Thursday, November 30, 2017

Midweek Mixdown: Piero Umiliani

Here's a sweet selection of the composer's soundtrack and sound library recordings assembled by Mike Wallace. 
Inspired by a recent whirlwind Italo-adventure to meet legendary Italian composer Piero Umiliani's family and friends, record collector Mike Wallace immediately got to work compiling Grazie! for Nature SoundsA unique introduction to the work of the maestro, the resulting 18-track anthology is a fitting tribute and sonic treat for the senses: a gatefold double-LP compilation album and bonus mix CD consisting of a prime selection of Umiliani’s soundtrack and library work, meticulously sourced off iconic rarities. Check out the mix below.

Grazie!  Piero Umiliani
1. Le Ore Che Contano
2. Coast To Coast
3. Viaggio Nel Tempo
4. Blue Lagoon
5. Easy Rhythm
6. Goodmorning Sun
7. Railroad
8. Chaser
9. Il Micione E La Gattina
10. Lady Magnolia
11. Tanto Tempo Fa
12. Nostalgia
13. Tropical River
14. Protesta Giovanile
15. Open Space
16. L’uomo E La Citta
17. Nostalgia
18. Tanto Lontano

Tuesday, November 28, 2017

Cover Cop: Paul Kelly vs. Thundercat

Paul Kelly's relaxed up-to-my-eyeballs sleeve shot works quite nicely as a rejoinder to Thundercat's agitated look. 

Happy Birthday Randy Newman

Raising a glass to Randy Newman on his day with his shining moment from the Performance soundtrack. 

Tami Neilson launches live Bootleg Series with Songs Of Sinners LP

Tami's 9-track Songs of Sinners album – available here – focuses on covers, including Otis Rush's Reap What You Sow.

Monday, November 27, 2017

Jazz chanteuse Diana Panton stays in season with Solstice/Equinox

Diana Panton's gorgeous rendition of September In The Rain would likely enhance your impression of any sound system.

Eddie Palmieri's Latin Jazz Septet @ Flato Markham Theatre, December 1

Watch Eddie Palmieri and crew perform "Cuerdas y Tumbao" with legendary Cuban violinist Alfredo de la Fe.

Sunday, November 26, 2017

The Little Giants vs. The Mankunku Quartet

Cape Town teen jazz crew Little Giants take on Winston "Mankunku" Ngozi's South African classic Yahkal' Inkomo. 

Saturday, November 25, 2017

Deke Dickerson & The Ecco-Fonics @ Cherry Cola's, Saturday

Don't miss guitar slinger deluxe Deke Dickerson and crew with The Greasemarks at Cherry Cola's tonight. 

One For The Weekend: Winston "King" Cole

No relation to Nat but Winston proves he's got soul to burn on the Errol T-produced "I Wonder Why" from 1974. 

Friday, November 24, 2017

R.I.P. Tommy Keene, 1958-2017

Remembering power pop kingpin Tommy Keene with a stop at Som Records in Washington back in 2015. 

B-Side Wins Again: Tintern Abbey

This pre-Velvet Opera outing for David MacTavish is among the finest examples of British psych ever recorded.

Thursday, November 23, 2017

Happy Birthday RL Burnside

Remembering Mississippi hill country blues great RL Burnside with a couple of stellar performance clips. 

Fascinating documentary Bombshell: The Hedy Lamarr Story screens at Bloor Hot Docs Cinema November 24-30

Hollywood actress/inventor Hedy Lamarr secretly developed torpedo guidance systems during WWII. 
Bombshell: The Hedy Lamarr Story
As a Hollywood starlet, Hedy Lamarr was better known for her tabloid scandals than her performances—but behind the scenes she was a secret genius inventor changing the course of history. In the 1940s she starred alongside legends like Clark Gable and James Stewart, and infamously had affairs with the likes of Howard Hughes and JFK. Today Lamarr has re-entered public consciousness as a Hall of Fame-inducted inventor for developing a secret radio system during WWII that paved the way for modern Wi-Fi and Bluetooth technology. Bombshell – opening Friday at the Bloor Hot Docs Cinema – tells her whole incredible story for the first time.

Friday, Nov 24 7:00 PM
Saturday, Nov 25 4:00 PM & 8:15 PM
Sunday, Nov 26 6:30 PM*
Monday, Nov 27 4:15 PM & 8:30 PM
Tuesday, Nov 28 1:30 PM
Wednesday, Nov 29 5:30 PM
Thursday, Nov 30 3:30 PM & 9:15 PM

*Director Alexandra Dean will be in attendance for a post-screening Q&A on Sunday, November 26, 6:30 pm.

Wednesday, November 22, 2017

R.I.P. Wayne Cochran, 1939-2017

Georgia-born R&B belter-turned-minister Wayne Cochran died yesterday at the age of 78. Here's the Miami Herald obit.  

Hailu Mergia's new album Lala Belu due in February

Ethiopian keyboardist/accordionist Hailu Mergia is releasing Lala Belu on February 16. Hear "Gum Gum" below.  

Happy Birthday Hoagy Carmichael

Here's Hoagy Carmichael's performance of "Am I Blue" with Lauren Bacall from 1944's To Have and Have Not.

Midweek Mixdown: The Dub Specialist

Here's a sweet selection of Studio One dub versions taken exclusively from single flipsides – no LP cuts. 

Tuesday, November 21, 2017

Darlene Shrugg w/ Biblical @ Hamilton's This Ain't Hollywood, Tuesday

Watch the clip for "Inherit The Wind" off the self-titled debut from Slim Twig & Meg Remy's band Darlene Shrugg.

Overlooked 70s jams of Hamad Kalkaba and The Golden Sounds rescued from obscurity

The rare 7-inch recordings of Cameroon's Hamad Kalkaba are being reissued by Analog Africa on December 8. 

Hamad Kalkaba and The Golden Sounds, 1974-1975 
"I remember the day clearly. I was searching for treasures in a record shop in Yaoundé, the Capital city of Cameroon, when suddenly I came across a 7-inch record with a picture of a young man wearing a traditional hat and bearing the marks of several imposing vertical scars on the side of his face, carved when he was just a boy as a reminder of his heritage in the Musgum tribe of the northern part of the country.

"The record contained two songs – ‘Gandjal Kessoum’ and ‘Touflé’ – by an artist I had never heard of before named Hamad Kalkaba. Both cuts were raw classics of fuzzed-out bass, pin-sharp horns, built upon the unshakable foundation of Northern Cameroon’s mightiest rhythm: the Gandjal. The shop owner - who noticed that I was listening to the same record over and over again - mentioned that ‘There is another single with a green cover of the same artist’.

"Over the next six years I searched for that ‘green cover’ and finally found it in a record collection belonging to an old bar in Parakou in northern Benin. While most of the records had been beaten and worn by a life spent in the jukebox, this one had been sitting in its paper sleeve for forty years, untouched and unplayed, seemingly waiting for us to pick it up and rip the two soulful Gandjal tunes from it, the masterpieces ‘Fouh Sei Allah’ and ‘Tchakoulaté’.

"These two records, plus a third simply named ‘Nord Cameroon Rythms’ constitute the entire discography of Hamad Kalkaba. Neglected for decades by all but the most devoted collectors of Afro music, Hamad Kalkaba and the Golden Sounds at long last gathers together the body of work of one of Cameroon’s forgotten geniuses.

"But unlike many musicians who emerged from nowhere, recorded a few singles and vanished again, Kalkaba hadn’t disappeared. Far from it. He was a distinguished public figure, a retired Colonel in the army of Cameroon, and a former member of Cameroon’s Olympic Selection Committee. When we tracked him down he was serving as president of the Confederation of African Athletics. And Although Kalkaba’s job kept him busy, and he seemed initially dismissive of the music he’d made as a young man, he turned out to be an enthusiastic ally in this project. He arranged interviews, helped fill in the blanks and, when we finally met him in Yaoundé in 2016, provided us with photographs, lyric sheets and notes.

"During the interview Kalkaba explained how the songs recorded in the mid 1970s were part of a movement, a movement initiated by musicians from all around Cameroon who, with the help of keyboards, drum kits and electric guitars, had started to modernise the traditional rhythms of their regions. For Kalkaba it was no different and backed by his band the Golden Sounds, devoted himself to the promotion of the sounds of northern Cameroon."
Samy Ben Redjeb, Analog Africa

Monday, November 20, 2017

B-Side Wins Again: Stone Garden

Gary Speer's proto-metal monster Oceans Inside Me was hidden on the flip of Stone Garden's Angelus label single.

Saturday, November 18, 2017

RIP Malcolm Young, 1953-2017

Sadly, Malcolm Young, who came up with AC/DC's greatest guitar riffs has died after a battle with dementia. 

Whaddya mean you don't know Maa Amanua & The Suku Troupe

Friday, November 17, 2017

Happy Birthday Gene Clark

Here's "Winter In," an outtake from Gene's White Light album from 1971.

Souljazz Orchestra, Tush @ Lee's Palace, Friday

Here's the Souljazz Orchestra performing "Holla Holla" off their new album Under Burning Skies out now. 

RIP Michael "DikMik" Davies, 1943-2017

Synth innovator DikMik who played on Hawkwind's 1970 debut, In Search Of Space and Doremi Fasol Latido has died.

One For The Weekend: The Botumless Pit

Most copies of this San Antonio garage classic have the "The Botumless Pit" sticker removed. 

Thursday, November 16, 2017

Happy Birthday Dan Penn!

Raising a glass to soul songsmith extraordinaire Dan Penn on his day with "Heavy Duty"  

Roy & Yvonne w/ Frankie Foo @ Remix Lounge, Friday

Legendary Jamaican ska duo Roy Panton & Yvonne Harrison reprise their classics at 1305 Dundas St. West Friday.

Limited-run RSD albums from The Fleshtones, Los Straitjackets and Minus 5 due November 24

With Record Store Day fast approaching, the fine folks at Yep Roc Records just announced a Black Friday bonanza of releases from The Fleshtones, Los Straitjackets and the Minus 5 – each containing at least some music you don't already own! Here's the scoop...

The Fleshtones – Budget Buster (Yep Roc Records)
Packaging: 12” Vinyl / red and orange splatter-colored
Limited to 1000 copies worldwide

Known as the “The Kings of Garage Rock” or “America’s Garage Rock Band,” there’s no debate that The Fleshtones are one of the hardest working (and rocking) bands of all time. In the past decade, Peter Zaremba's crew has released loads of new music that rivals the best of their impressive 40-year run. The 12-song Budget Buster collects some of their finest singles tracks and rarities over the last 10 years, many of which are long out-of-print and difficult to find. Fleshtones completists should note that Budget Buster includes two previously unreleased tracks and features a sleeve created by Mons. Zaremba himself!

Los Straitjackets – Sing Along With Los Straitjackets (Yep Roc Records)
Packaging: 12” LP with bonus 45 single
Limited to 1500 copies worldwide

Way back in 2001, Sing Along with Los Straitjackets marked the first time the masked instrumental marvels featured vocals on their recordings, an endeavor they would embark on again later with Deke Dickerson.

Sing Along with Los Straitjackets features a party of musicians spanning the musical sphere, from Nick Lowe playing bass on his own “Shake That Rat,” to collaborations with the always amazing El Vez, Raul Malo from The MavericksExene Cervenka from X, Mark Lindsay of Raiders fame, Mike Campbell from Tom Petty's Heartbreakers, and even instro royals The Trashmen. Reissued on wax for the first time, every copy of the LP comes with a bonus 45 single featuring two rare collaborations from the Sing Along with… sessions featuring Dave Alvin and Reverend Horton Heat, who also appear on the album.

The Minus 5 – Dear December (Yep Roc Records)
Packaging:  12” LP | white vinyl
Limited to 1500 copies worldwide

In early 2017, Scott McCaughey penned a few holiday numbers to submit to a well-known artist’s prospective holiday album. He became so inspired by the task that he wrote more than an album’s worth of material and decided to record that album with his group, The Minus 5, which for this project includes Peter Buck and drummer Joe Adragna as core members.

A cool yule selection of 11 original future holiday classics, Dear December includes collaborations with Kurt Bloch, M. Ward, Death Cab's Ben GibbardMike Mills, Colin Meloy (of The Decemberists), Chuck Prophet and a few other special guests. The deluxe white vinyl album comes packaged with an Advent-inspired calendar, a gatefold cover and digital download.

Wednesday, November 15, 2017

Happy Birthday Niklas Vahlberg!

Raising a glass to Niklas Vahlberg with a classic Nomads performance from 1985.

Alex Pangman's Hot Three! EP Release @ The Supermarket, Wednesday

Toronto jazz swinger Alex Pangman's Hot Three! EP for Justin Time boldly bares the advisory: "Recorded Straight to 78 rpm in New Orleans"  Yep, that's right – direct to 78rm acetate disc. The resulting CD includes both beautiful *and* bawdy songs, the likes of which one might expect to have been recorded in a one-room studio, around a single microphone back in the 20s. It's the answer to a question which Pangman has long pondered "why do old records sound the way they do?" And so the  recording process for her latest project was a journey into the mindset of the earliest recorded jazz musicians. The songs on which Alex chose to focus for the Hot Three! EP – Sweethearts on Parade, It's the Talk of the Town, Sweet Lotus Blossom, Blues My Naughty Sweetie Gives to Me, Little White Lies and Clarence Williams' 1924 classic popularized by Virginia Liston, You've Got the Right Key but the Wrong Keyhole – suitably reflect that lively period in the Crescent City's storied history.

Bringing into the present, Alex will be joined at The Supermarket tonight (November 15) by Drew Jurecka on violin, Nathan Hiltz on guitar, and John MacMurchy on bass saxophone (in the roles of Matt Rhody, Nahum Z, and Tom Saunders). In the second set, they will be joined by more of Alex's own Alleycats, Glenn Anderson, Peter Hill and Jack Zarowski.

DJ Colonel Tom Parker will spin period 78 rpm jazz records before and during intermission! Doors open at The Supermarket (268 Augusta) at 7 pm. The show runs from 8 pm to 10:30 pm. Tickets are $15 available at or at the venue. 

Tuesday, November 14, 2017

Ron Gallo, Naked Giants, Boyhood @ The Horseshoe, Tuesday

Here's a rippin' performance by a shirtless Ron Gallo after his new split with Naked Giants. 

Monday, November 13, 2017

Irwin Chusid compiles Sun Ra's Exotica for Modern Harmonic

The beautifully packaged 3-LP and 2-CD Sun Ra collection Exotica is out November 24. 

When music fans think "Exotica," the names that typically come to mind are Martin Denny, Arthur Lyman, Les Baxter, Esquivel, and countless others. But Sun Ra?

Here, we offer an illustrative passage from John Szwed's indispensable 1997 Ra biography, Space is the Place. For context, Szwed is chronicling the evolution of Ra's style in the late 1950s, when the budding legend was based in Chicago, leading a midsized ensemble (already dubbed an "Arkestra"), and still working largely in subgenres identifiable as "jazz." Szwed's reflections on Sunny's absorption with Exotica align the Afrofuturist icon with an unlikely musical inspiration:

[quote] "Sunny was listening to the Hollywood-inspired music being made by people like David Rose, whose lush, massed string writing could be heard as theme songs on popular radio programs; or to the exotica of people like Martin Denny, who recorded in Honolulu accompanied by animal noises, natural acoustic delay, and reverberation; and especially to the arrangements of Les Baxter, the premier figure in what was being called mood music.

"Baxter developed a post-swing style in the late forties and early fifties of spectacular orchestral writing, full of timpani and hand drums, tumbling violin lines, harps, flutes, marimbas, celesta, Latin rhythm vamps, the cries of animals, choral moans, and flamboyant singers, creating imaginary soundscapes which he helped evoke with titles like 'Atlantis,' 'Voodoo Dreams,' and 'Pyramid of the Sun.' Sunny first heard Baxter on Perfume Set to Music (1946) and Music Out of the Moon (1947). Baxter went on to produce records which celebrated the Aztecs (The Sacred Idol, 1959), South Asia (Ports of Pleasure, 1957), Africa and the Middle East (Tamboo!, 1955), and the Caribbean (Caribbean Moonlight, 1956), all of which used Latin rhythms generically, as did his two big band records, African Jazz (1958) and Jungle Jazz (1959). Though later generations would understand this music in strictly utilitarian terms, and hear in it the sounds of air conditioning and the clink of ice in cocktail shakers, for Sunny it was music rich with imagination and suggestion. His genius was to take as raw material what others in the 1950s thought of as 'easy listening' and turn it into what in the late 1960s would be heard as 'Third World music' by some and as 'uneasy listening music' by others." [/quote]

Perhaps it's enough to say that Ra and Baxter were both musically omnivorous. However, Baxter, like Sunny, composed music that resisted the Earth's gravitational pull. His 1958 LP Space Escapade contained titles that share a vision with Ra: "Saturday Night on Saturn," "Moonscape," "A Distant Star," "The Other Side of the Moon," and "A Look Back at Earth." His 1947 Music Out of the Moon is arguably the Rosetta Stone of outer space Exotica. Like Sunny, Baxter was an early adopter of the Moog synthesizer—he released the album Moog Rock in 1969, the same year Sunny found himself in Gershon Kingsley's Manhattan studio exploring the circuit-based sounds of the new instrument (featured on tracks he would self-release as My Brother the Wind). And Ra's 1957 debut LP Jazz by Sun Ra included Harry Revel's "Possession," which had first been introduced on Baxter's album Perfume Set to Music.

In a 1996 eulogy for Baxter in Wired magazine, David Toop wrote that "Baxter offered package tours in sound, selling tickets to sedentary tourists who wanted to stroll around some taboo emotions before lunch, view a pagan ceremony, go wild in the sun or conjure a demon, all without leaving home hi-fi comforts in the white suburbs."

Was Exotica kitsch? Did it represent "cultural appropriation"? Was it a dilution of indigenous art? Who cares? Music should be enjoyed on its own terms. The Beatles were heavily influenced by American R&B. Ra borrowed from Gershwin and Stan Kenton. Nigerian juju music was radically altered by the infusion of electric guitars and Western rock. This is how styles develop and evolve. Exotica has roots, but those roots are uncopyable. What emerges is something derivative, yet original. Here you have Sun Ra, of African-American extraction, influenced by Les Baxter, a Caucasian from Texas, who was in turn influenced by primitive jungle rites. It's a cultural feedback loop, best enjoyed by leaving politics out of it.

Herman Poole "Sonny" Blount was born in 1914 in Birmingham, Alabama, where racial discrimination was endemic and historic. Music became his solace. During the late 1940s and 1950s he lived on Chicago's South Side, a black racial enclave. It was a culturally vibrant, if economically downtrodden community. Like many of his neighbors, Ra struggled to earn a living and aspired to move on. However, "travel" takes many forms, not all measured in miles. Paul Youngquist, in a chapter entitled "Interplanetary Exotica," from his 2016 book A Pure Solar World: Sun Ra and the Birth of Afrofuturism, writes: "One of [Sun Ra's] responses to the confinement of blacks, segregated as they were in Chicago's South Side and other such urban spaces […] involved deploying the cultural rhetoric of the Space Age toward the progressive ends of opening up wider vistas, new horizons. If blacks couldn't flourish in segregated cities, then maybe they could follow exotica into space."

Mainstream Exotica's sensuous dreamscapes underscored middle-class post-war optimism, providing rhapsodies for midcentury moderns. Ra knew the despair of the underclass, and created art that was no less escapist. Music could be transcendent; it could transport the listener. The root word "exotic" implies something strange, something unfamiliar, a place that's — anywhere but here. Maybe you can't afford a cruise to Barbados, but a stylus in a cheap microgroove LP could be a ticket to paradise—or the moon—for 20 minutes.

That Ra hasn't been widely celebrated in Exotica circles is understandable. He never made an "Exotica record"; such tracks are mixed in his LPs alongside space jazz, post-bop, electronic freakouts, and sonic experiments. Another reason: the most acclaimed Exotica LPs were "clean." The labels and producers strived for technical perfection. Ra's catalog—indeed his style—is redolent with wrong notes, indifferent mixes, ad hoc mic placement, ill-tuned instruments, distortion, and dollar-store acoustics. Perfectionism? With Sun Ra, it’s all perfectly flawed. But where it lacks sonic purity, it offers something more gratifying: soul.

Ra is not known for cocktail party accompaniment or Tiki bar soundscapes. But here's a few dozen recordings that might suit the mood.

adapted from the full LP/CD package liner notes by Irwin Chusid

Recordings produced by Sun Ra for Saturn Records, under the business aegis of Alton Abraham
Recorded at various locations in Chicago and New York, 1956–1968

Sun Ra – Exotica (Modern Harmonic)
1. Kingdom of Thunder
2. Space Mates (abridged)
3. Star Bright
4. The Nile (Part 1)
5. Eve
6. Tiny Pyramids
7. The Lady with the Golden Stockings
8. Paradise
9. New Horizons
10. Portrait of the Living Sky
11. India
12. Ancient Aiethopia
13. Planet Earth
14. April in Paris
15. Island in the Sun (complete version)
16. Africa
17. Friendly Galaxy
18. Interstellar Low Ways
19. Conversion of J.P. (abridged)
20. Cha Cha in Outer Space
21. Brazilian Sun
22. Lights on a Satellite
23. Somewhere In Space
24. Spontaneous Simplicity
25. Overtones of China

RIP Bobby Matos, 1941-2017

Sadly, Afro-Latin jazz percussionist, composer and bandleader Bobby Matos passed away on November 11.

Here Lies Man vs. Fela Anikulapo Kuti

Check out Here Lies Man's cover of Sorrow, Tears and Blood followed by Fela Kuti's extended version. 

Sunday, November 12, 2017

John Carpenter @ Danforth Music Hall, Sunday

John Carpenter's Anthology tour rolls into Toronto tonight – here's what you can expect from the horror maestro. 

Robert Earl Keen admits he doesn't listen to country radio

Saturday, November 11, 2017

Lydia Loveless @ The Rivoli, Saturday

The new Lydia Loveless album Boy Crazy and Single(s) is available on beer coloured vinyl from Bloodshot Records.

One For The Weekend: Delvon Lamarr Organ Trio

Here's Delvon Lamarr's combo performing "Concussion" back in May. The red vinyl version of the single is now sold out. 

Friday, November 10, 2017

R.I.P. Fred Cole, 1948-2017

Sadly, Fred Cole of Dead Moon, Pierced Arrows, The Rats, King Bee and Lollipop Shoppe has passed away.

James Hunter returns with Whatever It Takes in February

A permanent fixture in the world of Rhythm and Soul, James Hunter follows up five critically acclaimed albums with Whatever It Takes for Daptone Records. At the height of his famed recording career, Hunter and Daptone co-founder and producer Gabe "Bosco Mann" Roth recorded an elegantly crafted collection of 10 originals that are evermore poignant and compelling than the singer’s previous works.

The James Hunter Six and Roth recorded Whatever It Takes straight to tape at Daptone's Penrose Studios in Riverside, California – where Roth cut Hunter's 2013 album Minute By Minute. Whatever It Takes will be internationally released on February 2, 2018. Digital Pre-Order available right here - stay tuned for physical pre-order announcement!

JD McPherson @ Lee's Palace, Friday

JD McPherson will be rockin' his snazzy TK Smith custom made guitars at Lee's Palace tonight. 

Thursday, November 9, 2017

Robert Forster sings the Go-Betweens at the Copenhagen Jazzhouse

Here's Robert Forster and company performing a few old Go-Betweens faves in Denmark recently.

Wednesday, November 8, 2017

Philip John Lewin, Sing Leaf, Sandro Perri @ The Burdock, Wednesday

Don't miss this rare Toronto appearance by folk legend Philip Lewin at The Burdock. 8:30 pm doors. $10. 
Am I Really Here All Alone?

In 1967 I began my life in the student union of a university. In other words, I was in school. But, classes definitely took a back seat to people-watching and attempts at relationships. I would not say that I was particularly good at the latter, but I made a great observer. I even stayed near the school community for an extra year until an opportunity came up to move in with friends in Toronto, Canada, which turned out to be a pivotal opportunity for me.

Listen to a WFMU performance here.
I was once told that one should first write about one's own experiences, then, expand to documenting the observed experiences of those around, and, finally write about what one imagines. Am I Really Here All Alone? encompasses all of the above. Something else I realized in writing lyrics is that sometimes it is good to be transparent about the meaning and others times, not so much.

"Unusual Day" is an example of me being honest struggling to develop and maintain a relationship, but ultimately realizing it was not going to succeed. "Watercolours" documents a crushing experience, but is couched in metaphor. I hope that listeners will relate through their own experiences, and because my reality is implied, not specified, will not be limited to mine.

"Sweet Georgia" is an example of me, as a writer, leaving my personal space. I think of it as an attempt to clone William Faulkner to Bobbie Gentry.

"The Magic Within You" is actually a commission where I was asked to write a song for a benefit to be performed by Doug Henning, the groundbreaking stage magician and friend. I once heard John Prine complain that there was no point in writing a 'train song' because Steve Goodman had already written the perfect one with "City of New Orleans." Naturally, I had to write "Back Home, To You," my idea of a train song where I tried to capture the movement of the train in the rhythm of the guitar.

As for the other six songs, to me, they all reflect realities, experienced, observed and imagined. Descartes said, "I think, therefore I am." However my question is, "Am I Really Here All Alone?" – Philip Lewin,  2017