This record, “Joshua”, is dedicated to the memory of my brother, Joshua Stamm. To his heroic spirit, his determination, his compassionate nature, and to his glowing personality. To the way he lived his 27 short years to the fullest, and to how he somehow managed to leave a lasting impression on just about everyone he met. Since his death on December 15, 2007, family and friends have worked hard to keep Josh’s legacy going. The release of this album is my way to do that. All record sale proceeds from “Joshua” will be donated to the A-T Children’s Project (the organization researching a cure for Josh’s disability – Ataxia Telangiectasia) and The Joshua Stamm Memorial Scholarship Fund (a component of The Community Foundation of Orange and Sullivan).
Josh loved a variety of music, and I think he would be very happy to know that there is now a whole album of songs named after him. He was a great brother who supported my career unconditionally; I knew I could always count on him to be my biggest fan. So it makes perfect sense that I turned to songwriting as an outlet for my grief after he died, and that the “Joshua” album was created.
I recently read this quote: “We strive to live, not by our fears, but by our hopes, not by our words, but by our deeds.” That pretty much sums up the way Josh lived, and it’s truly incredible when you think about what he accomplished despite all of the factors working against him. My hope is that these words - these songs on “Joshua” – can be turned into significant resources, which can then be turned into action. Into the kinds of deeds Josh would be striving to accomplish if he were alive today. That would be the ultimate tribute to my brother.
I wrote “Running For Miles With Your Ghost” literally while running, training for a marathon to raise money for Josh’s scholarship. I really did feel his presence urging me to keep going, even when I thought I had nothing left on the longer runs and the day of the race. And just like the song says, I did actually have many one-way conversations with him as I ran – I can only hope he heard me. I think this is the best song I’ve ever written.
“I Don’t Know Who To Blame” is written from Josh’s perspective. He had a creative side that he was not often able to express, and I’m sure that if he were able to play an instrument he would have written songs as well. I took the liberty of putting myself in his shoes for a moment to think about what he might say in a song, and this is what I came up with. Not that he tended to place blame or feel sorry for himself, but I know that he had plenty of normal teen angst and moments when he thought about what life would be like in a different body.
“Just Wait” is for anyone who thinks they can’t accomplish something because of obstacles they face. I hope others can use Josh as an example of how even those with great limitations can accomplish so much.
The original version of “Don’t Give Up” is on my recently-released album, “Willow”. I wrote the lyrics while sitting next to Josh’s hospital bed during the last month of his life. It started out as a song for and about Josh, but it’s taken on new meaning for me as time goes on without him. I’ve also been so happy to hear that this song has helped others through some challenging times.
“Fix You”, by Coldplay, is beautiful song that has been a long-time favorite of mine. I chose to record a version of it because it reminds me of all my family did while Josh was alive to make sure he had the best life possible. It reminds me clearly of Josh’s final month in the hospital, and all that everyone did to try and save him. It reminds me about how Josh, even though he realized he didn’t have enough time to benefit from a cure for A-T, insisted on participating in tests and clinical trials because an eventual cure would mean hope for future generations of kids with the disability. It also reminds me that there are so many people out there working selflessly and tirelessly to fix a seemingly hopeless situation – like the people at the A-T Children’s Project. Those people are heroic, and this song is for them also.
A special thanks to friends who donated their talents to make this album possible:
Art Hays (co-writer and co-producer on “Just Wait” and “Don’t Give Up”); Josh Dodes (co-writer and piano on “Just Wait”, piano and background vocals on “Don’t Give Up”); Kevin Snider (bass on “I Don’t Know Who To Blame”); Chris Hills (guitar on “Running For Miles With Your Ghost”); Lyndsay Lev, Eyan Mitchell, Neil Coomer, and Greta Gertler (background vocals on “Don’t Give Up”).
The album was mixed by Andy Marcinkowski, and mastered by Duncan Stanbury at Groove Mastering.