Fan Review by Patrick A. Gee
5.0 out of 5 stars INCREDIBLE!!!
Reviewed in the United States on January 16, 2003
Greg Greenway is a singer/songwriter that touches your soul. The only thing better than a Greg Greenway album is the wonder of seeing him live. Inspirational lyrics and awesome guitar play and a man who believes in the music he sings. If you get the chance he has a newer album called “Something Worth Doing” as well that you can get from his website. greggreenway.com No this is not an advertisement, it is from a fan who thinks Greg is incredible.
Liner Notes: Musicians
John Sands: drums
Jeff St. Pierre: bass
David Goodrich: electric guitar, electric mandolin, mandolin.
Mindy Jostyn: violin
Phoebe Carrai: cello
Lisa Brown: percussion
Ryan Potts: tamberine
Greg Greenway: acoustic guitar, percussion
Patty Barkas: backing vocals
Ginny Fordham: backing vocals
Todd Herzog: backing vocals
Produced by Greg Greenway
Engineered by Rob Swalley & Jeff St. Pierre
Recorded at Eastern Front Studios, Medford, MA
Mixed at Phrophet Sound, Stoughton, MA
Words and music by Greg Greenway ©1998 Sheen of Heat Music (BMI)
except Driving, words by GG, Audrey Greenway, & Susan Werner, ©1998
Sheen of Heat Music / Susan Werner Music (BMI)
CD design by GG
Special Thanks: Karen D’Arcy, Robert Curtis, Barnes Newberry, James Mee, Sonny
Ochs, Kim & Reggie Harris, Ray Naylor, Rob Richardson, Diane Housken, Moe &
Bona, Roger & Nancy, Bob, Trish, & Emily, Steve & Sherry Panzer, Bick & Betsi, Susan Werner, David Roth, Rob, Jerry, Chris, Ryan, & Sean, Jeff St. Pierre, Tony Danielle, & Audrey, & Jeanie Beanie.
Archaeology was the working title for my second CD on Eastern Front Records. When two other CDs came out with that same title a couple of months ahead. Jerry Potts at Eastern Front indicated that we needed to find another title. When I brought up Mussolini’s Head, they liked the edginess of it and so did I. I believe I was safe in my insight that no one would beat me to that title. Going for the unusual can work either way. No one forgot the title, but the negatives became obvious. I later heard that in some circles, people thought that I’d lost my mind. I never had it.
Years later, when I began reproducing my CDs on my own, I decided to change back to its original title. So there are thousands of Mussolini’s Heads out there in the ether, but I’m no longer adding to them. Archaeology is a title close to my heart and I’m very happy to have it back. Like all of my CDs, it reflects a period in my life. In this case, there was a lot of heartache - as you will read and hear. But, being honest about what is going on connects to the larger picture of my work as a songwriter and my life. To my writing classes I always say “in the imtimately personal is the universal.” We all go through these times, people are born and die, we succeed, we fail. This is another tile in the mosaic of my life, and in every moment I’ve been conscious of how precious a gift it is to be alive.
The production of this CD was modeled after one of the great albums of my lifetime, Cat Stevens' Tea for the Tillerman. Paul Samwell-Smith, a founding member and bassist for the Yardbirds, produced it in such a way that it created a world of its own from the first cut. The use of strings and processed backing vocals was so unusual, as was the consistent synchopation in the rhythm tracks (magnificent hi hat use). There were spaces in the music that made me feel the rhythm as almost another voice in the songs. These things seeped into the fabric of Archaeology.
On a sad note, the fabulous violinist on this CD, Mindy Jostyn, was fighting an illness when she arrived at the studio. I had no idea how serious it was. She died not long after. I am so grateful that she was able to share her prodigious talent with this project.
One of the benefits of being on Eastern Front Records at the time, was that I was able to borrow David Goodrich from Peter Mulvey. David was the perfect choice to put his electric guitar textures on these songs. His work on Mussolini's Head is magnificent. He totally understood what I was trying to do and his talent shown.
G/C tuning (CGDGBD), Capo on 1, in the key of A flat
I got an email from performer extraordinaire, Susan Werner, who was looking for songs for her new CD. It had a list of topics, idea s that she was putting out as song prompts. Susan didn’t know that my brother-in-law had been diagnosed with AIDS only months before the life saving cocktail was developed. He was the light of my first wife’s life, and the focus of every family holiday. The good times began when he came home. This song is my experience of the abyss of her pain and the intrepid struggle she undertook to save him. Unfortunately, as I was to write later, “I was just a dim light.” The song really concludes later in the CD with “Into the Wild Why Not.”
C9 tuning (CGDGCD), Capo on 2, in the key of Dm
When I lived in Boston, I spent a lot to time in famous Kenmore Square. It was an amazing confluence of cultures, from the punks at the Rat, to the BU students, to the Red Sox fans spilling out of Fenway Park, headed for the Green Line. There was always some contingent of Skin Heads, just small enough to be non-threatening, more individual counter-culture statements than a movement. But, they left no doubt of their seriousness, stark reminders of the lure of hate. As a student of World War II (an homage to my father, who was in it), I was fully aware of what hate can do if given the opportunity. The flash point of the song came after I had moved to Cape Cod. I had just read a newpaper artilce about a Jewish cemetary in Lawrence, MA, defiled with swastikas (the broken cross). I was driving down the main street in Orleans and happened to notice two early teen young men waiting at the bus stop.They were both doing their best immitations of Skin Heads. Here we were in this idyllic setting, surrounded by affluence, 100 miles from Kenmore Square, witnessing their wish to stand out, to be “bad.”. It was an empty fashion statement, a knock on a door they did not understand. But, it was utterly depressing to see, as it was in Boston. But, it is an element of our nature as human beings that can manifest when the conditions are right. We can never forget what happens when these impulses become dominant. Well over 50,000,000 people disappeared beneath the wake of that movement. I used to believe that America was too pluralitstic, too diverse to have it happen here. But, as long as we can be divided by hate, there will be those who will endeavor to gain power from it, to proffit from it. As Samuel Johnson is said to have stated, “Patriotism is the last refuge of a scoundrel.” W.E.B. DuBois wrote, “either the United States will destroy ignorance, or ignorance will destroy the United States.” Mussolini’s Head puts all of this over a groove and allows me to express my truth that “race is a myth, pure is a lie,” and that if we are asleep, it can happen here.
Gm/C tuning (CGDGBflatD), no Capo, in the key of C
Being an artist is a calling. There is nothing rational about my desire to be one. It is as involuntary as breathing, as essential to living as oxygen. The first challenge is to be able to sustain that calling, making it manifest in the real world. The second is to live in the real world of relationships with someone who doesn’t not have that calling. It is said that anyone who is in a relationship with an artist is in an immediate love triange. This song is the expression of my hope that love can also bridge the gap, smooth the rough places, bring me home.
C9 tuning (CGDGCD), Capo on 3, in the key of E flat minor
I fell in love with Anthropology the instant my professor entered my first Anthro class and wrote Race and Culture on the board. If they’d have let me take any more courses, I could have double majored. But, I did it without any compass other than my heart. So when the line came into my head “the scars of all my failures are buried well beneath my skin,” I was mesmerized. It’s not easy to write an original love song, but I’ve never encountered that metaphor before - the idea of one’s experiences being buried in one’s body like the artifacts at an archaeological dig. I kept extending it and extending it,,, and it stood up. I’d just been rejected from an important audition and crawled home. My first wife said, “If they don’t want you, you don’t want them.” It proved to be so very true in the years to com
C9 tuning, Capo on 3, in the key of E flat
I had lived at 66 the Fenway in Boston for 20 years when I left to get married and live on the Cape. My life as an artist began in that building, all of songs had been brought into being there. But, I had come to understand that the safety of it was holding me back. So as the song says “goodbye to this building that once took me in, with walls so familiar, I wear them like skin.” There is a sadness and a bit of anger with myself in these words. It was the end of an era, and the beginning of many realizations about myself.
C9 tuning, Capo on 5, in the key of F
Sometimes one’s truth comes out in someone else’s story. After listening to a friend talk about their relationship, I realized that I recognized so much of what they were going through, especially “the way you look right through me, it’s like you don’t even know my name.”
Needles and Fairy Tales
C9 tuning, no Capo, in the key of G
I wrote this upon learning that my neice was addicted to heroin. Suddenly, all of my struggles with words, my voice, my work, felt so inconsequential, like a bad dream that would go away when I woke up. That voice, those words that were my defining attribute were useless in the face of this devastating, life-changing reality.
On My Way to Find Out
C9 tuning, Capo on 3, in the key of E flat
A self-statement song, about the journey of my life. I've always regarded music as my vehicle, the thing that gets me beyond the walls of my upbringing and out into a wider world. This, of course, is a more generalized artistic vision than a business plan, but it's the one pure thing that I have. The vagaries of the music business can make you lose sight of that. "I still feel the moon through my window."
Into The Wild Why Not
Gm/C tuning (CGDGBflatD), Capo on 5, in the key of C
The completion of Driving. A memorial service in Los Angeles brought together dozens of people who loved my brother-in-law. He was truly a one of a kind character that drew out the adventurous side of everyone They carried a hand held camera around and collected stories to send back to the family. The song is derrived from one of those stories from a man who met Don in Paris and was led on a hair raising/exuberant ride across southern France into Italy. When the man heard of Don’s death, he searched in his drawers for a photo of Don on the beach in Nice, his arms opened as wide as his smile.
Four in the Morning:
Gm/C tuning (CGDGBflatD), Capo on 5, in the key of Cm
While my building in Boston was being renovated, I was moved to a building across the Fenway. From a fourth floor view of the bricks that are the front cover of Singing for the Landlord, I went to a dingy basement apartment that barely had natural light . Two small windows into a courtyard brought nothing but the dimest, most difused light of day. With almost no difference between midnight and mid-day, I found myself staying up all hours to write my way out.