Last summer, my band Spanish For Hitchhiking began recording our third album. (I’m very excited about it, and can’t wait to share it with you all.) But then, as the pandemic kept us all at home alone, we had to stop working on it, and stop practicing in my basement. To keep things moving, I spent many evenings in April recording the vocals for the record in a pieced-together vocal booth, also in my basement; there was an ironing board and a couple musty blankets involved. That ended, and I missed rocking. So I set out to record a handful of songs that felt new, that didn’t exactly feel like “me,” or at least the me that has sung whispery vocals over acoustic guitars for most of my adult life. (Not that there’s anything wrong with that.) I set a few rules to keep things interesting. I wrote about some characters, pulling from overheard conversations at convenience stores and liquor stores, about high hopes with scratch-off tickets. And so here we have Straighten Up; 5 songs, 5 characters (one of them being me, in the clarity-seeking fifth track). I hope you enjoy it.