Songs from “The Old Soul and the Holy Fool”

Tell Me What For - Single

Arend Lee Jessurun

This is the second single in “The Old Soul and the Holy Fool,” a song cycle about relationships and self-realization. I’m gradually releasing these songs as singles, documenting my becoming as I record them individually over a period of time.

“Tell Me What For,” like the first single in the cycle “Everybody is a Fool,” is about processing (and in this case, even overthinking) a relational loss. It’s also for me an experiment in a new lyrical mode, one that is more tongue-in-cheek, inspired by John Prine.

I wrote this song during February Album Writing Month. This was one of those songs that just started flowing out as soon as I sat down with it. I had a fun time producing it, adding some Wilco-inspired wonky jazz guitar lines in the second verse. All in all, it was an experiment in fun, an embrace of my inner Holy Fool.

“That is what friendships are for,
sharing the apple and core.
So open to me a bit more,
and tell me what for.”
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Everybody is a Fool - Single

Arend Lee Jessurun

This is the first single in my new project “The Old Soul and the Holy Fool,” a song cycle about relationships and self-realization. As a depiction of the slow process of self-realization, I’m gradually releasing these songs as singles, documenting my becoming as I record them individually over a period of time.

The process of writing, recording, and mixing “Everybody is a Fool” has been at times a labor of love and at other times a fool’s errand. The song itself is at least three years old, has been revised countless times, and wasn’t shown to the public until years after its inception, due to self-consciousness. I recorded three different takes over the course of a few weeks, and during the recording process, re-wrote the lyrics and the guitar part. Then I spent over a month tinkering with the mix, hit a wall, hired another engineer to do a mix, and then eventually decided I would use my own mix after all.

Along the way of making this, I have truly learned some new things about myself. And by serendipity or providence, it turns out that’s kind of what this song was always about.

“The more you learn, the less you know,
and I’ve sure got a ways to go.”
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Other Singles

I Don't Know the Way - Single

Arend Lee Jessurun

“I Don’t Know the Way” is a dreamy folk ballad inspired by Brandi Carlile, Leonard Cohen, T. S. Eliot, and the search for a life of meaning.

I was listening to NPR’s New Music Friday, on my way to a coffee shop that was, as it turned out, closed, when this melody presented itself to me. I felt inspired after having heard Brandi Carlile’s song “The Mother,” and sang this new melody into my phone. Perhaps it was my unconscious mind coming up with an alternate melody for that song (as it turns out, my verses scan in the same meter as Brandi’s). It was a few more months and several drafted verses before I came up with lyrics I felt I could sing. I had always wanted to write a song in the style of Leonard Cohen’s “Suzanne,” with the second verse taking an aside and contemplating a religious figure. Similarly, I’d always wanted to write one of those rambling folk songs about travel, but travel in an inward, spiritual sense.
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