The Dissolving Room, Shearwater's first recording, was made in about 3 days in 1999 in Jeff Hoskins' makeshift studio in a cavernous building in downtown Austin that's now a parking lot. It was a weird place. There was a Blondie cover band rehearsing down the hall, and the roof leaked; when it rained, it rained in the back of the tracking room. Kim and I had only known Will for a few weeks, and we couldn't get a show anywhere in town besides open mics—partly because no one knew us, and partly because we weren't very impressive; these were some of our very first songs.
But we had heart, and we were breathlessly excited about music in the way you are when you're 22, and thrilled at the idea that 500 copies of this were going to be pressed on CD by our friend Brad Murph, who ran a record label called Grey Flat Records. A record label! These also the last days before the Internet, when record stores were places of mystery and wonder, and we were in the early stages of raiding them for inspiration. I cringe at these songs now, of course, like you do you at your high school picture. I can hear myself trying to learn to write songs, trying to learn to sing, and trying to make something that someone else might want to hear. I still am.
released November 1, 1999
Jonathan Meiburg, Will Sheff, Kim Burke: vocals, acoustic and electric guitars, string bass, piano, banjo, accordion, dobro, keyboard, glockenspiel, harmonica, tambourine, windchimes.
Scott Blesener: violin
Michael Dow: accordion on "Ella", electric bass, sticks
Bo Griffin: floor tom
Jeff Hoskins: drums, maracas
Gary Newcomb: pedal steel
Tony Rogers: cello
All songs © 1999 by Jonathan Meiburg and Will Sheff
Published by Polyborus Music (ASCAP)/Joundsongs (ASCAP)