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THAT SWEET GOOD LOVIN – Track 7

Last month I kicked off my “Listening Series” with album tracks one through last weeks track six CRAZY FOR YOU where I give insight to each song from my new album ‘Where We Are’ diving deep to reflect back bringing to surface my thoughts and emotions when writing and recording it. This week we move on to album track seven – THAT SWEET GOOD LOVIN.

We had a lot of fun during these recording sessions and with help from everyone involved, their reflections and contributions I hope you enjoy this ongoing series track by track below.

INSPIRATION Its source is unknown. Sometimes you’re just standing in the shower, other times you’re reading a book or watching TV late at night alone in a hotel room. It’s not conscious, it sneaks up on you, and then your goal is to capture the moment. I learned not to second guess myself that’s when you’ll lose it. When inspiration hits you’ve got to run on instinct getting that inspiration down.

This happened New Years Eve going into 2013 long before the idea of recording another album and after my fifth album ‘Is This The Plan’ was released. It wasn’t for nearly 12 months I had written down any lyrics or wrote any songs. Creatively bankrupt. So in retrospect it’s safe to say this is probably one of the first songs written for ‘Where We Are’.

I’m not sure I can really dive any deeper into the meaning when the words speak so clear as to what we’ve all related to one time or another, or maybe it’s just me speaking for myself? (…though I can’t imagine so)

I need love… Some good, good lovin
I need love… That sweet good lovin

Who doesn’t want it, who doesn’t need it? but then…

Why does it come and go
No one really knows
When here you don’t let it go

Of that love… That sweet good lovin
Of that love… That good, good lovin

How can it be so hard
So hard to hold on to
That sweet good love

I need love… Some good, good lovin
I need love… That sweet good lovin

Take my hand and hold on
Don’t ever let it go

I waited to release this song during summer. I recall Jon (Bass) saying when I was in doubt about recording this for the album, “dude this song just has such a cool summer vibe to it. You have to put it on there and release it in summer or I’m not finishing the album with you!” If you knew Jon his sarcasm runs wild but I really think he was serious that time.

Between being one of his favorite songs and putting Chris through the ringer on drums with the shaker stick workout that nearly crippled him for life. (hahaha…see video for yourself: Drummin Fun) I owed it to them for the time we put in on it. Way to bring it to the table the awesome vibe and rhythm boyz. You really made this song what it is, just a feel good song.

When I look back at some of the live video footage of us recording this in the studio I see a bunch of guys just having a damn good time recording this song. That’s what it’s all about in the end. I’ll always remember the laughter and fun times with this one for sure, brings a smile every time I play it live. It actually turned out to be one of my favorites on the album and hope you enjoy it as much as we do.

Also, a huge shout out to Wendy for saving “INSPIRATION” below when it struck after a New Years Eve show. Don’t think I ever would’ve remembered the lyrics the day after due to the cloudiness the wine brought on (wink, wink…) and this song probably would have never evolved into what it is. You my friend saved the song. Thank you for not throwing away and sending this pic of my original lyrics I scribbled down that night in the lounge.

Sweet Good Lovin Image 2

Stay tuned for next weeks reflection on album track eight IT’S NOT IN MY NATURE by joining my newsletter in the upper right hand corner.

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CRAZY FOR YOU – Track 6

Last month I kicked off my “Listening Series” with album tracks one through last weeks track five BEFORE YOU SENTENCE ME where I give insight to each song from my new album ‘Where We Are’ diving deep to reflect back bringing to surface my thoughts and emotions when writing and recording it. This week we move on to album track six – CRAZY FOR YOU.

I’ve been accused over the years of knowing only three guitar chords, well this song has four…So there… Seriously, what more can I say that the lyrics don’t cry out. The love bug struck again. What’s new in the world of an artist, right?

What should have been should be and what should be should’ve been. We’ll just leave it at that.

I’m no fool when I’m here with you
When I’m here with you I’m such a fool
I don’t’ know why, why it feels so right
Why is it so wrong when it feels right

I am crazy, crazy for you
I look into your eyes and I see why
Why I’m waiting, waiting for you
You’ve opened up this heart to something new

Heaven is real I know this to be true
I know it to be true when I’m with you
And then there’s hell when I’m without you
When I’m without you hell is real

I am waiting, waiting for you
To look into your eyes and show you why
Why I’m crazy, crazy for you
Lets open up these hearts to what is true

I am crazy, crazy for you
I look into your eyes and I see why
Why I’m waiting, waiting for you
You’ve opened up this heart to something new
I am crazy, crazy for you
Just look into these eyes and you’ll know why
Why I’m waiting, waiting on you
Lets open up these hearts to what is true

Crazy Image

Stay tuned for next weeks reflection on album track seven THAT SWEET GOOD LOVIN by joining my newsletter in the upper right hand corner.

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BEFORE YOU SENTENCE ME – Track 5

We’re halfway through my “Listening Series” with album tracks one through last weeks track four I FEEL YOUR LOVE where I give insight to each song from my new album ‘Where We Are’ diving deep to reflect back bringing to surface my thoughts and emotions when writing and recording it. This week we move on to album track five – BEFORE YOU SENTENCE ME.

(It’s Military Appreciation Month and this insight for the series is in honor of all those who’ve sacrificed so much.) 

The hardest part being somewhat cursed as an artist has always been sharing some of the most confusing and darkest of times leaving you exposed to criticism, praise and judgement…a form of therapy…I guess? This song comes from probably the deepest regret I’ve ever experienced with a man haunted by nightmares after returning to a country in the crossfire of a political and violent emotional storm stemming from the Vietnam War.

There are so many things I wish I could change but have to live with the fact I was mis-informed and somewhat sheltered from the effects of casualties of war and the lack of care and accessibility to assistance programs and service providers, if there were any at all back then. This will weigh heavy on my shoulders for the rest of my life that I didn’t seek out the help my father and family really needed.

It wasn’t until I was there at his bedside late one night overlooking Lake Michigan in Milwaukee watching a man I never really knew ready to move on from his cruel and unfair world praying he finds the peace and forgiveness any soul deserves. It forever changed me. I smile less because of it but try my hardest to and find the will everyday to keep moving forward, half smiling and being creative to help me through this earthly journey until my eternal spiritual journey begins.

His mental disability and isolation from the world was withheld from me as a child and to some extent as a young adult. During the 70′s, 80′s and even through the 90′s there wasn’t much mention or awareness of this thing we now look at so commonly called PTSD (Post Traumatic Stress Disorder). For many Veterans and their families this was not recognized by doctors or psychologists in the way we look at it today and the countless amazing support groups there’s access to.

I never got to know the real man my mother fell in love with as kids in high school. I only hear stories. My fathers PTSD haunted him ’til his very last breath, I’m assuming, knowing judgement day was coming for him and the forgiveness he was seeking for the horrible things he had to do in Vietnam and the nightmares he experienced throughout his life upon returning home after being shot and wounded.

After his passing, against the advice of his social workers, I visited what I would call a room of terror on the back of a ghetto shack leaking water with only a mattress, canned goods and misc. paraphernalia consisting of knives and rifles made out of cardboard lying around as if he was trying to protect himself from a ghostly enemy. Honestly it brought me back to a scene straight out of Apocalypse Now.

I was trying to comprehend how a man could live like this for over 20 years. But even worse how could I not have been aware of this nightmare. Again, the regret will never slip my mind on why I did not seek out to learn more and find more options with help. A stupid selfish young man (and I use “man” loosely) trying to find his own way in life not thinking much more than how to pay his rent every month, put food on the table and find his place in the world.

I write and share music to cope with my mistakes, I write and share music to heal. But most importantly I write and share music to try and connect with others, from what I feel at times has been a dis-connected world I’ve lived in most of my life. Art explains the human condition. Art binds us together. And through art I have been able to share many years giving back to those organizations that help with our returning Heroes.

This is just another song of mine to help heal the wounds and pay respect to a man I never knew. I want to believe this is what he may have been crying out to say if he had a voice. I want to believe it was him speaking through me to deliver these words. I want to believe this will help bring more attention to the struggles of those suffering from PTSD and how important it is to honor those returning from any war…

I can’t explain why I am
Who I am is lost at sea
The war within this graveyard of sin
Stands a man brought to his knees

Can you hold me
Hold me a battered man

Shelter me from the storm
All the rain wash away my sin
Comfort me from the shame
Who’s to blame blows in the wind

Can you show me
Show me a shattered man
The way to be a better man

Hey preacher man I shot a man
So you know before you sentence me
I bid farewell to this land a proud man
Who served his country

Can you hold me
Hold me a battered man
Can you hold me
Hold me a shattered man
Before I’m a buried man

Before You Sentence Image

Stay tuned for next weeks reflection on album track six CRAZY FOR YOU by joining my newsletter in the upper right hand corner.

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I FEEL YOUR LOVE – Track 4

I recently kicked off my “Listening Series” with album tracks one, two and three – THE BATTLE’S OVER, FAR FROM MY HEART & WHERE WE ARE where I give insight to each song from my new album ‘Where We Are’ diving deep to reflect back bringing to surface my thoughts and emotions when writing and recording it. This week we move on to album track four – I FEEL YOUR LOVE.

We had a lot of fun during these recording sessions and with help from everyone involved, their reflections and contributions I hope you enjoy this ongoing series track by track.

In the past, with most my previous album releases, I’ve been placed in the Americana box. Genre is a box. I don’t want to be put in a box. Who wants to live and sleep in a box? …and since transitioning from a head-banging lead guitarist to a singer/songwriter I have mostly been thought of as an Americana artist, probably because I am from the heartland with a midwestern upbringing, and the indie music scene couldn’t figure out where else to put me. Anyway the point is this I know there are genre purists out there who have little compartments in their head and decide they must criticize what doesn’t fit into each little box, but I always make music from the heart.

To say “only play Americana” or “only play folk rock” or whatever box, is like saying “only speak English” or “only speak Japanese”. We were given music so we could all communicate and be free from the little boxes. I have no desire to fit in. I am only the person the greatest number of people believe I am. If you want to put me in a box then I can handle sleeping in the “Reggaecana” box for a while with this one, Reggaecana? …is there even such a genre? Well, there is now.

I had a vision of this album being a very roots-rock album but it just wasn’t turning out that way. In the end it was good because it challenged me to get past something that wasn’t there and ultimately it’s the album I’m most proud of with its diversity. It’s definitely open to interpretation thanks to everyone involved who kept saying through the recording sessions, “screw it man let’s all just play these songs from the heart and whatever comes out comes out. A good song is a good song no matter what the genre”.

With all that being said, I Feel Your Love is dedicated to my love for the ocean and its potion for all sorrows. It’s inspired by Bob Marley and the Reggae Rocksteady movement of the late 60′s & 70′s. My hopes with this Caribbean flavored mix of midwestern love brings a smile and touches the soul as it did ours while in the studio.

I really think the lyrics speak for themselves how therapeutic the ocean can be for all sorrows.

Feed my soul with pure devotion
Cause true love lies within your ocean

Waves of love crash emotion
You save my soul with your potion

I’m in love…I feel your love

Passion flares in your moon light
You guide my way through the night

Your blazing love ignites my heart
Scorching flame is the start

I’m in love…I Feel your love

Peace & one love, RA

I Feel Your Love Image

 

Stay tuned for next weeks reflection on album track five BEFORE YOU SENTENCE ME by joining my newsletter in the upper right hand corner.

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WHERE WE ARE – Track 3

A few weeks ago I kicked off my “Listening Series” with album tracks one and two – THE BATTLE’S OVER & FAR FROM MY HEART where I give insight to each song from my new album ‘Where We Are’ diving deep to reflect back bringing to surface my thoughts and emotions when writing and recording it. This week we move on to album track three – WHERE WE ARE.

We had a lot of fun during these recording sessions and with help from everyone involved, their reflections and contributions, I hope you enjoy this ongoing series track by track.

Honestly as much as I wanted to share a story about ‘Where We Are’ it’s just too personal. Sorry to disappoint but I’ll leave it at this. After interviewing for this song on an up-coming project, soon to be released, it’s safe to say on behalf of everyone involved it was truly magic recording from start to finish.

Probably one of the fastest easiest songs tracked live. An acoustic guitar, drums, bass, piano, B3, a male and female vocal track and no overdubs. As a songwriter sometimes the best songs come from the most honest of places and ‘Where We Are’ definitely reflects that.

I’ll leave you with the lyrics and leave it open for interpretation. Once again my sincere apologies for breaking the listening series tradition on this one but I’m sure you can understand. So not like me! But here we go…

You walked into this lonely place I live
I never meant to bring you down where I am
It’s the pieces to this heart you can fix
It’s a shame these doors have to close once again

Where we are, we are, where we are is blowing in the wind
Holding on, hold on, holding on to what might’ve been
Where we are, we are, where we are ’til the end
Casting clouds upon those we swore to be with

When the stars appear at night there’s only you
While a hundred miles away still confused
When the bottles empty out comes the truth
One more shot to kill the pain of losing you

Chorus

The morning’s here we’re back to what is true
It’s so hard to realize there’s nothing we can do
When you close your eyes do you still believe
In your dreams I hope there’s still room for you and me

Chorus

Studio

Stay tuned for next weeks reflection on album track four I FEEL YOUR LOVE by joining my newsletter in the upper right hand corner.

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FAR FROM MY HEART – Track 2

Last week I kicked off my “Listening Series” with album track one – THE BATTLE’S OVER where I give insight to each song from my new album ‘Where We Are’. I’m diving deep to reflect back bringing to surface my thoughts and emotions when writing and recording in attempts to create a solid personal connection. This week we move on to album track two – FAR FROM MY HEART.

We had a lot of fun during these recording sessions and with help from everyone involved, their reflections and contributions, I hope you enjoy this ongoing series track by track.

Though being the second album track Far From My Heart was the first song I wrote for the new album a few years back in Seattle WA on a chilly rainy night fueled by the warmth of a bottle of red. I think the title speaks for itself but that was then and this is now. Here’s to coming to terms with it all, the past, the now and living for the future. Ok, I suppose that’s getting off a little too easy on wanting to really open up about this song. I promised I’d be honest in these song insights so here we go…

This song is a reflection on reflecting. As the world keeps moving faster day after day season after season year after year you find it hard to just slow down take those deep breaths while taking in every moment. I think for most including myself from time to time we become so numb in our efforts to achieve the next best thing, to work just a little harder in obtaining material things we may or may not need to gratify our inner-selves all while trying to create happiness. I’m guilty for sure and this song was very therapuetic while writing in the sense it awoke me from sleeping at the wheel of life. You know that drive where you’re only focused on getting there all while forgetting the most important part “the journey” and all its wonder.

I slept away a long winter scene
Rarely felt the the rain of the coming spring
And the moon that lit those summer nights
I never said hello

I barely felt the warmth of the sun I love
When the leaves started to fall again
How could I say goodbye
When I never said hello

Life throws you a lot of curveballs, there’s no doubt about that. My recommendation more red wine!!! My love for wine developed several years ago. I found it to amplify my feelings when writing (good thing or bad thing? …long term effects yet to be determined…hahaha)

But I take comfort in knowing wine and poetry have long enjoyed a happy relationship, the one often fueling the other. But while wine has served as a poet’s muse since time immemorial, a number of scribes have gone a step further and penned odes to wine, from English romantic poet Percy B. Shelley rhapsodizing about the vine’s “kindling clusters” to Chilean poet Pablo Neruda describing wine as the “starry child of the earth with your feet of purple or topaz blood.” I’m so taken with the charms of the fermented grape that I’ve dedicated a large number of verses in my lyrics over the years to the subject, extolling the virtues of wine as a life force and something that should be enjoyed in order to make the most of our time “before we too into the dust descend.”

Another night lost in a bottle of red
The crashing waves singing inside my head
Its so hard to let you go
My one and only friend

Ever get so comfortable you feel you just can’t imagine a life change? Specifically a failed relationship or marriage. Like I mentioned previously life pitches a lot of curveballs. I truly believe and try my hardest to embrace those changes as hard as they may seem at the time. To say goodbye means you can say hello once again to new beginnings. So embrace saying goodbye. Though your “mind” may feel far from your “heart” you both will be reunited when you accept change, move on and embrace what’s ahead. The sun will rise to nourish and rejuvenate your soul.

It was the year that I wish had never came
Took some time to move on accept the change
But I’m still in the dark
I’m so from this heart

How can I say goodbye
When I never say hello
How can I say goodbye
When I never say hello

I can certainly understand some may take this song as a “I can’t get over it” song but it’s really not, it’s more about growing and embracing change. It ultimately was inspired not only by wine but by the poem “Reason, Season, Lifetime”. If you haven’t read this I encourage you to. I’ve shared it below as part of this listening series.

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Far From My Heart Studio

REASON, SEASON, LIFETIME

People come into your life for a reason, a season or a lifetime. When you figure out which one it is you will know what to do for each person.

When someone is in your life for a REASON it is usually to meet a need you have expressed. They have come to assist you through a difficulty; to provide you with guidance and support; to aid you physically, emotionally or spiritually. They may seem like a godsend, and they are. They are there for the reason you need them to be.

Then, without any wrongdoing on your part or at an inconvenient time, this person will say or do something to bring the relationship to an end. Sometimes they die. Sometimes they walk away. Sometimes they act up and force you to take a stand. What we must realize is that our need has been met, our desire fulfilled; their work is done. The prayer you sent up has been answered and now it is time to move on.

Some people come into your life for a SEASON, because your turn has come to share, grow or learn. They bring you an experience of peace or make you laugh. They may teach you something you have never done. They usually give you an unbelievable amount of joy. Believe it. It is real. But only for a season.

LIFETIME relationships teach you lifetime lessons; things you must build upon in order to have a solid emotional foundation.Your job is to accept the lesson, love the person, and put what you have learned to use in all other relationships and areas of your life. It is said that love is blind but friendship is clairvoyant.

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THE BATTLE’S OVER – Track 1

I’m kicking off a “Listening Series” where I’ll give insight to each song from my new album ‘Where We Are’. I’ll dive deep to reflect back bringing to surface my thoughts and emotions when writing and recording in attempts to create a solid personal connection.

We had a lot of fun during these recording sessions and with help from everyone involved, their reflections and contributions, I hope you enjoy this ongoing series track by track.

While writing The Battle’s Over, originally being about a friends breakup, I started noticing there was a deeper meaning…my own personal struggle of letting go of stubbornness, anger and doubt. For so many years I was being criticized, being praised. It made me weak, it made me strong. I had to learn to come to terms with it all, the past, the now and move on living for the future. I found myself realizing there was a story within this album to be told and how the power of words and music can heal the most wounded of souls. Listen close and I think you’ll find a common theme we can all relate to when in doubt, feeling down and while trying to get back up.

But let’s start with the aforementioned meaning “a friends breakup”. Unfortunately when somewhat in the eyes of the public as an artist I’ve learned not only from others who are close but through my own personal experiences that not only good things are shared but the ugly can be and most likely will be too. That’s the life we choose as artists, wearing our emotions on our sleeves for everyone to see and hear; even judge at times. It’s a double-edged sword…

I ain’t gonna give a damn tonight
I ain’t gonna lose again this fight
The battles over a lines been drawn
These bruises I wear they won’t last long

During those times it may or may not be easier to isolate yourself and cozy up with a bottle of your favorite spirit trying to drown the mixed emotions that come with any breakup but then comes the struggle of loneliness and temptation to not run back when the world slows down and you’re alone with your thoughts and memories pulling you in different directions throughout the night. It can be a struggle to stay strong. But in time you get through it and life goes on. The bruises heal…

Is that you knocking at my front door
I can hear your wind blow
The sound of thunder your fury and storm
Ain’t gonna take down my new found home

Ain’t gonna leave this house until tomorrow
Ain’t gonna step outside ’til the sun shines down
Can’t you see that the battle’s over
Still I’m washed up and worn down for sure

Extremely tough at first but time heals, life goes on. Though it’s a battle to get there. In the end you do get back your strength to move on and take back what’s yours; confidence, self-esteem, the positivity…a new day rising. Though the scars run deep they make you stronger. We all have a story to tell and most likely a familiar one we all can relate to…

The rust I wear it tells a tale
Of a train that once was derailed
Now I’m rollin’ my engines strong
And the steam cleanses my soul

I know one thing I’ve won the right
To take back what’s mine this ole life
‘Cause I’ve loved and I’ve fought for many
Many years to get back my soul

It took me over 6 years to feel comfortable enough to start working on a new album of music. My stubbornness may have played a huge role in that. I believe it was also my self-delusion that a music culture had shifted so much away from the power of a song to more of a novelty; you know the latest trend with tech, fashion and how music was being recorded.

Did people care anymore? Did people still truly connect to songs and their true meaning? Or was it how they were listening to it more important? Furthermore, did our culture still follow the evolution of songwriters, their stories, their art and how they communicate through their songs? Could I still write songs that were honest, heartfelt and be able to connect with others in this busy new world of distractions?

With the digital manipulation from computers being used by so many to such an extent I was feeling the art of recording from the internal aspect of ones self was a thing of the past. You know a room full of musicians playing together while being recorded. It’s a spiritual moment when energies connect on a musical level, it’s unlike any other experience. Call me old school but that euphoric feeling is like no other without that collective creative energy writing and recording music.

Like I mentioned previously, my personal struggle of letting go of stubbornness, anger and doubt had gotten the best of me until writing these songs and recording them with the band. I like to call them my therapy sessions.

I think I can truly say my battle’s over…

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Ending on a fun production note: It was an amazing feeling to get back to writing and playing electric guitar on this album, especially this song. “I don’t always play electric but when I do I prefer a dirty Telecaster sound. Stay dirty my friends” hahaha… With the guidance of two great guitar players Tony Anders (Verona Grove/Tony Anders and the Radiolites) and Sam Farrell (The Lately) we dialed in some pretty damn good guitar tones I used to record, capturing just the right sound through vintage gear to drive this song to it’s maximum potential.

I’ll be introducing everyone involved as we go on with each song release along with more production notes, gear used, the studio, recording techniques and insights from the guys.

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> Preview trailer ‘Where We Are’

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