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Wall of Tears & Other Songs I Didn't Write

by Advance Base

  • Streaming + Download

    Includes unlimited streaming via the free Bandcamp app, plus high-quality download in MP3, FLAC and more.
    Purchasable with gift card

      $8 USD  or more


  • Compact Disc (CD) + Digital Album

    Professionally replicated CDs packaged & shrinkwrapped in heavyweight, full color, gloss print, mini-LP jackets. Cover art by Margaret Hitch, design by Jon Samuels. 10 tracks, 36 minutes.

    CD edition limited to 300 copies.

    Includes unlimited streaming of Wall of Tears & Other Songs I Didn't Write via the free Bandcamp app, plus high-quality download in MP3, FLAC and more.
    ships out within 5 days
    Purchasable with gift card

      $9 USD or more 


  • Yellow cassette tape
    Cassette + Digital Album

    200 professionally dubbed Super Ferric tapes in yellow shells imprinted with pink ink. Tapes are packaged in standard Norelco cases with full color J-cards designed by Jon Samuels. Cover art by Margaret Hitch. 10 tracks, 36 minutes.

    Includes unlimited streaming of Wall of Tears & Other Songs I Didn't Write via the free Bandcamp app, plus high-quality download in MP3, FLAC and more.

    Sold Out

One Red Rose 02:15
Mr. Chill 03:35
Solid Heart 03:44


Aside from playing Advance Base shows, the form of musical expression I’ve most desperately missed during our current era of social isolation is singing karaoke. I have a great affection for the tiny communities that come together in any dive bar or pizzeria willing to invest in a modest PA & karaoke license, united by a common compulsion to earnestly sing their favorite pop songs in front of friends & strangers, accompanied by the artifice of prerecorded electronic instrumental arrangement. Wall of Tears & Other Songs I Didn’t Write is my ode to karaoke bars & karaoke singers. Consider it an album-length karaoke performance by me, Owen Ashworth.

The ten songs on this album were written by some of my very favorite songwriters, including a few I’m lucky enough to call friends. The original recordings of these songs have been constant companions in recent years, accompanying me on late night walks & aimless drives around Chicago & its suburbs. They have all made me cry at various points as I imagined how good it would feel to sing them at karaoke.

The instrumental arrangements were performed & recorded in my Oak Park, IL basement using electronic keyboards, samplers & drum machines with the single exception of the pedal steel solo on “Love at the Five & Dime,” which was performed & recorded by Xandy Chelmis from the Asheville, NC band Wednesday. Nicholas Krgovich sang & recorded the backing vocals for that same song, & the backing vocals on “Wall of Tears” were provided by Rebecca Clay Cole, two dear friends who share my love for these songs’ original recordings.

The guitar-like tones on “Wall of Tears,” “How Can You Live…,” “Solid Heart” & “Love at the Five & Dime” (other than Xandy’s pedal steel solo) were performed on a little Korg sampling keyboard loaded with single-note recordings I made by plucking the strings of an Oscar Schmidt autoharp, run through a chain of guitar effect pedals. I call this instrument an “Oscartron.” As much as I love guitar music, I have never been a guitar player, but I have come to love the sound of the Oscartron’s eerie approximation.

My sincere thanks to the recording artists who taught these songs to me: K.T. Oslin, Lucinda Williams, Nanci Griffith, Wednesday, Iris DeMent, John Prine (times three), Dan Wriggins & Gia Margaret. Even more thanks to Matt Bachmann for lovingly mastering these recordings, & to Margaret Hitch for creating the fabulous cover art.


released September 13, 2021

All songs sung & played by Owen Ashworth
Rebecca Clay Cole- backing vocals (1)
Nicholas Krgovich- backing vocals (3)
Xandy Chelmis- pedal steel guitar (3)

Recorded & mixed by Owen Ashworth
at Advance Basement, Oak Park, IL
with additional engineering by
Rebecca Clay Cole, Nicholas Krgovich & Xandy Chelmis
September 2019 - August 2021

Mastered by Matt Bachmann

Cover art by Margaret Hitch

“Wall of Tears” written by Richard Leigh & Peter McCann
Learned from K.T. Oslin's 1987 album 80's Ladies

“Sweet Old World” written by Lucinda Williams
Learned from Lucinda Williams' 1992 album Sweet Old World

“Love at the Five & Dime” written by Nanci Griffith
Learned from Nanci Griffith's 1986 album The Last of the True Believers

“How Can You Live if You Don't Love How Can You if You Do” written by Karly Matana Hartzman
Learned from Wednesday's 2021 album Twin Plagues

“Easy’s Gettin’ Harder Every Day” written by Iris DeMent
Learned from Iris DeMent's 1994 album My Life

“One Red Rose” written by John Prine
Learned from John Prine's 1980 album Storm Windows

“Unwed Fathers” written by John Prine
Learned from John Prine's 2010 album In Person & On Stage

“Come Back To Us Barbara Lewis Hare Krishna Beauregard” written by John Prine
Learned from John Prine's 1988 album John Prine Live

“Mr. Chill” written by Dan Wriggins
Learned from Dan Wriggins' 2021 EP Mr. Chill

“Solid Heart” written by Gia Margaret
Learned from Gia Margaret's 2021 single Solid Heart

Synthesizers, samplers & drum machines used on these recordings:
Behringer Model D (1, 2, 10)
Casio SK1 (10)
Korg EMX1 (1, 3, 9)
Korg ES1 (1, 2, 3, 8, 10)
Korg ESX1 (1, 3, 4)
Korg MS1 "Oscartron" (1, 3, 4, 10)
Moog Opus 3 (4, 10)
Nord Electro 3 (2, 5, 6, 7, 8, 10)
Suzuki Omnichord OM-27 (8, 10)
Yamaha Reface CS (1, 2, 5, 9, 10)
Yamaha SU10 (4, 9)


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Advance Base

Melancholic electronic story songs made by Owen Ashworth in his basement


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