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Good Guess

by Winston C.W.

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1.
Cakewalk 05:57
2.
Business 03:46
3.
Safety 04:00
4.
Broken Drum 04:57
5.
Swing Time 03:40
6.
No Regrets 05:47
7.
Birds 04:15
8.
Good Guess 08:04
Treetops touched by that rolling wind A desperate brush against your sun-kissed skin You’ll have to refresh me—where have I been? Good guess, lover, try again It’s as if I planned it, it looks so trim I gave shorter answers, I shaved my chin The ceiling moves and the colors blend Good guess, lover, try again A joyous day but a sad affair I think I’ll step out and take the air The endorphins rush My bones feel bare I hear a haunting chorus Give a callous stare I stored the thought away and took up my pen Wrote “good guess, lover, try again” The tungsten bulb, the contact lens Newton’s apple, market trends Great inventions by willful men Good guess, lover, try again They’re building that building with that tiny crane From phony stone and plastic panes Stare long enough, you can watch it change But for now, lover, I’ll shift my gaze I look at your picture, squint til it bends The eaves start rustling and I’m numb again And no one knows where that feeling ends We’re strangers to even what we pretend Remember me sometimes like you knew me when It was a good guess, lover, try again

about

There’s nowhere to hide in a trio. Playing live in such a small ensemble pushes you onto the knife’s edge of the present moment. No walls of sound for sitting behind and daydreaming, no overdubbed epiphanies; only the silence, and what you and your partners choose to fill it with until the music stops. That’s the way Winston Cook-Wilson made 'Good Guess.' The pianist-songwriter and his collaborators, upright bassist Carmen Rothwell and electric guitarist Ryan Beckley (of the experimental band Scree), recorded these eight songs across two days in Brooklyn, where all three reside. What you hear on the album is what they played that weekend, with no additional tracks or edited-together takes. The spacious compositions left the players plenty of room to improvise, and at times, 'Good Guess' seems to document an invention in progress: a snapshot of three musicians in a room, listening, trusting, walking the knife’s edge together.

But spontaneous creation is only half the story of 'Good Guess.' The other half lies in the songs themselves, which Cook-Wilson wrote during a period of personal turmoil in 2019, after the recording of 'A Life of Crime,' the acclaimed second album of literary soft rock by his band Office Culture. Like that project, 'Good Guess' addresses the strains of loving yourself and others in a society that reduces people to columns on a spreadsheet of revenues and expenses. There’s always a new boss in town, bringing “new goals for the quarter” he expects you to meet; never a moment to stop, rest, and remember the person staring back from the other side of the mirror, or the other side of the bed. But while 'A Life of Crime' unfolded across wide shots of misty cityscapes, 'Good Guess' brings the camera closer to its main character’s face, not flinching from the frenzy. Its jazzy songs tumble through fragmented chords and relationships, arriving frequently at moments of startling beauty. If there is deliverance from the alienation of modern life, it may come in the trio’s approach to the music itself: a commitment to the present moment, and to supporting each other as we work through it.

-Andy Cush

credits

released December 4, 2020

Carmen Rothwell: upright bass
Ryan Beckley: electric guitar
Winston Cook-Wilson: piano, vocals

© Ruination Record Co. & Whatever's Clever
WC020 / RR011

All songs written by Winston Cook-Wilson
except #5 by Ryan Beckley, Winston Cook-Wilson, and Carmen Rothwell
All songs arranged Beckley/Cook-Wilson/Rothwell

Recorded at Mason Jar Music, Brooklyn, NY, Dec 28-30, 2019
Engineered by Nico Hedley and Ian Wayne
Mixed by Ian Wayne
Mastered by Christopher McDonald

Cover photo by Theo Cote
Creative direction by Max Heimberger

Special thanks to these people for invaluable time/resources/advice/encouragement: Carmen & Ryan, Ian, Nico, Jeremy McDonald & Mason Jar Studios, Christopher McDonald, Caitlin Pasko, Dan Knishkowy, Andrew Stocker, Ben Seretan, Sam Cantor, the Whatever's Clever family, Patrick Kelly, Charlie Kaplan, Andy Cush, Sam Sodomsky, Alena Spanger, Ryan Weiner, Quentin, and Candace.

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about

Winston C.W. Brooklyn, New York

songs/vox/keys for Office Culture

this for other noodlings

officeculture.bandcamp.com

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