Here is the story of INTO THE BLUE, track by track!
1. “Let Your Hammer Ring” (Galysh) - This was originally supposed to be a vocal song, based on the chain gang work-song chant you hear sampled throughout the song, but it didn't make sense to have Kacee sing it as the original lyrics were from a male perspective - and I couldn't do it justice. Instead of scrapping the tune altogether, I decided to make it an instrumental. After it was finished and mixed, I decided to make it the album opener as it sets the tone for the album really well.
2. “Barstool Monarchy” (Galysh/Clanton) - This upbeat song started with the opening riff, which is revisited throughout the song. Very much inspired by Jimi Hendrix and Deep Purple. This song features a great '69/'70 Fender Stratocaster I acquired at auction. The guitar was all original, sounded GREAT, and delivered the perfect Hendrix-era Strat tone for this tune!
3. “Unloveable Me” (Galysh/Clanton) - Inspired by the tone of that '69/'70 Stratocaster, I started writing this ballad with the descending rhythm guitar part that opens the song. The chord progression wrote itself in a day, and I was off and running, overdubbing more guitars, bass, organ, piano and strings, aiming to achieve a classic blues ballad sound. All of the solos are the original takes from the demo, and just came out so well, I refused to retake them. The whole song was there, solos and all. Then Kacee came up with lyrics and a hell of a melody. This song has my favorite guitar solo on the album.
4. “Messin’ With The Kid” (Mel London) - This is a very fun tune to play live, and a song I know I wanted to record as soon as I decided to make a blues album. This song goes over really well in concert and has a fun audience participation section that I included on this recording. I wanted to bring a modern approach to this classic song that I first heard the Blues Brothers do, and came up with a Robben Ford-esque arrangement, and invited guitarist Carl Verheyen lay down a guest guitar solo.
5. “Nobody Knows You (When You’re Down and Out)” (Jimmy Cox) - This is a song I first heard from another guitar teacher, while teaching at the National Guitar Workshop about 9 years ago. I loved hearing it then, and sought out the the version he referenced from Derek and The Dominoes. While I like that version, I found the performance could have been more dynamic. So, I set out to make my version THE definitive version. I think it turned out very well, with a very powerful and dynamic performance, especially Kacee's vocals. She's such a great singer, and did may be two takes and that was it, perfect.
6. “The War” (Galysh/Clanton) - The main riff and chord progression was inspired by the Peter Green/John Mayall song "Another Kind Of Love", but totally sped up. I dug the sound I ended up with, but at that tempo it seemed to lose the blues shuffle feel. Thankfully vocalist Kacee Clanton wrote some great lyrics to this that really took it to a mother level. This song successfully brings together all my favorite 70s influences including Ritchie Blackmore, Eric Clapton, Jimi Hendrix, Uli Jon Roth and Robin Trower.
7. “Who Am I To Say” (Galysh/Clanton) - I had the idea for the acoustic rhythm guitar parts for a long time, but I've never had the right opportunity to use this them until now! I borrowed the tuning from Jimmy Page, and naturally the song takes on a Led Zeppelin-like quality. The tuning is from low to high: D - A - D - A - A - F#.
In the middle of the song, you hear some bluesy slide guitar solos, but I'm a horrible slide guitar player. I own a slide. Two in fact, but completely suck at using them! After some failed attempts at playing proper slide guitar for the solo sections, I ended up recording "faux" slide, using the Floyd Rose whammy bar on one of my Brian Moore guitars. So far, no one can tell!
8. “Further On Up The Road” (Veasley/Robey) - A classic blues song that I've been including in my live set for years. I changed up the usually rhythm guitar parts, wanting to get a more driving feel from the whole rhythm section. This song features myself on vocals, and special guest guitarist Johnny Hiland from Nashville. Johnny sent me six takes, five of which were pretty rockin' with tons of gain, but in the end I knew I wanted his signature chicken picking sound and went for that. He knocks it out of the park - a real fun track, for sure.
9. “Why Am I Singing The Blues” (Galysh/Clanton) - This is one of the first songs written for INTO THE BLUE. A bluesy ballad, that started with me exploring a Jimi Hendrix style approach to rhythm guitar, similar to songs like "Little Wing", "Wind Cries Mary", and "Hey Joe", with that gospel style sound. That was the basis for the song, and the first part recorded. Just about everything was in place on the demos before the lyrics were written and recorded: Lead guitars, rhythm guitars, B3 organ, piano, strings, bass and drums. I had a rough draft of lyrics and the idea of the title, "Why Am I Singing the Blues", which Kacee refined and rewrote to give a clear story line to the song. My original idea of the vocal melody did't sit well with her vocal range, and at first we thought Id' have to rerecord the whole song in a different key, but after spending some time with it, she came up with a much better melody that did't require a key change - thank god! This is my favorite song on the album, and I think it successfully combines my guitar style and song writing style with a very organic, bluesy sound.
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