sometimes on a sleepless night
the elusive muse appears before me
and with seductive charm implores me
in sweet persuasion I can’t fight
she reaches out to extend the touch
of fingertips beneath my chin
and gently lifts my gaze to hers
to command with whisper – ‘Write’.
It had been a productive session. Now we could sit back and enjoy the fruit of our labors. The track rolled… Suddenly over the studio speakers voices rang out with joyous urgency – “Dancing with the moment, and the moment sets me free.” Bryan, his hands on the soundboard, turned to look over at me –
Danny laying down a track.
“I think we’re on to something!” he said.
My son is not given to throwing out such statements lightly, so when he speaks I pay attention. I closed my eyes and let the music swirl around me. Indeed, we were ‘on to something’ – something singular, something real. After a long process of writing, arranging, and recording, my tune, Song in the Night had come together as I had envisioned. How often in life does that happen? I felt as if I were flying.
This moment in the summer of 2010 infused energy into a project which had been on a slow burn for years. The song not only supplied the title to my album, it gave it shape and momentum.
Now, four years, and six songs further along, Dancing with the Moment is a wrap! It’s been recorded, mixed, and mastered, and the cover art will be finished in time for a spring release this year. The album’s launch will also be accompanied by several video releases for some of the songs. We are excited! It was a long time coming, but well worth the years of hard work. For me the album has been a labor of love. It’s supplied direction for my creativity, and given me the opportunity to work with Bryan. I will always cherish those hours spent ‘Burning the lamp through the night’.
Because my career has been varied, and my pallet broad, I initially felt some reluctance at attempting to put my songs into a single package. After all, we live in an age where music is pigeon-holed and stamped with the narrowest of labels. An artist is expected to describe their sound with one or two words. Rolling the idea over in my mind, I flashed back to 1967 when I would listen to underground FM radio. The DJ played it all, from hard rock to classical and everything in between – the Beatles, Joan Baez, Otis Redding, Brian Wilson, John Coltrane, Fred Neil, early Elvis, Bach, Satie.. . It was a trip! What a mix of sounds! I decided I wanted to create something comparable to that experience, and vowed to heedlessly trespass across genre lines.
Chaucer, Keats, and Willie Dixon
Echo in this crazy brain
Emily, Robert, Walt and Hank
O lustrous star! O lonesome train!
Frederick, Miles, Brian, and John
Good vibrations intertwined
Words and music coalesce
To form the soundscape of my mind
So if label we must, here’s a new moniker… Are you ready? Call it Retro Eclectic, i.e. Music that is both rooted and experimental. It is music that embraces modern recording techniques like electronic sounds and drum loops, while maintaining focus on the heart and soul of the song. It also crosses generational lines – a result in part from the collaboration with my son, a fantastic sound engineer who has also been composing exciting electronic music for years.
The title – Dancing with the Moment – can be taken three different ways. First, it signifies embracing the here and now (For that’s all we really have). Secondly, it means trying to keep one’s balance as life hurls the unexpected upon you (Sound familiar?). Lastly, it’s about those salient moments in life – epiphanies, or just being acutely aware of being alive – that dance in the memory. Many of the tunes on this album are about such moments and have a cinematic sensibility to them. My goal has been to put the listener right there in the scene with me, whether it’s about a glorious summer day at the beach (Pacific Blue), or being deep in the blues amidst a smoky night as the Santa Ana winds howl (Devil Wind Blues).
Memories race through my mind
The good and the bad, the happy the sad
Streaming again in my mind
Life is a blink of an eye
No sooner begun when it’s over and done
All in the blink of an eye
As time rushes by
D.F. – (from Song in the Night)
Over time the structure of the album has evolved into more than just a collection of tunes. It has taken shape as a whole piece. Each song unfolds to the next, as if on a journey that weaves through a day, or perhaps through a life. Throughout the creative process I have tried to stay honest, to keep it real. No posing. No pretensions. Nothing has been forced to fit into a preconceived notion. Rather, it has evovled organically. With the goal in mind of creating something real, I feel I have given a little piece of myself with every song- in the writing, arranging, singing and playing.
Bryan at the soundboard.
I believe those who are fans of the bands I was a part of – the Peppermint Trolley Company, Bones, the Faragher Brothers, and even the Mark V – will find something they really dig. something that speaks to them in Dancing with the Moment.. I’ve tried to carry on the lessons I learned from years in the studio – Come up with a good song (catchy and soulful melody with intelligent lyrics), create interesting arrangements (both instrumental and vocal), and feature solos that are concise and to the point.
The album will be available both as a CD copy, and as downloadable mp3. We will be offering free downloads of some of the tunes, so stay tuned.
For all those times when I’ve felt like a kid sitting at the back of the classroom with my hand perpetually raised, waiting to be called, I can say it is a sweet feeling to have siezed the moment ‘...to dance ‘neath the sun.’
A list of artist friends who contributed their talents to the making of Dancing with the Moment (I will sing your praises in the coming days):
Bryan Faragher, Tim Horrigan, Chris Blondal, Craig Copeland, Jane Getz, Simeon Pillich, Bob Tucker, Bob Gother, Davey Faragher, Jimmy Faragher, Pammy Armstrong, Matt Tucciaroni, Pete McCrea, Donna Deussen, Karen Schnurr, Jody Mortara