I have always wanted to do an album of songs in this musical mode, a style that combines many of my influences. The lyrical twists of Bob Dylan, the out-there pop of Brian Eno, the melodiousness of John Lennon, the spiritual metaphors of William Blake, the jingle-jangle guitars of the Byrds and Buffalo Springfield, the stately dreamscape of the Velvet Underground, the up-front realness of Hank Williams. Toss in some subtle ABBA inspiration and drive all of it with compelling drums and atypical background voices. I used this recipe to create a timeless sound. I wrote most of these songs, either by myself or in collaboration with some of my favorite musical friends, over the last 5 or so years. A couple of songs are adapted from some of my old melodies. My friends contributed greatly to the sound of the album.
I wanted the songs to be personal as well as observational, attempting to explore WHY we are where we are and HOW we got here. Obviously a deep philosphical well to dive into, but nonetheless that is where the muse took me.
Asking myself WHERE is all this peace of mind spoken of by the great teachers? ? ? After all, what is done cannot be undone, what is seen cannot be unseen. There is no rewinding the videotape to do it over again. Is this just a pointless game or did all the experiences which created NOW have larger meaning and purpose?
I was trying to put some things in their proper perspective and trying to send some old ghosts to their final resting place, so........ I put all these ideas and concepts in the context of catchy pop/rock songs, probably should have written a book....
And I sang these songs with visions of all the great music that I have heard in my life and a sense of what has spoken to me. I am telling my own story but putting it in on the universal stage. I recorded the album in a studio that I was building as I was recording. This allowed the process to be free of outside influences or notions of the marketplace.
In search of dreams, memories, and prayers...the relative and the absolute...actuality in process.
She's the Groove opens the album with a wistful glimpse of penultimate innocence. This one is sung with a smile. Relative to the thematic structure of the album, this may seem an odd opener. It does become clear as things unfold that this song is about the longing for simplicity and purity. The Voice of Wisdom, personified by She Who Is The Groove, is standing at the city gates and every fork in the road. This song features Michael Roy on guitars and John Jules on drums, a premonition of a new Fox Pass.
True Lost Soul is a conjuring, a call to the beyond--simultaneously forgiving the past and fearing its return. Tom Hostage from Macey's Parade plays a Rickenbacker 12 string. There are many true stories here, which is too bad, if you think about it.
Junk Mail is an internal dialogue stimulated by modish make believe self-destructive affectations and pseudo mental illness. Distorto-harp emulates the cognitive dissonance. The junk mail of the mind. And 'junk' in this context has many meanings. This is a perfect example of the song creation process on this album. I originally had envisioned this as a T-Rex styled number, all based on a single chord riff. Mr. Jules came up with the neo-soul bassline, which led to bringing in my blues musician friends. The harp is played by Stephen Rosenberg, with Chris Stovall Brown on lead guitar, and his lovely wife Madeleine Hall on vocals, all noted local blues artists. I liked the idea of a new century blues number, a celebration of survival.
Cool Dreamer sings to the twilight. The dreamer who dreamed the first dream. In another moment, the beauty of the divine hand guided us into the great unknown and we were willing to be led. A brilliant 12 string performance by Tom Hostage, layering a symphony of guitars. We wrote this on an island in Casco Bay and then recorded the 12 string during a lightning storm. Ron Rizzo adds a church organ that blends perfectly with the choir-like singing of Mimi Rohlfing and Mary Hott.
Into the Silence arrives at the unchanged defining moment (again). I found myself in the leading role of an archetypal dilemma, one which seems to endlessly repeat itself throughout my life in various forms. Christina Bradley lends her soft and sighing evocation to this lament.
The One in My Dreams inculcates transformation into mystical pop. "She is the love supreme." Through a noise machine. Ron Doty and I were playing an electric acoustic guitar through a wacky reverb unit and came up with this piece about nocturnal visitations. A rare background vocal by Doty near the end of the tune.
Wasted On You is a cheeky response to the latent realization that the true conflict was within oneself all along. Fox Pass revisited again, Michael and I wrote this for Mary Lou Lord, but she didn't record it, so I did. The lyric is a hard look in the mirror (an old one).
Kaileigh is a tune about the turning point. As the twig is bent, so grows the tree. Praying to avoid the retribution that has already come. Based on a sad true story that I witnessed. If you ever want to know the story, ask me. Jules, Roy and Macey ride again.
Affair of the Mind ponders the hypnotic pull towards deception and regret. Wherein Christina plays the Nico role. Written by Doty and I in the mid-1980s about the illusion of dissolution, bad timing, and unrequited love.
Turn You Round is a study in the chimera of emotional safety. Friends fall back into the trap and it breaks my heart. Ron Rizzo impeccable on the single piano note and the John Cale organ drone. Brad Hallen found time to play bass on this tune, the only song I didn't.
Kittereen is the instant when the adult observer realizes what has happened to the child. "Like a ghost in her sleep." Dissociation and trance induction. Christina evokes the sense of foreboding in her vocal and Mr. Rizzo gives us the counterpoint keyboards.
Beyond the Mind, Part 1 is the quest for release from the maze. From the prison of self. Mimi Rohlfing does her behind the voice technique on this one and many others on the album. This is a melody adapted from one of the first songs I ever wrote.
Hidden Behind the Words could be the title of any one of these songs. Kittereen talking to that ghost many years later. Alternately resigned and ominous. The damage is done. An unreleased Tom Dickie and the Desires song radiated into a perplexing scenario. Tom Dickie was present and cast his spell.
This is Where You've Been is the moment of insight at depth, a form of retrospective empathy. "Ah, this is what you meant!" Sal Baglio and I wrote this in an RFI bombardment, zapping us to that moment. This is Sal on many guitars.
The Road of Destiny is for all of those who seek to see, and all of those who will never seek again…a prayer, a memory, a dream.