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Second Album:  "New World"

Four Times
Gene - Drums
Matt - Guijo, Slide Guijo, Acoustic Guitars, Lead Vocals
John - Electic Guitars, Bass, Background Vocals

Four Times, you watch
The ratio of 4 to 1
Four times, my effort
Everyday to your one
Hazy delusions
You see the playing field
You wreak self pity
Scaling walls you solely build. 

If ever I find you
I hope you died a thousand ways. 

Hey, little pedo
You hide in the spring day
Behind the fence
The swing set now child's play
Four times, so lucky
The horseman was miles away
Four times so charmed
You live to see another day. 


The stained glass judges on Sunday morn
Your faith, your spirit, you say reborn....
you say reborn.....

Four times red moon
Will rise and fall on you
Four times you'll deny
Every thing you know is true
And so it seems
For now your cover's blown
But you'll get off....
Right where you got on......

If ever I find you
I hope you died a thousand ways.... 

John:  I wrote a form of this song about 10 years ago.  A few months ago, I'd gone through a stage of unhappiness to where I'd found out I'd been getting screwed by so-called "friends" over the last few years, so I felt an aggressive song would be in order.  I told Matt just to write about people he didn't like.  He did well, and included my story in the third verse.  Anyway, I thought of this song & put it into motion.

I normally like the bass locking with the drums, but it's pretty much just the opposite with this one.  I was just noodling around and came up with the bass for the verse parts - kind of as a joke, but Matt liked it, so what the hell.  The bass in the chorus is in it's own little world, and no - I wasn't thumping - but plucking it with enough force to make my fingers bleed (aggression).

Probably the funniest part about this song, was that I was wanting something bizarre coming out of the solo/bridge part back into the main riff of the song.  Suddenly it dawned on me that nobody in this world would have EVER played a slide on a banjo - much less a guijo!  I called Matt and made the request.  To make matters even sicker, he didn't have a slide, BUT, he had a 6L6 guitar amp tube - so he just used that.  Again - this is a first in Rock & Roll history.  You can bet your ass on that!

Yes - it's the angriest song we've done to date.

Weird sound alert:  Hummingbirds and a pretty nature sound at the beginning give way to things gone bad. And yes - a GONG at the end of the song run through a flanger..

Matt:  As John mentioned above, Four Times was musically chipped out of a pretty angry situation. Hence the aggressive heavy guitar riff. When he sent the rough over to me I thought it was killer, he just said write it about people you hate. I said ok, I can think of several. The first verse is really about coat tail riders. Lazy ass people who are perfectly content watching you do all the work, and delusional enough to think they are bringing as much to the table as you are. They are usually defeatist, and the only thing holding them back is themselves. 
Second verse is about the pedophile that tied up, at the time,  my six year old son in the swing set at the playground behind my wife's medical practice building years ago. Won't elaborate, but to stay the office manager came out and stopped this situation before something really unthinkable happened. But still, they never caught the guy and I was not there at the time to protect my son. I was traveling with the band. The chorus is also directed at this asshole. Good thing I was not there, I would be writing songs from Prison I assure you. 
Bridge is about condescending religious fanatics, especially the ones consumed in their own hypocrisy and too self absorbed to even see it.  Sadly, there's usually an abundance of people (like the ones described in the song) who tend to fall back on these born-again methods - more than likely out of guilt than anything else.

Third verse was for Johnny and his situation with a band that was screwing him over. The concept is time and time again, you just keep getting screwed over by people, and you want to have a little faith in people, but it's getting harder and harder to do. This verse says you are on to them, and implies that they are probably pulling the same shit on someone else; and they will never change. 
Just a happy, joyous little song here.​

Gene - Drums
Matt - Acoustic Guitars, Lead Vocals
John - Electric Guitars, Bass, Background Vocals

Becky Mountain looms over me in the dead of winter.
Down in the valley, it looks like Whoville.
And in the moonlight I can tell, the lakes are frozen.
Down in the valley, it looks like Whoville.
Yea it looks like Whoville.
See the clouds touching on the mountain tops. 

From my front porch I can see, Dunn's Rock clearly.
It sits 2000 feet above Whoville.
And it had to be a sacred place to the Cherokee.
But that was long before they built Whoville.
Yea they built Whoville.
Now the house lights cover up the mountain tops....

Every time I hear it snow, I know why I came here.
And every time the seasons change the hour it grows nearer.
And every time I have this dream I always wake up here..
Now you're telling me someone new is trying to steal Whoville.
Now you're telling me someone new is trying to steal Whoville. 

Raven rides the thermals on a clear and icy day
He keeps the glad heart for all in Whoville
And high upon the Dragon's back you can feel, the moods and rhythms 
Yes grandmother earth she lives in Whoville, 
Yea she lives in Whoville.
But she hardly never ever comes to town. 


John:  As you can tell, Matt & I have had some fun revisiting Jupiter Coyote songs, and putting a different spin on them (looks like we're doing about 2 per album).  Anyway, I was kind of amazed that this song didn't pick up more steam with JC, as I thought it was just a killer song - definitely one of my favorites that they'd ever done.

I didn't want to do really much different with it, because I kind of thought it was one of those "if it ain't broke, don't fix it" scenarios.  I did give it a little more crunch (of course), but I'm a sucker for quiet/loud dynamics.  Lull them into a pleasant place, then kick 'em in the face! 

I guess really the biggest difference in this version, would be the implementation of the "Queen'ish" 3 part guitar harmony between the verses and the choruses.  That was actually done more out of me being lazy.  When I first recorded it, I programmed my drum machine to go at half the beats the song was actually at.  By the time I figured that out, I'd recorded most of my other parts.  I just said "well - let's just stick something non-normal in these spots", so there you are.

I was a little curious as to how Matt would sound singing it - as I thought Felty did such a killer job (still do) on the original, but "Mellow Matt" really shocked the hell out of me with his singing on it.  Somebody tell the boy he can sing, because he doesn't always think he can!

Odd sound alert:  We all thought the wind chimes on the original was cool, so we included them at the beginning of this version.  They're just backwards this time. :)

Matt:  I wrote this song back in 1997 I think and it was on Jupiter Coyotes Ghost Dance album. I thought conceptually it fit in well with content for The Raptor Trail so I wanted to re do it. I did not know at the time that John liked it so much. He added that cool guitar riff between the verse and chorus and we recorded it. That solo is blistering by the way.

I had the idea for this song one winter when I was living in a little log cabin at Deerwoode. It was really cold then, everything was frozen and icy, really cold, like zero. I guess I had seen the Grinch cause I got the idea playing guitar on my porch one night, looking at all the house lights on the mountains, and how my little town of Brevard, NC was like Whoville, and now someone new was trying to steal it. In my case, it was development, and the retired rich folks plastering their million dollar homes all along the mountain tops. That idea spawned this whole song. 

Dunn's Rock is a large rock formation that sits on Becky Mountain right in front of my house. It's really cool looking, and most of this area was Cherokee land at one time. The chorus is just a self reminder of why you came back here. It really gets so still and quite here that you can hear the snow falling. Its home, the place you always come back to, and now its changing. More people, more houses, more scars upon the land. I'm part Comanche Indian so this stuff hits home to me.
Last verse is about an old friend I knew up on Round Mountain. His name was Raven. He was a kind, peaceful soul. We called his place up there the Dragon Back as the ridge of the mountains looked like a Dragons' back. It was a spiritual place up there, he would have great music festivals in the summers. 
Conclusion is things don't stay the same. They are always going to change and sometimes not for the better. So try to pay attention as mother nature is all around us, but you wont see her in town or at the mall.. If you want to see the order of things, look deep into nature. This really ties into the whole original Raptor Trail concept. 

Going to Dublin
Gene - Drums
Matt - Guijos, Lead Vocals (first two verses), Altered Vocals
John - Electric Guitars, G-Strings, Bass, Lead Vocals (third verse), Monk Chamber Choir Vocals

Seductive logic, if the premise is true
Or true enough, then the ending is proved.
Preductive logic, if the ending is true
Or true enough, for the premise to prove...
Unductive logic, is the evidence true
And if its not then the evidence skewed.
Without a doubt, Obviously don't you know
You punch your ticket it's a radical show....
I'm floating through in my primary reason
Feels so right no matter the season.
I'm moving on to my secondary reason
Assertion true, well it must be well reasoned
Call me stupid, call me heartless, call me evil
Kick me to the curb like an ole Bo Weevil
Without a doubt, obviously don't you know
You punch your ticket it's a radical show.....

And then you rode your wave
And then you bought your grave

John:  I don't even know where to start with this one.  Definitely the most ambitious, difficult program we've gotten into yet.  Let's break it into parts.  This is going to be a long story.

Part 1:  A riff of a song I'd written in about 1993.  The main riff is actually in a major theme, but everything around it is in minor.  Absurd, but it seemingly works.  The verse melody was Sabbath-influenced (sort of Fairies Wear Boots meets the ABB), and the harmonies are probably Rainbow-influenced.

Part 2:  A riff of a song I'd written back about 1990.  Very much Dregs-influenced.

Part 3:  After everybody has lost their minds for a little bit - it's quickly "dynamic reduction time".  I reckon I channeled my inner Mark Knopfler for this solo.

Part 4:  After the Monk Chamber Choir Vocals (in which I recorded 8 different tracks of vocals), we ease into another Deep Purple/ABB/Dregs movement.  I can assure you that this is the very extent of my bass playing abilities.  Then - another dynamic shift, and Matt says a few odd things in which I figured would sound neat going through a ring modulator.

After another words on logic via Matt and the next part, Gene surprises the world by going into a thrash metal double-kick pattern that put things over the top.  I'm sometimes not all that crazy about that stuff, but DAMN if Geno didn't hit the nail on the head with it this time.  His drumming on this song is unbelieveable.  I really didn't know if he or anybody else would be able to match the insanity of this tune, but he's known me since 1977, so I guess he knows what weird crap I'm going to pull even before I do!

Part 5:  Well - that's really back to Part 1, isn't it?

I'd started squishing these songs together back about 10-15 years ago, and it just kind of kept morphing. When I let Mayes hear the first version, I really didn't think he'd like it, but the boy is sick I tell ya.  To make matters even sicker, he used about 3-4 different guijo tunings on this song.  I was utterly amazed at how he matched each area of insanity...

In conclusion - will you hear many more songs this complex from us?  Probably not.  I kind of like keeping things down to earth a little more, and I'm probably too lazy to write a bunch of stuff like this! This one took a good bit of time, but I think we ended up doing it just sort of because the challenge was there.  Not only that, but the prog-lovers will definitely get an ear-full with it, too.

Will it ever be performed live?  Bwahahaha!  We'd have to have about 4-5 guitarists, a bass player tuned to DADA, and somebody's gonna have to build Matt a 4-5 neck guijo.  We're not that rich.  I could write a good bit more about this song, but I figure you're feeling as if you're wasting your life at this point.

Odd sound alert:  A reversed drone to start things off.  In the Dreggish Part II, I'm doing alternate chords through my whammy pedal where it stops and alternate the pannings. 

Matt:  This song took me a while to come up with something to write to it. The music was such a monster, I really had to brew on this one for a long time. After a friend had sent over a link to a website with some of the funniest political satire I had seen, the idea came to me. I started reading some of the articles written by Oleg Atbashian. Atbashian was from the Ukraine, and he used to work as a propaganda artist for the old Soviet Union. After moving to the US, he was amused by the level of delusional affection for all things Left among the 'liberal' intellectual elites who take America's exclusive well-being for granted. It was his comments and terms in a piece about the illogical nature of these delusions, that I based the lyrics for Dublin. It's firmly tongue and cheek. It was just funny. Some of the terms are not even real words.  

Now the Matt speak in the middle of the song was produced by none other than Johnny 27 years ago. John was the sound engineer in the first band we had and we traveled around in this nasty box van/truck that had been terribly customized into a band truck. Johnny would get bored on the long road trips so he starting writing mindless twaddles on the wood under the top bunk. I would sit there week after week, trip after trip, and read these ramblings he had written. They have become permanently stuck in my brain for 25+ years. So, "sprad, sprad, the mysterious development that twinges on the hammer spray, soft mode," is all Johnny. Many hours I pondered what that meant. I still do not know, but it fit perfectly into the musical schizophrenia that is Dublin. 

As for my Guijo parts. I had to use three different tuning s and two different keys to play this bastard. Like John said, are we going to play it live? NO

Stone By Stone
Gene - Drums
Matt - Acoustic Guitars, Guijos, Lead and Background Vocals
John - Electric Guitars, Bass, Background Vocals

See the rust red cover
On the Irish face
Winter is warning you
Thorns left in your vase
All was corrected once
Now all is the same
No man was meant to follow
Behind a pride so tame

Stone by stone
Bury your bones.....

Now you're bearing witness
To a tragic fall
Today you're scared and running
Tomorrow you will crawl
You shoulders are rounded now
Your eyes glued to the ground
You can barley hear the dirt
You can barely taste the sound

Stone by stone
Bury your bones...

Go and sharpen swords
On the grinders wheel
For the blood has dried
On the rigid steel
You'll live your life in fear
Every day in defeat
Depression enslaving you
In mediocrity

Stone by stone
Bury your bones......

John:  This is more Matt's baby.  I absolutely love this one.  I ended up stealing the descending/ascending part from a song I wrote about 25 years ago to add a little something different to it, and it fit like a glove.

I fought with the Mayes fellow about the guijo solo in this one.  I told him to do it - he didn't like it, and it blew my socks off!  I wasn't about to do anything different to it, and I stood my damned ground on it, too!  It almost takes on a "Shine On You Crazy Diamond" effect halfway through.  There are plenty of my dumbass guitar solos all over this thing, so who would ever stuck a guijo solo in there?

The real happiness in this one was the chorus.  We used at least 6 (might have been 8) tracks on the vocals, and it really turned out cool.  At the end, I accidentally sang two of the harmonies wrong, and damn if it didn't turn into two extra harmonies that work.  Sometimes mistakes are great surprises.

Believe it or not, it was my wife (Jenny) that gave the suggestion of ending the song on those harmonies, too.  Guess we'll be cutting her royalty checks (at least 37 cents per year)...

​Matt:  This song is really a cynical swipe at political correctness and multiculturalism. A push back to government control, artificial intelligence, and an androgynous evolution. Its happening right before your eyes and its taking all your tradition and heritage with it. Hence the bury your bones line....This kind of control is mind numbing, frightening, and directly contributing to the dumbing down of society. We become desensitized to the assault on our freedoms and fearful of speaking what we truly feel. Kind of back to that Orwellian concept again. 

This song is kind of a call to arms, or the thought that we are in for a long battle, and a revolution is imminent. I'm not really sure what triggered the idea for this song but I think it stemmed from how offended people get now if you don't agree with them. You know, if some one does or says something you don't agree with, don't get offended, just call them a dick and move on you sensitive bastard! 

Let it Go
Gene - Drums
Matt - Guijos, Acoustic Guitars, Lead Guitar (last solo)
John - Electric Guitars, Slide Guitar (first solo), Bass, Reversed Keyboards, Lead Vocals

Another day to fight the race
Another way to find your place

And you think about the past
And all your leaves of grass
Have you reached your lowest low
You just can't seem to let it go...

The days were clearer looking back
The brightest light has now turned black

Time has passed into the dull
On a ship without a hull
And still the leaves of grass they grow
You just can't seem to let it go

Living life was just a phrase
Caught up in a spiral maze
No more wind is there to blow
You just can't seem to let it go

Did they tell you what to do?
Were the lies all really true?

Times the edge of the knife
transcends the soul from living strife
With still the leaves of grass in tow
You just can't seem to let it go....

John:  This is a song I wrote about 7-8 years ago for "Toolshed Ginger", so Geno knew exactly what to do. It's another one of those "should have done things different" songs, filled with regret, and all of that depressing stuff, but I knew it would fit with what we were doing.  Definitely a Floydian-inspired song...

Instead of sticking a typical Floydian guitar solo in the middle, I kind of stuck a Floydian lap steel solo in it - just to be different.  After a lot of prodding and insistance, I actually got MAYES to do the solo at the end, and it turned out absolutely wonderful.  Gives everything a totally different sound, and a departure from my solos.  Loved how this one faded out on the repeating line he kept hitting at the end as well.

I actually sang it to sort of show Matt how to do it, and he said "Screw you - you're singing it".  It scared me. I'm not very confident about my voice, but I guess it turned out okay.  Anyway, we definitely had sort of a role reversal on this one!

Weird sound alert:  After the first solo, you'll notice that Gene's drums sound odd.  That's because I ran them through an "auto-pan" that shifts them from left to right - plus - I ran them through a Marshall guitar amp.  That's a bit abnormal.

Matt:  John pretty much had this whole song done. I changed a few lines to try and tie it all together. I came up with the Leaves of Grass idea, which is not in reference to Walt Whitman's collection of poems, but rather using the term as the original  pun it was. In the 19th century, "leaves" was a term given by book publishers to works that had little value or were considered rubbish. "Grass" was a term given to the actual paper on which these writings were printed.

So, I kind of added to John's idea of the struggle, depression, entrapment, and regret that can come from people constantly telling you what to do, telling you you suck, telling you you have no value, and you having a hard time just shaking all that negativity off. 

So my take on it was adding to the concept of trying to learn to live with what you can't rise above, and not let it just eat away at you. Still every where you go there is that negativity, someone not thinking your work is of any value.  

The Fall
Gene - Drums
Matt - Acoustic Guitars, Guijos, Lead Vocals
John - Electric Guitars, Fretless Guitar (2nd solo), Bass, Background Vocals

There, there was a child
and in his dreams
He was shooting for the stars
For years, an indentured slave
that had no day
At the top of the world....

There, there was a man
and in his dreams
he was standing on a stage
In time, the mountains rose
and the windows closed
The view from the top of the world

The life you make
Reality or fate
Bend then break
The diamonds are fake

I am the fall in the spring
I am a light that goes unseen
I am desire, in the suffering
Yes I am the fall
Yes I am the fall...

John:  Matt wrote the bulk of this one, and I threw in the bridges and solo sections.  Not sure how the Police-ish bridge came about, but it did & we stuck with it.  First solo is just an odd setting on my RP 1000.  Had to find a new sound to use!  

The second solo, I finally brought out one of my old Westbury Standards to use.  I became intrigued by fretless guitars a few years back, so I stripped the frets off of this thing, and then applied about 10 coats of lacquer over the fretboard.  These things are NOT easy to play!  It's kind of like playing slide, but you have to have your fingers in the perfect spot.  There are no frets to correct the pitch for you. You've just got to be very precise, but it's a cool sound.  You can't get the sound on slide, plus you can do your favorite licks on it and then slide your fingers to wherever.  By far & away, the biggest drawback is chording.  No way you can pull off a bar chord without some of the strings not ringing out, so you have to do a lot of 2-3 string chords, or let some of the open strings ring out.  And even then - your fingers have to be in perfect position.  A pain, but I plan on practicing at it more, because you just don't see many folks using these things...

Have to give my regards to Sabbath on the end of the song...

Matt:  I wrote the music to this song first as usual then pondered for quite a while on what it should be about. I had the idea one day to use "the fall" not so much as a season, but as a symbol for failure or missed opportunity. From there it kind of starts with a kid dreaming big, only to realize he is just being used by the larger system at play. Think of it as vocational slavery. He grows up, tries to follow his dream, but sees what ever small window of opportunity he had close right before he can attain it. Cruel reality, really. So he now thinks of himself as a failure, the epitome of the near miss and what if scenario. He feels that his life has been defined by the falling down rather than the climbing up. Depressing really. 

New World
Gene - Drums
Matt - Guijo, Lead Vocals
John - Electric Guitars, Bass, Background Vocals

Slowly you wade the river
the leeches pull upon your skin
the shooting pain, the bamboo sliver
The gang green monsoon begins.....
Sink teeth in leather gag
Dog tags and body bags......

Old World in Change, new world looks same.....

In poverty and starving plight
A new guard a third Reicht
A killing bird in morning flight.
A different color on a civil right..
And the streets spread deceitful news
As the train cars are filled with Jews......

Old world in change, new world looks same...

Jumpsuits all in a row
Burning orange, metallic bow
Beyond 2000 years ago
Crude fields of black gold...
So see the severed head roll
rewind the video......

Old world in change, new world looks same....

John - There are a LOT of guitars on this song.  The first few times I tried it, I was more distorted using the Les Paul and my sort of typical sound.  It just sounded too metalish, and I knew I had to get cleaner to define the notes of the descending main riff.  So I brought the Strat back out (seems like I'm using it a little more).  Ran the opening Strat through an old Univibe effect, then the verse Strat, and then on the main riff, you're hearing 2 Strats (panned left & right), 2 Les Pauls that are further back in the mix and playing different chord walkdowns (panned as well), plus Matt's Guijo, so there's five stringed units alone doing just that part.

Why?  Matt & I are always looking for ways to make things sound bigger & bigger & bigger.  When you have 6 tracks of things (including the bass) doing 4 different parts, it might be an absurd overkill - but it sounds like an insane orchestra - and THAT fit the theme of the song.  I've read at times, cleaner guitars can make things sound bigger, and that may well be the case in this one.

Pretty proud of this song.  I'm sure it will get "Pink Floyd does an insane version of Kashmir" comparisons (or worse), but it turned out cool IMO...

Odd sound alert:  In the walkdown parts before the choruses, the "gunshot sounds" were by putting Gene's snare through a leslie while using butt-loads of compression & reverb.

Matt:  John had all the music for this one done and arranged. All I had to do was come up with a Guijo part, write the lyrics and sing it. This is one where the backward roll on the Guijo in the chorus parts sounds really cool. Its almost like a keyboard part. There was also something really slinky about the Guijo and John's guitar in the verse lines. I think we are just slightly out of tune and it just added to the creep factor. It was really the tone and feel of that part that lead to the lyrics.

Again, this song is like a cynical history lesson. The concept that it may be a whole new world, but things and the nature of man have not really changed that much. With all our advancement and technology, we as a race are still capable of unbelievable brutality and violence.

So this song is broken into three different moments in history. The first verse is about Vietnam, I came up with the idea based on an image from the movie "The Deer Hunter". Mostly the part where there was a leg amputation from a gangrene infection, and performed without any sedation. Just something to bite on. The second verse takes us to WW II and Nazi Germany. The idea here being a fascism  emerging from poverty, giving rise to a nationalism fueled by the propaganda of the Third Reich. You can change the race, the time period, and the term you call it, but it still boils down to some demented form of ethnic cleansing and genocide. 

Third verse jumps ahead to more current events and the rise of ISIS and radical Islam. I saw in the news the image of all the prisoners in orange jump suits, with the Jihadist rifles over their heads, I assume right before they were all executed. Combine that image with the constant media attention to these radical groups be-headings via internet videos and there you have it. Again, as these things have almost become common place, we become desensitized to them. Just rewind the video and watch it again. 
In summary, this may be one of the most grim songs I have ever written. The very nature of the music seemed to bring an ominous, foreboding, and inescapable presence.

Time Slides Onward
Gene - Drums, Percussion
Matt - Guijo, Background Vocals
John - Electric Guitars, Bass, Lead & Background Vocals

So you dream of what you think you want
And you're scared of knowing what you don't
Time's the road you walk on every day
Cannot find the answer of delay

Time slides onward
Steps back forward
Ride the wave of what it gives, see how long it lets you live

In the past you thought you knew it all
Now today you struggle just to crawl
What you had was where you thought you'd stay
Never knew it would turn into today

Time slides onward
Steps back forward
Ride the wave of what it gives, see how long it lets you live

And you pray you'll find the better way
Bite the nail and hope for brighter days
In the end what will you have to show
What you knew has faded in the snow

Time slides onward
Steps back forward
Ride the wave of what it gives, see how long it lets you live

John:  This is sort of the oddball of everything on this one.  I'd originally written it for a country band I was in, but I knew the chorus and the concept was far too "out there" for probably any country band to do it, and I knew that song content about the mystery of time was a far cry from drinking beer and chewing tobacco (98% of the lyrical content of today's country), but I didn't want to change them, so there.  

Well - Matt seemed to like it.  Turns out he wanted me to sing lead on this one as well.  Basically, it's just a song about time.  No matter how much people try to control time, it's just something that is going to continue to do it's thing (unless we learn how to travel in it one day).  You might as well just to accept it.  Nothing's cooler than trying to wrap your mind around the thought of infinity.  Well - actually there's a lot of cooler things to think about, as all that will do is to eventually frustrate you...

Anyway, a nod goes to the ABB as far as the twin guitar lines go - and then it's off to maybe a Yes meets the Police chorus...  Don't ask.  Oddly enough, both solos were first takes.  I was basically noodling around with my guitar trying to get levels and sounds with it (was using Fender Amps on this one, which is unheard of), and so I did "rapid noodling".  I fully intended on changing them to something slower and a little more socially acceptable, but Matt loved them, and after awhile, I reckon I kind of thought that it would be kind of neat to have a clean'ish, haul ass solo instead of something fairly typical.  

Again - it's that rules thing.  If I feel like I'm breaking a rule, I usually get happy.

Matt:  John had this song in the hopper. I changed the last line in the last verse and added a Guijo part and it was done. The shredding Dick Dale surf rock leads with a progressive bluegrass tag, and ABB feel. Just a fun song.

Blue Highway
Gene - Drums
Matt - Acoustic Guitars, Lead Vocals
John - Fretless Guitars, Bass, Background Vocals

Time keeps a rolling'
River keeps flowing
Washing away all the gold and guilt.
Weathers a turning my bridge is burning.
The heat has made the flowers wilt.
Was it selfish was it anger
that made us a stranger
Falling back to the Earth like a weighted gift...

Your voice was a reason but felt like a treason
All the books on the shelf
with the pages unread.
So you spend time trading your fate for a dime.
Chalk it up to the board of dreams well fed.
I feel the pull of the great china bull
As he makes his way through a concrete world
On the corner theres a pilgrim with an eclipse in his pocket
He's trading the princess marbles for pearls.

And I'm on a blue Highway

In the outer ice rings the satellite brings
A watchful eye to the galaxy
And theres lines and cables
And story book fables
Transmitting like a beacon from a barren sea
But the squelch isn't working and statics lurking
There is no dead limb on the greatest tree
And I chased myself til I came full circle
Never given a thought to realty. 

And I'm on a blue highway...

John:  This was on one of Matt's solo albums, and we re-did it.  I think I'd just done the fretless solo to "The Fall", and still had the guitar active.  I went over to this song and just started playing the lines - then harmonized it.  Single lines as opposed to chording is something I don't often do, but the fretless (you know the story).  So it was sounding a little ABB'ish with that, so why in the hell shouldn't I have paid a little tribute to Dickey Betts in the solo?  If you grow up in Macon, and have been listening to them since 1969, the influence has no choice to be there!  Nothing but the highest of respect for those guys.  Hell - I wouldn't PLAY guitar if it wasn't for them!

Again - some of the weirdness of this one, is that I only played fretless on this one, and Matt didn't play the guijo.  Sometimes less is better!

Matt:  I can sum this song up pretty quick. Take a man that is going through an emotionally terrible martial separation and then write a song about it. Taking that theme and writing the first thing that comes to your mind. I wrote this song in five minutes. It's really just a poetic rambling trying to express the anguish of that situation. 

Gene - Drums
Matt - Guijo, Lead & Background Vocals
John - Electric Guitars, G-Strings, Bass, Background Vocals

Seconds rolling, slowly off your time.
You grab on to something you think is going to ease your mind.
Years have passed you, now your so afraid.
Your children's faces, reflect the choice you've made...

Packed up your life, then you migrated north.
A dollar ahead, in your head, evens the score.
Years have passed you, now your so afraid.
The frown on your face, reflects the choice you've made..

So don't, take your hands off the wheel
So don't take your hands off the wheel
Cause if you do, you might lose control....

Feel the arms that reach out for me in my sleep.
A roof overhead, food on the table to eat.
Years have passed us, now were so free.
We gave to our children only the things they need.

So don't take your hands off the wheel.
So don't take your hands off the wheel. 
Cause if you do, you might lose control

John:  Matt told me to listen to this one and do something completely different.  After listening to the lyrics some, I thought "I wonder what it would sound like if Tony Iommi suddenly started playing with Pink Floyd?"  So that's what I did.

This may well be my favorite Raptor Trail song (so far).  I love slow, extremely heavy-type stuff.  This song probably has more balls than a herd of bulls.  Mayes' singing and lyrics in this one are just perfect, as well as his guijo parts, and Gene is nails as always.

As it's kind of natural for me to play fast solos (it's just kind of like breathing), the two solos I put in this one may be two of my favorite solos that I've ever done - as well as the slowest.  I usually can always find things wrong with most of my solos - and don't even really like hearing them after I do them.  In this case, I'd actually had a few liquor drinks when I recorded them, and I knew I was wanting to do something slow and powerful to match the song, and I'm actually pretty happy with these.  Again - less is more sometimes!

Matt:  I wrote this song originally for the Jupiter Coyote album "The Hillary Step". It was kind of a more acoustic, hippy version. I thought again that the subject matter would fit nicely in with Raptor material, so I asked Johnny to Meyertize it. Man did he ever. This is the most girth oriented program I have ever heard. When he sent it back to me and I heard how he had reworked it, I was blown away. It was heavy as hell. 

I started fooling with it for my parts and was trying to add an acoustic guitar part which was just not working. After repeated attempts, and all of them sucking, I went to the trusty Guijo. That was it, Those slow arpeggios fit perfectly with the ethereal stuff John was doing on the verses. Track the vocals and sent it back to John to add the response background vocals and the other harmonies. 

Lyrically this is another song about chasing the illusive happiness that you think is just around the corner, or coming with the new job, or new love. Its really about a man coming to the realization that he's living in the rat race and he's never going to win. So strip it all away, keep it simple and enjoy the little things in life that we so often overlook. The concept of taking your hands off a steering wheel I thought worked well to describe the fear and uncertainty that going off the trusted course brings. The whole idea really is to lose control and see where you end up. 

Gene - Drums, Percussion
Matt - Guijos, Acoustic Guitars, Lead & Background Vocals
John - Electric Guitars, Bass, Vocals (on the middle bridge) & Background Vocals

In tragedy, life will change
Pulls the roots, from which you came...
Hurricanes, crash the coast
Drowns what heart, desires most....
Throw to Earth, still every day
tries to lead the world astray
Grace is pushed away...

And time lives on inside it's little cell
The pain may dull, but always seems to dwell

Over time, the rage may calm
Counting days, 'til days are gone
Thrown to Earth still everyday
Tries to lead the world astray
Grace is pushed away....

John:  This was mostly Matt's baby.  We called it "Celtic Floyd" for a good while, as the guijo line he's doing in there was somewhat like that description, but then again - it's not really like anything.  Due to lyrical content, we knew there was going to a variance in dynamics.  I believe it was Matt's idea to "stick something hard as holy shit in the middle".  So we did that.  The song is all mellow, and then all hell breaks loose - only to go back to being mellow again.  Extreme dynamics in this one for sure.  

I kind of went into a Wes Montgomery jazz mode for the first solo, to a Blackmore'ish middle solo (kind of weird that I used a Strat over the Les Paul rhythm in that part), and then back to a Knopfler-on-Les Paul final solo.  Fairly schizo, eh?

Once again, a dude named Gene Bass blew our minds on this one.  The dude keeps a wonderful mellow groove, then goes harder than Bill Ward in the middle - only back to the mellow groove, and then to a total light touch at the end - even bringing out brushes for the very end.

Matt get's to tell you the story behind the crickets.

Matt:  The idea for this song came from a conversation I was having with a friend named Walter Early. I won't elaborate on the back story as it is a private matter, but the idea was how one can find grace, or peace, after enduring such horrific tragedy. So this song kind of lays out a poetic landscape of dealing with extremely difficult situations. Like you have to learn to rise above it or it will consume you in anger and rage. The "thrown to Earth" part is in direct reference to the falling of Lucifer from Heaven to Earth, and the evil that has forever ensued since. 

I originally had called the song "Grace", but Walter suggested that it be called "Desolation" as that term was really more in line with what it was about. So we called it "Desolation", and after Walter suggested that I actually write a song about grace, I set out to do just that. I wanted to conceptually link the two songs together. As you hear the crickets come in at the end of the song and it kind of morphs into the next song Grace.

Also on this song, it was the first time I tuned my Guijo to a minor tuning. I dropped it to G minor for this song. Its really what made me come up with the main riff. I used that minor tuning on a few more songs later on but this was the first song doing it. 

Matt - Acoustic guitars & Lead Vocals
John - 6 & 12 string Acoustic Guitars

The lonely night has no friends
Another day rounding the bend
And the work is not a curse
But water for your thirst
So wait, just wait, for grace...

Who finished next to last?
I can't remember but raise a glass
When all your mistakes,
Leave you in life's wake
Just wait, just wait, for grace....

And the blind eye now sees.
Serving to remind me
That everything will fall
And the biggest things are small
So wait, just wait, for grace...

And your never all alone
Whatever road your on
And you won't have to fight,
Just step to the right
And wait, just wait, for grace...

John:  And now for something completely different!  Matt gets to tell the lyrical story behind this one and Desolation, but he wrote this one up very quickly, and wasn't sure about it.  I don't think he was really considering using it for a Raptor Trail song.  After hearing it and damned near crying when I heard his first version, I pretty much told him I'd kick his ass if he wouldn't use it!  I don't care what style a song is in - classical, jazz, bluegrass, polka - if it's a great song, then it's a great song.

We tried it a couple of different ways.  I tried making it more ambient with the G-strings in one version, but quite honestly (and I wish we could have recorded it live together), the best it sounded was when I'd gone up to Deerwoode a couple of times this past fall and played it on his porch.  I tried to get as close to that sound as I could (including crickets).  I played my guitar part originally on a 6 string (kept the lead), but we went with using a 12 string just to maybe keep it sounding a little too country.

An absolutely great, great song, in my opinion, though.  I also thought it was a different, and cool way to go out of an album as well...

Matt:  So Walter again had suggested that I write a song about Grace after we discussed Desolation. I had this piece of finger picking music worked out in DADGAD tuning, which is an Irish tuning I believe. I worked with it for a few weeks before one day the lyrics just popped out of no where, I wrote them pretty quick. After playing it a few times I thought it was too folkie for The Raptor Trail, but I sent an MP3 over to John to add another acoustic guitar part to it. To my surprise, John loved the song and wanted to put it on the Raptor album. I was like OK, I guess...  It was really too country sounding in my opinion, but when John added the 12 string it really kind of made it work. We decided to leave it pretty stripped down, acoustics and vocals, and crickets. 

About the cricket. When I first wrote this song and was recording it in my basement studio, there was a cricket in the room. I could not find him. Every time I would start recording the track, and the guitar would start, the cricket would start chirping. I would stop, he would stop. This went on for about 15 minutes til I said screw it and just tracked it with the cricket in the background. I sent a rough over to John, not worried about the cricket as I just wanted him to hear the song and see what he thought. Of course Johnny loved the cricket, named him Otis and said not only does the cricket stay, but we are putting this on the next Raptor Trail album. So that is how Otis ended up on the record. Of course John had to go and get a whole bunch of crickets and other insects and stick in the background. It came out pretty good. Sounds a lot like it did when we were playing it on my porch.

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