Sign of Life
Mixed and Mastered by:
Billy Decker at The Cabin at Westwood (Nashville, TN).
Kathy Rae Photography (Omaha, NE).
Writing, Playing, Singing, & Programming by:
How this album came about:
There was a reason why there was a 4 year gap between my first and second albums. After the recording of "CLARIFIED," I was basically content musically. I had completed that album with Bobby, and I was still playing in cover bands and focused on other aspects of my life, (mostly chasing money)...ie: got my real estate license, became an agent, and started accumulating properties (I owned 6 rental properties at one time).
Then, one day, without warning, I thought I was having heart burn, but it wouldn't go away...an hour later I decided to call an ambulance as the pain was getting fairly intense. Next thing I remember is waking up in a hospital room with a catheter, a breathing tube, and IVs in both arms, and being told I had a heart attack and had an emergency open heart surgery (quadruple bypass). Of course, this was ONE of those life-changing experiences.
After recovering and being cared for by my Aunt Bev and Uncle Larry, I returned to work as a real estate agent, and luckily had two very big sales all within the first month I came back. To make a long story short, I took the money I earned from those sales and set off on a course to find my “happy place” (which was NO WHERE near the money-loving people in the real estate industry).
I opened a guitar shop, selling used guitars and giving guitar lessons, which only lasted about a year, but allowed me to set up my own recording studio, and to finally pursue my true passion, my true love, finally finding my "Happy Place": Songwriting!
The title is based on:
I wanted to write a song like "Living In Oz" by Rick Springfield, which starts with a higher, successive, single-note-at-a-time riff.
Another example of this type of riff is the "Sweet Child 'O Mine" intro riff. These are EXTREMELY hard to write well, and when I came up with the Sign of Life intro, the rest of the song came together fairly quickly.
The album Living In Oz is still to this day my favorite album of all time. The song Living In Oz is the 4th track on Rick's album. Sign of Life is the 4th track on my album, and the title of the album, as well. I don't know why having that connection (something only I would know), was so important to me at the time.
The title also signifies my quest and finding my "Sign of Life" after a traumatic experience.
A True Blessing:
With "CLARIFIED" I got lucky as I had YEARS to write those songs. Two of the songs were written during my Mother Tung days (Firelady and Solid Ground), and a 3rd tune was written during my Whizker Bizket days (Nothing Is Real). Plus, 3 of the other 7 songs had been laying around for a while, so I really only wrote about 4 brand new tunes (Never Return, I Keep Falling, Morning Sun and Beautiful Suffering). So, the first thing I realized when I decided to take my songwriting serious and do a 2nd album, is that It's NOT easy to write songs on a consistent basis, and that I was going to have to LEARN how.
I started looking online (mostly YouTube), for songwriting instruction, and ran across Andrea Stolpe (https://AndreaStolpe.com). Andrea is a platinum selling songwriter (Faith Hill has recorded her songs), and is a professor at Berkley College of Music for songwriting. I contacted her, and we worked out a deal for personal instruction (via email). It turned out to be one of the BEST things that could have ever happened to me...I believe I was one of her last 1-on1 coaching students, and I'm so incredibly grateful for her and all that I learned from her!