MP3 Jeff Gay & Special Blends - Kindly Requests
A bubbling music gumbo. Drawing on an eclectic variety of musical influences, this debut CD varies from explosive modish rockers to laid-back country honks.
12 MP3 Songs
ROCK: Folk Rock, ROCK: Country-Rock
Jeff Gay & Special Blends, a band from Halifax, Nova Scotia, has released its first recording, Kindly Requests. The effort features 12 original songs that were written by the band’s lead singer, Jeff Gay.
Jeff Gay has been accumulating music for an album release since his former group’s (Jeff Gay and the Distractions) album, As of Now, was independently released in the summer of 1997. The album received a strong review in The Coast newspaper, and the band was popular locally. The next ten years saw Jeff studying music at St. F.X. University, performing at Grafton Street Dinner Theatre and, most importantly, developing his sound.
In the spring of 2006, Jeff met Evan Cardwell while working at Musicstop in Dartmouth and the pair immediately found common musical ground. By the fall, they had made plans to record an album with producer, Charles Austin and ex-Distractions drummer Kris Moulton.
The twelve songs recorded at The Echo Chamber with Charles Austin make up the CD release, Kindly Requests, and draws on an eclectic variety of musical influences. The group’s debut mixes explosive modish rockers like Reaction, You Like It!? Let''s Do It?! and Sinking Ships, with the laid-back country honk of The Wild Children of Sandra, Anhedonia and Pictou County; there’s also a wonderful duet with the enchanting Carmen Townsend on Forget All About It Awhile. The lengthier tracks, Johannesburg and Lobsters & Penguins, offer plenty of room for stretching out, with excellent guitar interaction between Gay and Cardwell.
Jeff Gay & Special Blends has released this album on its own independent label, Tossing Records. The band is making plans for a follow-up album (tentatively titled Rickety Row), again with Charles Austin at the helm. The group currently has a four piece lineup, featuring Jeff Gay, Evan Cardwell, Glen Leck (on bass) and Chris Pennell (on drums).
Recording Kindly Requests by Jeff Gay
The oldest song on our debut cd, KINDLY REQUESTS, is “Johannesburg”. This song appeared on a cassette release by my former band, Jeff Gay and the Distractions, more then ten years ago. A year has passed since we finished recording and I now feel that our record is a perfect time capsule of this ten-year period of pretty steady songwriting that has passed. I wonder if my social life has suffered, because I gotta try to keep my chops up too?!
ANYWAY: I am most pleased to finally be able to offer our debut CD on CDBABY to the rest of the world!
I just have a few notes I would like to make about the record based on my extensive myspace blogs. They are a tad indulgent, so perhaps it is wise to be brief.
#1) REACTION: Basic tracks for all songs were completed by Kris Moulton on drums with Evan Cardwell and myself on guitars. Then I would add organ, bass, vocals, etc. Completely unprepared, we performed this arrangement of “Reaction” in a couple of takes. Maybe that sort of thing isn’t impressive anymore, but prior to this studio session we hadn’t even got through the song. I thank drummer, Kris Moulton, for plowing us through. In my blog about this session, I wrote that I felt ‘reborn.’ When recording overdubs, I used Buck 65’s MOOG synths which I remember being especially fun
#2) ISOBEL: This is one of the tracks I wrote in the summer of 2006. At the time, I remember writing a number of songs with references to summer. Hope this rubs off when you check out the album! p.s. I don’t know any Isobels.
#3) YOU LIKE IT!? LET’S DO IT?!: I really started digging this tune in 2005, when I spent the summer doing a dinner theatre show in Yarmouth, Nova Scotia. In the big convention center of the Grand Hotel, I would sneak in late at night and use all of the stage equipment to record mind-blowing demos. Then I would mix them down and they’d sound just terrible. That’s why it’s nice having Charles Austin around to record. He’s a genius, actually. Okay. I’ve said it. And if anyone wants to fight, just check out that wicked fuzzed out guitar he got us on the riff by sending my ’74 Mustang through a reel-to-reel machine. Don’t even ask
#4) ANHEDONIA: Woody Allen fans will know that this was the original title of Annie Hall, meaning ‘the inability to experience pleasure’. This is probably my favorite performance on the record with its weird timings and the old Hammond organ at the end
#5) THE WILD CHILDREN OF SANDRA: A song I wrote when we were recording the album that tells the story of a man who can’t escape a former lover and her (his?) kids. Evan and I had a blast recording the guitar duel in the middle. I clearly remember him losing it at the end and wondered what I was getting into. Ha ha ha. Just kidding… love ya, bro! OH! And congrats to Joi-Loi for confirming the brief “Bitches Brew” reference on the bass at the very end
#6) JOHANNESBURG: A song that appeared on Tossing Records previous release by Jeff Gay and the Distractions entitled “As of Now”. I wrote it in 1997 and updated it over the years with extra verses. Songs present a rare opportunity to speak openly about feelings and I hope that I have been tasteful with the political poetry stuff
#7) FORGET ALL ABOUT IT AWHILE: Singer Carmen Townsend came in to the studio with us for this one. On March 31st, 2007, I wrote, “basically, we just pressed record. Then Evan, Charles and I, sat back and got blown away. Carmen finished off the record with flare and good old fashioned taste”. Her performance was one of our last overdubs and felt like icing on the delicious cake
#8) YOUR GIRL: This is a song that I was really pumped about. Me and Terry Pulliam recorded a version at his Soundmarket Studios about a year prior to the version on Kindly Requests. Those sessions were filled with drama. People I had hired to perform on the demo did not cut the mustard. So Terry urged me to come back the next day and I perform all tracks myself. We might’ve continued, Emitt Rhodes style, recording a full album this way. But in hindsight, I am glad we didn’t because I appreciate the band performances on this cd, such as on this far superior version of ‘Your Girl’
#9) EMMA: Emma is a song I threw together about a girl I dug. I played it on the twelve string guitar. Evan and Moulton were too overcome with emotion to perform. Lots of tears in the studio, I am sure
#10) PICTOU COUNTY: Brought in a fiddler, Eric Liddell, my good buddy, Bobby Pins to lay down some guitar, Cleveland Sauer on trombone, and my sister Andrea to rock the tambourine. Then we recorded a number of different versions of this track, including a faster version that my parent’s hate. They like this version though, which chronicles my journey from coast to coast, only to return back to the coast and the tea and toast
#11) LOBSTERS AND PENGUINS: These are obviously two separate songs linked thematically that me and Evan wrote. Hopefully, the current lineup of Special Blends (Chris Pennell, Glen Leck, Evan Cardwell and myself) will have lots of opportunities like this to jam with some degree of focus. Loved the Fulltone Deja Vibe effect I used for the solo in “Penguins”. A personal favorite and Moulton is in particularly fine form here. (We miss you, buddy)
#12) SINKING SHIPS: We wondered if this track would make it on the record. We did a couple of versions, but this take was steady and had something. Lots of neato e-bow and synth stuff that was more than a little bit influenced by modern rock. More than a few of the other tracks that may sound more rootsy, which I think Glen Leck has nicely depicted in the cover illustrations.
AT ANY RATE, we are very enthusiastic about the current lineup of this group and working towards recording a second album with Charles to be entitled “RICKETY ROW”. Most of the songs that will appear on this will be newer songs that continue in the country rock vein. A part of me wants to be that artist that completely replicates his first album. I promise I won’t, but I will always be fond of this one
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