The entirety of the proceeds from this record and all Benefactor Records releases are redirected towards the charity of the artist's choice in order to help the less fortunate. Those of us here at Benefactor would like to extend a special thanks to Ryan and all the team at Bandcamp for making our charity efforts possible.
released January 13, 2015
(C) 2015 Benefactor Records / Secondhand Music
Produced and mixed by Brian Erickson and Jeff Fiedler for Patin's Place Productions
Engineered by Brian Erickson and Frank Lettieri
Additional engineering on "Pretty Little Head" and "The Last Thing on My Mind" by Russ de la Torre
Mastered by Brian Erickson
Recorded at Secondhand Studios in Hopewell, NJ, and Fat Head Studios, Lambertville, NJ except:
Basic tracks for "Pretty Little Head" and "The Last Thing on My Mind" recorded at Riverview Studios, Bordentown, NJ
Piano on "The Trouble with Love Is ...." recorded in the Yvonne Theater at Rider University, Lawrenceville, NJ
All music and lyrics written by Jeff Fiedler
Jeff Fiedler: lead vocals; electric and acoustic rhythm guitars; piano on "The Trouble with Love Is ..." and "Pretty Little Head"
Brian Erickson: lead guitars and all guitar solos; additional electric and acoustic rhythm guitar; bass guitars; harmonica on "Wrong"; string arrangements and percussion on "The Trouble with Love Is ..."; horns on "Pretty Little Head"; harmony and background vocals on "Windsor Diaries," "Wrong," and "The Last Thing on My Mind"
Frank Lettieri, Jr.: drums
Tim Ryan: harmony vocals & acoustic guitar on "The Last Thing on My Mind"
Front cover photo by Amanda Guthrie
Album cover design by Jeff Fiedler, Brian Erickson and Amanda Guthrie
In memory of: Tom Phelan, Tim Ryan, and Jake Stults
Extra special thanks from Jeff to: Brian Erickson, Amanda Guthrie, Russ de la Torre, and Frank Lettieri for their help with the EP, and to my endlessly amazing parents and to my siblings and very best friends, John and Karen.
Additional thanks to: the entire Fiedler and White families, especially John, Landen, and Logan Davis, Natalie Fiedler and the newest addition to our wonderful family, Emily Ann; Leo Belill, Matt Davis, Mike and Amy Deitch, Jesse Elliot, Bill Greenwood, Jen Sabol Hall, Ryan Hanratty, Matt Hoffer, Scott Kammerer, Matt Kelly, Bill and Maureen Lambusta, Erin Lamy, Cara Latham, Scottie and Jeanine Maloney, Jim McGee, Jeremy McKeen, Drew Novelli, Joanne "Mama Jo" Petrillo, Matt Pischl, Sheelagh Ruane, and Mike Virok for all going out of your way on several occasions in the past year to encourage me to keep at this music thing and keeping my spirits alive through this rebuilding year for the project. Thanks as well to any of you who have ever taken the time to download one of these records or even to leave us an encouraging note or comment on our website! Just knowing that there's someone out there who pays any attention to what we're doing and reads our updates or downloads and listens to our recordings makes a really huge difference in keeping this songwriter inspired to keep performing, which, in turn, makes a big difference in the number of people whose lives we can touch through this ongoing charity project of mine, so thank you for that!
THE STORIES BEHIND THE SONGS:
"Windsor Diaries": Written back in '03 on a train ride from Rome to Florence. The title is never actually used in the song, though you can hear me saying, "Sorry, Winds!" at the end of the song. The title was the first thing that came to me, and I didn't know what to do with it at first, but then I remembered that there was a girl in my high school graduating class by the name of Windsor, so I thought I could simply write a story-song where the central female character had that name and kept a diary which would be central to the plot. (The chorus, if you listen carefully, is a synopsis of a week's worth of entries from the diary in question.) Because it’s such a terribly uncommon name, I thought it would be particularly funny if I inserted myself into the song and wrote a story about an alternate and fictional version of my teenaged self snooping through a girl’s diary on a regular basis while her bookbag is unattended, if just for the hilarity of making my former classmates who hear this song wonder “Wait, did this really happen? Did Jeff snoop through Windsor’s diary?” As much as I’d love to tell you that the ending of the song really happened (both the story and song have particularly funny endings), the entire story is purely made up, and I neither have ever actually read a girl’s diary, nor did I ever actually have any sort of interaction with the song’s namesake in all the time I was in high school, so I very highly doubt she would know who I was if you mentioned my name to her, and I couldn’t actually tell you a thing about her myself. All the same, she has my eternal gratitude for inspiring the lyrics of this longtime fan favorite. The music for this one was inspired by Cutting Crew's "One for the Mockingbird," one of my favorite lost hits of the '80s.
"Wrong": The funny thing about my songwriting is that I actually very seldom write with an instrument in front of me and have to learn how to actually play them after I've already written them, and this one was no exception. I actually wrote this one in '05 while in a swimming pool in St. Thomas. I started off trying to write something for a friend of mine who shall remain nameless and was having trouble coming up with anything decent until I finally said to myself, "Wait, why am I even trying to write something for this girl? She couldn't possibly be any more completely wrong for me!" As soon as I said that, I thought "Wait, there's the song right there!", and I quickly dashed off a love song about how sometimes the relationships that prove to be the most enduring and bring us the most happiness can be the ones that others would least expect to last. The music was inspired in part by Spandau Ballet's "Only When You Leave" and in part by a song that's so unbelievably embarrassing to admit to liking that I will never reveal it publicly, though you're welcome to try to figure it out for yourself. (The only hint I will give you is that it's from a television show.) The girl who inspired this one hasn't the faintest idea I ever wrote something for her - I never shared that information with her - though, hilariously enough, one of my bandmates will occasionally forget which song this is and we'll refresh each other's memories onstage by whispering "The one about ...", so if you watch our lips in concert inbetween songs, you may find out for yourself!
"The Trouble with Love Is ...": Written back in '03 in the Macy's at Quaker Bridge Mall in New Jersey. (I told you I write songs in unusual places!) There's a song on Kelly Clarkson's first album - which came out that year - with a nearly identical song title. I thought it was an amazing song title, but when I heard the song itself, I was kinda disappointed by it, and not wanting to see such a good title go to waste, I sat down to see if I could come up with something better. Whether I actually pulled that off is up to the listener to decide. The one change I made to the title was to add ellipses to the end, which is a crucial addition since the lyric of the song actually begins where the song title left off: " ... it's bittersweet / Take it from a guy who knows." I've always thought that was one of the more clever and unique things I've ever done with a song title, to have it segue straight into the beginning of a lyric like that.
"The Last Thing on My Mind": Probably my most famous song of all, this was little more than a happy accident resulting from me sitting down with my acoustic guitar one day and trying to figure out how to play another song entirely - in this case, the song "Tokyo" by Canadian singer-songwriter Bruce Cockburn (best known for the songs "Wondering Where the Lions Are" and "Lovers in a Dangerous Time.") Since I most often play guitar with my own self-invented, simplified, highly unorthodox tuning, I ended up hitting upon another chord sequence entirely and immediately stopped what I was doing and started writing a song around the chords I'd just played; it was finished, lyrics and all, in less than fifteen minutes! The line "There's a jazz club in the distance playing Herbie, I believe" in the first verse is a reference to the legendary jazz keyboardist Herbie Hancock, by the way. I'd love to claim more production credit for this recording, but the bulk of the praise needs to go to Brian, who lovingly concocted this one, "Free As a Bird"-style, out of an old demo of mine (I would later re-record my vocal and guitar, while Frank would add live drums; the great lead guitar licks you hear are all Brian's fretwork), while our good friend, the late Tim Ryan joined us and added a vocal of his own to inject some three-part harmony into the mix, which was the perfect final touch and for which we're eternally grateful to him, so listen for that on each chorus!
"Pretty Little Head": Written back in '03 in the campus library at Rider University. Every now and then, I try to experiment with writing a song for a specific artist to do (even though I never have the faintest idea of how to actually reach any of these people and get these songs to them!), and this one was explicitly written with Rob Thomas in mind. I suppose I do a passable job on the vocal, but I still think the final product doesn't sound right to me without Rob Thomas' vocal on there! The funny thing about this one is that I always - from the moment I wrote it in the library - envisioned a horn arrangement on it but never mentioned that to anyone, and Brian went off on his own with a piano-and-vocal demo of the song I had cut at the end of a Sly Figurines recording session and turned it into a fully-fleshed-out full-band recording of it, complete with a horn arrangement that was exactly note-for-note what I had heard in my head. I couldn't stop laughing when I heard the final product and discovered he had the exact same idea!
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