Co-Produced by David Hall and Jeffery D. Todd
Additional melodies and arrangements by David Hall
Recorded and Mixed by David Hall at Blackbird Studio, Nashville TN
Assisted by Leland Elliott and Brad Bass
Mastered by Stephen Marcussen
Jeffery D. Todd: Lead Vocals, Acoustic Guitar, Electric Guitar, Ukulele, Piano
George Cocchini: Electric Guitar, EBow
Billy Panda: Acoustic Guitar
Matt Pierson: Bass Guitar
Miles McPherson: Drums, Percussion
Jeff Roach: Keyboards
Randall Thomas: Background Vocals
Sometimes you just have to take a chance.
He stood there nervously, his self-recorded demo in hand, talking to Scott Phillips and David Hall in the awe-inspiring corridors of Blackbird Studio. But the story of Meadows Fortune began many years before this sunny summer day in Nashville, Tennessee.
Twenty-three years earlier, Jeffery Todd first sat behind the black and white keys of a piano, its enormous frame overpowering his small stature. Little did he know that music would take on such an important role in his adult life. As he learned chords, scales, theory, the building blocks of melodic sound, he never thought that one day he would revisit these ideas in a room where icons of the music industry had stood before him. While his lessons at The Children’s Music Workshop in Bloomington, Indiana sometimes interfered with the desires of childhood, his mother encouraged him to persevere, saying that “one day he would be glad he did.” She was right.
As his training continued, he broadened his perspective by enrolling in the Young Pianist Program at the renowned Indiana University Jacobs School of Music. Under the tutelage of incredible musicians such as Christina Poon and Fred Hammond, Jeff gained a deeper understanding for the classical song. During the years he spent in the program, he gained a musical foundation that would undoubtedly prove to be essential. However, his appreciation for the emotional impact of music had not been truly explored until he met his seventh grade teacher, Travis Vanest. An artist, musician, and role-model, Travis gave his students a glimpse into the world of the singer-songwriter. Creating stories of all kinds, his songs allowed the listener to take part in his struggles, triumphs, sadness, and satisfaction. Through Travis, Jeff understood that music was much more than just notes on a page.
As Jeff grew into a young adult, he momentarily stepped away from music. Pursuing other interests of art and sports, his attention shifted during the time of high school and early college. However, like so many before him, the trials of the world began to emerge as the glory days of youth faded. During these hardships, he remembered the concept that he had realized from Travis and turned to the emotional comfort of song. More specifically, the work of Mark Tremonti, the guitarist and primary songwriter for Creed and Alter Bridge. Jeff was drawn to the melody and power of Tremonti’s guitar and was inspired to learn to play the instrument himself. While freshmen at Indiana University, Jeff and his friend Aeron enrolled in a beginning guitar class, and a dream was born. As their instructor, Jorge Rios, showed them the fundamentals, Jeff spent hours locked away in his room teaching himself “Be Like That” by 3 Doors Down and “One Last Breath” by Creed. Many nights you could hear the twang of poorly fretted strings echoing through his apartment, annoying his roommates as he refused to quit until he had it right. When he finally found the opportunity to see Tremonti play live, it was a moment that would completely change his life. The intro to “One Last Breath” rang throughout the auditorium, tears filled his eyes, and he knew that regardless of whether it was as a hobby or a career, he had to become a musician.
Rusty theory and minimal guitar skills in hand, the natural next step was to begin writing songs. Filling the page with lyrics, Jeff discovered an outlet unlike no other he had ever experienced. Even as an artist, nothing could compare to letting his emotions out through the words of a song. On the heels of heartbreak, his first composition “Again” was born. Over the years he amassed a repertoire of original material. Although he felt that the songs were strong, he had yet to gain confidence in his voice, and was too timid to record or even play them for anyone. He spent many years trapped under the weight of insecurity, until he finally made a decision. He would take vocal lessons for one year, find a studio, and record his album. While searching for a new guitar on the internet, a random discovery would lead him to someone who would give him the tools to reach his goal.
Scouring web forums for a limited edition PRS Tremonti Tribal model guitar, Jeff ran across a listing for voice lessons from a young doctoral student at the Jacobs School of Music. Its funny how everything in life comes full circle. Not knowing what to expect, he took a chance and replied to the ad. A couple of weeks later, he walked through the same doors he had twenty years before and was introduced to an amazingly kind and talented soprano, Katie Polit. Throughout the next twelve months she would help him find his voice, find confidence, and become a great friend. With more confidence came new songs and a stronger drive to succeed. His goal was in hand, now he needed to find the right studio.
Through meticulous research Jeff learned that in the music industry, the wrong studio could make even a great artist sound bad. He knew that he had to make a huge decision and needed to find people that he could trust. After speaking with several recording facilities in his hometown, as well as New York and Orlando, he still was not sold on any particular location. Once again, the influence of Tremonti reared its head. The band Alter Bridge had recorded their second album Blackbird at, ironically, Blackbird Studio. The record had been a great success with the band’s fan base and the studio was highly praised. Because of this, Jeff decided to look into what it would take to bring his dream to Nashville. However, upon visiting the studio’s website, he was overwhelmed and intimidated by the list of clients that stretched across the screen. Martina McBride, Taylor Swift, Evanscence, The Red Hot Chili Peppers, The White Stripes, Bruce Springsteen, The Fray, Keith Urban, Paramore, Dolly Parton, Bon Jovi, and that was just on the first page. “I don’t fit in here,” Jeff thought to himself. “They’ll laugh me all the way back to Bloomington.” This wasn’t a place for some unknown kid, with no experience, to record his first album... or was it?
Sometimes you just have to take a chance.