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Standard Deviations
Jazz Standards - Volume 1 and Volume 2
Standard Deviations Draft Cover
in progress

Jump to:  Volume 1 - Uptempo  •  Volume 2 - Ballads

Standard Deviations is an exploration of the great Jazz Standards of the 20th century. Not only do these arrangements include "deviations" from the original versions using new harmonic settings, in the jazz tradition, many deviate into other genres, including funk, blues, progressive rock, and even classical Impressionism. Several tracks combine multiple tunes, letting one melody "deviate" into another, showing how many of the best standards are musically related to one another.

This page is currently a Project Page meant to share specific takes and conceptual drafts with fellow collaborators.

The project will culminate in a two disc double album: Volume One (Disc 1) is dedicated to Tobin's father who prefered uptempo jazz combos; Volume Two (Disc 2) is dedicated to Tobin's mother who loved the slower vocal ballads of the swing era. The final 2 volume collection will be produced by Factory Underground Studio's Kenny Cash.

Although Tobin's solo acoustic grand piano is the featured instrument, about half of the tracks will be augmented by collaborations with guest drummers and percussionists.* Multiple keyboards are employed as well, including Fender Rhodes and Wurlitzer electic pianos, B3 organ, various synths, preparied piano and Trilogy bass - all played by Tobin. Other guest artists may be incorporated as well.

Art is meant to challenge convention. to open up thought, potential and expectation through a change in perspective, surprise and the breaking down of boundaries. As these songs morph between genres, present new contexts and juxtapose melodies, we are freed, just a bit, as the lens we see through expands. We discover new details, contemplate correlations, embrace imaginative deviations and integrate our memory with fresh meaning.

Volume One

Possible selections:

• Straight, No Chaser*
• Birdland / Long Distance Runaround*
• St. Louis Blues*
• It Don't Mean A Thing / Bemsha Swing / Ornithology
• Cool*
• Take Five*
• Steppin' Out With My Baby / Caravan
• Take the "A" Train*
• Eleanor Rigby*
• Fascinating Rhythm / I Got Rhythm
• Moanin' / Blue Monk / Monk's Point*
• The Lady Is A Tramp / My Old Flame
• After Hours*
* Indicates collaborations with drummers/percussionists

1.
Straight, No Chaser
- (*concept draft prior to collaboration with drummer)
Straight, No Chaser - by Thelonious Monk

Thelonious Monk is one of the greatest influences on my playing and writing. I try to add something new to this Monk classic by making it a concept piece. It begins in a bar, accentuating the "Straight" over the "No Chaser." My comment about haunting sounds refers to this tune and all the songs that follow. My grand piano slowly morphs out of a less well-tuned saloon upright. A "prepaired piano" (a piano filled with nails and other metal bits) adds accents, along with an electric piano and B3 organ. A Trilogy bass provides the traditional walking bass that transforms into a modern progressive rock sound before the end. I hope it helps set the mood for all the arrangements that follow. Drumming has not yet been added.

2.
Birdland Runaround
- (*concept draft prior to collaboration with drummer)
Birdland by Joe Zawinul from Weather Report;
Long Distance Runaround by Jon Anderson from Yes

In my mind, progressive rock is intertwined with fusion jazz because I discovered them at the same time. In this arrangement I combine two of my favorites: Birdland by Weather Report and Long Distance Runaround by Yes. This preproduction draft has no percussion yet, which will eventually drive the track. I'm looking forward to that addition. The hi-hat and other percussion sounds are merely MIDI timing helpers to approximate the minimum that the drummer will add. So far, my favorite parts are the middle section frenetic piano solo (a cadenza based on the opening Long Distance Runaround riff) and the electric keyboard solo (backed by acoustic chord substitutions) that follows it. Note that the opening instrumental duet are dueling Wurlitzer electric pianos, not guitars.

3.
St. Louis Blues
- (*concept draft prior to collaboration with drummer)
St. Louis Blues - by W. C. Handy

By the time Bessie Smith had the opportunity to put her inimitable stamp on “St. Louis Blues” in 1925, this W. C. Handy classic was already the most popular and well-known blues song in existence. It's one of the first songs I accompanied my mother on, as a teenager. I bring a fresh attitude to the tune, not at all the way I played it for my mom 45 years ago. (Man, time flies.) It is an homage not only to W. C. Handy, but to Herbie Hancock and Dr. John as well. The drumming will combine straight ahead funk rhythms with a swung jazz style - and will transform the rhythms you feel. I'm looking forward to adding it in soon.

4.
It Don't Mean A Thing
- piano solo draft
It Don't Mean A Thing - music by Duke Ellington.; coupled with Ornithology by Charlie Parker. Track not yet recorded.

5.
Cool
- (*concept draft prior to collaboration with drummer)
Cool - music by Leonard Bernstein, from West Side Story

This is a Big Band style arrangement using a quintet size combo: piano, acoustic bass (with a clavinet doubling on ocassion), electric piano (both Wurlitzer & Fender Rhodes), organ and drummer. There will be multiple drum solos, including one as intro and several 1-4 bar solos during last half of the arrangement. The drummer has yet to be added. Although it sounds like a jazz guitar solo in the middle, that is a Wurlitzer piano.

6.
Take Five
- (*concept draft prior to collaboration with drummer)
Take Five - by Paul Desmond of The Dave Brubeck Quartet

Dave Brubeck was my most influential musical mentor. He bridged classical music precision and jazz improvisation. Conceived as a drum/piano duet, this arrangement is an homage to the groundbreaking album Time Out that revolutionized music. In my own personal evolution, it was a stepping stone to countless time signature experiments. This is the piano-only concept draft. I look forward to working with the drummer soon.

9.
Eleanor Rigby
- (*preproduction concept draft prior to drummer/percussionist)
Eleanor Rigby - primarily by Paul McCartney, credited to Lennon–McCartney of The Beatles

This has always been one of my favorite Beatles songs - not just because of its concise poetic lyrics, but the subtle use of major-minor shifts in the melody. I establish a fresh harmonic context underscored by a triplet rhythmic bed that creates tension between moody foreboding and the hope of joy. The concept drum track is simply an attempt to communicate to the percussionist and drummer what should go where, it is nothing more than a space-keeper until the actual players come into the studio. Rolling Stone has a great article about the evolution of this iconic song, (check it out.)

Volume Two
• Georgia On My Mind
• Moon River / Somewhere Over the Rainbow
• Sophisticated Lady / Night and Day
• Am I Blue / Summertime
• Fly Me To The Moon
• The Way You Look Tonight / The Nearness of You*
• Misty / A Nightingale Sang in Berkeley Square
• Round Midnight / People
• What a Wonderful World
• Stardust
• Secret Love / My Funny Valentine
• Smoke Gets In Your Eyes
• Where Is Love
* Indicates collaborations with drummers/percussionists

1.
Georgia On My Mind
- draft
Georgia On My Mind - by Hoagy Carmichael

I wanted to bring something new to this classic tune, something outside the blues setting that has been done so successfully by Ray Charles, Ella Fitzgerald, Eric Clapton and others. I made the song into a journey, not just down memory lane, but through a life. Georgia On My Mind is about home, an elusive and changing concept. I intermix Impressionism, jazz, blues and tin pan alley. The juxtaposition of styles speaks to the idea of how memory folds together disparate emotions with ease and redeeming grace.

2.
Moon River / Somewhere Over the Rainbow
- draft
Moon River - music by Henry Mancini, from Paramount Pictures' Breakfast at Tiffany's;
Somewhere Over the Rainbow - music by Harold Arlen, from Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer's The Wizard of Oz

After recording this medley on piano, I had an idea to record individual notes and reverse them to create the feel of shooting stars in the background. One thing led to another and pretty soon I was programming a Native Instrument FM8 module to add additional augmentations. I like the way the acoustic piano moves in and out of the electronic enhancements. The bells occasionally dip below the surface of the moonlit river. Windchimes and other whirling sounds remind the listener of the wind that will soon take Dorothy over the rainbow.

3.
Sophisticated Lady
- track not yet recorded
Sophisticated Lady - music by Duke Ellington

4.
Am I Blue / Summertime
- draft
Am I Blue? - by Harry Akst and Grant Clarke, from Warner Bros's On with the Show!;
Summertime - music by George Gershwin, from Porgy and Bess

As in most of these arrangements, I recorded this piece first on piano and then layered on electronic and acoustic augmentations. Two electronic pianos (Wurlitzer and Fender Rhodes) double with the acoustic piano to create a resonant keyboard sound. EXS modules provide the other embellishments. A few carefully placed bowed piano strings round out the additions. In the end, there's nothing like summertime to bring you out of a blue reverie.

5.
Fly Me To The Moon
- draft
Fly Me to the Moon - by Bart Howard (originally titled "In Other Words")

There are intentional parallels between this arrangement and that of Somewhere Over the Rainbow. I wanted to interpret a journey beyond the rainbow, into the stars, something lighter than air, romantic, moonlit. One of the wonderfully balanced melodies in the American Songbook, I support it with chords that surprise yet comfort, uplift yet are not frivolous, creating a contemplative motion that both cherishes memories and looks forward with anticipation.

6.
The Way You Look Tonight / The Nearness of You
- pre-percussion concept draft
The Way You Look Tonight - music by Jerome Kern, from Swing Time;
The Nearness of You - music by Hoagy Charmichael, from Paramount Picture's Romance In The Park

This is a simple keyboard duet between an acoustic grand and a Fender Rhodes, with added percussion for rhythmic color and variation. It's hard to imagine the center section without the percussion. If the percussionist addition doesn't come to fruition, I will replay that section. There is an electric piano note at the beginning which will be removed on final mixing, please disregard.

13.
Where Is Love
- draft
Where Is Love? - by Lionel Bart, from the musical Oliver!

This is a dreamy, haunting rendition of one of the sweetest soliloquy songs ever written. I use a mixture of reversed and bowed piano, framed by synth and piano continuum, in the extended introduction in order to present the tune's hopeful yet chimerical context. The main body of the piece is my modal interpretation. The hint of synth in the air, at the very end, is a simple exhale, a silent reminder of the question who's answer remains just beyond reach for so many.

Tobin at the Keyboard

photo by John Shyloski, Factory Underground Studios

Tobin's Jazz Collection
JAZZ ENSEMBLE
Come In Funky cover
Come In Funky Old School Funk and and small combo Jazz featuring legendary bassist Ron Carter. "You guys can play! These are, almost without exception, very complicated numbers in terms of rhythm and the general sync of solos with ensemble playing, a stellar set of recordings that, I believe, adds seriously to the body of jazz that this represents. A remarkable work in every single way I can think of. This is such a bright and happy album that is played with a spirit of invention and joy from the first notes to the last." - Paul Page
The Muller's Wheel cover
The Muller's Wheel is a collaborative project combining the talents of pianist Tobin Mueller and saxophonist Woody Mankowski, featuring their jazz quartet and their larger 8-pieace ensemble, playing swing to bop to fusion to funk. The styles of Count Basie, Charlie Parker, Lester Young, Herbie Hancock, The Brecker Brothers, Weather Report and more influence this homage to the jazz greats. This is joyous music. "It reminds us of the happiness we relive when returning to our musical roots," say Mueller and Mankowski.
Rain Bather cover
Rain Bather is an 80 minute long play CD featuring superlative solo performances by all-star band members. Most of the tunes are in the jazz-funk-fusion vein, but many others try to break new ground, defying easy labels. Tobin Mueller - B3 organ, synth; Woody Mankowski - soprano sax; Chris Mueller - acoustic piano; Jeff Cox - acoustic bass; Dane Richeson - drums; Tom Washatka - tenor sax; Doug Schnieder - tenor sax; Ken Schaphorst - flugelhorn; Bob Levy - trumpet; Sal Giorgianni - flute; Bill Barner - clarinet.
SOLO PIANO JAZZ
Afterwords cover
Afterwords - Combining spoken word and solo piano, Tobin "illustrates" his favorite works of literature with a wide variety of new musical compositions. He pays homage to classic authors like Hemmingway, Steinbeck, Vonnegut, Faulkner, as well as new authors Dave Eggers, Chuck Palahniuk, Aimee Bender and China Miéville. Musical influences include Oscar Peterson, Hiromi, Brad Maldheu, Fred Hersch, John Taylor, even Keith Emerson. "An astonishing work of art."
Of Two Minds cover
Of Two Minds: The Music of Frédéric Chopin and Tobin Mueller, especially Disc 2 - Tobin plays Tobin. Three original jazz piano sonatas make up Disc 2. Each shows Chopin influences, but draws more from contemporaries Chick Corea, Dave Brubeck and Keith Jarrett. "One would be hard-pressed to find an artist with a more creative musical mind than Tobin Mueller’s - especially one with the playing chops to fulfill his or her vision." Fanfare Magazine's 2016 Editor's Choice Award.
Flow cover
Flow: The Music of J.S. Bach and Tobin Mueller, especially Disc 2 - Tobin plays Tobin. Two post-bop jazz piano suites make up Disc 2. Each shows Bach influences, but draws more from contemporaries Brad Mehldau, Fred Hersch and Gerald Clayton. "This may be the pianist-composer’s most ambitious and sophisticated recording project to date... a journey that inevitably explores the interactions of Baroque and jazz." Fanfare Magazine's 2015 Editor's Choice Award.
Impressions of Water and Light cover
Impressions of Water and Light is an exploration of the cross-inspirations between Impressionist and contemporary jazz piano, including adaptations of music by Debussy, Ravel, Fauré, Satie, Ibert and Carpenter. "The listener has the sense that Mueller is having his personal conversation as a composer and pianist with these great 19th- and 20th-century composers." This is third album of "The Masterworks Trilogy" which includes Flow and Of Two Minds.
Impressions of Water and Light cover
Midwinter Born is a collection of jazz piano interpretations of traditional Christmas carols. Mueller captures the quiet simplicity, expectant playfulness and over-riding joy of the season. The 18 track album includes: First Noel, Bring A Torch Jeanette Isabella, Hark the Herald Angels Sing, O Holy Night, God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen, Carol of the Bells, Lo How A Rose E'er Bloom, Good King Wenceslas, Still, Still, Still and many more.
Morning Whispers cover
Morning Whispers is Tobin's first solo piano collection, a song cycle of tragic beauty. Music of healing and introspection, these New Age and Neo-Classical pieces do more than evoke emotion: they tell stories. Influences include Aaron Copland, Bill Evans, David Lanz, Liz Story. Several of these piano pieces have since been used in film and documentaries.
13 Masks cover
13 Masks is Tobin's second solo piano collection. An exploration of the links between avant-garde 20th Century music and jazz, influences include Thelonious Monk, Dave Brubeck, Art Tatum, John Medeski, as well as classical composers Shostakovich, Ligeti, Bartok. "A truly unique album with music to really sink your teeth into."
Afterwords: Bonus Tracks cover
Afterwords: Solo Piano Bonus Tracks - For those of you who prefer music without any interruptions, seven of the best tracks from Afterwords have been remastered with the talking edited out. Originally conceived for distribution to jazz radio stations, this Bonus Album is now avaiilable to the egeneral public. Influences include Oscar Peterson, Hiromi, Brad Maldheu, Fred Hersch, John Taylor; post-bop, stride, new age, classic jazz.
Tobin's Other CD Collections
Tobin's Solo Piano Collection
Of Two Minds cover
Of Two Minds: The Music of Frédéric Chopin and Tobin Mueller is the final addition to Mueller's "Masterworks Trilogy" in which he explores the intersections of classical and jazz piano. Mueller reinterprets Chopin's most iconic piano solos (Disc 1) and uses the preludes to inspire three original jazz piano sonatas (Disc 2). Seductive, rebellious, heroic and beautiful. Jazz influences include Chick Corea, Dave Brubeck, Keith Jarrett. "One would be hard-pressed to find an artist with a more creative musical mind than Tobin Mueller’s." Fanfare Magazine's 2016 Editor's Choice Award.
Flow cover
Flow: The Music of J.S. Bach and Tobin Mueller is a double album featuring Mueller's reinterpretations of Bach's greatest hits (Disc 1) plus two original jazz piano suites by Mueller (Disc 2). Inventive, playful, joyous, beautiful, full of emotion and intelligence. Mueller embraces the sense of timelessness one achieves when in the state of flow, bridging the centuries, letting Bach's 300 year old manuscripts inspire through new expression. Jazz influences include Brad Mehldau, Fred Hersch, Gerald Clayton. "This may be the pianist-composer’s most ambitious and sophisticated recording. Highly recommended." Fanfare Magazine's 2015 Editor's Choice Award.
Impressions of Water and Light cover
Impressions of Water & Light is an exploration of the cross-inspirations between Impressionist and jazz piano, including adaptations of music by Debussy, Ravel, Fauré, Satie, Ibert and Carpenter. Tobin uses the written notes as if they are light and his imagination as if it is water, creating all new interpretations. This post-Impressionist music illustrates the intimacy between jazz and Impressionist music. You will never hear these works the same again. The gorgeous CD booklet is a work of art in itself, pairing an Impressionist painting with each piece. One of the three album in Mueller's "Masterworks Trilogy".
Impressions of Water and Light cover
Midwinter Born is a collection of jazz piano interpretations of traditional Christmas carols. Mueller captures the quiet simplicity, expectant playfulness and over-riding joy of the season. A delightful and sometimes surprising album destined to become one of your annual holiday favorites. The 18 track album includes: First Noel, Bring A Torch Jeanette Isabella, Hark the Herald Angels Sing, O Holy Night, God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen, Carol of the Bells, Lo How A Rose E'er Bloom, Good King Wenceslas, Still, Still, Still and many more.
Morning Whispers cover
Morning Whispers is Tobin's first solo piano collection, a song cycle of tragic beauty. Music of healing and introspection. The use of key changes, unusual time signatures, and other variational devices makes this work involving, not merely New Age background music. Its gentle intensity, however, does not detract from its healing essence, its sense of inner joy. Influences include Aaron Copland, Keith Jarrett, Chick Corea, Bill Evans, David Lanz, Liz Story. Several of these piano pieces have since been used in film and documentaries.
13 Masks cover
13 Masks is Tobin's second solo piano collection. An exploration of the links between avant-garde 20th Century music and jazz. Tobin used illustrations of 13 medieval masks to inspire songs combining ragtime, jazz and 20th Century avant-garde classical. Influences include Thelonious Monk, Dave Brubeck, Art Tatum, Scott Joplin, John Medeski, as well as classical composers Shostakovich, Ligeti, Bartok. These pieces will startle and delight. "A truly unique album with music to really sink your teeth into."
Afterwords cover
Afterwords - Combining spoken word and solo piano, Tobin "illustrates" his favorite works of literature with a wide variety of new musical compositions. He pays homage to classic authors like Hemmingway, Steinbeck, Vonnegut, Faulkner, as well as new authors Dave Eggers, Chuck Palahniuk, Aimee Bender and China Miéville. Musical influences include Oscar Peterson, Hiromi, Brad Maldheu, Fred Hersch, John Taylor, even Keith Emerson. "An astonishing work of art."
Afterwords: Bonus Tracks cover
Afterwords: Solo Piano Bonus Tracks - For those of you who prefer music without any interruptions, seven of the best tracks from Afterwords have been remastered with the talking edited out. Originally conceived for distribution to jazz radio stations, this Bonus Album is now avaiilable to the egeneral public. Influences include Oscar Peterson, Hiromi, Brad Maldheu, Fred Hersch, John Taylor; post-bop, stride, new age, classic jazz.
Tobin's Rock Collection
Progressive Rock
Audiocracy cover
AUDIOCRACY is an international progressive rock collective. Their poetic writing and virtuosic performances make their high energy music life-affirming and uplifting, even considering the apocalyptic nature of their first release. Revolution's Son has been called "a masterpiece in the Epic Prog tradition." Progressive Magazine gave it 4 out 5 stars. Th story follows a revolutionary who comes to The City to be a catalyst for change and a prophet of truth. He falls into an Underground that urges a less innocent approach to change, leading to a post-apocalyptic finish. High energy, impressionistic prog.
Alternative Rock
A Bit of Light cover
A Bit of Light - A progressive folk / cross-genre collection of songs Tobin's been accumulating for a decade, A Bit of Light includes some of his favorite collaborations with saxophonists, fiddle players and guitarists, mixing jazz, bluegrass, tango and folk-rock. World renown violinist Entcho Todorov, Grammy winner saxophonist Danny McCaslin and L.A.'s Woody Mankowski, Enlish fiddler player Martyn Kember-Smith and guitarist John Luper provide fabulous highlights. The CD comes with a digital booklet in PDF format.
If I Live Long Enough cover
If I Could Live Long Enough - Previously unreleased outtakes from earlier projects, including the 1998-1999 Rain Bather sessions, the 2004-2006 MacJams collaborations, and selected songs from two of Mueller's musicals: Creature and Runners In A Dream. Featuring acoustic guitar by Grammy winner Michael Hedges, vocals by Woody Mankowski and Emily Rohm, and some of Mueller's best songwriting. Six free Bonus Tracks available here.
September 11 Project
September 11 Project cover
September 11 Project: Ten Years Later - Music written following 9/11/2001. Tobin was asked to participate in the 10th anniversary at Ground Zero ceremony and revisted these songs. He decided to put them out as an album instead of keep them to myself. Since he was unable to sing at the event, after contracting a lung disorder, this music gained layers of poignancy. Recorded in the months following the tragedy.
Tobin's Standards Collection
Song Of Myself cover
Song Of Myself - Tobin's favorite songs from The American Songbook, reinterpretted. Intimate, heartfelt, devistatingly honest music. Complete lyrics and song notes are linked from Tobin's Song of Myself page. Ballads, blues, showtunes, folk rock, jazz - the music of Tobin's roots. These are songs he's song for decades, arrangements that have evolved and matured with him. "American Tune" by Paul Simon. "Blackbird" by Paul McCartney. Bob Dylan's "Dignity." A Joni Mitchell and an Elton John medly. "Being Alive" from Company (Stephen Sondheim). "Impossible Dream" from Man of la Mancha. "Oh Danny Boy." "Frozen Man" by James Taylor. Many more, plus two original songs by Tobin Mueller.
Hard Place To Find cover
Hard Place To Find - Tobin has released a second volume of his favorite songs from The American Songbook. Complete lyrics and song notes are linked from Tobin's Hard Place To Find project page. "Still Crazy" by Paul Simon. Bob Dylan's "Shelter from the Storm" and "Bob Dylan's Dream." Richie Haven's "Paradise." "Dulcinea" from Man of la Mancha. "Alfie" by Bacharach. "Somewhere" from West Side Story. Many more, plus one original song by Tobin Mueller. All songs have to do with journeying, questing, searching. Released June 2nd, 2013. "Tobin Mueller is something of a Renaissance man of the arts, and 'Hard Place To Find' presents another volume in his prolific and impressive output. More of an art-music album than a pop release, I recommend it if you are looking for something different and deeply personal!" - Kathy Parsons, Mainly Piano
A Bit of Light cover
A Bit of Light - A progressive folk / cross-genre collection of songs featuring Mueller's vocals and a long list of his best friends and collaborators, including world renown violinist Entcho Todorov, Grammy winner saxophonist Danny McCaslin, L.A. saxophonist Woody Mankowski, English fiddler player Martyn Kember-Smith and Texan guitarist John Luper provide fabulous highlights. The music melds jazz, bluegrass, tango and folk-rock. The CD comes with a digital booklet in PDF format.
If I Live Long Enough cover
If I Could Live Long Enough - Previously unreleased outtakes from earlier projects, including the 1998-1999 Rain Bather sessions, the 2004-2006 MacJams collaborations, and selected songs from two of Mueller's musicals - Creature and Runners In A Dream. Featuring acoustic guitar by Grammy winner Michael Hedges, vocals by Woody Mankowski and Emily Rohm, and some of Mueller's best songwriting. 6 free Bonus Tracks available here.
September 11 Project cover
September 11 Project: Ten Years Later - Music written following 9/11/2001. Tobin was asked to participate in the 10th anniversary at Ground Zero ceremony and revisted these songs. He decided to put them out as an album instead of keep them to myself. Since he was unable to sing at the event, after contracting a lung disorder, this music gained layers of poignancy. Recorded in the months following the tragedy.
Poetry / Spoken Word
As Simple As Soap cover
As Simple As Soap - Del lends his deep voice and unique personality to Tobin's award-winning poetry. Love, fatherhood, history, death and daily meanings are all touch on in this combination of poetry and short story offerings. Each spoken word selection is accompanied by Mueller's visually stimulating background music that adds great emotional depth. The force and color of Del's voice earns this collection a high recommendation; the breathtaking and varied accompaniments make this a truly fascinating addition to Tobin Mueller's collected works.
Afterwords cover
Afterwords - Combining spoken word and solo piano, Tobin "illustrates" his favorite works of literature with a wide variety of new musical compositions. Paying homage to classic authors like Hemmingway, Steinbeck, Vonnegut and Faulkner, as well as contemporary authors such as Dave Eggers, Chuck Palahniuk, Aimee Bender and China Miéville, Mueller spins musical stories that will make you consider each book in a new light. Every track is a musical meditation, guided by entertaining and insightful quotations. The 17 tracks combine to represent the true breadth of his musical influences and accumulated experiences.