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Can we be happy?

by mike skliar

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Conspiracy 03:57


This album was written and recorded over the period of July thru September 2022, as part of an online musical collective called '50 songs in 90 days' which itself is an offshoot of another online group I've been a part of for years, called "February Album Writing Month".

As with my other albums written in a specific time period, this one reflects the events going on, both with me and the world (at least my world) at large. There are a few specific topical songs (such as 'Silence after Highland Park' written after the shooting there in July 2022, 'Unhappy July 4th, written after recent Supreme Court decisions, 'Booster blues' which is self-explanatory, etc.) There are also songs about more personal matters ('my grandmothers' piano, and a song about a neighbor of ours , 'In memory of Fred H') travel (Summer sun of Stockholm) and more metaphysical travel (I'f you're traveling, follow the river).

Unlike some of my other albums, its a very bare-bones production- most tracks are just solo vocal-with-guitar, or sometimes slide guitar, harmonica, or bouzouki. This was partially on purpose, I wanted to capture a raw 'this is how it sounds when I write it' feel, and I didn't really feel the need for alot of sonic bells and whistles, alot of production, etc.

On some tracks the 'drums' you hear are something that's added using an app called 'music memos'. One or two songs have overdubs, most don't, so other then the drums on a few tracks, what you hear played and sung is all done live, at the same time, usually recorded with one mic.

I hadn't intended on using the song 'Can we be happy' as the title track. What with everything going on, it just seemed like a unified theme and a fun way to begin the album.

The cover photo, with the black sand, white and blue ice crystals and the restless sea was taken at 'Diamond Beach', part of the 'black sand beaches' which are in the southeast coast of Iceland. We were in Iceland for a short time this past summer. That topsy-turvy beautiful-yet-totally strange scene captured in the photo seemed like a good illustration of the strangeness and beauty of so much of life these days.

A big thank you to the entire '50/90' and "FAWM' communities of songwriters, to my friends and family, and to anyone who listens.

I know, its alot of songs, and as a listener it might be easier to listen in segments, but they are for the most part short songs, hopefully complete but sketched out simply and directly. Enjoy!


released October 7, 2022

Mike Skliar- acoustic guitars, dobro & resonator guitars, harmonicas, bouzouki, banjo, and all vocals.

all songs (c) 2022 by Mike Skliar


all rights reserved



mike skliar New York, New York

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