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Pilgrim of the Return



 Genre: Folk-Rock

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This is a folk-jazz collaborative piece between, first, Twon and myself (we developed the rhythm guitar chord progression together), then Woody (who played sax for me and I cut and pasted several takes to create the countermelodies you hear), and, finally, John Selvia on bass (playing another spectacular part developed on his own - also see our previous collaboration). I tried to do something different with this song, writing in 6/8 (which GB hates using) and using a harmonically surprising minor-modal chorus... so that real ease and relaxation of the song plays out in the verses (which is a 2-chord groove). The idea was to create tension in the chorus (those repeated moments of stress in our lives) that spill out into the longer term daily portions of life (the verses) in this wonderfully return to daily love and grounded memories. This song was written as a personal counter-balance to the sadness I felt when writing my 9/11 series of songs (Was There Once A Time, etc.) Instead of identifying a "New" Holy Land anywhere outside myself, I have found it within, with the help of my love, Suzanne.

Other songs featuring Woody Mankowski:
A Promise
River Runs Through Me
Dreams III
Final Words

Other collaborations with Anton (twonicus):
Revolution's Son
Can't Complain
Queen Crimson
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There is no place left to go to
I can call my Holy Land
‘less it brings a piece of childhood
and a memory I can hand to my lover.
To you, my lover.

Don’t take me far away;
I’m only here to stay
A Pilgrim of the Great Return.

When you change the way you look at things,
all the things you look at change.
Every time I come to return,
I arrive for the first time, again.

Where’s a pilgrim left to go to
‘cept for deep inside himself?

I’ve wandered through Jerusalem
where blood and stone collide,
been half way round the universe
and still I’d rather lie
with my lover.
With you, my lover.

When you change the way you look at things,
all the things you look at change.
Every time I come to return,
I arrive for the first time, again.
Again. Again. First time, again.
Song Stats
Hits: 7166
Comments: 24
Fans: 13
Plays: 604
Downloads: 293
Votes: 29
Uploaded: Oct 23, 2004 - 12:04:50 PM
Last Updated: Jun 26, 2006 - 07:54:15 AM Last Played: Jul 21, 2019 - 01:16:09 AM
Song License
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Acoustic guitar: Twon
Soprano Sax: Woody Mankowski
Bass: John Selvia (ivanjs)
GB 1.1; mastering of 2-tracks in Peak 4 (which I used multiple times, before each collaborator added his part, and to the final mix); DP 4 used in recording sax.

You may need to turn up the track a bit to hear it best!
Mcboy said 5470 days ago (October 23rd, 2004)
i really like the acoustic guitar progression but ur voice
hits some offkey notes and the chorus sounds a bit
grating but the piece moves along nicely with the mellow
soprano sax( i have a fetish for soprano sax),ivanjs bass
seems lost in the mix,barely audible.....yet the folky feel is
not the worse for it.....i enjoyed the lyrics and ur courage
to sing with such conviction....bravo......
Check out my latest song called Bluesphemy (MJRF 2010)
TobinMueller said 5470 days ago (October 23rd, 2004)
Actually, I was going for dissonant harmonies, not off-key notes or grating. I
was hoping more for fascinating and unique; and meaningful. That is where
the surprise comes in, the modal minor chorus. If I could only sing better...
The bass balance is a constant problem, since it sounds just right on my
system (both headphones and in my studio speakers)... every system is so
different. It is an unusual (and cool) bass part that plays high and low, and I
tweaked it so you can even hear his fingers on the strings, which, in the
original highly chorused track he sent me, couldn't be heard. The track is
already fairly dense in spots, so I had to be careful. All in all, this may be my
favorite track I've shared on Macjams so far, but I always think that about my
latest tune.
Check out my latest song called Momentary Undertow
ivanjs said 5469 days ago (October 24th, 2004)
Another great tune, Tobin. And of course I have to ask-when you putting
out an album? Love your stuff.

The bass levels are a little low on my system, and I listened on
headphones and speakers. It was better on headphones (especially when
I went into th upper range).

Not a problem at all since we don't want the bass fighting with the great
sax part.

Thanks again for the opportunity.


Art and Music:
Check out my latest song called Double Bass Collaboration
gudkarma said 5470 days ago (October 23rd, 2004)
like autumn sugar.
Check out my latest song called Ocean The
Suzanne said 5470 days ago (October 23rd, 2004)
a masterful collaboration, you four
i turned up the sound and it really helps. i heard everything better (and i did use headphones). i really like the sound of the stereo strumming, the pick on the strings, the judicious use of synth stabs, the "fascinating and unique" harmonies that i found kind of thrilling and not off-putting, especially that last chord. and i think it is the use of the distortion organ on the last shorus that saturates the field. but, above all, woody's soprano sax is masterful. and ivanjs' bass is like a duet instrument they way it flies around the fingerboard. great tune. plus, nice art!
Check out my latest song called Rock The Baby With Voodoo (w/Tobin)
chikoppi said 5469 days ago (October 24th, 2004)
Because it can
I love the adventurous musical ideas you try in this piece. I actually get a "shanty" feel from it. There are some really nice drum details in here too. Great instument parts that work very well together (I dig the bass riffs). I don't think you need be the least bit apologetic about your voice, you've got it. Don't take this the wrong way, but moments here made me think of Jethro Tull! (8-8-9-8)
Check out my latest song called Autopilot
TobinMueller said 5404 days ago (December 28th, 2004)
Because it can
Thanks! I loved Jethro Tull. Loved the way he'd stereoize his voice and
detune it left and right. Very cool vocal effects. Thanks for the comments. I
was going for a modal thing in this, and JT often did similar things with
Check out my latest song called Momentary Undertow
_nderscore said 5468 days ago (October 24th, 2004)
there is so much great stuff here.. singing, instruments,
lyric, composition-all top-notch. i really enjoyed how the
song meanders to different places as it moves along. on
second listen i cranked up the volume a bit & the details
came thru wonderfully. great job everyone
Check out my latest song called kolors wash
Mr. EI Oval said 5468 days ago (October 24th, 2004)
I would love
to hear an instrument take on this. The swaying Celtic feel
of this song, driven by the acoustic guitar and Johns'
lyrical bass lines really contribute strongly to this

Wonderful, reassuring words...
Check out my latest song called Dance under the Clocktower
Wifty said 5468 days ago (October 25th, 2004)
Very, very nice
Really liked this a lot. There was a bit of distance in the
mix that I wasn't 100% sure about. When the sax first
kicked in it sounded a little muffled to me. Although the
levels and production were great, I think the sax adn the
vocal could have benefitted from being a touch clearer
and sharper. LOVED the rhythm guitar and the sax playing
was superb.

Great composition and terrific track. Great job guys.
Check out my latest song called Leave Me Gently
packosmokes said 5467 days ago (October 26th, 2004)
My Favorite
Tobin piece ever.I tend to love songs that feel like home.
It's a hard thing to decribe, but it's that odd flavor as if the
song is something you remember hearing before, not like
comparing it to something else. It just feels familiar.

Wonderful. Fanned and Downloaded.
Check out my latest song called The Future
TobinMueller said 5404 days ago (December 28th, 2004)
My Favorite
Thanks, Packo. In this song, about returning (to a place like home, or to a
realler home), makes it all the nicer that you feel at home with it. Twon's
warm layered guitars helps in that; but it was what I was going for and I'm
really glad you caught it (again, your comments are like ESP). I tried to make
the chorus the journey away and the verse the return home. Thanks for your
careful listening.
Check out my latest song called Momentary Undertow
coolio said 5467 days ago (October 26th, 2004)
You say something with your music
I enjoyed this, appreciated the ending tag, as if the music was part of the pilgrimage, part of the lyrics. One into the other and I felt like something was being said even when you weren't singing. This is incredibly skillful writing and arranging. I liked the unusual harmonies by the way and could detect no offkey notes, but I was never noted for having great ears. It was all top notch.
Check out my latest song called coming out
mulletsrock said 5467 days ago (October 26th, 2004)
Lifted me up
Whoever gave this song something below a 6 has holes in their head. Although I like a harder edge to my jazz, this folk jazz new age lightness lifted me up, like your lyrics. Most noteably the excellent soprano sax and bass playing. I liked the lightness of the bass, by the way, it went with the entire uplifting experience. This is so complete, an excellent arrangement of highest quality.
Check out my latest song called Frankenfun II (with iGStudio, Tobin, Suz...)
TobinMueller said 5404 days ago (December 28th, 2004)
Lifted me up
Thanks for the lift me up comments. Kind of a wind at my back thing was
going on in my head when writing this, the sense of having both the pull of
tomorrow and the sanctuary of yesterday's love still there as a sanctuary is
what I was going for.
Check out my latest song called Momentary Undertow
said 5465 days ago (October 27th, 2004)
Yep, best Tobin piece I've heard too
I kinda like the off key harmonys in the singing. It gives it
a naive, playful quality I don't get from most of the
Mueller oeuvre.

Not a fan of the soprano sax. All I hear is Kenny G.
Makes my skin crawl, but that's just me.

Love the phased fretless bass sound.

I really enjoy the progressions and the way the whole
piece builds. It smacks of being a huge project.

Lighter suits you better. Have fun making music. Let
THAT part of your sould show.
TobinMueller said 4577 days ago (April 4th, 2007)
Dissonance as character
I prefer "dissonance" to "off-key" when referring to the harmonies(!) I always try something new, to add to the drama and thoughtfulness, and often it ends up not making the final version and getting replaced by something more standard. But I liked these harmonies, gave it character, I thought. As for adding whimsy to music, few are as good as you at that. It is something I am working on, tho. Thanks for the thoughts. (Please put your music back on MJ!)
Check out my latest song called Momentary Undertow
said 5465 days ago (October 28th, 2004)
Your artwork expresses...
so well this song. Open, airy, free, and beautiful. I think your harmonies do work in this song. Just another layer in this richly woven tapestry of music. I love the sax part especially, as it playfully carries me along while listening. It is all so very good.
Thompa said 5464 days ago (October 29th, 2004)
I ben listening to this song 6-7 times and its start to grow
on me, and i cant get the chorus out of my mind. :-)

Personally i love 2 chords groove because then i have to
think about the dynamics and get the feeling in to it.

sory iam not so good in english so i can express myself
right. ;-)

But when my son was listening to the song he sat down in
my knee and was totally concentrated. And when it was
finished he slammed his hand on the computer keyboard
and said : AGAIN!!!! ;-)

Wonderfull song

Check out my latest song called Warcrime
TobinMueller said 5464 days ago (October 29th, 2004)
What a great compliment. I used to set my first born in a little seat on top of
the piano, when he was 4 months old, and play different musical phrases and
then use the ones to which he would react positively. 24 years later, he is
still a wonderful fan and insightful critic. I'm so glad your son like it!
Check out my latest song called Momentary Undertow
giovanni said 5453 days ago (November 9th, 2004)
finally got a chance to listen...
Wow! Very nice... it's so smooth. I especially like the
dissonant vocals (the final "Again"'s REALLY kick) and how
you're able to bring the song through those ripples back
to the serene feel from the begining. Marvelous!
Check out my latest song called You Monster
TobinMueller said 5416 days ago (December 16th, 2004)
finally got a chance to listen...
Thanks, Gio. Those are my favorite moments too. I was going for those
portals in life that appear as moments of change yet once through them you
have a sense of return... perhaps to who you are, at your center.
Check out my latest song called Momentary Undertow
Boris the Bull said 5261 days ago (May 20th, 2005)
thoughts from the bull...
the song overall works really well. the sax is hot, the
words are rich and evocative, and the guitar is just sweet.
nice work on this by all! the drums are good, but for my
ear just a touch louder than i prefer, but that's a personal
preference and takes nothing away from the song.

i really love the lines:
"When you change the way you look at things,
all the things you look at change.
Every time I come to return,
I arrive for the first time, again."

it's akin to philosphies of the i-ching and again, works
really well. this is a wonderful collaboration and i'm glad i
tapped into it! thank you!

Check out my latest song called What You'd Be Like
TobinMueller said 5237 days ago (June 13th, 2005)
thoughts from the bull...
Thanks for your insightful comments. I wrote these lyrics after reading poetry
by T. S. Eliot. I am working on more collaborations with Twon. Thanks for
your encouragement; he and I really enjoy working together. Plus, he loves
my cooking!
Check out my latest song called Momentary Undertow
Artist Info
artist photo
Name: Tobin Mueller
Location: Rowayton CT USA
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I am a professional musician, composer, playwright and director. I've led a charmed life. I'm married to fellow MJer Suzanne and MJer Twonicus is my son, who currently sings and writes for rock bands in the NYC, D.C. and Cleveland areas. My second s... [see more]

Check out some of my other songs:

Genre Info
Folk-rock is a musical genre, combining elements of folk music and rock music. In the original and narrowest sense, the term referred to a genre that arose in the United States and Canada around the mid-1960s. The sound was epitomized by tight vocal

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