Here's my first Blog post. I'm new at this, so if you have any suggestions or other helpful thoughts, please feel free to ad.
I want to share some thoughts about the new Hopes & Dreams CD with you.
Please feel free to share your comments and thoughts, too!!!
I look forward to seeing you while I'm out on the road supporting the release in various cities and hearing from you!!!
1) Shadows & Light: I wanted a different sounding song to open the new CD, so I thought about what would get people's attention. Then, I thought, how about a rap song? Um, No... How about a something with dynamic contrasts? Jimmy Page always had these great contrasts in his production of Led Zeppelin. He called it light and shade. This "Led" me to writing down contrasting words.
The title was born.
I've always liked watching old black & white horror movies, so I started "de-composing" something to include a Theremin, a BIG spooky Hammond B3 organ sound (played by Keith Cox) to it and opening in a minor key (E minor). Jim Dennee plays something out of Pink Floyd's textbook here, too! R:)
2) There Is Hope: The music for this song came to me very quickly. I even had it named. Just one thing was missing; the lyrics. The lyrics were written after almost all of the other songs were written.
I even thought of making this an instrumental, but it just needed something covering my real emotion(s) at the time, so I just jotted down the first challenging things that I was experiencing (heavy traffic, working through conflict, hectic days, etc...).
The words just flowed out of my brain and the song was pretty much written in about an hour.
I tightened up the lyrics in rehearsals before the next recording session. The drum fills by Reni Rivera are simply excellent. Jamie Reynolds guests on piano and Keith provides support Hammond B3.
3) Hopes & Dreams: Without sounding like a cliche', this song actually came to me in a dream.
The chorus was repeating in my brain for about a day or two, so I wrote it down before I forgot the words. LOL!!!
I have recorded it with different lyrics after making three changes, since recording an earlier version, which is on the website and currently on YouTube.
Dan Schreckengost plays bass and Reni drums on this one with something straight out of Motown. Mike Smereski provides contrasting support electric guitars (a clean Tele and a distorted Les Paul) for that bluesy Stones feel. Alex Fliacchione plays lead guitar and Santana like solos through the middle and end.
What are your Hopes & Dreams?
4) Run To You: After I wrote this one, I realized the title was also used by Bryan Adams years ago, but that didn't matter.
This one was written for my fiance' (now wife), Paige.
We had a long distance relationship (via phone/internet). I jotted down the lyrics after speaking with her about coffee and imagining watching the stars with her at night on the 4th of July.
I played a simple, but jazzy/Pat Metheny-like solo on a Joe Pass signature guitar. Bill Whitford (drums & percussion) and Mike Smereski (bass) add a solid dynamic rhythm section, too!!!
5) How Long: This one is about patience.
I'm sure we've all had our patience tested and had to endure for a season or more, ... perhaps even by choice.
The Fleetwood Mac/Lindsay Buckingham-like staccato was added for effect by guitar maestro, Jim Dennee.
Mike Smereski, Bill Whitford and I add some extra percussion, which sounds like something straight from the Doobie Bros. catalog.
6) King of Me: This is an autobiographical reflection of identity (past, present and future).
The song has an Eagles/Tom Petty feel to it.
Keith plays some really cool B3 and Mike adds a solid bassline, too!!!
The picture of Elvis behind me is a nice touch; don't you think?
7) A Better Life: Tom Petty's, fun rock album, "Full Moon Fever and the Byrd's, Roger McGuinn inspired this one.
As a matter of fact, the record has several Wilbury's sounding tunes. Bill provides a strong drumbeat for this song. Mike and I later added other percussion to give it more dynamics in the mix.
8) Victory: Ingredients: One part Led Zeppelin and one part some new territory not yet charted.
We can all live in Victory, if we choose to do so.
Mike added some great E-bow effects, heavy electric rhythm and lead guitar as well as a sub-atomic bassline to this one.
9) Mailbox Money: Here's a song that everyone to relate to.
Working and waiting for that next paycheck.
This song is for every hard working person out there!!!
It reminds me of Tom Petty, The Wilbury's and John Mellencamp.
Jim, Mike, Keith and Bill all add just the right amount of chemistry, too!!!
10) Young Again (instrumental): An expedition into either the Amazon jungle (rain forest) or somewhere far east.
I'm sure everyone will hear something new and interesting with each listen. I got the title for this one many years ago while working in a record store back in college when we were playing some Neil Young records.
I had a simple arrangement for an instrumental which begins in A minor that reminded me of Neil, so I just named it Young Again (and it stuck with me over the years). We (Reni, Mike, Jim and I) added all sorts of rhythmic instruments, (rain stick, digiredoo, djembe, tambourine, clavs, hand claps, etc...) and "nature" sounds (assorted noises) to this version. ;)
11) Way Back Home (So Far Away)* - This song was co-written by Mike Smereski, who pretty much helped to make this entire project happen.
I had taken a break from recording and writing for a year in 2008/early 2009, after the Goldenlight album/concerts of 2007, to focus on personal matters and build a relationship/life with Paige.
I had a few songs (including, "Hopes & Dreams" & "Run To You", that I had written about my growing relationship with her), but needed something to speak about home and family relationships. Mike said that he had a similar song idea, so we wrote it and arranged it on the spot in the studio. We combined concepts/ideas of our individual lives/families and put it to song.
12) Returning: The opening chords always take me to Paul McCartney's solo hit, "My Love", but then it goes into a few changes. One segment has a Genesis like quality and another has a musical theme.
Reni plays drums for this three section piece and Alex plays the lead guitar solo. He's also provided guitar on two previous albums (Discovery and New Day Begun).
13) Coming Home To You: This one was written for my wife and for anyone who has and will have to wait for their loved one to return home. I salute all of our nation's military and families for their continuous efforts to provide freedom and secure our land.
Jim provides an appropriate melancholy guitar/lap steel parts for support.
14) Goodnight (Candlelight): A simple lullaby to close the album.
Keith (keys/mellotron) and Jim (guitar) add some nice instrumentation on this one.
I even added some mandolin, too.
I Hope everyone's dreams come true. R:)
©2011 33 1/3 Records®
Reid Stevens began writing music in the 1990's after completing an undergraduate degree work in film and television (Media Arts) at the University of South Carolina in Columbia. Reid has since written over 300 songs and has released 16 studio albums and 5 cd singles for charity during the past five Christmas seasons. Reid is also gearing up for his first full length studio release this October exclusively through Bandcamp.com.