"Smoky Bars and Steel Guitars" is my second
original album since I recorded "Home to the Mountains"
back in 1985. It seems like a rather long time to wait to put out a
new album, but so many things have happened since the first project
that it's hard to imagine that there would have been time to get the
Since releasing the first album, I have another child, I became a computer geek of sorts
and built a recording studio in 2000 as part of my
web marketing business to create royalty-free original music for my
web clients. Only later did I decide to use the studio to record my
own music and that of other musical friends like "Cowboy" Brad
Fitch. Brad and I have done eight albums together in the last eight
years while my own project languished. But finally, and to my son
Jeff's great excitement, the new album is here. Not exactly how I
planned it originally, as it was titled "Summertown", but my music
has changed so much I thought perhaps a change to the title was in
order. I hope you enjoy what we created here. I won't wait
twenty-six years to do the next one.
Thanks for listening,
To hear song samples or purchase a
digital download visit
Smoky Bars and Steel Guitars
One More Thing ~ The idea for this song came about
a year ago from a comment I heard someone make. Also I did one of
those songwriting marathons where I tried to write a song a day for
a month. Most of what I wrote I felt didn't deserve the "full
production" treatment. But this one stood out. I was going for a new
"old country" honky-tonk sound which is also the basis for the next
two songs on the album. I also thought this song was "visual" enough
to be turned into a music video which we created and uploaded to
This Honky Tonk Heart ~ I had
tried to write this song a number times but it always came out
too harsh. It's mostly autobiographical and I've lived long
enough now to have mellowed somewhat in regard to the feelings I
had about some of the experiences I encountered as the child of
a broken home. Both of my parents are gone now and I'm not sure
how they would have responded to this song. But the truth is the
truth and sometimes you've just gotta put it out there.
Certainly those experiences shaped my later life to some extent
though it took me all these years to realize exactly how that
manifested itself. That realization has led me to make some
changes in the way I live my life these days and also made me a
bit more philosophical about my choices and those of my parents
all those years ago.
Wine and Liquor ~ When I was
three-years old my dad had me standing on the bars he frequented
and singing Hank Williams' "Jambalya", "Hey Good Lookin' " and
numerous other classics in that traditional country music genre.
I remember people giving me money to stand up there and sing,
and I even "sat in" with working bands of the day and singing
for a dance hall full of folks. Apparently, that was the
beginning of my love of performing and music in general. This
song was a blatant attempt at recreating the feel of a
Hank-Williams type song with all the new technology and advanced
musicianship available today while still retaining that genuine
honky tonk vibe. The song is aided immensely by the playing of
steel guitar master, Billy Cooper, who is a client and friend and who
graciously agreed to add his talent to this project. Thanks
Billy, you rock.
Someone Else's Angel ~ This
very "Eagles-sounding" song was written in the early 2000's when
we were planning the "Summertown" album
which eventually evolved into this current project. I've been a
huge Eagles fan since "Witchey Woman" and have personally played
their songs with bands I was involved with for several decades.
So I guess it's only natural to include a tune from this genre
to help round out the honky tonk vibe of this project. It's a
minor key song that lends itself to some soulful blues-rock
How's That Workin' ~ Is a song I wrote about
eight years ago and which is based on that famous phrase "...so, how's that workin' for you?"
heard a number of people use it, the personality that uses it to
best advantage in my opinion is Dr. Phil McGraw (Dr. Phil).
Anyone on the receiving end of that phrase can be pretty sure of
the answer and the implications of idiocy. In the song (the
singer can be either male or female) the singer sarcastically
addresses a spouse who has either been unfaithful or has
abandoned the relationship for something "better" only to find
out that the grass isn't greener at all and wants to come back.
Someday ~ I love western swing and also playing
the pedal steel guitar. Someday, a song of love permanently delayed, is my
first recording on which I played pedal steel. Very up-tempo,
swing-style, with some jazzy electric guitar at the break.
Faithless Heart ~ Lots of fun three-part
harmonies on this rather 50's sounding country-rock song. The
fat sound of the Fender Telecaster Subsonic lends a bit of
"Duane Eddy" style picking to the somewhat dark atmosphere of
this tune. The ghostly and bluesy sounds, near the end of the
song, of a overdriven Fender Strat played by assistant
producer/engineer, John Buford, adds some nice crunch and
texture to the overall feel.
Columbine Blue ~ This very "Colorado" sounding
folk-country song is reminiscent of the folk and rock era of the
early 70's. It was actually the first song written for this
collection back in '92. The symbolism of lost love a ultimately
recovered amidst the grandeur of the Rockies is very visual and
typical of the genre.
Son of a Working Class Man ~ This song is a
tribute to all the Exxon employees who worked at the Baton Rouge
plant specifically, and all the "oilers" in general, which
included my grandfather, father, and uncle. It was a time of
blue-collar neighborhoods, second and third-generation "plant"
families, and cradle-to-the-grave employers, long since past.
But the memories and friends made there linger on.
A Soft Place To Land ~ The story related in
this song is universal, I think. But it was related to me in
detail by a close friend who endured the pains of a difficult
childhood and a worse marriage. There comes a time when you've
experienced enough to know what you need to survive and carry on
in life, and the kind of person you need with you when times are
Summertown ~ Estes Park was my hometown for
over twenty-three years. It's primarily a summer tourist town
with a thousand stories to tell. Over the years I watched
relationships come and go, many of which were summer loves,
doomed to eventually end. The pattern short-lived, seasonal
trends in such a place are reflected in the lives of the people
who live there whether as residents or summer visitors and
Thunder in Heaven ~ This song was written on
the eve of the death of a dear friend and a talented young
drummer, David Souers. It was also one the first songs we
recorded after we built our recording studio in 2001. David died of an
untimely illness at an age when most people are just beginning
to enjoy their lives and relationships. Part of his legacy was a
Cazan, who subsequently dedicated her life to music and
teaching. Her mandolin playing graces this song as a tribute to
our friend, David, nearly twenty-five years after his death.
This album is dedicated to David's memory as well as to one of
my best friends from high school, Felman Cappel, who was also a
drummer in our little rock band way back when. Count it off,
boys ...you're thunder in heaven tonight.
What About Love ~ I can only guess at the
number of people I know who've had the experiences presented in
this song, both men and women. Specifically the song is about a
middle-aged woman who finds herself alone after years of being a
wife and mother. She's back in the dating pool and not having a
lot of luck. But her faith and desire is strong enough to keep
her searching for that dream. Have you been there?
Diana's Theme ~ Every musician/entertainer
should have a million fans like our friend Diana. I don't think
I've ever met a singer/songwriter, or performer of any kind that
loves music more than Diana, who is NOT a musician. She liked
this instrumental melody study on synth so much I named it after
her. Hope you enjoy it too.
In My Heart ~ Songwriters are always encouraged
to listen closely to conversations, and to watch closely what
goes on around them in order to pick up great song ideas. This
song was created around something I once heard a friend say. I
thought the sentiment was so profound that I could write a song
around it. If you listen closely you hear some "whispered"
lyrics buried in the background. It was my attempt at writing
something "sexy" after being challenged by a fellow songwriter.
Not my usual fare, but I gave it my best shot. It's sort of my
personal "Love to Love You, Baby" style of writing. Maybe you'll
find it interesting.
Leaving Tonight ~ As a young musician growing
up I always loved the sound of popular guitarists like Duane
Eddy. That twangy Gretsch jazzer with it's deep edgy bass and
heavy dose of tremolo really got my attention. To this day I'll
still include that sound on some of my songs ("Faithless Heart"
and "Summertown") if I get the chance. This instrumental is my
first full song utilizing that style and the tremolo effect,
albeit with a Fender "Nashville" Telecaster. Makes me want to
get in my Vette and just drive.
Wherever You Are Tonight ~ This is the first
song we recorded after building our recording studio in 2001.
It's another instrumental melody study on synthesizer. The song
is dedicated to my mother who always had music playing
in our house. She loved old rock and roll and blues ala Joe
Turner and Fats Domino. She didn't play music but she certainly
got my rock 'n roll bones moving in the right direction. She
never heard me play keys before her death, but I know she would
have loved this.
Quiet Desperation ~ At first listen this song
sounds like a dark and depressing bit of songwriting, but the
last few lines are it's saving grace. Basically it deals with
the place you find yourself in a relationship after years of
mediocrity and apathy with seemingly no way out. Trust
me...there is a way out.
Estes Park Christmas ~ This is a beautiful
waltz, the only one I've ever written, about my home for over
23-years, Estes Park Colorado. It's a wonderful little mountain
on the fringe of Rocky Mountain National Park with incredible
views, and friendly, talented people. A great small-town
experience for sure. Here's to all the residents and lovers of
Estes Park. Enjoy.
...thanks for listening ~Bob
This album is dedicated to the memory of Felman Cappel
and David Souers,
great friends and great drummers who left us