In Quiet Times
What is more interesting than my singer/songwriter origins and the musical influences that impressed me most are the stories behind the songs themselves. Here's a little insight as to what inspired these creations. This CD also includes a twelve page booklet, which contains all of the lyrics. Joy: This song was written for a special lady that I worked with for many years and truly loved but we had never been more than good friends. When I found out that she was getting married and moving away her song welled up inside of me and was written on a twelve string guitar with my harmonica accompanying me. I had the good fortune of playing it for her before she left... taking with her a big piece of my heart. Just Madmen Talking: I have no idea why this song came to me as it did, completely written and flowing out of me like a waterfall in only twenty minutes. It's a passionate debate about the death penalty and whether or not we have the right to take another persons life. My friend Randy Blain is the gentler spirit on the song while I play the part of the "madman" who (fictionally) lost someone very dear to him and argues for the harshest treatment. Madman's Lament: This eclectic little piece is a natural extension of the madman who has been caught and is now facing imminent death. His child is played by my own little girl and the voice of my wife is that of a good friend Carol Long. Alone Again: This song was inspired by a Kenny G track that I was listening to in my car. I was going through a rough patch and his song brought me to tears. I pulled off the road and wrote this poem without knowing the title of Kenny's song until quite some time later. His instrumental was entitled "Alone" and it made sense that it had manifested in my soul with so much passion. The music didn't come right away but was gifted to me many months later. A local band was recording in our studio when there was a falling out amongst them and they let their lead singer go... who, while alone with me later in the day began playing the sad little electric guitar part that I used as the foundation for this song. Thanks to another good friend, a gifted musician in his own right, Brian Van Korn and I completed the work later that year. In Quiet Times: This song was fifteen years in the making... or perhaps re-making would be more accurate. I wrote the poem in 1978 but couldn't find the music to express it properly for a few more years. Then one evening, while jamming with a two of my friends, John Wimmer (the trumpeter on this album) and Randy Blain (a phenomenal singer / songwriter, guitarist, flute and sax player), while John and I were just talking, Randy began picking a beautiful little tune. I asked him what it was and he simply said that he was getting into what John and I were discussing and this melody was the result. I knew instantly that it was a perfect match for my "IQT" lyrics and ran to the car to get my songbook. When I returned we tried it out and sure enough it was a perfect fit. The next day we recorded it in my primitive home studio, which at that time consisted of a stereo pair of mics plugged into a cassette deck. Randy played guitar, I sang and played harmonica and John played trumpet. That simple little recording was so beautiful that we were all walking on air for the next few days... it was weeks for me! Unfortunately, Randy lost the only copy we had, which was a real heartbreaker. This version took place fifteen years later and has more of a "Yanni" feel than the original (thanks again to our good friend Brian Van Korn) but we were all very happy with the result and that we were able to recapture this song so beautifully. It's not the original... but it's darn close and in many ways superior due to the production choices we made and the superb talent that we were fortunate to have join us. Into Ecstasy: (instrumental) If "Joy" could have been three minutes longer then this would have been the perfect instrumental ending. Maybe it was a mistake not doing it that way but at least this beautiful little ride was saved. The Alamo: (instrumental) This is one of the more interesting stories on the album. It started out as a gift back to Brian Van Korn, our keyboardist. My intention was to take one of his songs and remove all electronic sequencing from it since he is so famous for this type of work... truly a one man magic show when it comes to music. My problem was that all of his 'sequenced' creations had 'his feel and sound' on them and that took away from the originality of the music brought in by each individual artist. What started out as a simple four chord progression (played on guitar by Randy Blain and which seemed to wander endlessly and without any direction) slowly evolved as I first added in John's trumpet (a virtuoso in his own right) and a bit of Randy's flute and a lot of overlapping reverb. It still hadn't taken it's true form when a visitor heard it and said it had a "Mexican flare". I slept with that thought on my mind and awoke to the realization that what we had was a the battle of the Alamo! That battle waged on for nearly two weeks between thousands of Santa Anna's Mexican troops and the hundred and ninety or so Texans who were defending the Spanish mission at the Alamo. Randy's meandering guitar, which ranged from slow, quiet and gentle to vicious in it's attack, represented the flow of the battle... all of a sudden the music made complete sense to me and became a credible foundation upon which to build this song. The trumpet represented the Mexican troops, while the flute told the story of the men, women and children inside the fort. We all went back into the studio with that vision in mind and laid down our parts accordingly. The last step was to lay down the percussion of the battle, which I did using the tympani drum kit on (of all things) my own keyboard. When we gave this to Brian and told him of the origins he was truly impressed by the result, which was a huge compliment for me since this was my freshman year running the GMG studio. (Everyone seems to love this one!) You'll want to play it when the neighbors aren't at home so you can really CRANK IT UP and enjoy it! Tell Me Why: Together we can make the world a better place. Hear all of those crying voices... Feel... with all their aching hearts Mend... ALL of those broken fences but please don't keep pulling us apart FEEL... as though they are all our children ACT as though it can and WILL be done STRIVE... for all of those helpless people TOGETHER our battle can be one There's A Reason: A song of hope from a man who was losing his wife and family. There's a season when the storms rage when it seems that they'll never end there's a reason why our love stays after the pain has been laid to rest There's a reason for the nightfall there's a reason for the dark there's a reason for the fire yes, there's a reason for the spark When Love Is Gone: This one is about the battle that rages inside each of us. There's a beast that tries to emerge when all of our love and hope vanish and there's also a godchild within each of us trying to be patient and reason with our more primitive selves. This is an eclectic little piece that almost didn't make the album until Andrea Brachfeld, a wonderful and classically trained flautist, laid down her inspiring flute accompaniment, which made this little duet very special to me. What choices will be made when perception follows rage within the solitude of pain... caging what remains Will it become good or evil... godlike - or just the devil as it sheds an earthly skin... for the creature left within How do you lose the beast inside... when it preys upon your soul can we reach it through the darkness... to keep it's story from being told Love For Sale: It was a good thing that I laid down the music to this before letting my Christian friends know of the subject matter, which conveys a dark part of our human nature. It tells of a lonely man trying to drink his sorrows away in a Go-Go bar, throwing his money away on the beautiful dancers in hope of making a connection, but knowing full-well that true love can't be bought. Silent Eyes: I seldom write with another artist but this one was an exception. I was in the process of writing this song when a good friend and fellow songwriter, Ray Jenkins, came over to our studio. I didn't want to stop in the middle and rather than collaborate, I played what I had already written for him and then went off to keep working on it alone. He also worked on his own without me believing that there could be any fit... but I was wrong. His lyrics also expressed the difficult times my wife and I were experiencing just before our divorce. The only creative difference we had was that he wanted the ending to show the relationship ending, whereas I wanted there to be some hope left since she and I had had two children together. As it turned out he was right... but I like the ending as it is just the same. I hope you have enjoyed these song-bios more than stories about me or the artists that I love. There are just too many of them and they represent such a small fraction of the wonderful talent that is out here. If I had to pinpoint just a few who meant more to me than most they would have to be the lyricists; Jackson Browne, Tracy Chapman, CS&N, Bob Dylan, the Eagles, Melissa Etheridge, Fleetwood Mac, Dan Fogelberg, David Gray, Richie Havens, Indigo Girls, Sarah McLauchlan, The Moody Blues, Paul Simon, James Taylor... but as I've said, these are just a few of the influences, there are truly far too many to give proper mention... and they all matter. We hope you will find some of the same inspiration in our play as well. Thank you for spending this time with us. I know you will enjoy quite a bit of this album... especially if you like music with a whole lot of heart and soul. Peace and support of progressive activism so there will be greater hope of leaving our children a better future. Patrick Michael Alaggio.