A Time to Release
Things have been a bit radio silent here for the last several weeks. It’s time you knew why.
The picture up there is from last Monday, the 28th of March. Just two days after the anniversary of my wife’s passing . . . two days past what would have been my 23rd wedding anniversary (we married young, and yes…they are the same day) I was in a recording studio.
Fancying myself a bit of a storyteller let me give you the long-winded explanation of why this is significant. It comes, essentially, in two parts.
First . . . this whole thing started in the week or so following my wife, Andrea’s death. I binge-watched in a sleepless week the entire TV series The Wire, which was good, from what I remember. Then I did something my wife disliked…I picked up a guitar, in the living room, at 3am. A song started to form and the anger and frustration I had got my blood going and in my sleepless state I had inspiration for music. All the anger and emotion flooded out and I wrote a song about where I was at.
Then the writer’s block hit. For more than a year-and-a-half I was unable to write music. It was frustrating. After that time, though, the dam burst and I was nearly prolific. The result was close to a dozen or more songs that I was constantly honing and re-recording in demo form.
Fast forward a few years . . . my oldest daughter was struggling with what her career choice would be. Deep down she wanted to do one thing but was clinging to what her mother wanted: something in the medical field. She would have been good at it, it’s a noble thing to do . . . but I knew she didn’t want to. So I told her to look at herself, her life, this was her time, after all. “Find something you love, what you’re passionate about and work really hard at it and you will be happy. Maybe not rich, but you will be fulfilled.” (Or words to that effect) My daughter turned that around on me a year later. “When are you going to do that, Dad?”
I was floored.
“You need to go into the recording studio again. You’re too good and you talk a good game . . . but don’t use us (the kids) as an excuse. Find a way.”
So I have taken my own advice.
I joined a band . . . the Ain’t Got No Time (rock and blues) Band. This is a group of some of the most talented people I know. We started gigging first, a couple free fundraisers for charity.
Then I asked them if they’d record an album with me. I even considered, at their suggestion, whether or not this could be a band album. I almost did that . . . but a couple things stopped me:
- Much of the material (most of it, in fact) helped me get through the struggles, the grief and confusion. I wrote what I felt and this was a very personal project.
- I wasn’t going to say this was “the band’s” record when I wrote all the material. These guys all write and they write amazing stuff. The world needs to hear a full band record, too. That will come later.
We started rehearsals:
And the band seriously became nearly de-facto producers of the record.
Here are the cast of characters of AGNT:
Kevin Mooney is the drummer. He basically looked up, said “who do you want this to sound like,” and counted off the beat. When we said more he gave more. When we needed a break in the song he hit it dead-on.
Eric Rosander plays bass and sings backup (at least here). He sings in an a capella group so his vocal arrangements are strong. He plays upright, and is one of the best bassists I’ve ever played with.
Matt Retz plays guitar – rhythm and lead – and sings. He and Eric arranged backup vocals for my first single that sound like a full chorus of people behind us. It simultaneously evokes gospel meets The Eagles and I’m so proud of it all. Matt took some of the reigns and helped produce an amazing three songs.
Then there’s Robert Sabino…our keyboard player…though he’s so much more. A resume that includes Bowie, Madonna, Simon and Garfunkel, Mick Jagger, and a who’s who of people from the 70’s-90’s and beyond. Rob helped so much with arrangements that made the songs so much more than I ever thought they would be. Between Rob and Matt the material didn’t just get better, it sang.
So two days in the studio, a massive amount of guitar amplification and a set of torched vocal chords by the end and I have two full songs and an acoustic instrumental that may be my proudest work so far in my life.
This was certainly something I did for me, for sure. But without this band and these people it certainly wouldn’t be the material it is. I love them all and they are truly magical people to be around.
So . . . that said . . . instead of working toward a full record and holding off, I’m so proud of this material I’m going to release a single in the coming weeks. I am simply waiting on the publishing and copyright paperwork to clear.
Stay tuned for updates . . . hopefully the term “radio silence” will not be applicable is so many more ways.