Anyone that’s followed the tracks of our band knows that there have been collaborations with Franz Nicolay along the way. From “Smash The Windows” to “Fight Dirty” to live performances to what you now hold in your hands, a split 7” of two cover songs. While it clearly says “Mischief Brew” on the cover and pictures the whole band, all you hear on this recording is an acoustic guitar with some roomy vocals in a spacious Brooklyn studio (where both of the aforementioned albums were recorded) and sparse accordion and piano accompaniment. The track didn’t really need anything else.
The original concept of this record was to record a song by an artist who has influenced us. After racking my brain on everything from Crass to Public Enemy, it was my wife Denise – always able to frame the picture and pull me back to see it – suggesting “The Mary Ellen Carter” by the late great Canadian folksinger Stan Rogers. It was suddenly clear that without that song, Mischief Brew might not exist, at least not as we know it today. As my old band dissolved and musical tastes expanded, I learned that it’s not always the fiercest political lyrics that inspire, that sometimes a story can be more powerful. This one tells the tale of a band of friends insisting to repair and launch a vessel left for dead, in the face of adversity. It could apply to anyone’s life, anywhere in the world. It’s rebellious and uplifting all at once. I’ve been trying to write a song at least half this good ever since.
Mischief Brew usually includes Shawn St. Clair, Christopher Petersen, and Doc… but on this 7”, it is only Franz and yours truly. Our rendition is adapted from the version on Stan Rogers’ excellent live album, “Between The Breaks,” as is Mitch Clem’s cover art. There are no pugs on the original cover, by the way.
Philadelphia, Feb. 10, 2013
from Under The Table,
released June 11, 2014
“The Mary Ellen Carter”
by Stan Rogers (Fogarty's Cove and Cole Harbour Music, CMRRA)
Erik Petersen - guitar, mandolin, vocals
Franz Nicolay - accordion, piano
Copyright 2010 Erik Petersen, all rights reserved.