You’re Beautiful! There’s So Much In Your Heart They Haven’t Seen.

We just entered NPR’s Tiny Desk Concert Contest, and the video is fantastic!

We performed my song Beautiful (So Much In Your Heart), a positive song about self-worth and the parts of ourselves that people write off. I like to summarize it as: You are beautiful and you matter. What happens to you matters.

Hope you like it! And please do share it with those who will benefit from its message.

Angela Baughman as recording and mix engineer
Alex R recording video

CJ Young on djembe
Elizabeth Joy Cook on cello
Stacey K on vocals
Stephanie Miller on flute.
James Rushin on bass and vocals
On yeah, and that Benjamin guy on piano and vocals and songwriting and stuff.

Special thanks go to Feng Yu for telling me that my original draft was too samey, and to Katy for shaping the vocal arrangement by telling me what I needed to hear when I needed to hear it.

The Shape of For Greater Consciousness

Over the past few months, my primary goal has been to start putting out content on a weekly basis.  Our web presence has been expanding as a result, so I thought it worth taking a moment to let you know where we”re keeping everything.

Our YouTube channel – Where we’re putting out videos!  Lots of new stuff lately. :)
Our Email List – Probably the most reliable way to hear about new content.
@FGCLovesYou on Twitter –  A good way to reach us.
Our Facebook Fan Page – Updates on our what”s new. (Like the page, then Like and/or Comment on posts… otherwise Facebook”s algorithm may not show you any of our stuff.)
…And of course, This Very Blog!

Dating a vampire? :-)=

It’s a question I’m sure we’ve all considered: should we date that hot vampire who lives in the castle across from the mall? On the one hand, they’re a controlling jerkwad, but on the other, they’re all tragic and stuff, and they sparkle as they brood.

Allow me to interject with a bit of my own hard-won experience in the field of, you know, not dating vampires.

Bass provided by James Rushin. Some great feedback both from him and from my dear brother Christopher helped hone the song to a fine point.

We are Safe and Sound :)

I just celebrated my one-year anniversary with my lovely girlfriend, and this is one of her presents. Think she’ll like it? :)

Listen to “Safe and Sound” (Capital Cities cover)

The original is a lovely song, very sweet, positive, and uplifting, and one of her favorites. I finished the final draft this morning. Look for a new video on our YouTube channel this week, too!

Rock United IX

While you’re at it, why not buy tickets for my appearance at the Rock United IX festival on Saturday, October 8th in the South Hills? I”ll be playing three short sets throughout the all-day festival. There will be no shortage of talented local musicians, both acoustic and otherwise.

Also note – ALL American veterans, whether active, retired, or other, get in for free.  They should message in advance and then pick up their tickets via will call on the day of the show.

Holding Out For A Hero (Not Just Any Sandwich Will Do)

Kate’s long gone to Colorado now, but the fruit of our collaboration is well on its way: the Strings EP is nearly done. As in nearly almost kind of sort-of so-close-I-can-taste-it-and-it-smells-like-strawberry-jam-on-a-spring-day done.

I’ve been working on this a lot, and spent the majority of yesterday mixing… today, I actually would have had a shot at finishing it, but the siren call of additional vocal harmonies was too tempting. Needless to say, the ending of Disappearing Bees now has seven-part vocal harmonies.

The new version of Today is Beautiful is huge and perhaps slightly chaotic. Taking a number of cues from folk-punk, it’s an upbeat and (I hope) fun sort of (largely) organized chaos. Only two vocal harmonies, though. …Hrm. Never tried to add more, really. Maybe I should get on that? (No. No I shouldn’t.)

Finally, Stay Unspoken is virtually done now… I mean, yes, part of me wishes there was a harp part, but I suppose we can’t always get what we want (when what we want is a harp part and we’re trying to finish the EP this week).

Stay tuned, true believers. And if you haven’t signed up for the email list yet, I encourage you to do so so that you’ll be among the first to get the download link.

P.S. It turns out that a surprising number of people don’t seem to know what an EP is. It’s short for Extended Play, e.g. a type of record that’s shorter than an LP (Long Play) but longer than a single… and the term has endured for any albums which we would consider less than full-length. This one in particular is three songs long.

Beelander: There Can Be Only Pun

I had sent this out to the email list in preparation for our previous show (Case of the Disappearing Bees on April 2nd), but there were so many terrible puns that I wanted to put it up here for your amusement / groans. So. Many. Terrible. Puns.


To bee-iterate:

When we last joined our heroes, they had just learned that the bee-nefit concert was to bee this Saturday, April 2nd, starting at 8 bee em sharp and going until 9 at the Steel City Improv Theater. Admission was $5.

The address was 808-B(ee) Tripoli St, Pittsburgh, PA, 15212, and their phone number is 412-322-1000. (I suspect you could leave a message after the bee-p.)

Burgh Bees will bee there, Bob and Kate are joining me once again*, and each song will be loosely interpreted by the Steel City Improv Theater’s resident silly people.  If you want more improv afterwards, they’ll have another show at 9:30pm, but if you need to buzz off I’m sure they’ll understand.

Sooooo… That’s probably all the actual information. At this time, I’m just going to make as many puns as possible.

When booking the show we tried to get Queen to play with us, but we feared that the resulting swarm would overcrowd the SCIT. Like the inside of a jar full of honey, it would be a sticky situation.

If you wear a bee costume I will be 23% more likely to give you a spontaneous high-five. However, if you should instead choose to wear a space suit, in order to commemorate Apollo 11, I will not object. Toy Story is also acceptable.

As much penance as we undoubtedly should make for our collective human sins against bees and other wildlife, I do not think you necessarily need to shave your head for the occasion, although a buzz-cut may be an appropriate show of solidarity.

We’re playing an acoustic set, but if we were to use our Big Muff distortion, I guess that would make it, technically, a buzz pedal.

You should DEFINITELY leave your circular saws at home, pun or no pun. Unless we’re talking about the Transformer or a particular brand of bowling ball.

Okay, these are just getting really obscure. I better stop here, for I fear that if I make too many more puns, someone will call the police on me, and then Sting will show up and I’ll have to help pollinate some fields of gold.

In bees,

Benjamin Saalbach-Walsh

Stinger, punnist, and songwriter


P.S. Have you heard <a href=”/audio/FGC-The_Christians_and_the_Pagans.mp3″>my cover of Dar Williams’s The Christians and the Pagans</a> yet? As you may know, I am pretty passionate about beeligious tolerance. It’s all about beespect!

P.P.S. Man, I didn’t even get to the Buzz Poets, let alone Bobby McFerrin… but like he said, don’t worry, bee happy.


*What is not noted here, but which I had noted in the previous email, is that Bob on cello and Kate on fiddle make up a sting section.

The Highest Culture Of All

I’m back from New York and a lovely visit with brother Christopher.

We were discussing T.S. Eliot’s “The Wasteland,” which they’ve been discussing in his poetry class and which is apparently viewed by many as the most important poem of the 20th century. But scandalously, the biography of T.S. Eliot they read did not so much as mention “Old Possum’s Book of Practical Cats.”  Christopher observed that it was as if the authors were hoping we might forget about it entirely.

But there’s more to the story. Apparently, “The Tempest” has several musical interludes that are basically the equivalent of musical numbers – thereby making Shakespeare a pioneer in the field of musical theater. Therefore, we can conclude that Andrew Lloyd Webber’s “Cats” (which is based on selections from “Old Possum’s Book of Practical Cats”) is in the tradition of not only T.S. Eliot, the co-author of the most important poem of the 20th century, but of Shakespeare himself.

When this truth finally echoes down the corridors of the ivory towers of academia, and “Cats” has its place as the pinnacle of 20th century culture, just remember, you heard it here first.

Hope to see you on Sunday!

Back from Bioneers

Bioneers wrapped (and rapped) up Saturday evening. The scientific, spiritual, and artistic aspects of the movement were all pretty well represented at the conference, supporting and reinforcing each other… that’s one thing that I really like about Bioneers in general.  I think there’s still a lot of room for growth, and I look forwards to seeing that happen.

A few highlights from Bioneers:

– One of the most powerful things I saw was I encourage you to watch their video, it’s not long. “Saving the world” in four years? Doable. That is an AWESOME message and I’m inclined to believe it.

– Finally watching YERT (Your Environmental Road Trip – Inspiring, very fun, and generally lovely – it’s all about the great things going on around the country.

– Listening to Jane Goodall speak from the central Bioneers conference while doing yoga (poorly!). [Editor’s Note: I was the one doing yoga poorly, not Jane Goodall.]

– Playing conga for the InterPlay workshop, with Jesse on piano while two adorable little girls played percussion.

I was not quite omnipresent, but I did fill in the spaces of the conference, playing a few songs here and there and mostly just filling the room with improvisation which I hoped was inspiring, sometimes challenging, but positive.