Robin Red

It’s done.  10 of the best songs I think I’ve ever written.  If I had the energy.. I swear I’d tell you all about them, but I think it’s better that I go mix a drink and you listen:



Mix Until Incorporated

There is no doubt in my mind that mixing is (at times) enjoyable and (believe it or not) even gratifying.  As a DIY musician, you are able to shape the song into exactly what you’re hearing in your head; from from second your pen hits the page to the moment you send in your album to be pressed.  The only problem I’ve found in taking on almost every aspect of releasing this album is the growing anxiety that it all needs to be done now.  

With that said, everything is coming together just fine.. Half the tracks have drums and bass, the final practice and final recording sessions are scheduled, and I even have some time set aside for my vocal retakes and additional auxiliary percussion parts in early-March.  However, with each day, the burden of this project has become heavier and heavier.. It’s hard to explain, but I’m starting to get the feeling that the whole process of recording an album needs to happen as fast as humanly possible to avoid mental breakdown on the part of the songwriter.  <g>

With that in mind.. I’ve decided that the next full length will be acoustic and stripped down.  Maybe next summer I’ll lock myself in the studio for 3 days, or until the thing is finished.. only then will I peer wearily into the light of day with album in hand.  

Sometimes, I feel like I&#8217;m on Battlestar Galactica.

Sometimes, I feel like I’m on Battlestar Galactica.

Writing about music is like dancing about architecture.

Band Practice

Put a few new tunes on the table last night with Luke Bassuener of Control & Asumya, and Tom McCarty of The Midwesterners. Felt great to jam again.. always seems like it’s been too long.  

In the past month we’ve worked through about half the songs on the new album, and things are really coming together. These two have an especially keen creative reflex.. bringing to life parts that I couldn’t begin to imagine.  One particular favorite moment was the third or fourth run of “Taliesin”.. at one point things just clicked.. 

This weekend it’s back to demo recording mode as I update some scratch tracks and finalize some vocal parts on my end.  Hopefully next month we’ll track drums/bass for 6 of the tunes and start working on parts for the remainder of the album.  Very excited to get Whitney Mann in the studio as well to sing harmony on “Oh, Destiny” and “Empty Refrain”.  Here’s a demo of “Taliesin” as mentioned above:

Taliesin Demo by paulotteson


Fall Where They May [EP]

I’ve spent the last 4 months obsessed with four songs.. seems ridiculous now that I say it, but sometimes that’s how it has to happen.  This was my first solo venture into recording and I hated it.  and I loved it.  and I’m still undecided.  Most of the tracks were recorded in my living room; in between dog barking, lawn mowing, engine revving, birds singing, and coffee breaks.  Lets just say I’ve come to understand the soundscape of my neighborhood more than I ever wanted to.

All of the songs on Fall Where They May are memories.  Not life-changing memories, but simply the first thoughts that came to mind when thinking about a few friends I’ve lost connection with over the years.  It’s hard to imagine that there are people we may never see again; and even harder to imagine that there are people we may never think of again.  I suppose this album is a reaction to that undeniable fact.

Each song trys to preserve not just an event, but also the tone and fleeting consequences sometimes hidden within the memory.  An effort to recreate the original feeling and experience at the current passage of time.  During this project, I’ve found that many of these relationships teach us something well beyond their ending.  Perhaps, a parting gift; lest they be forgotten forever.

Everyone I’ve ever met (forgotten or remembered) will take that leap toward the unknown at some point.  The fall that separates the moments we shared from the moments ahead.  My only hope.. Safe May They Land.


Sarasota’s House

Really loving the simplicity of digital recording (when you keep it simple).  When the songwriting madness is over I hope to go back to these to add layers/instruments/beats.  For right now it feels great to write, hop downstairs, and record these tunes live.  

Sarasota’s House by paulotteson

When you took the reins 

Dealt the pain

Followed fire and never walked away

I knew the ropes might tear 

I knew my palms might wear

But I’d hold as long as you would stay

Lion with the matted down hair

Broken now and beyond repair

Still your roar does keep the crowd at bay

How you stake this park and make these hearts 

Penny up for all the maddening sounds

Load the tracks and don’t look back

There are skies yet to see the banner you found

May the summer pass

For this strength won’t last

All the while the branches empty sway

Let us journey south

Sarasota’s House

It’s a dream I can’t begin to shake

A palace, a reflection to bend

The past until we too find an end

Ever warm and ever far away



One Heart To Prove

Just finished recording my first demo of the summer..  I’ve put away the tascam portastudio and replaced it with a digital interface to hopefully take my limited recording skills to the next level.  Might have to call on a couple experts (ala Nate Edwards & Jeremiah Nelson) to help me along, but so far I’m happy with the first track.

One Heart To Prove by paulotteson

How can I connect the strings

That bind the errs my fortune brings

Like a ruby small beneath a stone

Can I bleed beyond this heavy home?

Yeah, we all need a clue

How to make our peace and our souls to soothe 

So give me one heart to prove

All my wrongs have been construed 

To relive those days you know what I would do

Just give me one more heart to prove

I was raised on timeless stains

A hidden sun, the sugar cane

And what led me out the door to find you

Wasn’t pure or even kind you need to know

But I’m gonna change my tone

Settle all the debts of a man who spent his life all alone


If it came down to a single thing

What would it take? What could I sing?

Don’t tell me it’s beyond my time 

I need a hope, I need a holy sign


50/90 Cheater

I am cheating this year.  Not asking permission, not even feeling bad about it..  50/90 for me started on June 4th and runs until August 31st.  I finished the first and hope to post it on soundcloud this weekend.  As a full-time teacher, this is my only option.  Well, this or pure insanity.

Hoping to write some more songs about dinosaurs on uke and also explore some unfamiliar genres to keep things fresh.  I am terrible at reciprocating comments on songs, so please don’t take it personally.  If I make it to 50 I’ll buy you all ice cream to make up for it.  

Bring on the madness..


Recent Friend Releases = Awesome

Here are two albums you need to dig:

Jeremiah Nelson - drugs to make you sober

Jeremiah has long been a favorite songwriter and sound wizard..  We still listen to all of his previous releases and can’t wait to add this latest record to the mix.  Everything about this 8-track record is genius.. Incredible songs with intricate layers and masterful production. Many of the tunes are heartbreaking testaments of life on the road and the hardships of living from show to show.  Listen to 1-7 and let all sink in during the soundscape of this album’s final track.

Nathan Edwards - New Season

Nate is a long-time friend and fellow songwriter as well.  We used to play in a band together back in college called the “Lifepartners”.. where we shared the songwriting and traded off vox/guitar with his award winning ”cheezy keyboards”.. Those were the days.  This is his debut, which we were thrilled to pick up last weekend.  It is an album to bring in spring; full of pop hooks, warm harmonies, and heartfelt lyrics.  Sunshine will literally pour out of your speakers when you put this album on. 

Paul Otteson

wisconsinite, singer-songwriter, unemployed lion tamer, unqualified-snow-slinging quality control inspector, proud house plant owner.


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