I discovered at an early age that songwriting was not my gift, right about the same time I conceded I wasn't going to play shortstop for the Yankees or run back punts for the Giants. I know and admire the pro’s who are good at what they do and over the years I have crafted a way to find and share their songs with my friends and call it a job. Some time last millennium I sequestered in Martha’s Vineyard to work on my first album, a collection of songs written by writers from my home state of New Jersey who’s work I admired. That summer Brother Tony and I drove to Nashville where Dan Petraitis had set up a recording session with top engineer ’Snake’ Reynolds at the famed Scruggs Studios. There was a group of Davidson County's A-list musicians who's session was running late and Dan suggested we all ‘jump in a pile’ and a few hours later Pray That We Will was recorded and I realized I was on to something very special. Back in Jersey I recorded 4 tracks, with Bob Butterfield at Leedsville Studio in Lincroft NJ and continued tracking at City Lights Studio with engineer Guy Daniels. I wanted a live version of a Springsteen song. The clubs of New Jersey can be a discourteous recording environment, so Guy invited an audience of friends to attend a live recording session/party for what would ultimately become my first record Live at the City Lights Saloon. Oddly enough, Born to Run had to be removed from that album before its release because of a delay in obtaining the proper mechanical rights (It’s no wonder I do one record a millennium) At Toad Hill Studio, Burt Conrad and I tracked The Dutchman, Never Even Tried and, in a memorable all-night, session with Indian percussion maestro Ganesh Kumar and Gerry Carboy, finished Gravedigger. Phil Ludwig and I continued to track, mix and expunge at Seclusion Hill, until one glorious September morning in Red Bank NJ, after ‘Man’cakes and a scavenger hunt for pure maple syrup, Keb’ Mo’ and I recorded This Guitar is for Sale , and it was done. I finished mixing the record in Nashville at Legends Studio, right across the street from Scruggs Sound where Dan, Tony and I started it some 15 years earlier.
The recording process changed over those years as drastically and abruptly as did my life. I became a grandfather. Leedsville studio moved to New Orleans where it was destroyed by Hurricane Katrina, along with the 4 tracks we recorded. God had other plans for Brother Tony, Dan, ‘Bird’, Delores and way too many friends, including Photographer Tim Campbell who took pictures at the first session but had to continually postponed the album photo shoot because of the cancer that would ultimately take his life . Tim’s Photography is featured on the Album cover and throughout this booklet) But his project was more enchanted than cursed and always in bigger hands than mine . There was magic in every session - I hear the laughter, taste the tears and feel the soul on every track . Although she never made it to the studio to sing her part, I hear Delores right where she belonged. From the Yankee Barn in Chilmark to Legends Studio in Nashville . 15 years, dozens of Brown’s Burgers, a couple of failed relationships, a beautiful granddaughter and one Big Fuckin Hurricane later I am very proud of what my friends and I have created, which, judging from the number of New Jersey songwriters I was unable to include here , can only be Volume I of NEW JERSEY MATERIAL