Wednesday, April 29, 2015

Track 10 I Should Have Loved You Better

Track 10 I Should Have Loved You Better

More taste of ambient soft synth rock this time with a psychedelic feel to it. The song is about reminiscing after a bad relationship, admitting your faults, and remembering that even if that person is no longer with you they were something very special and that part never goes away. This becomes clear after time and “as the bitterness washes away.” Looking back I think I should have been more loving in this relationship. It isn't so much about wanting someone back but admitting to yourself there was something that you keep and many lessons learned. Although if that is the way the lyrics speak to you as the listener that's perfectly alright. There is some bright electric guitar and a solo at the end. Kind of like the cherry on top of the ice cream. There are seven different synth tracks and some airy flute behind it to give it an even more psychedelic feel to it.

Next up track 11 Bad News

Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Track 9 My Cherished One

Track 9 My Cherished One

This is another soft rock song on the album. It has an ambient sound with the flute guitar and piano and trance vocals. This song is for those couples who have been together for a long time and look back at their lives. You know when that person means the world to you. I approached this song from that point of view. This is what love should be and I think you're pretty blessed if you look back on your life and this song is exactly how you feel. At the time it was written my parents had just had their 50th wedding anniversary.

Next up track 10 I Should Have Loved You Better

Monday, April 27, 2015

Track 8 Gone Fishin'

Track 8 Gone Fishin'

A friend of mine from Aurora, NY lost his father five years ago. He wanted to write a song for him and came to me for help. At first I was just going to write lyrics but in the end wrote the music too. The lyrics are about the bond father and son had while participating in their favorite pass-time... fishing. The lyrics tell the story of their bond and how in good times and bad they found themselves fishing. This song was an attempt at writing a country song which turned into an acoustic rock song. The amazing solo written by Jeffrey Koval​ made the mood of this song as sweet and sorrow. Get your lighters out, it's ballad time and a salute to all the rad dads

Next up track 9 My Cherished One

Saturday, April 25, 2015

Track 7 Gray Tommorrow

Track 7 Gray Tomorrow

Lola returns on vocals on this dark piano rock song with a unique violin solo. The song is about living with someone with depression. It turns from a minor to A major in the bridge as it turns from sadness to hope that there will be a day like when the relationship started when there were good times. This song can apply to a lot of mental illnesses but, as a writer, for me it was dealing with an alcoholic and depressed person.

Andrea Young comes in on violin and viola on this song. The strings come in at the solo and are present from then until the end of the song as if they are singing and pleading for better days. Andrea is another artist I hand picked after hearing her play a gig in Nashville. Though she is mostly a country violinist I thought she could also be a rock violinist and provide the unique sound that I ask of all musicians who collaborate with me. I think you'll agree she was the perfect choice for this solo providing the emotion I needed for this song. It's beautiful yet dark, it's sad yet hopeful. Andrea has also worked with me on some jazz music and we have some blues songs in the works. The next album “Lonely Band of Misfits” will have some more violin including an experimental violin in a metal song. Don't know if that will work out but I'm going to give it a try.

Next up track 8 Gone Fishin'

Track 6 Hourglass

Track 6 Hourglass

After the metal sounds of Full Moon we slow it down and bring Lola back on vocals for and this song is a ambient feel fitting the mood of the subject of the song. The lyrics turn to a more serious tone also. The subject is what we all can't control... the passing of time. At one point in my life I had a serious illness and I was faced with a lot of questions like “have I done and said all I had to?” and “did I live the life I thought I should have?”. The lyrics were molded out of another poem I wrote about the frustration we all face with the passing of time. It's a dreamy song with the piano synth and guitar added to Lola's vocals that are naturally ambient. One thing I always write into the lyrics are to challenges all of us and this one is to evaluate your life and for you to make changes and do the things you want before it's too late. As for my illness I got a second chance but none of us knows when it will be over. Savor life

Next up Track 7 Gray Tomorrow

Sunday, April 19, 2015

Track 5 Full Moon

The next song on Concrete Roses for Soft Hearts is Track 5 Full Moon

Full Moon is the first of two metal tracks on the album. I was into hair bands growing up so this song was a delight to do. I also introduce my rough metal vocals on this song entirely different than the vocals done on any other song to this point. The record goes heavy once again before moving to a soft rock feel in the songs that follow. When I approached writing this song the first thing that came into my mind was how to write a song that Beavis and Butthead would get up in front of the TV and headbang to. The lyrics have to be about sex and there has to be screaming guitar licks in front of lots of distorted guitar. This is what I came up with! Huh hu huh hu.. That was cool! Yeah it rocks, it rocks yeah yeah. Jeff did all the guitars on this song and Wes McCraw did the drums offering up the perfect metal feel to it. The cherry on top was the cowbell. Horns Up!

Next up track 6 Hourglass

Also Last night I made an announcement about my next poetry book at my feature reading and if you weren't there you missed it. So making the announcement today on FB today. (drum roll) I was accepted for publication by The Poet's Haven and the book will be published later this year. As soon as we have a release date nailed down we'll let everyone know. It will be available online at the Poet's Haven boutique and if you catch one of my shows it will be on sale there or any Poet's Haven shows . After it's released of course. "Innocence Lost" is a look into the mind of an artist it's celebrating what makes an artist tick. For this reason Poet's Haven was the perfect choice when I decided to look for a publisher for this book. Vertigo, the owner of Poet's Haven, has done so much to support the poetry community over the years it was the perfect fit for this book. There will also be a new poetry album this year too. We are hoping to begin production on this June or July.

Lots of cool stuff coming your way folks, stay tuned

Sunday, April 12, 2015

Track 4 All I Can Do Featuring Lola de Hanna

Track 4 All I Can Do Featuring Lola de Hanna

Track 4 takes a dark turn from the bright and happy songs that proceeded it. It also has a deep meaning about a dark tragedy in the history of this country. The senseless loss of life at Sandy Hook Elementary School. The song is about frustration and trying to find hope after such a horrible tragedy. The day I learned of what happened I felt a lot of anger and frustration with the stupidity and ugliness of human nature. It didn't stop at the shooting, public officials lied about the circumstances and politicians made sure they took advantage of the tragedy to further their agendas and narcissism. All this just before Christmas which was a time for peace, hope, and love. I wanted to lose faith and as a songwriter I have a belief that my words can change the world in some small way and that day, as the news reports came in, I was as helpless as anyone else. I later learned the motive behind it and it was pure jealousy and selfishness, this is beyond comprehension to me how you can become so dark as to destroy the gift of life yet this world is filled with the devaluation of life, we see it every day and not enough of us are trying to change it yet it is so simple. This is this song in a nutshell. I hope the listener stops to consider that we are one but part of a large world and every life is a gift from the heavens and should always be treated as such. There have been many tragedies just like this one since then but the recurring theme is that life, even their own, has little value to those committing these horrible acts. Life is more precious than any possession, any dollar amount, any position of power and until we as humans take this to heart we will not know peace. Candles can only fade if we allow them to blow out. We've all heard this before but the lessons of life will be repeated again until we take it to heart.

Musically this song takes a turn just like the lyrics and feel of the record. The key of B gave me lots of mystic, ambient chords to work with and I used every chord in the key. It's bright at moments and dark just like the lyrics. At the urging of Scott Hanson, who helped us out when recording at his studio in Cleveland, OH, suggested I speak the verses poetically instead of singing. The key was out of my vocal range and creating a melody became difficult but the spoken vocals were the best thing for the song so fate helped out with that. The spoken vocals really project the numb feeling that I felt that night. Lola comes in the chorus and gives the emotional response of the frustration and in the last chorus of the hope. Scott Hanson also helped out with some really sweet and rhythmic acoustic guitar that added a layer of hope into the choruses and solo section. This is the most complicated song on an album of complicated songs but the instruments and vocals just magically fell together.

Next up Track 5 Full Moon

Tuesday, April 7, 2015

Track 3 Rock Star

Track 3 Rock Star

With a title like “Rock Star” you'd think this song would be about partying and living the life of a rock star. Instead, it's a love song. It's got plenty of guitar and a trance style of vocals. If your girlfriend, wife , fiance is totally awesome then they are a rock star to you. That's really the simple message in this song . It has a wicked synth solo in it too.

The guitarist on this song and every song on the album is Jeff Koval. I chose him for his ability to adapt to my many changing styles from a deep bluesy feel of the solo in “I Should Have Loved You Better” to killer metal licks in “Full Moon” and the fuzzy chunk guitar and ambient feel in this song. Jeff and I go back to our high school days in band. He later went on to be the lead guitarist in The Fifth Wheel touring all over the country and producing two studio albums before become an engineer in Nashville working with the likes of Kenny Olsen (Kid Rock) and Hobo Jim and hundreds of other big name acts. He's engineered all of my album projects.

Next up All I Can Do

Friday, April 3, 2015

Track 2 Waiting on You featuing Lola de Hanna

Track 2
Waiting on You featuring Lola de Hanna

After “Natalie's Song” track 2 “Waiting on You” comes along and introduces you to the heavier side . This song is crafty composition that takes you off the beaten path to a world far from three chords and a I, IV, V progression. My classical and jazz training brought me to this path and it's what you'll hear throughout the album. In fact, the typical method of pop, rock song structure is far off my radar and it's a song structure I rarely use. The listener is also introduced to Lola de Hanna the vocalist and her unique ambient voice. We move from the acoustic airy sound of “Natalie's Song” to a gritty guitar and more aggressive flute. Lola's vocals add a bright pretty side of a darker sounding instrumentation. The lyrics were inspired by wandering thoughts in my head, I hear so many people say “Where have you been all my life?” They say this to “the one” when they find that special person. I know the feeling and I thought it would make a great song. It's about desperation, frustration, hope, loneliness, impatience... in other words the feeling of waiting for love, Waiting on You. Jeff Koval returns on guitar this time with a heavier gritty sound.

All the performers on the album were chosen carefully and they all bring a special sound and a special energy to the song they are performing on as they do to the group as a whole. This track you hear Lola for the first of four songs she appears on the album. When I first heard her sing I knew immediately I wanted to write songs for her to sing It is a majestic, mysterious, ambient voice that draws you in and it sounds a little different against a synth, acoustic guitar, or electric guitar. As I began to work with her it became clear she was more than a one dimensional singer. She has a vast, natural understanding of many different styles of music and a perfect fit me since I write in so many different styles and genres. She keeps up with every song without blinking. She has also appeared in my jazz group On Dante with amazing vocals on the track “Queen of Diamonds.” Even more plans are in the works for her to sing including some metal, deep house dance, blues, jazz, and more alternative rock. I'm know for my unique instrumentation and that extends to the voice . In one of the songs I'm writing for her to sing in the future she and the flute will talk back and forth with each other matching harmonies and rhythms. Stay tuned

Next up Rock Star