All These Lights is near and dear to me, and represents years of collaboration, joy, and friendship.

In 2007 I was living in a studio apartment in SF CA. I had a green sofa bed, a mammoth size desk chair, and a modest home studio set-up powered by an Apple Powerbook, and I spent most of my time writing. (Nearly all of the songs on Daze of Love were written here). I demoed a ton of material, much of which is currently unreleased including a short 3-verse tune originally called Out of Me Out of You. I loved this song. Something about it stuck with me more deeply and lasting than others. Despite it's simplicity, I felt sure that it had something to offer...

My friend Todd Howard is a bit of musical genius. His ear for harmony, variations, and emotional story-telling is unmatched. And, he also rocks. Hard. In 2007 Todd was living in Williamstown Ma with his equally special wife Erika, working and recording from his home studio. We'd already shared a few years of music, and I knew he could get behind my new song so I sent him my demo and made a passing suggestion that maybe the song could be it's simple three verses, and then grow into something bigger. Like a landscape that you see first through the corner of your eye that tells you to turn, look, wait, and as it widens into view you feel as though you're seeing the entire world at once, in one magnificant frame. Something like that, I said. Let's make it sound like that...

What transpired was a truly unique (for me) experience. Todd and I swapped Out of Me Out of You back and forth, across 3,000 miles, a number of times. We discussed arrangemets and ideas, and as we deliberated Todd recorded scratch takes of guitars, bass, and synth percussion. The following year in 2008 I visited Massachusetts. We took the opportunity to take our arrangement and record the song from scratch. We built it piece by piece in a matter of days, inviting in the voice of a our dear friend Sarah McNair and Todd's deeply musical mom Sandi Anderson to provide the beautiful harmonies that come in during the final section of the song. It was a magical session and to this day is one of my favorite musical experiences...

Don Gunn is a crazy studio man, in the best possible way. He runs his engineering/production company in Seattle Wa, and has a CV that is beyond impressive. He is one of Todd's most important musical partners, and (as I came to learn for myself) a very creative and eclectic percusionist. He also rocks. In early 2014 as I was combing through an overflowing folder of unreleased material, I came across the song that Todd and I had had so much fun working on. I listened, remembering the project fondly, finding myself with the same feeling I'd had years before. That this was a keeper. Worth getting out there. But it needed more. It needed a fresh pair of ears and a killer drummer. So, I sent it to Don. And Don delivered...

And then I renamed the song to All These Lights. And to me, it sounds just like the landscape I'd originally dreamt of.

This is what I know- some creative projects are for process, and some are for process and resolution. This has been one 8+ year project that I am happy to say is done, that can live out in the world of public art.

*Credits: “All These Lights” written by Karmen Buttler. Arranged and produced by Karmen, Todd Howard and Don Gunn Engineered by Todd Howard and Don Gunn. Mixed and mastered by Don Gunn. Album artwork by Mark Neely

Karmen (vocals, acoustic guitars)

Todd Howard (electric guitars, bass)

Don Gunn (percussion)

Sarah McNair and Sandi Anderson (Vocal Harmonies.