2014 We're About 9 release
Produced by Scott Smith at The Wood and Stone Room

We're About 9 and Scott Smith played (and in some cases shared in playing) so many instruments, I don't know how to attribute them all, and I'm not going to try. But I'll point out some of the more surprising and fun layers. Unless otherwise noted, you can assume Katie, Pat, and Brian sang; Pat played drum set; Katie played bass; Brian, Scott and Pat shared keyboard and guitar duties. Katie played the crap out of a set of cowbells.

182 of you contributed more than the market value of a CD to make this album happen. I can't describe how fulfilling that fact is for us. Every time we find out that someone listens to us on their commute or road trip, or that we got played on the radio, we're still elated after almost 15 years. Every once in a while someone calls us their "favorite band" and we're beside ourselves. We play songs because we can't stop ourselves, not out of any sense of being worthy of the opportunity. And you, our incredibly supportive friends, keep telling us that it's good enough. Thank you for that.


  1. Prime Of My Life
  2. Starting Over
  3. Future Pilot
  4. The Hardest Thing To Prove
  5. A Beautiful Fear
  6. What You Are
  7. The Life Of A Politician
  8. Frozen
  9. Lemonade
  10. The Same Seed
  11. My Flying Soul
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THE PRIME OF MY LIFE

by Brian Gundersdorf
Featuring Kristen Jones on cello

Brian's first recorded ukulele performance. Scott Smith on percussion. Kristen came in with this killer cello part ready to go. We like it so much we shaped some of the other layers of production to match.

You may know Kristen Jones from ilyAIMY. We love those guys!

This song is inspired by Skyline Drive, the 105 mile stretch of road that winds through Shenendoah National Park.

It’s a long day
earning a lifetime of dimes
the coffee is fine, the breakfast is fine

I went the wrong way
heading in to work this time
Route 95, the sun in my eyes

The next thing that I know
I’m with Shenandoah
At mile 105
Of skyline drive
I remember why
I had to be at work on time
in the prime of my life

I’m a hurricane
You should see my sell my time
And bring it all to life
And put it on the line

So If I go away
I know what I’ll leave behind
The coffee is fine, the breakfast is fine

The next thing that I know
My hands have gotten old
At mile 105
Of skyline drive
I remember why
I had to be at work on time
in the prime of my life
in the prime of my life



We took a break from the studio one day and made this little one take video with the crickets behind The Wood and Stone Room.

STARTING OVER

by Brian Gundersdorf

We were content to have a ten song album. But this song came to us in the final days of recording, completely aligned with the themes of the album. This one has also been forcing us to lug around a keyboard to shows!

I don't know anyone who hasn't struggled with this. You work hard to master a craft, and just as you think you've just about got it, the bar gets raised, the world gets more complicated, and you're back to feeling daunted. Somedays, that's the best feeling really--nobody wants to run out of challenges. But who doesn't occasionally yearn for the simplicity of the basic building blocks that were so magical when you first learned them? Well, I do.

I found the paper I was looking for
At a stationary store
Put my hand down
And drew a word
One letter at a time
I studied every line
The way I once had learned

Now I’m faster every year
I’m better every time
I’ve been working my way
To the front of the line
Here we are
December 31st
It hasn’t been the best year
It hasn’t been the worst
I’ve been cutting out the carbs
tightening my speech
I’ve been pushing extra hard
Singing notes that I can’t reach
(We landed on these shores, no lungs no legs, no hope no way, all of our settings strange
Electric signals from our brains, our internets, our airplanes)

I’ve had enough
This year I’m starting off
Starting over
Starting over

I put my middle finger down
On the d string, second fret
and my index finger on the string above
and I played that single chord
I never got bored
Of the way it seemed to fit me like a glove

(Chorus)

When I sang
The word I’d written down
And strummed that chord out…loud
The two became
Some kind of new compound
This simple thing I found
Is all I need right now

Here we are
December 31st
It hasn’t been the best year
It hasn’t been the worst
I’ve been cutting out the carbs
tightening my speech
I’ve been pushing extra hard
Singing notes that I can’t reach
(We landed on these shores, no lungs no legs, no hope no way, all of our settings strange
Electric signals from our brains, our internets, our airplanes)

I’ve had enough
This year I’m starting off
Starting over
Starting over

FUTURE PILOT

by Katie Graybeal with Brian Gundersdorf and Pat Klink
Featuring Nick Bertling on drums

Katie wrote the chorus and prechorus as parts of two seperate songs, five years apart from each other. Brian was sure they belonged in one song, and that Pat needed to write a verse for it about the Baltimore Orioles. Done and done. That's Pat playing layers of fancy electric guitars

Message to my former self
take your time and do it well
read the whole thing, love someone
take your time…and get it done

We are moving faster
we are thinking faster
we are working faster
and we are dreaming faster

Fast pace flying freely I'm a future pilot disgraced daring danger station fleet denies it hard race pacing reasoning with greed and self-aim

In ’83 you’ll see The Birds
From wooden seats on the 33rd
When Brother Lo cements the win
You’ll feel time stop…and start again

We are moving faster
we are thinking faster
we are working faster
and we are dreaming faster

Fast pace flying freely I'm a future pilot disgraced daring danger station fleet denies it hard race pacing reasoning with greed and self-aim

Fleet captain says, look out ahead
So I'm flying like that's all that there is
That’s all there is
That’s all there is

Fast pace flying freely I'm a future pilot disgraced daring danger station fleet denies it hard race pacing reasoning with greed and self-aim

THE HARDEST THING TO PROVE

by Brian Gundersdorf
Featuring Kristen Jones on cello

This was such a fan favorite (and such an unlikely fan favorite!) that we kept picturing our fans while we were recording it, and just thinking about making sure they would be happy with how this one came out. Hope we got it right!

I’ve played the game now
I’ve flown a glow in the dark kite
on a moonless windy night
Saw stars Baltimore has blocked out with its red polluted light

I’ve eaten dried and packaged foods
from the rest stops on the right
I've watched Boston leave my sight
I've taken 95, 93, 90, 91 and 9

Why do I get so caught up
in the search for something new
when something’s never happened it’s the hardest thing to prove
that same age old conclusion is the only one I drew
when I die I hope there’s something left to do

Suburbia
is the cradle of my life
my parents taught me right
still I picked up the guitar and rock and rolled all night

I’ve seen hillsides
of people holding lights
and signaling I’m right
and that everything I did I had some reason why

Why do I get so caught up
in the search for something new
when something’s never happened it’s the hardest thing to prove
that same age old conclusion is the only one I drew
when I die I hope there’s something left to do

When I die I hope there’s cello playing
kids obeying every saying
jesus ever gave when he was young and misbehaved
if there’s crying if there’s praying
I hope its just that cellist making
music shake their stomachs
just by doing what she’s practiced every day

I’ve played the game now
I don’t know what’s coming next
it may not be that complex
it might be my final chance to truly get some rest
its an enigmatic friend
its a puzzle to be solved
its a quart of alcohol
with an answer at the bottom I’m too sober to recall

maybe all the things I've made up
and the things I know are true
and the things I think I might know
but that I could never prove
and every atom that I’m made of
is gonna stay here when I’m through
and they’ll yell checkmate, cause they can’t see my next move
but when something’s never happened...

Why do I get so caught up
in the search for something new
when something’s never happened it’s the hardest thing to prove
that same age old conclusion is the only one I drew
when I die I hope there’s something left to do
when something’s never happened it’s the hardest thing to prove.

A BEAUTIFUL FEAR (WRITE IT ALL DOWN)

by Brian Gundersdorf
String arrangement by Valencio Jackson
Conducted by Pat Klink

Featuring:
Nikia Yung Sayre on violin
Stephanie Reissner on violin
Jackie Capecci on viola
Matthew Carroll on bass


Write it all down
the afternoon beer
the bread and the egg
the tuna I seared
Did I stay up late?
my childhood bedtime
still resonates
in the joints of my spine
the drawings I made
the lunches I paid
and all the things
I didn't do cause I was afraid
grinding my teeth
the doctor says
that's just the way
you deal with your stress

Write it all down
every fear
this is what brought me here
make it all work
the passion the pain
the throwaway lines
and the constant refrain

Write it all down
the sunburn I got
falling asleep
on the slide
at the tot lot
Every grade
the groundwork I laid
my beds never made
I've never prayed
we've all made mistakes
as our strength is tested
some go unnoticed
some get us arrested
when you call home
there's no easy way
it turns out
there are some things you should never say

Write it all down
every fear
this is what brought me here
it isn't all good
it just isn't clear
which ways I should
and shouldn't have steered
so when I'm thirty-five
and I've made a good life
will I lie awake

And if I had gone
to the conservatory
will the lessons I learned
do magic for me?
when I sing this song
would it soar without flaw?
would I find these words?
would that skill be gone?
There's always a form
a war and a piece
a dominant chord
a tension and a release

Write it all down
every fear
this is what brought me here
now I laugh in the dark
and I own and respect
everything I've survived
in retrospect, we're about 9
and the monsters appear
and we lie awake
with a beautiful fear






I can't believe we got to do this. Watch the video to get a sense of the vibe of recording this in dreamland.

WHAT YOU ARE

by Brian Gundersdorf
Featuring Kristen Jones on cello

This was the hardest one. We changed the time signature. We have no idea how to play it live now!

We were young and we didn't know
What we wanted to be when we got old
I liked to build stuff. I worked with my Dad
You smiled when you told me that I should do that

We got to high school, you were the girl
That they wanted to look like, you were the pearl
And I was the oyster, we were old friends
getting coffee together, when you had a free weekend

it was hard, but you still kept up with me then somehow
I've tried and I'm sorry, but I can't keep up with you now

We were young and we didn't know
what we wanted to be when we got old
I told you to go be a star
Now I blame myself, and that's what you are

First I took a job keeping worksites clean
Then I built my first house when I was nineteen
You met a director who said you were good
and paid for your ticket to Hollywood

I saw the movies and I had to admit
There was something about you that I didn't get
Back when we were both young and we didn't know
We wanted to be when we got old

And I know it was hard, and you still kept up with me then somehow
But I've tried and I'm sorry, but I can't keep up with you now

We were young and we didn't know
what we wanted to be when we got old
I told you to go be a star
Now I blame myself, and that's what you are

You're the mug shot on the cover of star
drunk belligerent tirades, naked in cars
flying off of the highway at 50 degrees
your hands on the airbag
Saved by the trees
(Action, cut, fortune, star
drunk belligerent tirades, naked in cars
radio playing “You Drive Me Crazy”
your hands on the airbag)

Bracing yourself for the media hit
is like quitting cold turkey, and that's what you did
In a cell in the suburbs, reading their letters
They love you, they hate you, they hope you get better

We were young and we didn't know
what we wanted to be when we got old
I shrugged when I told you to go he a star
Now I blame myself, and that's what you are.

THE LIFE OF A POLITICIAN

by Brian Gundersdorf

I (Brian) heard a street performer play a highly effected, super-mellow electric guitar solo almost 20 years ago. I have always wanted to put something like that on a record. I was lucky that Scott and Pat (both much better electric guitar players than I) were gracious enough to offer me this moment on the album, and that the whole team was patient enough to listen through hundreds (seriously) of guitar effects before we landed on this one.

The Life of a Politician and mine
Are more alike than you might imagine
If you want to say it clearly and quickly
You have to write fiction sometimes
So when the media caught you in a lie
I took it fine, but all your campaign supporters were mortified
You kept reciting from their scripts like a reluctant bride
Until the human they had godded was crucified

You don’t have to tell me what you tell them at the teleconference or on the news
I know you’re only selling your own conscience, as I’ve been known to do
Don’t tell me what it tells you on the teleprompter
I know you don’t want to

From the very first time your supporters asked for something like a song from you
You knew that all they wanted was a rhythm they could snap their fingers with
And melody, with a hook that could sing along to
But you corrupted them with substance and with imagery
Somehow you won them over without a beat
They said you ought to play it safe, you said you didn’t agree
And that appealed to me

You don’t have to tell me what you tell them at the teleconference or on the news
I know you’re only selling your own conscience, as I’ve been known to do
Don’t tell me what it tells you on the teleprompter
I know you don’t want to

FROZEN

by Brian Gundersdorf
Featuring Jen Smith on cello and mandocaster

This is a song about the power of a photograph to delivery mystery and emotion, and our very human desire to compare our own emotional foundations to these frozen representations of equally complex beings.

There’s a man with a gun in his hand on a hill in the snow—a thirty-year-old Alaskan
“How did he get there?” you may ask yourself. I ask that question again and again.
He just stands there in his overalls. Why does he look so content?

Is it faith in his aim? Were the timing and game chosen?
From his side of the frame do I look the same—frozen?

There’s a man with a pen in his hand on a stool in an apartment in Maryland
“How did he get there?” you may ask yourself. I ask that question again and again
to my carnivorous plant, the ash photo stand, second home of a thirty year old Alaskan

Is it faith in his aim? Were the timing and game chosen?
From his side of the frame do I look the same—frozen?

LEMONADE

by Brian Gundersdorf
Featuring Nick Bertling on drum set

The bass (Katie) and drum (Nick) groove on this was so great we knew we could get away with something fun. So we played a saw with a putty knife, layered gadgets and thumb cymbals, banged on a toy piano, whistled in three part harmony, and then added a melodica on top of that.

Water water everywhere
Running through my home into my hair
Water bottles in the fridge
Water running into it
Water all over our blue pearl
You can see it from other worlds
Getting dirtier and hotter
I’m not worried about water

Lemonade, lemonade
You know what the people say
Every lemon that you throw my way
I’ve been making lemonade

Sugar in my cabinet
I can’t remember not having it
By the time this year is done
We'll make 1.7 trillion tons
Sugar’s corrosive to my teeth
a strain on my anatomy
it costs almost nothing more
I’m not worried about sugar

Lemonade, lemonade
You know what the people say
Every lemon that you throw my way
I’ve been making lemonade

Lemon falling on the ground
Would you look at what I found
My career and my love
Every flaw I’ve made the best of
The moral of my history
Never let it get the best of me
when they pour down from the heavens
I’m not worried about lemons

Lemonade, lemonade
You know what the people say
Every lemon that you throw my way
I’ve been making lemonade
Now I have gallons I have vats
There’s a swimming pool out back
You can dive and swim and wade in all of
The sweet stuff we made

THE SAME SEED

by Brian Gundersdorf
Featuring Nick Bertling on drum set

Nick gave us this huge, thematic drum part that we used as the foundation. We started with that, then Katie's bass, and then layered electric guitars from Brian, Pat, and Scott.

We were made from the same wood
Long ago, a seed was all that stood
All of our other, sisters and brothers
lost in the forest, there’s no one else coming for us

You’re the clock, the steady beat
Always moving, proving the bell tolls for me
Smiling at 2:50, and at 10:10
Frowning at 4:40 and at 8:20 again

All along you’ve been tending to my needs
You give everything you have, and you still seem to be
Ready to give so much more to me
Or anybody else, and we were all made from the same seed

We were made from the same wood
Long ago, a seed was all that stood
all the remaining, sawdust and shavings
Burned in the furnace, there’s no one else coming for us

You’re the ship, that shaped the sea
violent water, never touched me
And when your sail caught a bad gust of wind
You turned in the water, and changed direction

All along you’ve been tending to my needs
You give everything you have, and you still seem to be
Ready to give so much more to me
Or anybody else, and we were all made from the same seed

We were made from the same wood
Long ago, a seed was all that stood
Denser than anything, we can imagine
It had to explode then, and that’s how it happened

I want to give you somethin, but I’m just a mandolin
One note at a time I am, playing the best I can
We were made from the… same wood
I play my little songs for you, tell me that it’s good enough
Tell me that it’s good enough
Tell me that it’s good enough

MY FLYING SOUL

by Brian Gundersdorf

Our little celtic folk-pop madrigal. Scott brought these cool synth-pads to the party, and also showed us a version with Scott Smith bass--and it's AWESOME. But we decided it wasn't the right fit for the record. So here it is ladies and gentlemen, the directors cut featuring Scott Smith on bass:


Raven over the harbor
Maven of the breeze
I’d fly with you if the sky would have me
I have neither the feathers
Nor potence to untether
The grappling pull of gravity
I strain, I close, My eyes, I see,
My flying soul unfettered of my earthly bindings

A gigantic thank you to Scott Smith for shepherding this record from the brains and fingers of its many contributors, Jen Smith for superb hospitality and guidance, and Christos Maricle for the Rickenbackers and Stratocasters.

Future Pilot was made possible by our incredible FUTURE PILOT friends, fans, and family. We are forever grateful to you: Tomy Wright, Isabel and Gene Frey, Ruth and David White, Larry and Jean Kohlenstein, Michael and Andrea Schar, Mel & Arthur Goldsipe, Julie Lopes, Tony Lastowka, Eric "Swaggenstein" Kohlenstein and Co., Ben Wyskida, Dan & Kathy Tappan, For Miss Sheri, Tom Cardarella, Eloise Echeverria, Jenny Mackintosh & Brian Wall, John D, Yascha Noonberg, Chris Chin, Bill Fleischmann & Kathleen Grant, John and Debra Klink, Beth DeSombre and Sammy Barkin, Christopher Hwang, Lack Daniels family, Emily Loughlin, Bruce and Coco Wilde, Crystal Hu, jimcarson.com, The Philly Folks of Darlington, MD, George Hetrick, Mosh & Jessy, Zev Goldstein, Elissa Errick, John Rozett, Anna, Jana Mooster, Jen Pullen, Margaret, Meg Massie Myers, Kay O'Neal, Mary Post & Merris Hollingsworth, Kerry Brennan, Paul Mischler, A Friend, Damien Kirk, Anita Szostak, Rich Klug, Susan Moss, Brian Nordmann, George Green (in memory of Andrea Coller), Cynthia Krohn, Andrea Krause, Jim Colbert, Jen Sutherland, The Puius Family, Karen & Wes Blaney, Frank, Seth and Shari Walter, bob k., Carolyn, Peter & Athena, SusanIrene Master, Chris Kunstadter, Kristin Bedient Rea, Steve and Sherry Panzer, Juliana Marin, Steve & Myra Gnadt, Laura & Johnny Hobson, Becca Derry & Billie Rinaldi, Rick Rock, Alex R, Mell Picco, Teresa Wong, Paul Rardin and Sandy Crump, Nicholas Krohn, George & Monica Auerbach, Lee Liebeskind and Megan Reichelt, Dan & Marianne Jackson, Rheta Willer Graybeal, Jen Smith, Carl & Jenny Gundersdorf, Amanda Malone Klink and everyone who preordered Future Pilot.

Recorded, produced, and mixed by Scott Smith at The Wood and Stone Room www.thewoodandstoneroom.com

Mastered by Drew Mazurek www.drewmazurek.com

Album photography by Ruut DeMeo www.rmdportraits.net

Guest artists sponsored by Ruth & David White

Songs by Brian Gundersdorf, except
“Future Pilot” by Katie Graybeal, Pat Klink, and
Brian Gundersdorf
© 2014 We’re About 9, BMI
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