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As an artist who's been writing and performing music for over twenty years—spanning many genres—Seattle-based singer-songwriter, novelist, and poet Alex Rasmussen has finally found a sonic home in his current musical incarnation: a unique blend of folk and rock inspired by life’s highs, lows, and every evasive emotion in between. 

From the stomach-twisting rush of a whirlwind romance to the searing regret of habitual self-sabotage; from the Pacific Northwest to New Orleans—Tennessee to the Texas hill country; each of Alex’s songs is a mile marker along a potholed highway, driven with crossed fingers toward some sense of understanding. 

His 2020-released EP, Make it Real, consists of five songs recorded in Los Angeles by Grammy-winning producer / engineer Sheldon Gomberg (Ben Harper, Lucinda Williams). The tracks feature a skilled cast of LA studio musicians, including Sara Watkins of Nickel Creek, who contributed violin and vocal harmonies to "Make a Living" and "Back to Nashville." Make it Real is available in the "music" section of this site and on all streaming services.

The Road (2017) contains two tracks ("Ghost in the Dark" and “Waiting”) recorded and mixed by Seattle grunge heavy-hitter, Tad Doyle. 

Alex's novel, Coloring outside the Lines—based on experiences collected while street-performing between Seattle and San Francisco—is available here: https://www.amazon.com/Coloring-Outside-Lines-Alex-Rasmussen/dp/151962 His poetry collection, Inside out, can be found here: https://www.amazon.com/Inside-out-Alex-Rasmussen/dp/1790828384/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1548871756&sr=8-1&keywords=inside+out+alex+rasmussen

In February of 2024, he teamed up with Pacific Northwest publisher Common Meter Press on an anthology of Seattle poetry called Becoming Visible. The collection, featuring twelve unique and distinct voices, is available here:

https://rb.gy/a865ru

Alex is currently finishing his second novel, compiling a new poetry collection, and recording music between performances. 

 

 

Becoming Visible 

I've been waiting patiently to make this announcement, and I'm thrilled that I can finally tell you.

Over the past eight months, I've been putting together an anthology featuring work from a skilled cast of Seattle poets, many of whom are also singer-songwriters in the local music scene. 

Not only am I happy to announce the book's completion, but I'm also excited to be teaming up with Seattle / Portland publisher Common Meter Press on the release!

Here's the back-cover copy:
"Becoming Visible is a collection of poems by twelve Seattle-based writers. Each offers a unique perspective from their often-soggy corner of the country. From the whimsical wordplay of Gemma Maliszewski to the melancholy musings of Oscar Mejia, from Hailey Magee's erotic imagery to Lucas Van Linden's eloquent romanticism, this anthology contains something for everyone. 
Like one's first taste of fresh Northwest salmon, or view of the majesty that is Mount Rainier (Tahoma), the words and ideas within will leave an impression that lasts long after the final page has been turned." 

The book, which includes four unreleased poems from each writer, is now available for pre-order via the link below. (Until 1/31, you can enter the promo code BECOMING to get free shipping!)

https://rb.gy/a865ru

On 2/18, we'll be celebrating the anthology's release with an in-the-round style performance at Seattle's Rabbitbox Theatre featuring a mixture of poetry and music (more details to come). 

The following poets will be featured in the collection: (with their Instagram handles)

Lucas Van Linden: @lucasvanlinden
Henry Wong: @h.wong_writing
Gemma Maliszewski: @jemma.malisheskey
Owl Scarey: @owl_scarey
Amy Laybourn: @laybournmusic
Andrew Drinnan: @longwaybackband
Megan Torgerson Drinnan: @megantorgerson
Nick Zettell: @showandzettell
Me
Hailey Magee: @haileypaigemagee
Erin Roth: @shruggingshoulders

Cover art by my talented sister, Ashley Zuckerberg: (@sewhotrightnow_shop)
Huge thanks to @meredithsmithpoetry and Common Meter Press! (@commonmeter)

Let the countdown begin 🕑

Good Things 

My new single, Good Things, is for anyone struggling to maintain hope in the midst of challenging circumstances. For those putting one foot in front of the other, day after day—praying for progress, searching for light, and holding onto the belief that they’ll find a way out. 

In January of 2022, I was bedridden by a health nightmare that made nerves in my hands, feet, and legs feel as though they were on fire. This was accompanied by several other symptoms; all of which, my doctors eventually determined, had been triggered by a widely recommended pharmaceutical procedure that had catapulted my immune system into an intense, self-targeting attack.

Luckily, in the months following my long-awaited diagnosis—through the courageous world of functional medicine—I was able to receive the treatment necessary to regain my active, fulfilling life. Now, almost two years later, each day without pain is a blessing, and I’m thankful I didn’t act on the nagging temptation to put a permanent end to my intense suffering.

While I was incapacitated and unable to work, most of my days were spent researching my novel condition, visiting doctors, and communicating with other people around the country who’d been injured by the same medical procedure. With almost all of my limited energy being directed toward healing, I did very little writing. Fortunately, the one song that did come out of this experience perfectly captured the duality of my thought process during the most harrowing challenge I’ve ever endured. 

Good Things is a snapshot of a person trying desperately to find motivation and meaning while locked in a body that has become a painful prison. 

Recorded, produced, and mixed at Vertigo Studios in Seattle, WA, by Brad Kaminski. 

Drums - Bruce Weitz

Bass - Chase Baldwin 

Guitar - Owen Thayer

Keys and Vocal Harmonies - Lucas Van Linden

Mastered by Blake Bickel of Dynamic Sound Service in Kalamazoo, MI.

Photo by Jon Leach (https://www.instagram.com/jonleachstreetphotos).

The song is available in the music section of this site and on all streaming services, including Spotify here:

https://open.spotify.com/artist/3q9b44LunqytGQAodE88jL

And Apple Music here:

https://music.apple.com/us/artist/alex-rasmussen/1453482855

Symptoms of the Night 

My newest single, Symptoms of the Night, is now available for download in the music section of this site and streaming on all services!

I wrote the song years ago after catching myself over-thinking the magical process of falling in love rather than giving myself fully to the experience. 

The violinist is a longtime friend and music instructor from Turkey named Gulay Sarbay who, like a comet, only passes through the United States once every few years. I was lucky to catch her on her most recent visit to record this song, which we've played live together any time she's been in Seattle. 

Recording was done at Vertigo Studios in Seattle by producer / engineer Brad Kaminski, who also played piano and drums on the track. Vocal harmonies were contributed by Fae Wiedenhoeft of the Seattle-based Celtic folk band, Seastar. Mastering was done by Blake Bickel of Dynamic Sound Service in Kalamazoo, Michigan. 

Photo by Maggie Whalen.

Spotify: https://open.spotify.com/artist/3q9b44LunqytGQAodE88jL

Apple Music: https://music.apple.com/us/artist/alex-rasmussen/1453482855

Enjoy!

Crawl 

Due to health complications (from which I've been steadily healing), this year has been the most challenging of my life. Luckily, during my darkest moments, I had some wonderful people in my corner who helped me navigate the choppy waters. This song, Crawl, is about being there for someone in their time of need. 

The video was filmed by Seattle-based singer, songwriter, and cameraman extraordinaire, Wyatt Olney. 

Enjoy!

 

Sixteen Voices 

Here's a video for an older tune of mine called "Sixteen Voices," shot, directed, and edited by the talented Wyatt Olney. 

Enjoy!

Shovels, Sweat, and a Glimmer of Hope 

How a Day of Dirty Work Changed the Life of One Homeless San Diegan


Two weeks ago, I answered a Craigslist ad for a construction job seeking applicants who were “good with a shovel.” Though my dirt-moving skills had never been officially tested, I was sure I qualified. 

After showing up to a house in San Diego’s North Park neighborhood, I started digging trenches alongside three men, one of whom was named Yoshi. As we filled wheelbarrows with earth, and took turns running them up a ramp into a ramshackle wooden trailer, Yoshi told me that he was newly homeless at 26 years old. He’d been a barista before Covid struck, and the pandemic had caused his job to dissolve. Fortunately, San Diego’s Convention Center was serving as a makeshift shelter, and Yoshi was staying there while he got back on his feet. 

When Yoshi told me he’d never done construction work before, he and I were side by side, scooting on our stomachs toward the back of a dank crawlspace. With a small jackhammer (which had to be operated almost horizontally to avoid hitting the floor a foot above us), we began digging a trench, fifteen inches deep, that was to run the perimeter of the crawlspace. Dirt from the trench was then scooped, either by gloved hand or small shovel, into a long plastic tub with a rope tied to it. Once the tub was full, either Yoshi or I would shout “Good!” to a man at the crawlspace’s entrance who would then pull the rope until the tub reached him. After this, the man would lift the tub out of the hole, dump it into a wheelbarrow, and poke his head back beneath the house to slide the empty tub across the ground to us. 

A day of this work was gruelling and monotonous. Occasionally, Yoshi or I would emerge from the house's anus for a drink of water or slice of pizza (graciously provided by the contractor). When in the crawlspace—over the rat-ta-tat of the jackhammer—we told stories and threw jokes around to lighten the mood. After what felt like an eternity, five o’clock came, so we shut off the headlamps, unplugged the jackhammer, and army-crawled toward the light at the end of the filthy hole. 

While standing in the sun, squinting so our eyes could adjust, Yoshi and I dusted ourselves off and talked about how good the impending shower was going to feel. He daydreamed aloud of his post-shift beverage. “That first beer is gonna taste so good.” Wiping his forehead, he added, “It’ll be a treat. Not like usual.” When I asked what he meant, he said that he was used to drinking out of boredom. “Or just smoking weed, sitting around, watching TV and feeling sorry for myself.” 

That night, Yoshi drank to victory, a fattened wallet, and to ease his sore muscles. I know this because I’ve worked with him several times since. After the crawlspace job, the contractor was so impressed by Yoshi’s work ethic and attitude that he hired him full-time. Yoshi and I have since moved on to another house, which we’re demo-ing with the help of a middle-aged Louisianan. 

On our lunch break the other day, between bites of a burrito, Yoshi told me that construction work—though unfamiliar, uncomfortable, and challenging—filled him with purpose. He said that he felt good at the end of each day, like he’d accomplished something. He felt like a man; and he joked that he wished he could see some of his male coworkers from the coffee shop try to swing a sledgehammer or lift a several-hundred-pound cast-iron bathtub. “They used to complain about lifting a ten-pound bag of coffee beans.” 

Yoshi said this with drywall dust caked inside his nostrils, and his statement got me thinking: If the construction job brought Yoshi such pride, maybe it’s possible that constantly challenging and exerting oneself is a cornerstone of fulfillment. 

(Before any baristas get angry with me, I respect the coffee job and know several people who love that work, but Yoshi was looking for something different. In fact, he’s even talking about starting his own construction company someday). 

We live in a society where the majority of what we need is available at the click of a button. If you want it, someone will bring it to you. If you don’t want to do it, someone will do it for you. As a result, if we feel so inclined, we are able to spend as little effort as possible on a daily basis. The reward for this conservation of energy is convenience, but there is also a law of physics that says energy cannot be created or destroyed. This being the case, is it possible that the energy we conserve must manifest in other ways? 

Maybe as swirling thoughts that target the thinker. 

Maybe as a need to lash out at someone at the grocery store, or leave a nasty Yelp review for no reason. 

Maybe a key to happiness is not hoarding one’s energy, but spending it in a helpful way—releasing it into the world—giving as much of ourselves as possible before our wick burns out and we fade away like Yoshi’s barista job. 

Obviously, we must take breaks to recharge the batteries. I’m not advocating self-induced exhaustion. But I am saying that deep satisfaction may be the result of spending our precious and finite energy on work, relationships, raising children, creating and sharing art, charity, physical activity, learning, or whatever else we might find to be worthy outlets. 

Whether or not this is a universal remedy for some of our modern-day maladies, it seems to be working for Yoshi, and that’s good enough for me.

Into the Wild 

I recently read “Into the Wild,” which is the true story of an upper-class college grad who sheds most of his possessions and travels the U.S. After two years of hitch-hiking and hopping freight trains, he wanders alone into the Alaskan wilderness, where he hunts and lives off the land for several months. Unfortunately, he eats a toxic plant and dies, but not before scrawling a potent revelation into a book he left in the abandoned bus which served as his off-the-grid home. 

In a Throeau-esque moment of clarity, Chris McCandless (or Alexander Supertramp, as he had dubbed himself) concludes that “Circumstance has no value. It is how one relates to a situation that has value. All true meaning resides in the personal relationship to a phenomenon, what it means to you.” 

Though I don’t believe that circumstances have “no value,” I do agree that immense power lies in how we choose to connect with, react to, and interpret the world and events around us. 

Contemplating this notion makes me think back to living in Nashville, when I chatted with homeless guys who sold flowers on Broadway that were ten times happier—and more enjoyable to be around—than some of the more materially wealthy, aspiring songwriters who were in town trying to “make it” on Mommy and Daddy’s dime. 

My job at that time was driving a pedicab around Music City, and I remember one Tuesday night, downtown, a coworker pulled up beside me to complain about how slow the night was. As the words left his mouth, another pedicabber sped past with four drunk guys crowded on the back of the bike, hooting, hollering, and headed for the strip club (which gave cabbies a payout per body we could get in the door). On that ride alone—fifteen minutes of work—the driver made at least sixty bucks. 

Those two coworkers had the same circumstances that night, but vastly different outcomes based on their mindsets and actions, their “relationship to the phenomenon.” 

I love thinking about how this concept relates to my life, about what could be done to improve my own mindset and which behaviors could be adopted to facilitate further growth. Then I think about the collective beliefs and actions of our country, the world... 

We’ve all been on the receiving end of the interpretation game as well. In my experience, people are especially expressive when I’m street performing. Out there in the human jungle—with minimal boundaries, rules, or supervision—I become a blank canvas onto which people project their inner worlds. I’ve had folks tell me that a song I played made their day; or they might email later to say that the book they’d purchased from me touched their lives. I’ve also had people spit on me, call me a beggar, or try to rob me. 

Same circumstances: a guy with his guitar and books, different responses. 

Attitude's influence over our experience fascinates me, as does the spectrum of outcomes, the symphony of perspectives. 

Sometimes in harmony. Sometimes discordant and clashing. 

But we play on, regardless, like that band on the Titanic.

Make it Real 

Announcing the release of five new songs to help kick off your summer! 

My latest EP, Make it Real, is now available in the music section of this site and on all streaming services. 
Massive gratitude to the skilled team that brought these tunes to life. With the exception of fiddle, vocal harmonies, and a few auxiliary instruments, the band and I tracked everything live, which gave the session an exciting energy. 

The idea to record as musicians had "back in the day" came from Sheldon Gomberg, who produced, engineered, and mixed the EP at The Carriage House in Los Angeles. 

Also engineering were Bill Mims, Mirza Sheriff, Jason Gossman, and Johnnie Burik. 

Drums - Jimmy Paxson 
Bass - Chase Baldwin 
Fiddle / Vocal harmonies - Sara Watkins 
Guitar / Lap Steel - Ben Peeler 
Keys - Chris Joyner 

Mastered by Blake Bickel at Dynamic Sound Service. 

Spotify link is here:

https://open.spotify.com/artist/3q9b44LunqytGQAodE88jL

Enjoy!

Back to Nashville 

I'm thrilled to announce the release of Back to Nashville, the first single from my forthcoming EP. 

The song was written two years back while speeding down I-65, headed for Music City, which would become my home-base for eight months and serve as the setting for one of the most inspiring, challenging, and growth-inducing chapters of my life. 

Produced, engineered, and mixed by Sheldon Gomberg at The Carriage House in Los Angeles.

Also engineered by Bill Mims, Mirza Sheriff, Jason Gossman, and Johnnie Burik. 

Drums - Jimmy Paxson 
Bass - Chase Baldwin 
Fiddle / Harmonies - Sara Watkins 
Guitar / Lap Steel - Ben Peeler 
Keys - Chris Joyner 

Mastered by Blake Francis Bickel at Dynamic Sound Service. 

The song is available on all streaming services and in the site-wide audio player below.

Enjoy!