Tony and I began the sessions for Hell Train in early 2009 and were
derailed countless times by technical problems, personal loses and
career upsets. When we resumed recording after a 4 month lay-over, we
both emerged in a different place and felt the need more than ever to
finish the album. We completed songs only to later analyze,
deconstruct and rebuild them so there were no wasted moments. Over
time, the lines softly blurred and Tony’s songs became my songs. I
lived vicariously through him, finding myself possessed, again and
again pulled in by the visceral melancholy of the sound of his voice
over those chords.
I couldn’t have done any of this without the contributions from my
musical partners of 30+ years, guitarist Gerard Mancini and bassist,
Jeff Mullaney. From the twang of “Lay Me Down” to the haunting wails
of “Folsom Prison Blues” Gerard Mancini brings an intensity and
volatility to each song as he squeezes, bends, and coaxes sounds from
his guitar. And Jeff Mullaney, as always, is the glue that holds it
all together. Our sessions together were chock full of exploration,
discovery and a lot of coffee.
Each song on Hell Train is a different place. A different stop along
the way on some twisted journey that happens to be Tony Penn’s life.
These places are real. As real as it gets. And I guess that’s what
keeps me coming back.
Glenn John Arnowitz