Category: Metablog


Rise Again: Returning, Rebuilding, Recovering
w/ covers of John Denver, Carole King, Steely Dan, Whitesnake & more!

November 29th, 2015 — 12:08pm





Thinking about longevity and persistence this weekend, prompted in part by Heather’s recent announcement that music blog I Am Fuel, You Are Friends, which has brought us so much honesty, joy, and discovery over the years, just celebrated its tenth anniversary on the web, and in our hearts.

But where Heather makes it look easy to tap into the joy, the history of Cover Lay Down is staggered with loss and regeneration. Like in 2008, when Blogger started to shut us down due to an inability to distinguish between fair use music-sharing and copyright theft, and we had to switch domains. Or four years later, when the company that ran our servers went awol, leaving us to rebuild from scratch – and to praise the lord for the Wayback Machine’s Internet Archives, which today hold the bulk of our first five years of posts and music.

Regular readers know, too: as it has been with the blog, so it has been with the blogger. Several times, I’ve written about my ongoing issue with tinnitus, which corrupts my ability to listen well and wholly to the music we would share and celebrate. And although home life and family were relatively stable when we first opened our virtual doors in 2007, since then, behind the scenes, capacity has reared its ugly head, as personal, professional, and social obligations have heavily impacted our ability to share the music we love so regularly.

The stress and strain of significant family illness and hospitalizations both at home and in my extended family, and the ever-increasing workload of the modern classroom teacher, were the paired tipping points that drove us to hiatus over the past year. An infestation of fleas and five feet of basement floodwaters over the summer buried us deeper, delaying our return.

And then my laptop died. A week later, so did its back-up, the side-along drive I used for music storage – locking me out of a carefully collected and categorized set of over 75 thousand songs amassed over two decades: covers, originals, rarities and live cuts, a lifetime of listening and love to big and unwieldy to store in the cloud.

The loss went almost unnoted amidst the chaos. It seemed relatively trivial at the time; family matters more than machinery. But ultimately, the loss of both primary laptop and archive back-up in a span of just a few weeks had no small impact on the decision to take some time off. And coming back without those archives is proving a bit more of a challenge than we originally anticipated.


There is no phoenix here, as there was when we returned in 2012. Losing the archives means losing both content and index – and the effect this has on our practice is ultimately quite significant. Where once a little kitchen table inspiration could be easily served by a fast search in a vast collection, already tagged by coversong and composer, today I find myself back at square one, dependent on the wider world of public media and downloadables, and the raw ability to search and find in a veritable haystack.

The result is a recentering, tipping us towards the new and the amateur, away from long-gone rarities and CD collections gone digital. But where there is loss, there is opportunity. More novelty and currency will mean more new artists features, and perhaps less comprehensive features on thematic tropes and songbooks, but that’s not terrible, in the end. We’ve covered most of the artists we love by now, and while the opportunity to share more of the new on a more regular basis may make us more like the vast majority of other music blogs, so, too, does it keep us from recycling and reshuffling, offering instead the opportunity for a renewed connection to the ongoing production of the folkways, a regained appreciation for its streams and tributaries.

As much as they offer a chance to reflect on the shifting sands that have brought us here, then, today’s covers also represent a foray into collecting from the wider world – and although it may yaw a bit wider than some of our previous sets, the result is no compromise. From new discoveries to elusive half-remembered songs, from pensive to proud, from catchy to cool and cathartic, may the songs stand as a tribute to resilience, and to our commitment to rebuilding, again and again: as long as there is you, and us, and them, to celebrate.



Rise Again: A Cover Lay Down Mix [zip!]



Cover Lay Down is proud to be back on the web thanks to the kind support of readers like you. Looking to help out in other ways? Consider spreading the word about our newly-inherited concert series, featuring amazing American Roots duo Mike + Ruthy this Friday, December 4th!

Comment » | Metablog, Mixtapes

The Phoenix Rises: On Coming Back and Moving Forward

February 25th, 2013 — 11:00pm





The last time Cover Lay Down suffered a major technological crisis, we had plenty of warning: Blogger had just started shutting down music blogs for spurious copyright claims, and in response, our mp3 file host had given us a two week window to pack up and move on. And so, after some soul searching and a huge outpouring of support from our small but committed fan base, in November of 2008, we opened the doors to a newly redesigned space here at coverlaydown.com.

For the next four and a half years, the bits and bytes that represent Cover Lay Down lived on a private server in California, funded by generous donations from readers like you. Twice a week, on average, I would log on, let the muse come to me, and send the tiny essays and songsets that emerged into the ether, where they would inevitably take on a life of their own. And my biggest fear about this blog was that one day, I would run out of topics for coverage.

And then, a week ago last Sunday, everything disappeared.

If my absence from these virtual pages has been stressful, it is, in part, because we had no platform to let folks know what the hell was going on. And to be fair, for most of the week, I had no idea what was going on, either. It took a community of others who had been affected by the same shutdown to piece together the sad and gory backstory of a company owner gone both AWOL and bankrupt, his abandoned servers disconnected due to non-payment, with no chance of recovery.

In the end, after a week of dashed hopes and failed attempts to get the servers turned back on long enough to extract a database backup, I took a deep breath, and began to rebuild from scratch. I contacted BigScoots, a well-established host with a strong reputation and excellent customer service, and gave them the last of your donated dollars for them to work their magic; I spent a day and a half relearning several web development code systems, and tweaking the design until it looked like home.

And though I have come to accept that it will take weeks or months to restore 5 years worth of regular blog entries one by one using public archives from the Wayback Machine, recreating the space itself must have worked well enough. Because here we are again.

This blog is a home for me, and that’s more than ample reason to fight to recover it. But the well-wishes and notes of concern that have trickled through over the last seven days remind me that this is your space, too – a vital aspect of what makes this blog work, though one which is easy to lose sight of, here on my living room couch, alone in the night with the kids asleep upstairs. A home with open doors is a better home, indeed. And just like our first loss, way back in November of 2008, I am proud and humbled to play host to such a caring collection of individuals.

Now that we’re back, the temptation to pontificate is strong. There’s lessons lurking in the background, here: about making back-ups, especially, and about having a plan B ready to go in case of emergencies. But after eight days of stress and panic, we’ve come out the other side into acceptance, ready to move on, resolved to remember that this is a place of love, and it’s important to keep it that way.

So here’s an appropriately diverse set to get us back to our core mission: to grow and celebrate together through a shared love of music, and a mutual appreciation for the artists who craft and interpret that music on behalf of the world.

May the music speak to our hearts, and bring us the community we so crave. And may we always rise from the ashes, again and again, to stand together against the hardship and the sorrow.



An afterthought: Several of you have asked how you can help us get back on our feet, and we are grateful, as always, for the offers of assistance, and for the commitment and care such offers represent. We have always depended on support from our community. Here’s how to do your part:

  • Support the continued creation of music by purchasing artists’ work whenever possible.
  • Spread the word to friends and family by joining our Facebook page and clicking “like” on a favorite post.
  • Share the wealth by sending us your own coverfolk finds and recordings.
  • Donate to Cover Lay Down to help defray server and bandwidth costs.


7 comments » | Metablog, Mixtapes

Cover Lay Down WILL return…soon!

February 24th, 2013 — 7:06pm


We are saddened to report that, due to circumstances beyond our control, Cover Lay Down’s hosting company went down last week without warning.

Honestly, we were just as surprised as you were.

And, as the week progressed, we were shocked to learn that we had neither back-ups nor legal recourse, other than a total reconstruction from the ground up using old files and fragments.

Though we are pleased that so many in the Internet community have stepped up to offer support and comfort, fully rebuilding the blog is turning out to be a herculean task.

Which is to say: I’m working on it, folks.

Thanks to all who frequent the blog for your ongoing support and your eternal patience.  Things will be back to normal as soon as possible, I promise. Until then, stay cool, and keep listening to and sharing the good stuff.


9 comments » | Metablog

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