I am often asked about the meaning of… “How music can be used to strip away our fractured lifestyles, and reconnect us to what it means to be human”.
Fractured lifestyles are the result when we are inundated by conflicting messages and/or when we often do one thing, while thinking about something else. These not only impede our conscious thought but more and more result in a disconnecting of our minds from our hearts. This takes us farther away from our instinctive being and nature, and we end up emotionally crippled and starved for humanness.
What it means to be human…
Learning what things are human nature and which are not. Human nature is highly subjective or highly dependent on characteristics which are derived from, and within, our cultures. Although we are born human, we grow up and must learn what it means to be human.
Learning to distinguish between unhealthy thought and wired thought. For example, evolution has wired us to rationalize decisions and unfortunate events. This is a defense mechanism, or an internal way of letting things go and moving on… it has value. However, to rationalize bad behavior would be unhealthy.
Once you identify what it means to be human to you, reconnecting can begin. Once you reconnect, you can work on ways to be better; sharing, being in the moment, being compassionate and living in harmony with our world… what it means to be human!
When we recorded the drums, we had the best room we could find and two great Engineers (Songwerks Studio = Robert Mackey & Greg Warnecke). Then, as we recorded the instruments, we had multiple microphones on each (Songbird had mostly one on each instrument). For the guitars, I added a Taylor 814 and a Gibson SG, that I searched extensively throughout multiple states to find. This greatly enhanced the sound of the guitars on each song.
I found Four great new vocalists…Flannery, Frosty, Cortney and Lori. This allowed me great flexibility to match their voices to the tones that best fit each song.
The rest of the tracks were added and selected, with the great ear of IV Lab’s Mike Sportiello… who sent the tracks over to Brian Zieske (Off Axis Audio). Brian then applied his talents to all these extra tracks, that he did not have when he worked on Songbird.
The result was a superior recording!
First, It starts with the writing. With better angels, I found it took less time to write the lyrics. When I noticed that, I was concerned that I was not giving them the attention that I had given previous material. Now however, I see they actually have as much or more meaning.
Also, In the past, sometimes I would write and purposely change words so that I would leave the meaning more open to interpretation by the listener. I thought this was better than focusing on a particular meaning…maybe it is. Now however, I do not intentionally do that and yet, I find the words to be working on several levels without purposeful intent on my part…I must be improving.
The new Album “Better Angels” is now released! It was over a year in the making and required two different recording studios.
Better rooms, sound wise, were available and more tracks were used to record the instruments. This allowed the sound engineers more flexibility. Listeners should be able to notice the advantages(technically)from previously released material. There is more depth to the recording and more resonance in each of the songs.
There are other reasons why this recording is better…I will cover these in future posts!
The new album will sound similar to Songbird. The songs themselves may be more of a mixture of Acoustic and Electric, as Songbird songs were more one or the other.
As far as the material, in general, it should be as good or better…probably better. Also, it should be the same people. I am thinking of a 2017 release!
In My Dreams was a song that I believed in from the start. Every new song is a favorite, for some period of time, but this one was always going to make it to the studio no matter what.
By the time I had the instrument tracks finished, it was a surprise to anyone who laid the final tracks because of all the additional arrangements. So in addition to being a favorite, at its core, it grew into a song that could carry the number two spot on the CD!
Home is a song about my actual home… the town where I live. A popular writer, born in my town, once said that it is a place of “wide lawns and narrow minds”. I thought I would use the wide lawns.
Listen to “Home” on YouTube.
Originally, the verse was a single vocal (me). While recording, Abby sang an echo to each line of the verse. Then, she added a second vocal to her part and it sounded great! So this song definitely became a better song in the studio.
Then we went to mix. When I had heard the first mix I asked why the second guitar was not audible. I was told there was no second guitar (turns out the second guitar was accidentally left out from the mix tracks). It worked however, so we left the song with one guitar. So this song became a better song in the mix also!
Listen to “Home” on Youtube.
We have worked on about half of the material that will appear on the next album. I still have to finish writing the other half of the songs. The material is strong and of course …emotional.
Production will probably begin in the Fall, or perhaps just after.
Listen to “After All” on YouTube.
We knew After All was a special song the first time we played it together. Not only was it well written but the progression of the story compliments the slow dynamic and crescendo, musically, at the end of the song.
I recall when we played it live as soon as we could. We opened the show with me telling the audience that we had a brand new song that we were going to play for the first time. I said it may come out a little raw but we really like it so … Turns out it was one of those times when half way through the song the room went quiet (one of my favorite audience responses)!
Listen on YouTube: “After All”