Album Art: Max Crace

Track 1: The Dream

The Dream is three part piece instrumental vocal composition and in fact the only track that Takara actually sings ‘words’ An Aislin the Irish for The Dream. Based and  rendered from a dream I had where myself and my now wife Jo, met Jimi Hendrix in a Bar, there he told us that he had a song he wanted to give me called ‘The Dream of The Crystal Soldier’.  After that he left us….what struck me was it ‘s mean, about the fragile and delicate state of the modern warrior, tough but very breakable.

The piece starts with feedback and a reversed guitar then a major 6th cord sequence ending with harp harmonics. The next section sees the introduction of a Roland Juno 6, using its analogue arpeggiator followed by a bodran sequence and a reel type riff in D, it is during this sequence that Takara starts her vocal part.

Takara O’Donovan – Vocals
David O’Donovan – Guitars, Keyboards, Sequencing, and Noisy stuff.
Wal Bass – EJ Maple Strat – 56 Custom Shop Strat – Roland Juno 6
Amp G Dec – Digitech Hendrix pedal 
DAW – Logic Pro 9

Vocals by Takara O'Donovan

Track 2: The Road Home

Inspired by Steve Morse and his instructional videos that just left my mouth hanging plus there is ‘Freeway jam’ by Jeff Beck lurking in the background somewhere. This was my first attempt at harp harmonics which is the initial melodic vamping around Gm.

The first proper piece I wrote on theaAW16G using samples and loops but still with not much of a plan. Essentially it is take on a Steve Morse piece, the intro featuring my Wal bass double tracked with chorus added panned hard right and left (all tracking played all the way through no cut and paste used anywhere, and the same for solos ‘no drop-in’s’ etc….basically I didn’t know how). The intro then features my Steve Morse guitar playing double stops with false harmonics on the lower note while vamping around a Gm blues in third position. The solos are using various standard settings on the POD mk1 (mostly plexi) straight into the console. A small bit of Beck creeps into the solo along with some double tracking of the lead guitar, mainly to add some dynamics and relieve the listener from the sound of just one guitar or just offset boredom Ha!

The acoustic piece was an afterthought and worked to a point, the mood of the song moves from the ‘on the road/freeway’ bass line to the comfort of home, warm fire illustrated by the wooden sound of the acoustic establishing the mood. Then mood becomes interrupted the haunting sound of the electric guitar using a ‘slow attack’ on a volume swell as your mind drifts back to thinking about the journey.

This was also recorded while my wife about four months pregnant with our first child, I subsequentially lost the multi on this when the machine was being repaired so the track here is one of a number of mixes I did experimenting with mastering programmes.

David O’Donovan – Electric and Acoustic Guitars, Bass, Drum Sequencing.
Wal Bass – Steve Morse Musicman Electric Guitar – Lakewood Acoustic Guitar
Marshall Amps
DAW – Yamaha AW16G / Logic Pro9

Track 3: Harvest Home

Written in a time of personnel turmoil but celebrates the energy of the Earth’s Harvest and how it gives back without demand but nurturing the world.

My favourite tune of all written in Italy August 1991 and partially inspired by lots of sunshine and a break up of a relationship of no consequence, essentially I was just bored and was messing around with a C tuning in the writing of this piece. The origins of this tuning for me go back to working out Bron-y-Aur by Jimmy Page, the time when guitar parts were learned by ear and scratching records (pre-tab). I had played ‘Harvest Home’ frequently live at a lot of my acoustic gigs usually tagged onto the end of ‘Easy Blues’ by John Martyn also sharing the a C tuning. My logic here is play as much as you can in one tuning before re-tuning the guitar especially a C tuning that only leaves you top E intact and the neck in a state of disorientation. The structure was simple, theme then an Irish style mid eight.

Four years later I ended up recording the piece when I purchased a Tanglewood guitar, a fast purchase due to the fact was going on tour and not too flush with cash. For the recording I put the guitar straight into the desk no di (Tac Scorpion 16-8-2, a great warm desk) and tracked on an ADAT Mk1. The piece was recorded twice end to end with no drop-in’s. Even though it was just a Fishman pickup straight into the desk it had character. Enter the new toy the Roland GR1

David O’Donovan – Acoustic Guitar, Guitar Synth and Keyboards.
Tanglewood Acoustic Guitar – Roland GR1 Guitar Synth– Korg M1 Keyboard
Recording / DAW – TAC Scorpion – Alesis ADAT / Logic Pro9

Track 4: The Tone Poet

Dedicated to Eric Johnson’s amazing contribution to guitar playing who brought it back too ‘How Frequency makes Energy and no better way than through tone’. Eric is the positive sonic preacher touching us with those frequencies. A fantastic human being and a terrifically nice person. Thanks Eric.

This is a track firmly based in the Eric Johnson camp incorporating, harp harmonics, inverted cords, hybrid picking, octaves, only up-stroke picking, fuzz tones and vintage Marshall amps. This piece written in 2007 came together surprisingly quickly borrowing from pervious bits and pieces I had scribed but also the ‘Time after Time’ type of climb around the F and of course EJ’s ‘Manhattan’. The solos were all first take, not perfect but highlight what I was feeling at the time and each one using a different fuzz tone, from the Fulltone 70’s, Big Muff and a Vintage late 70’s Big Muff. Guitar was my 56 Custom Shop Fender Strat and for the Bass parts I played my 1980’s Wal. Written before I got to know Eric who I can say is one of the nicest and most generous musicians I have ever met.

Darragh Keary – Keyboards and keyboard arrangement
Tim O’Connell – Drums and Frowning. 
David O’Donovan – Electric Guitars and Bass.
Wal Bass – EJ Maple Strat / 56 Fender Custom Shop Strat – Logic Pro10 Keyboards – Mapex Pearl Drums – EXH Big Muff’s, Fulltone 70’s and TC guitar effects – 50w Plexi Marshall head (1969) Basket Weave Marshall 4×10 Cab (1969)
DAW Logic Pro 9/10

Mastered and part mixed in Austin TX by Eric Johnson’s studio engineer Kelly Donnelly

Track 5: Indo Celt

Written  hours after I met Jimmy Page, my lifelong ambition, this is the man who inspired me to pick up the guitar in the first place. Encountering these people and being star struck in those situations just leaves you with a life time of regret and embarrassment Ha!. A nicer man there cannot be…Neither the less Jimmy’s White Summer has it’s Celtic Roots and this is where I have borrowed from ‘My Lagan Love’, with ethereal vocals from Takara O’Donovan who manages make her vocal sound like a stringed instrument with no studio trickery

I met Jimmy Page in 2005, a lifelong dream to meet the man that inspired me to pick up the guitar, to say I was a devoted Zep fan would be a total understatement for most of my guitar life I lived. Ate, breathed and played Zeppelin and Page. Without Page my guitar styles, approaches to playing and engineering would not be where they are today, I don’t know if that I a good or a bad thing.

People say don’t meet your hero’s, but to be honest he was the most friendly, charming, sharp/clever individual I have met he spoke and engaged effortlessly with everyone and sent his minder away while signing stuff for all comers. Would I like to meet him again my answer would have to be ‘NO’, why? Because I feel I made a total fool out of myself (I could be wrong but that is the way I felt) and would be so embarrassed if he recognised me. This course is just a total fantasy at least I hope it is, so onto the tune. I wrote and recorded this a day after my meeting with Mr Page, the first theme is basically ‘My Lagan Love’, what has that got to do with Mr Page, well ‘White Summer’ is taken from the melody of ‘She moves through the Fair’ an Irish tune. So I just did a Page on ‘My Lagan Love’ and also included in a mad Middle section, that involved Double tracking the guitar and fretboard slapping before that became a popular form of guitar abuse. The guitar was set to a DADGAD pre-set and recorded direct into a Yamaha AW16 G.

Eileen Hogan – Violin (solo)
Takara O’Donovan – Vocals
David O’Donovan – Acoustic and Electric Guitars, Fender Lap Steel, Line 6 Vari Axe and Percussion.
Line 6 Vari Axe 700 Acoustic Modelling Guitar – Lakewood Acoustic guitar – EHX Mel 9 Electric guitar.
DAW – AW16G / Logic Pro 9

Track 6: Brites Storm

Originally written to be an Eric Johnson inspired piece half way through I realised that it sounded like the Dixie Dregs and followed that muse. The sonic values of Mark O’Connor’s Fiddle playing duelling with Steve Morse’s guitar helped me discover the joy in combining these two instruments.

Tim O’Connell – Drum Programming
David O’Donovan – Electric Guitars, Guitar Synth and Bass.
Wal Bass – Steve Morse Musicman Electric Guitar – Roland GR1 Guitar Synth – Mesa Boogie V Twin – Peavey 212 Stereo Chorus.
Recording / DAW – TAC Scorpion – Alesis ADAT / Logic Pro9

Track 7: Slap

Tomas Leeb’s guitar acoustic playing was introduced to us here by the inspirational Irish guitar Player Eric Roche. Eric who sadly has now passed on left us with inspiration and new frontiers for acoustic guitar. This is an attempt to bring my own acoustic playing somewhere else.

David O’Donovan – Acoustic Guitars, lap Steel, Bass and Keyboards.
Wal Bass- Lakewood Acoustic Guitar – Fender Lap Steel – Korg X3 Keyboard
DAW – AW16G / Logic Pro9

Track 8: Black Sheep

Originally called Do Daa it quickly changed to Ba Baa and from that to “Black Sheep”. Staying with its origins in the name ‘Do Daa’ could have generated more problems on an interpretative basis later on. Again a strong latent Eric Johnson influence to it.

Takara O’Donovan – Vocals
David O’Donovan – Electric Guitars,  EBow, Slide Guitar, Acoustic Guitar and Bass.
Wal Bass – EJ Maple Strat – 56 Custom Shop Strat – David Gilmour Black Strat – Classical Guitar – EBow – Radial Distortion – Roland Blues Cube w/t Eric Johnson Tone Capsule – 50w Plexi Marshall head (1969) – Basket Weave Marshall 4×10 Cab (1969)
DAW – Logic Pro9

Track 9: The Magic Bus

This bus, from what I gather existed in the late 70’s early 80’s but would transport from the UK right through all of Europe. Apart from going through different time zones the possibility always lay open to go through different Cosmic zones fuelled by alternative substances.

This piece of music follows the bus drivers route from manic to cosmic to bizarre. Enjoy the ride. 

After seeing Rush  in concert and always having a huge respect for Geddy Lee I dusted off my Wal bass found a loop and put down a bass track. This track sits somewhere in the middle of the arrangement, as Geddy like the Bass line might be there was no way I could do Peart so I had to do make do with Logic drums. So the rest of the track really built around drum loops, then bass and then guitar and kitchen sink. Guitars on the track were a 2001 Les Paul desert bust, 56 Fender Custom Shop Strat, Double neck SG (12 string tuned to DADGAD), Line 6 Vari-axe acoustic 750 (Sitar and Classical) and Steve Morse musicman. Keyboards for me the was the one of the most interesting activities, I used my vintage Juno 6 to pad out some of the sounds and the rest were plugs of Moogs and Tauris Moog Bass Pedals (the latter being Rush 70’s standard Stuff). One effect I came across remains my favourite and that is the bell/hemispheres space sound.

Why No.3A The Magic Bus, in the seventies there was a bus that meandered around Europe called the Magic Bus a legend would have it you got on and London and could stay until Istanbul via Amsterdam, the magic part was probably from in imbibing of certain substances that allowed the casual traveller to travel further ‘off road’ into the solar system.

It is also the longest track I ever wrote.

David O’Donovan – Classical Guitar, Electric Guitars, Vari Axe, Bass, keyboards and Drum Programming.
Wal Bass – Custom Shop 56 Strat – Gibson Standard Les Paul – Steve Morse Music Man – Epiphone Double Neck SG (12 & 6) – Line 6 Vari Axe 700 – Logic Keyboard plugin’s – Fulltone, Line 6, EHX Guitar Effects, 50w Plexi Marshall head (1969) – Basket Weave Marshall 4×10 Cab (1969) – Line 6 POD
DAW –  Logic Pro9

Track 10: Time Away

A solitary and somewhat lonely piece of music with an intensity that culminates in an empty space. Inspired by Sting’s solo version of ‘Message in a Bottle’ from Monty Python’s ‘The secret policeman’s other ball’ I felt the open stringed Dm arrangement (the saddest key N. Tufnel) generated an atmosphere of solitude only to be shared.

David O’Donovan – Acoustic Guitars
Lakewood Acoustic Guitar – Alesis midiverb – TAC Scorpion
Recording / DAW -TAC Scorpion – Alesis ADAT / Logic Pro9