for them. On the album, Becky Outlaw sang a background vocal part that was a nice echo-part. I miss that...but if I'd done it, it would've been completely against the spirit of these recordings. I think it works well enough without the echo, but if I had the option, there'd be a girl there singing it.

Transience

One of my favorites off the "Something to Look Forward to..." album. Also one of the few from that record that works as an acoustic track. It's a personal one, and fun to play on the guitar. As I said, this is probably how 30+ year old Derek is responding to the 18 year old Derek who wrote "Fall Apart." The "morphic fields and combo meals" line remains one of my favorite things I've ever written.

Holding On

One of my favorite tracks on "Ink-Stained Fingers." It's another one I get wrapped up in when I play it. Every time I do, it feels a little different, and I liked the feel I got on this take.

Hands

"Hands" is one of the songs I think about when I think about the phrase "career spanning" in reference to my own work. Yes, it was on my second record...but before that, it was in my punk band, Uncle Dick. We've never formally released any of that work...but "Hands" was always a favorite of mine and when it became obvious that Uncle Dick was dissolving, it became a solo-song. It's probably as old if not older than half of what's on "Grounds." I tried a couple versions of this one, including one that had a slight reggae vibe, but ultimately felt the song works best sticking close to the original arrangement...so that's what you've got.

Live Your Life*

This one was written with the intent of doing it as a solo song, but then I tossed it on a round of demos for the band I was in at that time, and it ended up being a band song for a while. I like the version that "The Social Gospel" was doing quite a bit and maybe some day I'll do something with that, too...but it felt like it belonged on this release.

The song itself is summed up in the opening lines and in the chorus line of "Whatever doesn't kill you might just be taking its time." I wrote this one around the same time that my college roommate passed away after a series of illnesses. I don't really think I wrote it ABOUT him, but in a lot of ways I think of it as his song. I get wrapped up in the words of this one when I sing it sometimes, especially in it's "softer" version as it's performed here. I think you can hear that toward the end of the song. You have to listen kind of close to hear me squeak out the "for" in "for-granted" toward the end.

I put this up on my YouTube channel a while back and it got some good attention. One of my college friends heard it and replied about the "whatever doesn't kill you" line as "you always make me laugh, man!" He meant it as a compliment, but I didn't like that.... It's a very serious line to me. In fact, that response alone is pretty much why my writing took such a dark turn on "Ink-Stained Fingers" and "Something to Look Forward to..." I figured I'd do more to let people know I'm not always joking. So...you know...if you miss the Christian stuff, blame Chris. 

Stranger

One of my favorites off "Grounds." One of my career-favorites, too. I wrote it with Jesus in mind. It works if you don't see it that way, too though... I've always been happy about that.

The Ring I Almost Gave Her

Probably one of the best songs I'm ever going to write. Mostly true story. Never really envisioned this one as an acoustic track, but played on a 12-string, I like it a lot this way. A friend of mine listened to the song and later told me, "That's not just a great country song, it's a great SONG. It defies genre." One of the nicest things anyone's said about something I've written. (Although somehow I didn't really think of it as a country song until then...)

The Girl

Short and sweet hopeless love song. And I say "fuck" in it really casually. What's not to like? It was a tough decision deciding if I was going to use this one or "Pretty Much the Story of My Life" off "Ink-Stained Fingers." But I opted for this one because I think it's a little more catchy.

In My Heart

I've always liked this one. In acoustic-form, it feels like a solo Black Francis (Frank Black) song. Sort of a fun, looking back on a break-up piece. Been a favorite of mine amongst my songs for a long time.

Sometimes You Say Goodbye

A recent one, off the "Trigger Warnings & Sunshine" record. One of my favorites off that record. I'm not sure if it totally makes sense to anyone but me, but for me it's a personal one. I almost released it as an acoustic only track even on the record, so I'm glad to be putting it into this form here.

New Year's Eve

This song's got a special place in my heart. Wrote it in my "I'd like to be Michael Penn" phase. Originally demoed and recorded on a New Year's Eve, put on the concept album of the same name. I like the lyrics a lot. I've never really enjoyed New Year's Eve as an event, but I like the song I wrote about it.

Born in this Town

This is at least the third time I've released this song. You might say I like it. Long story short: Don't fall for somebody who's a missionary when you're not one.

El Santo Frente al a Muerte!*

I'm a huge wrestling fan and I've got a particular fascination with Mexican wrestler El Santo. El Santo spent his entire career wearing a mask, even when he wasn't in the ring. If he was out in public, he wore the mask. No one saw his face--it would break the mystique. When Santo retired, he went onto a late night talk show. Unprovoked and without warning, El Santo lifted his mask and showed the audience his face for the first time in his long career. One week later, El Santo died of a heart attack.

That needed to be a song.

I should note that I probably wouldn't have written this if not for buying the Mountain Goats album "Beat the Champ" which made me realize that folk music and wrestling not only could mix...but absolutely SHOULD. If you dig this song, go check out that album--the song about the death of Bruiser Brody is amazing.

The song title can be translated a couple of ways... But the movie with that title in Mexico was "El Santo Faces Death" in English. So that's what I'm shooting for here. I don't speak Spanish. Whatever.

Just Another Day

This song has been around the block a few times, but still means a lot to me. It's on the "Wayne County EP" but some of my favorite performances were with my band The Social Gospel back when we were still together. This version's a little more subdued than usual, but I like to tone of it.

The outro vocal was done "live" but when I was mixing it, I didn't really like it out front. I killed the main vocal mic and what you're hearing there is just one of the room mics picking me up. I liked how that sounded and it made the fact that it's a little off-key seem natural and fun. Plus, it's sort of a tribute to a musical hero of mine who passed away this year, as Leonard Cohen did the same basic gag at the end of "One of Us Cannot Be Wrong." He probably did it to better effect...but I like this, too! :)

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