Today’s song is about the snow silencing the city and walking around falling in love while taking in the stillness of it all. Written in Asheville but it is perfect for Atlanta. Because when it snows here, everything shuts down (unlike NC).
I’m especially proud of my drum part on this one. I’m not considered a “drummer” anymore (since 9th grade), so I’ll take any bright spots I can get. Thanks for listening!
The eleventh song from “Life’s a Love Song” is a funky blues number with funny lyrics. “This ain’t no ranch in Cukamonga, no time to reheat your chimichanga. Just a redneck samba, I’m a little country and sometime’s it shows”.
Randomly enough the second verse is about Columbus, Georgia even though I wrote this a few years ago. Since then I’ve worked and stayed in Columbus the equivalent of about six months. It’s a nice city with a cool river running through the down town. And it has a fantastic tennis facility that I frequent often when I’m there.
Anyway, I’m playing all the instruments on this with John Kell adding the sax embellishments. I recorded it in Asheville and on the road in Statesboro, Georgia while building a megawatt solar project. Mastered by Ricky Rodriguez at Bomb House Recording.
The pic below is an article written about my old band, Parakeet Nelson for the Columbus paper back in the day. We used to have a regular gig there and also played the historic Bradley Theatre one time. The header pic is of my dogs in Columbus after getting filthy on the solar site that day.
Song 10 has my favorite musical passage on the album. This is simple acoustic number with lead guitar, strings and of course french horn. It’s about that perfect time to let your loved one know how you feel and being in the moment during those special times in life.
Even though the guitar work is in my usual ultra-simple style, for some reason it seems to remind me of Nels Kline’s work with Wilco. When it hits the solo after the second chorus is the part that is my favorite part of all of “Life’s a Love Song”. It goes to show you don’t have to always be ripping guitar solos. Sometime’s space is the best note you can play. Thanks for listening!
I wrote this on my anniversary a few years ago and luckily it turned out to be one of Adair’s favorite songs! What seemed to be a quick and simple little song turned out to have some legs. You gotta love it when that happens.
I’m playing all the instruments except for John Kell’s sax, which gives it a bit of a Van Morrison feel. Adair’s singing backing vocals with Rob Sankey, John Kell and me. The song also features Ringo, my scruffy little dog, singing along to my harmonica at the end of the solo. Listen closely to see if you can hear it.
Thanks for listening!
“Are you crazy, crazy, crazy in love or are you just crazy?” #8 changes styles again and picks the pace back up with a little southern rock guitar thrown in.
I finished this song in a job trailer in Nashville, Georgia (wishing I was in Nashville, TN) while building a six acre, one megawatt solar farm. I put some pics of the job trailer below to show how hardcore it was. Usually I’ll get a pretty nice one, but when you are in an extreme rural area, sometimes you gotta take what they give you. Recording in this thing at night in the middle of nowhere can actually get a little scary, especially when it’s raining and you’re not sure your truck can make it down the half mile mud pit between you and the highway. Needless to say, I made it out (with this song in tow).
I also figured I’d put another pic of Joy since the baby pics seem to increase my blog traffic times three. Thanks for listening!
Who’s ready for some smooth easy listening? This song sounds like wearing a velvet coat and having cocktail. Thanks to John Kell’s sax, the bass line and my meandering guitar, we were really able to create a certain vibe. Kind of a Burt Bacharach meets James Taylor’s ‘JT’ album kind of feel.
The words are about thinking back to a special September night a long time ago.
“It was great, it was tragic, a slight of hand mixed magic, we reached out but we couldn’t grab it, now it’s back and then gone again”
Featuring me on drums, bass, guitar, synths, strings and vocals and John Kell on sax.
Mastered by Bomb House Recording in Morganton, NC. #bombhouserecording.
The sixth song is why I love making albums. Since an album is a complete entity in itself, there’s no need to feel compelled to pack it with as many “singles” as possible. Albums are all about flow and feeling and that’s what the “The Sweetest Thing” is all about. This one is a “glue” song keeping the vibe going long enough to hit you with the next song (September Flies) and also to hit you with some huge french horn, accordion and tenor sax. Total rock n roll stuff.
The lyrics are about finding the inspiration to write a love song that does justice to the actual feeling of being in love. I love the second verse:
“It’s the bugs and the bees and the birds up in the trees, the fish out in the sea, lovely melodies
The joy when you sing softly along with me, It’s the sweetest thing, the sweetest thing”
I put a pic of Joy up yesterday, so I figured I put one up of Coral today. Even though the word Joy was also in this song’s lyrics. I actually have a song called “Coral Cove” from the old days (my ‘Summer’ album from college). Maybe I need to break that one back out. I digress. Thanks for listening!
This one has been my favorite song of mine for a few years now. I love the four on the floor bass drum and of the course major seventh chords that I have a proclivity for using. This happens to be one of my better drum performances too, I’m not a polished drummer these days so I’ll take any bright spots I can get.
The words are about change and looking ahead. I wrote this one when we were just starting to make a move. We were living in Asheville spinning our wheels and knew we had to make an upward move. Atlanta was not yet a sure thing, we were exploring all of our options (I of course wanted to move to Las Vegas which is not a practical family decision).
“What will we be doing in August and September, will we look back to this moment right now and remember”.
This song also has my favorite line I’ve written:
“The square root of Joy is Love, divided by two and it’s us, geometrically in perfect touch, we fit together like a glove”.
The song used to be called ‘Geometrically in Perfect Touch’ but since we had our twins and named one Joy, I had to change the name of the song to give her some props.
Easily one of the most powerful and emotional songs I’ve ever recorded, the fourth song on the album is a co-write with my good friend Jefferson Taffet (check out his albums by searching Lionz). We’ve collaborated before on a song called “Give it Up” available on the Stranger Things Have Happened CD.
He originally recorded this song in my studio in Athens about fifteen years ago and I always loved it. Even though it’s a drastic departure from the rest of the album, I felt compelled to get it out into the world.
Moonlight Madness is just me on guitar, vocals, strings and my signature french horn. I tried to keep it as stark and simple as possible to highlight the love and desperation of the great lyrics.
“Will you hold me up, and never let me slump, give me two good shoes, we’ve got some walking to do”
Below is a picture of the skyline and moon at Atlantic Station where I recorded it.
The third song on “Life’s a Love Song” is one I’ve been trying to get right for a few years. It’s been a staple at my shows since I wrote it but it was hard to fully embrace the quirky-ness in a recording. The classical guitar gives it it’s flavor and like a lot of the songs on this album, the backing vocals really tie it together.
The lyrics are about how life can really get in the way of what matters unless you stay conscious and connected with your loved ones (something I’m not always good at unfortunately).
“And don’t you know, we’re constantly on the go, running from one place to and fro, or talking on the phone, that’s why I don’t let you know enough how much it is I love you”.
The picture below is from the day I recorded the vocals. It was a complete rain out at the job site and I had sent everyone home. However, I was stuck there waiting on a truck to come in. So why not be productive! #songoftheday
Songwriter and producer Chris Cates posts songs from his 700 song original catalogue.