Because Songs Matter

MICAH SCHNABEL – WHEN THE STAGE LIGHTS GO DIM


Two Cow Garage frontman Micah Schnabel has quietly self-released a solo album entitled When The Stage Lights Go Dim. The plan is for Suburban Home to release it later this year (or early next) with new artwork, but currently it is only available by emailing Micah’s father.

I’ve always felt like Two Cow is akin to Lucero five years ago, busting their ass on the road and building a rabid following one show at a time. Where Ben (Lucero) writes about the one that got away, Micah likes to write about the misery that the life of building the aforementioned following can produce. Personally, I am constantly surprised at how good Micah is at writing about the struggles of life on the road without ever coming off as whining. Rather, he does it with an eloquence and flair many songwriters can only aspire to.

When The Stage Lights Dim features another 10 tracks of tales from the road and of life in small town Ohio. Musically, the songs are stripped down affairs dominated by Micah and an acoustic guitar, with the occasional piano or backing vocal chiming in. It also features some of the finest songs Micah has ever written in “American Static” and “Cut Me, Mick”. Which brings me to my only complaint (whine?) about the album. I wish so badly some of the tracks like “God and Money” and “Throwing Rocks At The Sun” could have gotten the full Two Cow treatment, but I suppose there’s still hope. I first heard “Swingset Assassin” on a cd-r Micah and his father did together a few years ago.

This album is perfect for winding down in the middle of the night with a whiskey while you wait for the amplifier ring to subside a little. While it might not be a very easy cd to get right now, it’s easy to put it on the Essential Listening list, and I suggest you put the effort into acquiring it.

Micah Schnabel - American Static     

Micah Schnabel - Cut Me Mic     

Micah Schnabel - Throwing Rocks At The Sun     

Two Cow Garage’s Official Site, Two Cow Garage on myspace

A Passing Thought: As time goes by and new music comes from Micah, it’s obvious he’s becoming one of the best pure songwriters in this genre. Can you imagine how good the next Two Cow album is gonna be?

13 Comments

  1. JC JC
    October 15, 2009    

    Man, I love TCG. John was kind enough to send this to me a week or so ago. It’s killer. The songs, esp. American Static and My Blue Heart, have been rattling around in my head non stop. Micah’s songwriting keeps getting better.

    BTW, who’s the gal doing the background vocals?

  2. October 15, 2009    

    This whole album is amazing. I think the stripped down sound shows Micah’s strengths as a songwriter. For instance “Throwing Rocks At The Sun” brings to mind Irish folk music and not in a cheesy “songs about whiskey” manner. I think it’s the tune and the beat but it is what it is. The cover of “Can’t Hardly Wait” will get a guy tearing up if they have had that one too many whiskey sours. This one is in heavy rotation over here.

  3. Brandon Brandon
    October 15, 2009    

    Same here..its been on repeat quite a bit on the ipod since I got it..Really good album, and its nice to to hear a stripped down album once in a while w/out the band. To me it really shows just how good the songwriter is, and Micah is not to be f***ed with on that front. Thanks John for the chance to hear it..fantastic

  4. Pat Pat
    October 15, 2009    

    JC – the background vocalist, I believe, is Bernadette Celio.

    I’m lucky enough to have Two Cow as a local band here in Columbus, Ohio. Earlier in the year, Micah did many shamefully under-attended Monday night solo shows playing alot of the songs that would end up on “When the Stage Lights…” It’s great to finally have those songs on CD and hear people saying such good things.

  5. October 15, 2009    

    I am wicked excited about this album, and thrilled to have “American Static” for easy listening purposes — there was a video of Micah playing it outside a venue in front of a van that floated into my view a few weeks ago and I must have watched that thing a hundred times.

  6. John Schnabel John Schnabel
    October 15, 2009    

    Some info: Backing vocals is Bernadette Celio from Columbus, Ohio; the violin and cello were played by Sam Kim from the Columbus band, Ghost Shirt (very good, check them out on MySpace).

    The locally produced discs went into production today, should have them in a week or so. The Master will be forwarded to Virgil @ Suburban Home who has a bunch of cool plans for it.

    I’ve still got a couple of days left with YouSendIt; so the “Pay It Forward” offer still stands. Contact me at cledus56@adelphia.net.

    Thanks for listening and giving a damn.

  7. larry larry
    October 15, 2009    

    Holy shit these are good. I love “Cut Me Mic.” Ending with “this is the sound of failing miserably” was great.

    John, I’m gonna hit you up now for the PayItForward. Rad of you to support your son so much. I know a lot of good songwriters and musicians who might’ve had completely different lives if their parents would’ve looked at their talent as something more than just a phase or hobby.

  8. John Schnabel John Schnabel
    October 17, 2009    

    Last day for me to have the technical ability to send you the “free” digital download of “When The Stage Lights Go Dim”. Don’t get left out in the dark!!!

    Contact me at: cledus56@adelphia.net

  9. October 17, 2009    

    If you haven’t e-mailed John yet then get off your ass and do it. I think his support of Micah is amazing. And if you do e-mail him and don’t pay it forward you should have ass kicked from Lubbock to Brownsville and back.

  10. John Schnabel John Schnabel
    October 18, 2009    

    Footnote: all of the songs are written for the next Two Cow record, in fact this may be the first time they have more than enough and will be able to decide on the best 12 or so. The band will be on “vacation” through much of November and December, but Micah will be touring solo in support of the new cd. The new TCG cd is scheduled to be recorded in Buffalo beginning in early Febraury. The plan is to tour in front of it, ultimately winding up in Austin for SXSW.

  11. Gary Miller Gary Miller
    October 22, 2009    

    Hey John lets go to Austin.

  12. October 23, 2009    

    I just drove out to Spokane from Portland to see Two Cow open for The Hold Steady in a tiny all ages club……it was AMAZING !! after the show I was catching up with the boys and I mentioned to Micah that I have been hearing a great buzz about the new album …… he looks at me and says “wait right here” …. he ran down to the van and grabbed a rare burnt copy for me and said “enjoy” …. understatement……this disc is in heavy rotation “American Static” and “My Blue Heart” are making my musical soul stir …. This is an amazing album.

  13. Martin Luther Presley Martin Luther Presley
    October 27, 2009    

    “This is an amazing album.”

    I can only second that!

    And also, I wanna thank Micah and John for giving it away and also tell them the plan worked: I got hooked and will purchase more Micah/Two Cow Garage, hehe! To this day I only own TCG’s Please Turn the Gas Back On, which I must admit I didn’t pay the attention it probably deserves. I’m gonna right that wrong now!

    In addition, this is the best Can’t Hardly Wait cover I’ve heard this year!

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