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Attic Sessions

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The Attic Sessions: 

 

 

In 2016, I transferred duty stations from New Orleans, LA to Norfolk, VA. I had a very short window to look at houses and finally found a place with just hours remaining before my flight back to New Orleans. When the family and I arrived in VA, I took them to the new house for a look around prior to the moving van arriving. The homeowner took us on a tour and asked if I had seen the room in the attic. A bit surprised since I did not see the room on the initial walk through, he explained the previous owner had been an Elvis impersonator and had built a recording studio in the attic to work on his tracks and show. This was the perfect place to set up my home studio and since I have been wanting to do an acoustic album for several years, I took this as a sign to make it happen during this tour. For almost two years, I worked on the project and when it was complete, I thought it only appropriate to name it The Attic Sessions. 

 

When it came to picking out the songs, I reached out to friends and fans to see which songs they wanted on the album. I tallied the song requests and started working up arrangements. The result is this 10 song album. Nine of the songs were chosen by listeners and I added one new one, “Watching An Angel Sleep,” because I thought it worked well with the acoustic format and I thought you might like it. 

 

Here is a track by track listing of the songs and a little story behind each one. 

 

1. Start Saving Me 

 

    Originally released in 2008, Start Saving Me was the title track to the album of the same name. Start Saving Me is the story of military families, “the silent ranks,” who keep the home fires burning while their loved ones are deployed. When I wrote it, the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan had been going on for seven years. I got to live this song from both sides of the fence, both as a husband and father who was deployed for a year in Iraq leaving behind my wife and three month old daughter, and as a military spouse when my wife had deployed to Afghanistan as a flight medic in the Air Force running medevac missions out of Bagram. On this Attic Sessions version, we stripped it down to just the vocal and my acoustic guitar with Tommy Brothers lending the lead guitar part. 

Original studio version of Start Saving Me

Attic Sessions Recording

 

2. Bottle of Sunshine 

 

    The first line of the song “I was sitting outside on the front porch in a rain storm, just thinking about you” was written while I was stationed in Hawaii. Whether you are on a trip, deployed or just away from loved ones, it’s a reflection of knowing what your family means to you and how just thinking of them can make you smile or brighten your mood. The original version of this song comes from the 2010 Stand EP. On this Attic Sessions version, we built the song around the acoustic guitar and vocal, added an upright bass line by Mike Connell, percussion by Stacey Lamont Sydnor and ukulele by Tommy Brothers. 

 

Original studio version of Bottle of Sunshine

Attic Sessions Recording

 

3. Send Me A Sign 

 

    This song was on the Ziller and the Baboon album that was released Sept 12, 2001. The events of the day before that album’s release changed the lives of so many, myself included. The gist of this song is being at the crossroads and looking for a sign you’re on the right path. In my case, I had left active duty in 1997 for life on the road as a full time touring musician. Looking back, for me, it was asking the question of am I where I am supposed to be doing the things I am supposed to be doing? Should I have stayed on active duty vs. getting out? I think I received that sign the day prior to the album release and being mobilized back to active duty after the 9/11 attacks. I feel fortunate to have been able to go back on active duty to serve while still being able to write, record and perform music telling the stories of our men and women in uniform. In my case, being at that crossroads and having one foot on the military path and one foot on the music path is a path in and of itself. On this Attic Sessions version we broke it down in a bluesy/swampy feel and Josh Burns added a nice slide guitar part to flush out this version. 

 

Original studio version of Send Me A Sign

Attic Sessions Recording

 

4. Lucky One 

 

    The original version appeared on the 2010 Stand EP. I started writing this while I was deployed to Iraq and came up with a few of the main lyric lines. It was not until several years later when I experienced some of the after effects of long deployments my friends and fellow service members were experiencing. Lucky One tackles emotions and feelings tied to suicide, alcohol abuse, survivor’s guilt and Post Traumatic Stress. On this Attic Sessions version, we broke it down to just my acoustic guitar and the vocal track with Tommy Brothers adding a lead acoustic guitar track. 

 

Original studio version of Lucky One

Attic Sessions Recording

Original Lucky One Video

 

5. Watching An Angel Sleep 

 

    This is the only new song on this album. I wrote the bulk of it a few years ago but it wasn’t until Sept 2016 when I visited my good friends Josh and Robin Burns in Nashville, TN. I played them what I had and they helped my flush out the format and some final lyrics. It’s a story of being far from loved ones and thinking about being with them. In this story, a sleepless night when you could turn on the TV, reach for your phone or computer to pass the time is replaced by the scenario of seeing your wife and kids asleep, peaceful and dreaming. It’s appreciating the little things and a mental picture to reflect on when you’re far away. On this Attic Sessions version, Josh Burns played all the guitar parts and I laid my vocal on top of it. 

Attic Sessions Recording

 

6. On My Watch Tonight  

 

    I wrote this song shortly after 9/11. It’s a story of a Marine and his/her journey from boot camp to the front lines. It stemmed from an e-mail I read that was being passed around on the internet from a Marine in Afghanistan to his father back home saying that they had the watch and get back to rebuilding and taking care of the family back home. The “we got this” tone of that letter inspired this song which was later re-emphasized many times over throughout my own deployment and those of so many others from all of our services. I never get tired of telling the story or playing this song and have been humbled by the many stories of what it means to people. On this Attic Sessions version, Steven Thorne played the saxophone part which was only fitting as he was my sax player when 9/11 hit and I had to take a hiatus from the band due to being mobilized back to active duty and a piano part by Carnell Harrell. 

 

Original Studio version of On My Watch Tonight featuring Edwin McCain

Attic Sessions Recording

OMWT Attic Sessions video

OMWT Tribute video

 

7. Second Time Around  

 

    The original version of this song was on the 1997 Mike Corrado Band EP. It was a staple of our live shows where the band could stretch out and have a lot of fun with. When I asked folks which songs they wanted to hear, this was one of the most requested. On this Attic Sessions version, Stacey Lamont Sydnor added the percussion parts and Steven Thorne added the tenor sax part. One of my favorite parts about this version is at the end when Syd is playing on glasses with silverware. That’s a flashback and ode to one night we played a show at The Jewish Mother in Virginia Beach, VA. Someone had hit a power line and the venue and entire block was completely without power. The venue broke out candles and continued to serve what food they could. The band and I played a true acoustic set in the club and went table to table playing songs as Syd played on people’s glasses and bottles with forks and knives. Good times! 

 

Original studio recording of Second Time Around

 Attic Sessions Recording

 

8. Making More Rain 

 

    The original version came from the 2013 EP What You Work For which I had the pleasure of recording in Nashville, TN with some amazing players. The “Making More Rain” line came from my oldest daughter one night when I had gotten home before my wife and daughters. When they got home, my oldest daughter came in the house first. When I asked her where her younger sister was, she said, it was raining outside and her younger sister was still out in the car and was crying, she said she was out in the car “Making More Rain.” That line had stuck with me for a while and I later built a story around how in a small town, where everyone knows everyone and their business, word can spread pretty quickly. On this Attic Sessions version, I laid down the acoustic and the vocal and Steven Thorne added the tenor sax and piano part. 

 

Original studio version of Making More Rain

 Attic Sessions Recording

 

9. Cut Me Loose 

 

    The original version of this song came out on the 2008 Start Saving Me album. It’s a story about getting rid of that thing that holds you back. In this case, “love” is a metaphor for that thing. For some, it could be a relationship, a job, an addiction, etc. that holds you back. On this Attic Sessions version, Jon Lassiter added some acoustic guitar leads and slide along with Steven Thorne on tenor sax and Stacey Lamont Sydnor on percussion. 

 

Original studio version of Cut Me Loose

 Attic Sessions Recording

 

10. Stand 

 

    This song also came from the 2010 Stand EP originally recorded at my good friend Edwin McCain’s studio in Greenville, SC. The song is a tribute to all those who serve, who have served, who will serve and the families that stand behind them. Since 2016 when NFL players started protesting the National Anthem before games, it has taken on a renewed meaning for all those who choose to “Stand.” The original video was shot at Marine Corps Base Kaneohe Bay on the island of Oahu in Hawaii which was featured on CMT. In 2014, The Marine Corps Combat Camera Department put together another video filled with inspiring footage of wounded warriors and many other heroes who have sacrificed so much in service to our Country. On this Attic Sessions version, we kept it simple with just the acoustic guitar part and the vocal along with another acoustic guitar part by Tommy Brothers. 

 

Original studio version of Stand

Attic Sessions Recording

Original Music Video

Acoustic USMC Video

 

    I hope you enjoy this album as much as I did getting to record it. I could not have done it without the support of my wife and daughters, their inspiration, patience and being such great hosts to the players who came over to join me on the recordings. Special thanks to the players: Stacey Lamont Sydnor (percussion), Steven Thorne (tenor saxophone, piano), Jon Lassiter (guitar), Tommy Brothers (guitar, ukulele), Mike Connell (upright bass), Carnell Harrell (piano) and Josh Burns (guitar). Making music is always fun but getting to do it with great friends makes it even more special. I hope you enjoy it! 

 

Mixed by Tommy Brothers at Tony's Guitars

Mastered by Alex Lowe at Red Tuxedo 

Album cover art by Doug Bedford

 

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