A new release is always a thrill and this one has been a long time coming. I had the pleasure of working with Keith on this collection, co- writing and producing 2 of the songs here.
“Trial Of The Century” features one of my favorite singer songwriters, Chris Merola. Chris has been active in the NY Americana scene since the beginning and he continues to record and perform with his band Tumbleweed Mile.
Jeff Young sings “Bank Of Worry” with the soulfulness that he is well known for and, like Chris, is great to hang out with in the studio.
I also had the opportunity to mix some of the songs with Keith and was completely blown away by the vocals of Maya Saxell.
The eclectic nature of this album is an anomaly in today’s musical landscape…which I like.
So back in the day, when I was an aspiring musician/songwriter, I looked for the closest recording studio to where I lived..and it was almost walking distance..Willowmill Recording.
It was in a converted garage of Gilbert Jullien’s house and it was outfitted the remnants of the Track Recording’s studio (API/Ampex) . I was so green at the time that I had no idea of even what those names meant. The asking price there for 8 track 1 Inch recording at the time was $ 25 an hour so I booked the session and brought my brother Rob and our drummer in to record a song. When I inquired whether Gilbert might have some better mics (like a Teac or Tascam..not these WWII looking mics)..he said that all he had were these 5 Neumann U 47 Tube Mics for Vocals.
When I asked Gil for his opinion on our performance, he responded with a chuckle “Compared to what..?”. I was naturally incensed and I vowed two things then and there..
1. I am learning how to do this, it can’t be that hard..
2. I am NEVER paying for this again.
Two months later, Gilbert wound up turning the studio over to me to run and wound up being a great mentor and friend…and one of the people that I can truly call a Genius…as well as introducing me to Franco Falsini.
Adele recently stated that if she hasn’t lived the experience in her song, she can’t sing it. And so it follows that if she wouldn’t WRITE a songs without having experienced those events and feelings.
While I am a big fan of her singing and songwriting, I hope that beginner songwriters don’t take this path as the ONLY way to write a “real” song.
One of my favorite songs, “Angel From Montgomery”, was written by a young John Prine and the first line is “I am an old woman”. Warren Zevon is an undercover spy in Central America in “Lawyers,Guns and Money” and a suicidal junkie in “Carmelita”. John Lennon sang “I am the Walrus”. John Hiatt was behind bars in “Tennessee Plates”. And are we to believe that Johnny Cash really “shot a man in Reno just watch him die”?
Confessional, personal songwriting is nothing new…think of Joni Mitchell and Jackson Browne. But they wrote lots of other kinds of songs as well. If you limit your songwriting to your own experiences and feelings, you had better be leading the life of Candide.