This is the spot where you can learn what in the world we might have been thinking when we were putting these songs together. Study in detail -- Impress your friends with your vast VWR trivia knowledge! These are sort of song-by-song liner notes.....
NEW SONGS: (Stuff we've been working on since the release of "Above The Blue", all to be released on VWR's forthcoming third album.)
A tale of a red-eye flight, a pacific view, an orange sky, summer beats, 4:4 time, afterburners, Julianne....and hindsight.
Salt Water Taffy
A celebration of all things summer! Music written by Dave Purol and originally entitled "Cooper's Mountain" it got its SWT title after further lyrical collaboration with Eric & John, and based off of Dave's defining lines "I'll be lying in the sun". Grab this one to crank as you throw your boards in the buggy and head beachward. Life is sticky sweet!
In this one, John's "Nikki" dreams of a better life while listening to a radio show coming out of New York City, and "with a thousand dollars to her name" sets off to find it. A song about optimism, patience, and determination. The main body of the song is all about Nikki, while the reprise "Broadway" is from the perspective of the guy she had to leave behind to go find it. Two sides to everything, y'know.
A simple and hopeful road song about the ample possibilities of putting one's self in motion. It features a jangly guitar sound including mandolins by John and 12 string Rickenbacher by Drake Harris. This was written originally by Eric a few years back, while still in the midwest "when I was young and optimistic".
ABOVE THE BLUE:
The Better Part
We all have those people in our lives who have moved us along the way, and whose inspiration lives on at times in all we do. This one is about giving credit back to those influences who make us want to be better people.
Above The Blue
A song about the aspiration for things to get better. It explores the idea that life often comes down to attitude, and maybe one can be happy by simply deciding to be so. This one could have been arranged and recorded in so many ways. We decided to give it energy with lots of guitars as well as moving cello. Features Guest Cello by Fred Lieder and Guest Background Vocals by Pam Long. This song is also a metaphor for our whole CD, as we decided to strive for a make a very upbeat album this time, thus the CD title.
Some Time To Live
A song about burning it at both ends and 21st century urban living: trying to balance the multiple demands on your time with the desire to have some quality life amongst it. Often a challenge, but worth the effort!
A Lesser Fool
She Does It For Me
That late May feeling that "the school year is finally over and summer break is now on us" never fully fades even when you’re an adult. We wanted to write a song that celebrates the call of the summer sun, the stress relief of a day on the beach, and all the good times that are out there just waiting for us to turn away from our "brown bag day" and step into them.
The idea of something is often as strong as the thing itself. Stronger if you agree with Plato. John had been kicking around the idea of writing a humorous song about infatuated fans and it just clicked one evening while watching "Wild Hogs"(!). The leading lady is pretty, has a great smile, and we’re sure she has a huge fan base based on her winsome personality. We tip our hats to the inspiration.
Lagavulin For Christmas
John had recently introduced the band to the refined flavor of certain single malt scotches, and it was around the holidays when we got the idea to tip our hats to one of our personal favorites, the 16 year old smoky Lagavulin. Add a driving pub-rock beat, some sleigh bells and some silly lyrics about what is really keeping Santa's cheeks rosy on his sleigh ride, and we have an irreverent little holiday ditty that just makes us smile every time we play it. If anyone wants to start their christmas lists for us early, this is a great place to start. :)
The Tree Song
VEGAS WITH RANDOLPH:
Be The One
John's tale of a search for compatibility: "I wish that you would be the one that I want, It's so hard..." Inspired by nights out at the Hay Penny Lion nightclub and other similar locales in DC. The song directly references "Achin’ To Be" by The Replacements in the bridge.
Jefferson wrote about life, liberty & the pursuit of happiness. This one is about the latter. This was an older song Eric had around for a while and the band suggested we revamp it for the CD and rewrite the lyrics, and its better for it. One of several songs we've done recently that touch on time priorities and work/life balance.
Milky Way Girl
Lifting Your Burden
A song about hiding your emotions, and wondering if others feel the same. If so, and if it was known, perhaps two people together could find a way beyond the angst. With us all hiding our feelings to some degree, wouldn’t it be a relief to pour it all out if we could just do so safely – and supporting another to do the same? John notes that this was an earlier song from maybe a more self absorbed stage, but it stands as a reminder of some of the melancholy days of youth.
A folky song Eric wrote while living in France several years ago, using the storyline of Marie Antoinette and the French Revolution as a metaphor for modern social indifference. Its interesting to us how the lyrics and idea behind this song seem to remain relevant to current events in one way or another as time has passes...
An ode to the big skies, bright stars, and red canyons we imagine, in a place that most in the band have never actually been. A song written on a chilly winter day, with a longing to be somewhere warmer. Eric had this one around for a few years and John really pushed for its inclusion on the album. The July 2010 issue of Songwriter's Monthly had some very nice things to say about this one in its review of us.
One Tough Life
A look back to the great depression of the 1930's, with a bit of a contrast to the current economics of today. We tried to take a bit of an organic bluesy approach on this one, including guest lead guitar from Larry Benade of Blues Condition as well as some nice slide acoustic guitar and mandolin by John. We have a video out for this as well, which is made largely of depression era footage, and is a striking visual portrait of the subject matter.
Buses, Trains, & Planes
John’s mother passed away during his early 20's. He had to drive across the country for the funeral, but didn’t really want to reach his destination. He wrote the verse on the long drive to Illinois from Maryland. Eric collaborated on the chorus and we added a new bridge to make it more about the idea of being lonely, with the hope of meeting someone by chance through travel – which is what the finished song is about for the listener. But to John, it will always be about losing his mom.
Yours & Mine
A song that envisions the sun breaking through the clouds and spreading some warmth on a world that could use it. It also speaks to modern stress and work/life balance a bit "we need some sand, instead of shoes. we need some time to go out fishing..." and in some ways is a prayer for healing in a world that is still stricken with too much war and hurt "hey sun, can you give us this.... a little less hate, and a lot more love...we sure could use".
In reviewing possible material for our debut CD, we had a number of “song snippets” around – stuff we really liked but in some cases had not been developed into complete songs. We identified the ones we liked but had too many for the project unless we decided to put out a double CD. At the same time, we recalled having played various song medleys live, and always enjoyed the interest and excitement in transforming from one song to another. We were intrigued with the challenge and uniqueness of recording a multi-song Suite – certainly Abbey Road side 2 and other such efforts were probably in the back of our mind somewhere. Knitting them together was some of the best fun we've ever had – so much so that we decided to copy that idea in a shorter fashion on our next album. See "Double Play" above.