This album is atypical for me for a few reasons. First off, it’s my first foray into nearly entirely creating and producing my own recorded work. And apart from the drums, which were awesomely played by Kyle Sweney and captured by Patrick Himes at Reel Love Recording, all of the album was recorded at my place, Homeway Studios, by me. And all of the performances, excepting additional vocals by Mike Bankhead and the aforementioned drums, were done by me. For good or for awesome.
Endless Parade is also a departure for me creatively in that it’s more specifically sociopolitical in nature. The events of the last few years have perhaps forever shifted my view on this land, and I’ve been inspired to make art about it. I first felt like writing an updated “We Didn’t Start The Fire” verse (QAnon / Facebook / Melania’s hellscape Christmas looks) listing out all of the things that curbed stomped my faith in humanity. It might have been more effective, but Mr. Joel’s legal team assured me that it would be frowned upon.
So instead, I put out a sort of sonic triptych* of sorts aimed at expressing my thoughts and frustrations of how things have gone in the face of an authoritarian farce, a nation fracturing pandemic, ever-growing tribalism and the ever-present social media-amplified frenzy.
I don’t too often truck in overtly political material. Not that I have any concerns about alienating an audience (you’ve got to have one to drive them away….), but it’s just not really where I like to live mentally or creatively. It’s a place that easily frustrates and saps away good feelings.
I did want to close with a message of hope at the end. I really did. But truthfully, I couldn’t yet gather the words to do it. I’m still waiting for enough light at the end of the tunnel to illuminate the page. There is, at least, some kind of musical palate cleanser at the end.
I’m hoping by sharing these songs that I can process some feelings, and the listeners maybe will too. I’m tired of hanging onto the negativity, but it might be a while before I can shake it off. Good days and bad. Like everyone, I suppose.
Smoke if you got ‘em.
Ain’t No Loving God
I’ve struggled time and again to fully come to terms with Donald Trump’s ascendency to the highest office in the land and what that reflects about America and our values. Nothing I can work out helps me sleep at night.
One of the most persistent pieces of cognitive dissonance I wrestle with is how Trump received the backing of anyone who follows any sort of religious principles. Nothing in his backstory suggests a Christian man. Nothing in his history suggests much in the way of basic moral values. But slap an “R” next to his name and, to some people, he’s the anointed one.
If you’re trying to serve God while following Trump…. Well, I guess I’m not sure how you can hold both ideas in your head at once. Best of luck and please don’t run for office.
Tell The Truth
A laundry list of events, people and ideas. I could break down each line to the specifics, but where’s the fun in that? The map said 80s Dead meets Elvis Costello meets Day in the Life, but who knows where it actually landed? It’s got everything from simmering vitriol to strident anger. It’s got a good beat and you can dance to it.
Well, maybe you can’t dance to it.
Why Can’t We Get Along?
I’m weary but trying, and so is this song. Some of my favorite songwriters like John Prine and Todd Snider temper their sentiments with enough humor and lightness that you can grin wryly at the darkness. Hopefully I’m in the ballpark
The last verse is my admission that all that came before on this record is my own shaking of my fist into the digital aether. No better than the rest. I hope you’ll excuse me…
There’s Always Tomorrow
When words fail, music comes through. I deliberately constructed this as a mix of dark and light, major and minor, chaotic and orderly to encapsulate the back and forth of how I feel most days. I ended on a major chord. Hopefully that’s a good sign and leaves things a little upbeat.
* "Of sorts" because there’s four songs on the album. But the three with lyrics are more of a set which would constitute a triptych, being a piece of art consisting of three pieces thematically joined that are intended to be appreciated together. Whatever. No one’s reading by this point anyway.