Finality

        Well ...Here it is. The EP as an entirety is now available. Marked by the final release of its last song No Damn Good. Im excited to share this song work with you. Poignant and provocative , revealing yet ambiguous , No Damn Good is a song that reflects a perspective of where we are today in society. I feel its up to the listener to put there own meaning to it though.  What I will say is I just love this song.  Producing it was a blast because of all the changes. Changes of attitude and latitudes ( yes a Jimmy Buffet reference. Don't judge me . Im not a parrot head) keep this song of 4 minutes and 54 seconds moving along like a well crafted prog rock piece from the 70s . A mix of moody groove and uplifting empowerment. 

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   I conceived  No Damn Good  many moons ago in another place in my life. Mentally, physically ,and geographically. It was directly inspired by a line drawing cartoon , and accompanying slogan,   by William Steig. The same man who created Shrek. The picture of the man in a box just really resonated in me. I acquired a print of it from my great uncle's house when we were clearing it out after his death. I framed it and had it on my studio wall. It later became the album cover to Modern Exile's ( first line up circa 2006)  first EP. 

         It was to become also one of the last songs Modern Exile ( the latest line up circa 2013)  started to work on. Alas the band broke up and it was never finished. It was a song I new would really pop if it was produced right. I think we did a bang up job with it. With the help of Steve , Brett , and Dustin two additional parts were added to the "old" arrangement creating a bridge of sorts to contrast the groove of the other main parts . It was recorded live  , like all of these songs , and some performances were kept from the live take , the bass and my original guitar part , the rest were overdubbed. 

      If anything this song just grooves and rocks and grooves..I cant help but dance to it..I hope you also get the jitterbug from it. 

   

The Obligatory Plateau

       Well. We always find our way here. The Plateau. That point where it seems like you are standing still. You reached a peak. Is it the highest point? Will you be able to reach the next rung on the ladder of life? Having been on this plane of existence for a while now I am able to look back at a lifetime of events. Loss and gain. Goals achieved. Castles built and destroyed. Walls scaled. Mountains raised and crumble. Regardless time is constant and is defined by change. No matter where we find ourselves one thing is for sure is that unless your on your death bed ( who knows if death is an end) there is still potential for that next highest point to be under your feet. We grow old, but with that are blessed with wisdom . Flowers shrivel yet pollen and seed is carried to new heights. Old habits give way to new ones. 

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      I think about my humble beginnings. And I see where I am now. I like to think I'm still "beginning". Looking back though I can say things are and were good. If this is my place to rest and peer out wondering, its not a bad view at all. 

     Plateau was written a handful of years ago. That time one could call mid life. Gray hair, aches and pains, thoughts of inadequacy, childhood dreams fade to adult perspective.  Like so many of my songs they are conceived and filed away until the right moment they can blossom. As an idea they are in existence. Living humbly on the shelf. Then at any time they can become something more. From there maybe something even greater to a listener. 

   Eventually like every good song does , Plateau found its way back to the forefront of my musical endeavors. Two years ago ( man its been a long time since ) I was invited by Brett to come up to Catapult Sound where he works and record Plateau and Taking Time with drummer Paul Ramsey of Echolyn  ( Brett is also in Echolyn) . We tracked piano, drums , and bass that day. I thought it was a great start to my solo recordings. But alas ,post that initial session , the progress went slow. Mainly cuz my other musical endeavors were keeping me busy. As the days , weeks and , months went by I poked at the tunes a bit here and there. Eventually Plateau found its way to completion when the recording of this EP took a leap forward. This tune is unique too the EP because sans the drums , I play and sing everything . My favorite being the EBow part in the bridge and outro. 

  Anyway, Just when I thought this EP wouldn't happen, in walked a killer rhythm section , Dustin  and Steve, to compliment what Brett and I were already working towards. Creating a musical force like none I have had yet. Once again I can say "If this is the best it gets, well then thats just fine."  "But , whats that gleaming precipice in the distance..Lets take that leap ."  

I Will Sing For You

We would be rich if we had a nickel for every time, as we walk out of the bedroom door, look back at our sleeping lover and wish to crawl back in to bed with them. Many times it would have been a wise choice. But alas, this is mostly wishful thinking. Our lives do not allow for such ability to make luxurious last minute decisions like that. 

 To You is inspired by just that. The image of her still sleeping soundly..or maybe an eye cracks open with soft words of encouragement for the day.  A blatantly obvious ballad of a love song, I felt it was a good contrast to the previous song Calloused Hands. Where the latter speaks of continuous cycle ,To You is a motion to stop..if only for a few moments. 

  The recording of this song was a bit challenging..mainly do to its simplicity. Everything had to be just right. The right amount of sound and space. The right groove. The right air . This recording was done as a live piece that then was dismantled to make room for overdubs and crafty production. Matt Urban graced us with his drumming and Mike Pappas added some color with piano. Brett Kull did wondrous work on the electric guitars, organ, strings, and second acoustic. Myself played the bass, sang and played the main acoustic also adding some electric guitar licks during the chorus. The first mix we did totally missed the mark . It was evident till a couple days after the mix session. I promptly deconstructed the mix and started over. What you hear is the second fresh mix. Which was immediately better than the first..Well..its a process.. Sometimes a never ending one. 

   Next time He or She asks out of the blue to stay..Stay. Put our daily " Process" on hold..if only for a moment. 

Calloused Hands

This is a relatively new composition compared to others on this forthcoming EP. I remember the day well when it was conceived. I had just moved to Landenberg , Pa . My recording gear was set up in a spare bedroom awaiting Captured Sound ver. 5 to be complete. I had my Yamaha P-90 piano infant of me . The mixer infront of that. Protools was up and running with a blank template. An instrument track was armed with a soft synth .I started ponding out a line on the piano which became a bass line. I added a programmed drum track.  A flute part and organ followed suit. Before I knew it I had a fledgling song that required lyrics. Behold! Laying on the console was just that. A piece of paper containing most of the songs lyrics. Words of the cycle of the universe we live in. A child grows to adulthood. to have children. To pass on their legacy to only then pass on. " Paving the way for those who follow" . The cycle repeats. As I began to sing them it was as if they were waiting for the music I just wrote. 

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Eventually I got bored with the electronic drums. It wasn't my M.O. to be that electronica with my music. I employed Steve to come over and lay down real drums which enhanced the track greatly. That was 3 yrs ago in spring. The song was in queue to be included on this EP. But when Brett , Dustin , and Steve listened to my "Demo" during a session for a different song we decided we together could make it a lot better. I whole heartedly agreed. I knew the mixing of these musicians prowess would give us a product 10 fold what it was. In the end I believe it came out 11 times better. My friends...I give you Calloused Hands

Ladies and Gentelmen!

Finally, it's here. Releasing my music to the world. I invite you all to listen to my first solo tune to ever be released... FIRST NIGHT.  It's a song I wrote many many moons ago. In a different place and stage of my life. I recorded a demo of it with my friend Mike Ciccaglione on drums back in my old house in Christiana, DE. I had a barn that I finished the top floor to put my studio gear in. It was always hot as the devil's kitchen in the summer and barely warm in the winter with the help of space heaters. I wrote and recorded many a song in that barn. Most were just shelved. Some recorded works were of my bands at the time, Modern Exile and The Rising, as well as friend's bands for a little scratch.

 The Barn - Captured Sound ver 3

The Barn - Captured Sound ver 3

    Fast forward, probably ten years or so, FIRST NIGHT still wandered the halls of my brain.  It still found its way into my afternoon front porch acoustic repertoire, and even making its way into the few solo performances I've done. I always did love the song. Just never felt it the right time to record and release it. But after the first recording session in Captured Sound... version 5... with Brett, Dustin, and Steve, we all felt it to be a strong contender for the EP. Maybe even the debut single. Dustin's killer bass line idea gave it a Motown feel. Brett matched his line giving it a sound the Four Tops would have dug. Steve's drum beat was solid and soulful taking it on a journey like a true maestro . The parts inspired me to add the caribbean guitar strumming. We did about three sessions till we got a take we liked. In fact the take that was used is, sans the vocals, all done live in one solid continuous take. Just as I was hoping we could do.