This song was inspired by an Albert Einstein biography I read. It’s a song about metaphysical and existential questions wrapped around a love song. “What if time doesn’t exist? That means potentially I could be reliving this. If that’s the case I’ll give you a kiss. We could be eternally in bliss.”
This was the first song I ever wrote with open chords on the guitar and it was probably my most popular song (at least with the ladies) in high school. That is until I wrote “Flannel Dreams” a year or so later. After listening back and mastering this album, this song seems so out of place with all the other hard driving funky numbers we played. That’s been the story of my career, I love to play ballads like this but I equally love to rock and get funky.
The video was recorded by Joe Long at Comma in Morganton, NC around February in 1990 and is highlighted by Jason Peeler hunched over the keys making it happen (he was a guitar player at that point before switching to bass and then ultimately landing on drums on which he still performs with me to this day). Greg Beaver is always great on bass and of course Jeramy Lamanno (aka Hiro Noodles) is a legend in his own right. I’m still learning to play guitar and sing at this point so bear with me.
Thanks for listening!
When you’re a songwriter, life’s a love song. I realized that when I was 13 years old and I’ve been living it ever since. These albums prove that a love song can come in many packages and so can an age old soul. Song to song, just like life, you never know what’s coming next.
I started these albums in Asheville, NC and finished them in my studio in Atlanta. Also, a good portion was recorded after hours while building three different solar farms on the road in south Georgia. The workers would go home and I would start recording, editing or mixing in my car, job trailer or in the parking lot or hotel room of the Hampton Inn. (Hilton Honors points!! holla)
No matter what the song, “Life’s a Love Song” is as heartfelt and emotional as anything I’ve ever done and it’s very musical with lots of guitar, sax and harmonica solos to keep things poppin’. Both albums feature John Kell on sax and backing vocals and me playing everything else (drums, guitars, vocals, bass, keys, synths, mandolin, harmonica, percussion and banjo)
“My Old Soul”, is very upbeat and positive with lots of synths mixing with the guitar, sax, harmonica and orchestral embellishments. The lyrical themes are of letting go of the past and moving forward with positive instincts.
Aside from me on vocals, guitar, drums, keys, synths, mandolin, some bass and various other things the album also features:
John Kell on sax
Chris Singleton – bass on much of My Old Soul
Adair Cates, Chris Cates, John Kell and Rob Sankey – backing vocals
Produced, recorded and mixed by Chris Cates
Mastered by Ricky Rodriquez at Bomb House Recording – Morganton, NC BombHouseRecording.com
Cover pic for Life’s a Love Song by Derek Clayton (Taken while building Solar Phase II at the Chattanooga International Airport)
Cover pic for My Old Soul by Adair Cates
This is it, the last song on the album! Thanks to everybody that has listened these last few weeks as I’ve been posting all 15 songs. If you feel so inclined and feel like supporting independent music, pick up a physical copy at CDBaby or the mp3 album at iTunes.
It’s amazing that I’ve been an independent musician for over 25 years. It’s been fun a lot of the times, a miserable struggle some of the time and completely rewarding most of the time. I’ve made it this long so I guess I’m going to keep on, keeping on. 2015 should be a very productive year for me. I’m almost finished with my instrumental ‘baby music’ album called “Music for Newborns” and I’ve got a ultra-funky classic dance album in the queue called “Super Fantastic”.
“Super Fantastic” will also continue my new collaboration with Ricky Rodriguez and Bomb House Recording, he will now be mixing my music leaving me to solely concentrate on recording. Mixing has always been what holds me up and now I am finally handing over the reigns to a professional.
Okay, “Our Love Will Show the Way” is a quiet spiritual send out to “Life’s a Love Song”. It’s very simple but has a wonderful message. “Our love will show the way, it’s bright enough to light up, even the darkest day”, “Take all you wanna take, what’s mine is yours, things can be replaced, it’s worth the smile on your face”.
This album took a ton of hard work, especially since I was juggling three different major solar farm projects that were all three and a half hours a part. But perseverance pays off and now I’ve got another music snapshot of my life for posterity. I’m blessed to be able to make music and I appreciate all of the continued love and support for my blessing and my curse. It’s hard to be a musician and have to work a “real job”. I struggle with it mightily but you gotta do what you gotta do. One day one of these records will hit the right spot and sell twenty thousand units and I’ll look back and laugh.
Thanks again. Have a great day!
This one was a last-minute addition to “Life’s a Love Song” but I am really glad it made the cut. Nothing like bringing the album to a close with an anthem-like finish. Somehow it slipped through the cracks when I was picking songs from my backlog for the album until I randomly heard it playing on my computer one day. I rewrote the verse, added a few instruments and one more large guitar solo, then spent my normal three weeks to mix it.
It’s pretty bad that I’ve written so many songs that I literally don’t remember writing or recording songs I hear from time to time. It’s almost like someone else wrote them. Which is cool I guess. If I’m a fan of my music that makes at least one right? Thanks for listening!! Only one more song from “Life’s a Love Song” to be posted.
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!
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!
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.
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.
After not posting for about two months I’m finally getting back to posting the next song from my ‘Risky Biscuits’ album. This was recorded on my 1/2 inch eight track tape machine and features Mike Elam’s brilliant flugelhorn. It also features Jeramy Lamanno on drums, Dwayne Wallace on bass and John Wayne Tuggle on slide guitar. Thanks for listening!
Click album cover to listen to entire album.