When Stonewheat broke up in late 1997, they had enough material for a third album, and had actually begun the recording process. After completing two songs, the band parted ways, the recordings went into the archive, and the remaining unrecorded songs lived on only in memory and on tapes of their live gigs. Keyboardist John Valenzuela and guitarist/vocalist Brian Carney moved back to Sun Valley, Idaho. Bassist Steve Mackel and lead guitarist Jim "Red" Warner remained in Los Angeles, and drummer Dr. Steve Baur moved to Halifax, Nova Scotia, so the chance of ever getting together to record this third album seemed slim at best.
In January 2011, John pitched to the rest of the guys that, with the current state of technology, they could now finish that third album without having to spend weeks or months in the same location. The rest of the band, along with both of their long-time producers/engineers Jim Bailey and Dan Naim, were all on board. After one initial weekend together to record basic tracks, the session files were shuttled around via their ftp site, with each person adding his tracks to the master session file. Once all of the tracking was completed, Jim Bailey applied his final mix magic and voila, "Not The Same" finally saw the light of day by July 2012.
"Not The Same" is a beautiful time stamp of where the band was when they called it a day in 1997. Older songs like "A Way To The Sun" and "Change The System" fit in comfortably with the newer songs like "Mr. Logical" and "Taken The Time". Even the bona fide country song "Lady Luck" doesn't seem out of place with the rest of the material. After all, this is Stonewheat, where just about every style and influence you can imagine is melded together to create their unique sound. If you're familiar with the Stonewheat sound, then you'll instantly recognize it here!
The artwork reflects Stonewheat's love of southern Utah's Glen Canyon and Lake Powell (of which they were declared the Official Band for 1996 by the Lake Powell staff), and several of the songs were written at or inspired by this magical place. It's almost impossible to listen to songs like "Meet Me At Midnight" and not have images of the band playing under the moonlight while surrounded by the redrock canyons conjured up. Nature is, once again, a central theme of the Stonewheat experience, and although this time period is nearly 15 years ago for them, "Not The Same" feels like a fresh, new chapter for this talented group.