About

When I turned 45 in May of 2016, I realized that I no longer had any hobbies. Between a very stressful job that was a daily grind, and raising – along with my wife – our then 5-year old daughter, I had seemingly become content in letting a lot of the things I used to enjoy fade out of my life. So I decided to make an album.

The plan was both aggressive and long-term: by my 50th birthday, I wanted to write and release an original album on which I played every instrument and sang every vocal. I would start taking music lessons immediately, focusing on guitar at the outset and then working in bass, drums, piano, etc. I set a goal to write 20 songs with the idea that only 12 would make the album, fully expecting several to serve as stepping stones.

Fate smiled kindly upon me when I crossed paths with Matt Fowler, owner of Peregrine Recording in San Diego, California. In addition to giving lessons, producing music and operating his own recording studio, Matt is a virtuoso – he can pick up any instrument and immediately play it. I asked if he would be interested in having a pupil for the next five years and he accepted, I think not fully understanding what he was about to get into.

Our first lesson was in June 2016 and going forward Matt and I met each Friday afternoon for an hour. About 18 months into the process, I realized two things:

1) I really enjoyed writing. It was rewarding to come up with a chord sequence, a melody and lyrics that fit well together. Practicing scales…not so much fun.

2) No matter how much I played, within five years I was never going to be a good enough musician to make my songs sound the way I wanted them to sound.

At that point I decided to head down at different path. While I would still write and sing the songs, I needed a band to play the music. And that’s when Matt, in addition to being an instructor and the album’s producer, added “the band” to his list of titles. The irony is not lost on me: I went from wanting to play all of the instruments on the album to actually playing none. It was  something I wrestled with for a while and was a big ego check, but without question it was the right decision.

I finished writing the last song in February 2018. After taking a month to recharge, I selected the 12 songs that would make the album and we started the pre-production work. Recording wrapped in January 2019 and the final mixes completed in May.

I’m very proud of these songs. I hope you like them. Let me know.

Strass

P.S. I’ve already written a dozen songs for a follow-up album. Maybe 2020?

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