I wish I could definitively say where the years since I released my last album have gone. When I think back on some of the events while working on ‘Plan‘, they are so clear it seems like it must have been just last year, whereas many of the details of working on ‘Panama‘ are hazy and unformed. Maybe it’s because it was a more broken up process, done in fits and bursts, moving around from a studio location to basements and spare bedrooms, and back to a studio again. Maybe it’s the fact that chunks of the original recordings got erased, or completely redone. Maybe it’s that some of the tracks that made the final cut were earlier on the chopping block and somehow snuck their way back in. I’m not certain.
What I am certain about is that the fragmented shards of recordings and performances and nearly lost tracks all got put back together again into a cohesive whole, due in no small part to the many talents of my friend Michael Phillip Wojewoda, who mixed and embellished the lot, and in most cases played the foundation that they are built upon.
I’m also certain that the generosity and encouragement of many fine people in my life made sure that this album remained an itch I had to scratch, no matter how far removed from the process I got while passing through despair and boredom and heartbreak and all the many vagaries of life and its glorious abundance of challenges.
Even in tattered and crumpled up pride
There’s more than a glimmer left in these eyes
I know, also, that I am “an album guy”. I like listening to groups of songs by a single artist, in the order they were presented in. This predilection is a bit of an anomaly in this age of singles and streaming and playlists, but it’s what I knew as a kid growing up during the short tenure of the Golden Age of the LP. So I am pleased as punch that I’ve been able to put this collection of songs together into a sequence that fits in a nearly perfectly even split between side 1 and 2, and works fine as a continuous 9-song piece as well. It also means that it takes longer to get the whole thing together.
I’m also pretty certain – maybe not 100% — that I’ve beat back some of the demons that made the making of this record such a long affair. I’ve already started on what I hope will be the next one and am determined not to let so much time slip away before it’s done. ‘Course, like anyone, I’m only a passenger on this ride. We’ll see where this road goes.