How I Made an Anti-Campfire Album by Mistake

We’re at Lac Le Jeune Provincial Park campground in British Columbia, and I have just enough signal to upload text but not images. So, perfect time for this text-only entry!

This also happens to be an “ah-ha” moment for me with that Campfire album I linked to in a previous post (you’ll have to search for it if you want to listen).


When I first listened to the whole thing, I was surprisingly disappointed.

I’d listened to each song as Finn had mixed it and as I’d chosen the sound effects and song order. So, why was I oddly disappointed in it as a finished product, so much so that I stopped playing uke for a while?

Here’s what happened.

My Goal

I meant to make an album of what it’s like to play and sing at campsites across the country. I wanted the album to be light-hearted and rough, with nature sounds and me messing up: in other words, realistic, as if you were there with me.

I Got Waylaid

I have a kazillion songs recorded on my phone, many with several versions. As I started listening to them all to choose which songs and which versions to include, I began eliminating songs:

  • that had so much background sounds that you couldn’t hear me clearly;
  • that I screwed up on the uke a bit;
  • that I forgot the lyrics a bit;
  • that I inserted my own silly commentary;
  • that had accidental background noises, like Banjo nuzzling the uke or the trailer door closing.

The more versions I listened to, the farther I fell into this rabbit hole of picking the clearest, “best” versions. Put all together, they make me sound quite earnest, as if I think I play and sing well enough to merit close listening. That just makes me cringe.

What Songs I Should Have Picked

I made this realization after having played and sung with John and Jamie at our last campground. That was so much fun.

Because I forgot lyrics, we got to talk about parts of the songs while I waited to pick up the lyrics I remembered. It was fun because of the campfire sounds in the background. Because we were eating s’mores.

I’m not talented or knowledgeable enough to play earnestly, but I definitely know how to enjoy playing casually.

That was the album I should have made—loose, fun, silly, with mistakes and laughing. Instead, I made the Anti-Campfire album!

This is why I’m not uploading it to streaming services. You’ll just have to come find me out camping to play or sing along so we can hit the sweet spot I missed. Or, in the meantime, check out my YouTube channel where, at least, I show the lovely places where I’m playing and I laugh at my mistakes.

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