Thursday, August 5, 2010

Crucifixion at Cake Shop

Here's a nice video of Crucifixion from our full band show at Cake Shop show with Sunset.

Many thanks to Scott Rudd for shooting it.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Wreck Your Guitar Solo

Is it still a leak if you're leaking yourself?

This is the for real guitar solo from "I Will Wreck Your Life". Actually, it's two serendipitously coinciding guitar solos from different recording sessions at different places several months apart. The first was recorded with Ross in Dyker Heights when we did the drums and then the second at Spaceman last week. Neither was quite right but then I had an epiphany: "Wait a minute, play both of those solos together" and ta-dah! I'm talking about harmonies.

To me it sounds like early Weezer and I'm very very proud of it.

Saturday, July 24, 2010


Last Friday's set at the Party Expo could be described as Hobbesian; short, loud and silly.

Charles and I were not afraid to show some skin as the two-man Due Diligence.

But don't take my word for it! Apologies for use of the GarageBand preset called "Xtreme Compression"

Party Expo by Isaac Gillespie


Family Affair (Sly Stone)
Rain In the City
Uncle Stephen

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Uncle Stephen at Webster Hall

This is what we sound like as a band.

You should come hear us at the Cake Shop on Sunday at 8.

This video was shot lovingly by Andrew Gauthier. Thanks, Andrew.

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Virginia Tour

Just got off a really spectacular tour of Virginia with the wonderful Relatives!

Check out some amazing pictures and videos at our tour blog here

Isaac Gillespie w/ The Relatives "Rain In the City" - Live at a house, Fredericksburg, VA 06.10.2010 from The Relatives on Vimeo.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Donor Blues

Here is a video of last month's Zebulon show with Morgan Hank on backup vocals. The song is a songwriting collaboration with Shakey Graves and the whole thing was shot by our buddy Eric Hinojosa.

Friday, March 19, 2010

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Cover of the Day: Goodbye Joshy

Today's Cover of the Day comes from our good friends and yours PAPS!

With an appearance by Clairey, whom I'm visiting and who arrived home just at the beginning of the song!

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Astounded By Modernity

Ever since Aaron got me to go to the Air & Space museum in January, I've been thinking a lot about the space program. I feel like I belong the generation that would see this video:

and give it that title. I mean, this is a video of a person ON THE MOON! That is totally crazy (I feel like part of my fascination, too, is not just that they landed people on the moon, but that they did it with 1960s technology. Part of me kind of believes that if need be, my phone could get me to the moon. But those 60s space suits just look like they were sewn by the astronauts moms!)

So I've been reading all about NASA (Did you know that the Saturn V rocket that launched the moon mission is still the biggest rocket ever launched. It was 30 stories high. Just think about that - a 30 story building levitating into the air as a product of just lots and lots of fire) and watching videos online and I've ended up at this amazing documentary on Netflix called "For All Mankind". It is totally awesome. They take all this original NASA footage and weave it into a compelling story.

I had to stop at the part where the three astronauts are floating in space halfway between the earth and the moon. I'm worried about them.


Apart from that, I've been looking at pictures of old monuments like stonehenge and this one too (seahenge):

This was in the paper today:

It's a 4,000 year old cemetery in the deserts of China. Just think, 4,000 years ago somebody erected wooden timbers because they were sad. And it's still here. It makes me wonder, what is this going to look like in 4,000 years?

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Speak Softly and Generate a Flurry of Media

Last night at the open mic, Morgan and Ali (Shakey) and I worked out this song in this arrangement:

Change by Isaac Gillespie

If you come tonight at midnight, you will hear us in our last minute recording-performance. Just don't make a lot of noise.

Sunday, March 7, 2010

Purity of Heart

Last weekend I went out to Flushing to record piano overdubs with Jo of the Shivers.

When we got there I realized I had left a very crucial mini-USB cable all the way back in Manhattan. So we set out to the storefronts to see if we could replace it.

I arrived at Flower Computer Repair on Northern Blvd. There was a young American dude (or I'm guessing, he seemed to be a native English speaker at least) at the front desk and then back in the corner an older Chinese man (again, I'm guessing at basically all of these descriptive adjectives).

I rush in the door: "Hey, I just need a mini-USB cable, do you have that?" The guy at the desk gives me a blank stare for a moment, then stands and picks up a mini-USB limply. He looks back at me: "Like this?"

"Yeah, that's exactly what I need. How much is it?" The guy behind the counter sort of looks at me like that's a question he'd never considered. It's obvious that Flower Computer Repair considers itself to be specifically computer repair and NOT retail sales. Perhaps if I'd asked to have my mini-USB repaired they'd know what to do with me.

So the guy behind the counter looks back at the older Chinese gentlemen. He approaches, looks at the cable, looks at me and then slowly shakes his head: "No."


The young dude: "It's not really for sale. This is just for our own use."

"You won't sell it to me?"

Again, the young guy looks at the older guy. Who looks again at the cable and again at me. He shakes his head. "No."

I'm desparate. I need this cable! We've been trying to record these piano parts for months and if we can't do it today it'll be another six weeks before the Shivers even get back from their UK tour.

I pull out my wallet. "I'll give you ten bucks for that cable. That's a good deal."

The older man: "Ten bucks?" Younger man: "That's ten dollars." A subtle shift in the room. The older man takes the cable, turns to me and offers it out. "Take it," he says.

"Oh, thank you so much!" I say as I reach inside my wallet.

"No," he says. "No charge. Free."

I was shocked! Flower Computer Repair man! Only intending the whole time to test my mettle! Only once I proved that I truly wanted the USB cable and would be willing to part with ten "bucks" could I be trusted with it's custody!

The piano recording, by the way, went amazing. We got this beautiful Steinway Grand on four tracks and then did a take with the pipe organ.

This Is Fair, Right?

From: Isaac Gillespie
Subject: Re: Hi Issac

Hey Emily,
Thanks for the message, but I'm not really booking any shows where I don't know the booker or any of the bands. Also, you spelled my name wrong in the subject line.
Best of Luck!
- Isaac


From: Emily Smokler
Subject: Hi Issac

Hi - My name is Emily and I put on shows with live bands at NYC clubs like The Studio @ Webster Hall, Crash Mansion, Fontana's, The Delancey and Brooklyn clubs like Matchless and Public Assembly. I was really impressed with your music - music quality is first and foremost what is important to me. I'm putting a series of acoustic, folk and jazz nites together at the very cute new live music venue Local 269 on E. Houston Street (great location) and they also have full backline and great sound. Admission is $5 or can be reduced to as low as $3. Please let me know if any of the following dates work for you:
THE LOCAL 269, (full backline!)
Sunday April 4 : 7PM OPEN
Wednesday April 7 : 9, 11PM OPEN
Sunday April 11 : 8, 10PM OPEN
Wednesday April 14 : 7, 11PM OPEN
Tuesday April 20 : 7, 10PM OPEN
Sunday April 25 : 7PM OPEN
Nice to know you and hope to work with you soon!
yours truly,
Emily Smokler/Emily Booking

Friday, March 5, 2010

Graves & Gillespie: Live in LA

I was trying to decide which track from last October's LA Graves & Gillespie show to post in order to entice people to come out on Saturday and Sunday. But when I went back and listened to the recording I sort of said, F it! I'll post the whole thing!

I did a little bit of editing, meaning banter-in tuning-out (mostly). But apart from that here's the show:

Graves & Gillespie by Isaac Gillespie

I think we captured a little bit of magic at least. Have a listen, I'm betting once you put it on you'll leave it on.

PS It's also where that bear picture comes from.

Thursday, March 4, 2010

Shakey Graves is Coming to Town!

My good friend Shakey Graves will be coming out to New York for next week. We're playing two really amazing shows together this weekend: Saturday at the BTP (write for address) with BoomChick, Everybody Knows, Heroes of the Open End & the Hank and Pigeon album release. We go on right at eight so be there early!

Then we're playing again on Sunday at Spike Hill with BoomChick, Cal Folger Day, Hubbie J & the Great Republic of Rough and Ready. These are both going to be extraordinary shows.

In celebration of this fact, I'm posting some recordings of G&G collaborations to my space. Huzzah!

Friday, February 26, 2010

Bed Boat Song with Pizazz!

Here is yesterday's song dressed up a little with the use of Alex P's sweeet mic.

the Bed Boat Song by isaacgillespie

Thursday, February 25, 2010

New Song Applause, vol. 2: I'm On A Boat?

Here's a song I've been trying to write for a while and just did finally today.

Because it deals in part with sea travel on a great ocean liner, it got me thinking about how much I'd really love to cross the ocean in a boat. Preferably work my way across the ocean on a freighter, but only if it's not too hard.

Anyway, this is what I found:

It's pretty badass and I definitely want to do it at some point. Maybe this summer to kick off a Europe tour? That would be totally rad.

Apologies if this blog has gotten off topic from being about the album, there's actually lots of great news about all that which I promise to post here soon. In the meantime enjoy the new songs.

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

New Song Applause!

I wrote this song last night while walking to the sidewalk cafe for my Antifolk Festival show. Then I recorded it last night just before bed. You can tell, I'm like basically asleep.

Friday, February 19, 2010

Hank and Pigeon

Hank and Pigeon is a new group formed by my two good friends (and Due Diligence members) Morgan Hank and Alex Pigeon.

They are awesome.

Here is a video I shot of them on the subway after our Zebulon show the other night:

More video to come, but in the meantime do yourselves a favor and check out their music.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010


This is the MIA apology post. Have been busy like a bee, floating all over town like a butterfly. First my dear girlfriend came for Valentine's Day and then stuck around for President's Day and all of a sudden it's Tuesday.

Finally got a hold of the Tea Party recordings and they sound bloody great.

This week is super busy; show at Zebulon tomorrow and then Northeast Kingdom on Thurdsay (roommate Chloe's birthday!)

Shot a whole mess of press photos for Dan Costello and Rachel Devlin's tour today, last night shot a whole bunch for Joe Crow Ryan's new album cover. Now Eric Hinojosa's in town and we're gonna shoot a bunch of video tomorrow.

So there you have it; nothing in a nutshell.

Here's a picture Claire took:

Saturday, February 13, 2010

Cover of the Day: Willie Moore

This one goes out to Aaron Invisible, with whom I recently went out on tour. He was teaching me the folk thumb-picking fundamentals. "It's all about the thumb" he says.

Willie Moore is a song that I first heard from the Kossoy Sisters on this really excellent folk music compilation. I mean really really excellent. Blows the water right out of the Anthology of American Folk Music in my modest opinion.

The Kossoy Sisters original recording of "I'll Fly Away" was featured in "Oh Brother Where Art Thou" (Allison Kraus & Gillian Welch sing it on the CD). Their recording of Willie Moore features supertight harmony and a chilling deadpan delivery of a tragic love story. Mine has a funny shirt:

One quick thing, when I was rehearsing this song my septuagenarian lefty roommate came out and said: "Oh I always knew that song with totally different lyrics. It's supposed to be about the unions." Awesome.

Thursday, February 11, 2010


Here is a still frame from the 1995 episode of the Simpsons where Bart dresses in disguise so as not to be recognized at the store where he's been caught shoplifting:

And here is a picture of what I for-real look like when I go outside these icy winter days:

Marie! (Eef Barzelay)

My lovely girlfriend's sister is named Marie, which always makes it kind of awkward to do a cover song about a Marie. Nonetheless, we must press on! We can't banish all "Marie" songs from our repertoire! Especially when they're as good as this one!

Eef Barzelay's original version can be found at the FREE Daytrotter Session. Which, by the way, is bloody amazing. And did I mention free? I've been listening to these recordings pretty much non-stop for a year.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Guest Writer - Gabriel Gall!

Gabriel Gall from the Relatives will be writing today's post. He also played banjo on this video!

i made my way off that achy old subway car and climbed up to the street, where the snow was just starting to blow horizontally across the gridded new york streets. isaac and i met at a near-empty grocery store, gliding from aisle to aisle in search of a few necessary items for the day. soup and bread and hummus made it to the cash register; sadly, the plastic container of chocolate milk i had my eye on did not.

we dodged all the icy puddles and stumbled upstairs to his apartment, warm and ready to consume both food and music. 'i want to show you something' isaac said. 'it's just 6 triplets in a row, i think'.

his guitar was in his lap, 3 fingers on his right hand going at once, droning the tonic note with his thumb while the other two fingers made their way across those triplets. hearing it felt like home to me. he repeated the triplets, and then oddly enough, sang one word over a IV chord: Home.

'try this harmony' he said.

we sat like silhouettes in front of a snowy view of his courtyard and worked through the song a few times, sipping our minestrone while it cooled. added some banjo and some foot taps and there was little else to be done.

'lets record this.'

Monday, February 8, 2010


Ok so maybe it's not as action-y as this guy, but thanks again to Scott Rudd for coming out and taking great pix of our recording session on Saturday!

Saturday, February 6, 2010


Back from recording - great great day.

Pretty beat, not just from playing but also carrying tons and tons of things (guitar, camera, acoustic guitar, digital camera, bass guitar, etc.). Scott Rudd took a bunch of really cool pictures, which I hope to post here soon. But for now MANY MANY thanks to: Alex Wernquest, Ben Sadock, Jo Schornikow, and Colin Fahrner as well as Brian Speaker for recording us and Scott and Chloe Philip for taking pictures. Kudos all!

Thanks again, now I'm a go pass out to some netflix

Friday, February 5, 2010

Wrecking a Life Starts With a Single Step

Hello and welcome to my new blog, I Will Wreck Your Life. In this blog, I'll chronicle the ups and downs and ups of the making of the upcoming Isaac Gillespie & the Due Diligence album, "I Will Wreck Your Life". Thanks Justin Remer of the Elastic No-No Band for the idea

If you still haven't heard the first Isaac Gillespie album, 1971, check it out at: People seem to think it's pretty good.

I'm starting this blog on the eve of the big big recording session with Brian Speaker over at the Brooklyn Tea Party. All the snowcasters and passers-by are predicting the Storm of The Century! for tomorrow morning, but I no worried. This is the first time that all five instrument members of the Due Diligence will be able to get together in one professionally mic'ed room and I don't believe anything will stop us.

We intend to cut the basic instrumental tracks to the albums titular hit single, for which this blog is also named: I Will Wreck Your Life.

More on that later; for now I got to find my guitar picks and get some rest!