In 1970 Paul McCartney and Emitt Rhodes released solo albums, where they played all of the instruments. I was 12 years old. I thought that was so cool. And in 7 years or so I was finally trying to learn how to overdub myself, initially bouncing tracks between cassette tape decks. I was hooked! I progressed to 4-Track, then 8-Track tape before moving to the Mac and then the PC. 42 years later, I have largely performed a lot of my music by myself, playing all the instruments, engineering etc. Now that I’ve turned 62 and released my 24th collection of songs ‘Magic Moon’, I look back on the McCartney and Rhodes influence, and I certainly see the effect it had.
Since 1977 I’ve primarily recorded my own songs, but in 2016 I released a David Bowie cover song which lead to my first full covers album, Wheelhouse. As it turns out, some of these covers are now my most played songs on the streaming services. So, in my mind, they’re bringing new ears to my music – which is a good thing.
For the past 5 years or so, I’ve been slowly assembling a 40-year retrospective entitled ‘Trip Note’. It may still see the light of day, but currently it’s being incorporated into my podcast ‘Live From the inSync Asylum’. Something I discovered during the process of archiving and transferring older material from tape machines (reel-to-reel, DAT and cassette) – was that I could now add to and subtract from tracks which had been recorded many years prior. I call the new updated tracks Retreads. 4 of the tracks on Magic Moon are such tracks. To me, it’s cool to hear one solo from 34 years ago, and then a solo recorded a few weeks ago.
Most of Magic Moon was recorded between June 2018 and November 2019. For the retreads, basic tracks for ‘Crazy in Love’ and ‘El Gavilan (The Hawk) are from April and May 1987, with Doug Ortega adding some keys to Crazy in Love way back when. ‘Blowin’ in the Wind’ was started late April 1994. ‘Tragic Comedy’ basic tracks are from Nov. 1996 and the uncompleted album ‘Fighting Gravity – which I just might finish someday.
This project initially started with the idea of doing an album of half covers, half my songs. But at some point it stretched to a full covers album, and a full album of me covering me, which will come out this June I hope.
Magic Moon, like Wheelhouse, once again focuses on songs by artists who’ve influenced me, and more importantly reside in my record collection. Jackie DeShannon, Neil Diamond, Dan Penn, Tom Petty, David Crosby, Kris Kristofferson, and Bob Dylan meet that requirement. Donnie Fritts is someone new I recently discovered, and the track by the Immaculate Fools was slated for Fighting Gravity as well.
I set out to make an enjoyable album, especially after 2018’s darker Blue Tattoo. I think I succeeded. I’d love to hear your comments…till then.