PEACE HEART by freesouljah
2009 Unichorus Records
The Peace Heart album has been years in the waiting. The last song I actually recorded, with the intention of releasing, was 'Don't Trip (Unless You Know How to Land)', and that was in May of 2008. So when things began unfolding on this album, it was a flurry of creativity, all in the span of a handful of recording sessions. I put a lot of time and effort into PEACE HEART; playing all the instruments, writing all the lyrics, doing every thing on my own while recording, mixing, and mastering the album. It truly is a work of art that I was able to find in this beautiful universe, and I am glad I can share it with you.
The first song from the album that I actually recorded was 'Drinking From Rivers of Holy Water'. So, it is fitting that it closes out the album, the entire vibe of the track makes me smile inside. It was recorded using live looping, one layer on top of the other, over and over again. It allows for a really full sound, using only my voice and a few hand percussion instruments. This track was selected from an entire session of live looped/delayed recordings from that day. It is the only track I chose to include on the album because it shines so brightly, that the other tracks might just crowd it out and take away from it's magic.
The next track that I recorded was 'Living Beings Evolve.' It originally began as an improv jam that I wanted to get down on tape, but after I laid the guitar down, I played around with some vocal ideas and was pleasantly surprised by the outcome. It is simple, yet it has a lot of character. In that same recording session, on September 29, 2009, I recorded another track which would become 'With Vigilance'. This tune immediatly struck me as catchy, and I found myself listening to it over and over that evening. It has a real funky vibe to it and an urgent message as well, so I really dig it.
My next week of recording sessions for the album, starting on October 4th, was productive and inspiring. I wrote and recorded the vast majority of 'Truth, Wisdom and Justice', 'Peace Comes (One Day at a Time)', and 'The Light Shines On' in a span of a couple of days. The first of the three was 'Truth, Wisdom and Justice' which is a laid back track that has a deep message about what is actually important in this life. On the 6th of October I sat down in front of a painting of Gandhi's hands praying, that a friend (www.peacepainting.de) painted for me, and I pulled 'Peace Comes' out of the universe. It is not something I would have ever expected myself to play or write, but it just came out. And I could not deny it's lovable qualities, so I allowed it in and just went with it. That same evening, I wrote and recorded 'The Light Shines On'. It might be the most mellow track on the album, and fits me very well. I have been known to parttake in drum circles at the N.O.I.S.E events here in Las Vegas, because I really enjoy the sound of hand drums. And its the drums that defined the mood of the song, they brought out my mellow voice to sing about lighting up the darkness in this world.
The next recording session came during a trip to the Hualapai reservation in the Grand Canyon on October 22nd. We camped out near Peach Springs, Arizona. It was a purifying experience, and you can hear it in the songs that were recorded that evening. The recording session was fruitful and was heavily inspired by the ground I sat on while writing/playing. That night I recorded 'Out of War, and INTO Peace', 'Think About Living', 'With Each Other', and 'On Music Mountain'. I chose these songs to help close out the album. 'With Each Other' and 'On Music Mountain' are very heavily influenced by traditional Native American chants and drumming. These two songs, as well as 'Drinking From Rivers of Holy Water', are spiritual chants. They come from a part of myself beyond words, or at least English words. Those two songs came out of me while the rest of my family slept within our tent.
The other two tracks from the Peach Springs sessions have some rather distinct sounds to them. 'Out of War, and INTO Peace' has the sound of walking through a battlefield just after the end of a war. Although there are wars being fought all the time, they wouldn't exist if there were not soldiers willing to be casualties in these battles. If we want to change things, We have to create peace in order for war to come to an end. 'Think About Living' is an updated version of a few different songs from my rainBOWstory days, while I was playing with my brother Simon Lennon. It has a hip hop vibe to it, and that stems from the beatboxing and rythym of the words. My son heard it and said, "Dad, you're a rapper!" Sometimes people get caught up in crazy drama and forget about what is really important in life, and that is what this song confronts. It is good to remember what is important and keep your actions connected and moving in unison with it.
After returning from the Grand Canyon, I was inspired to record a new version of an old song that I had never really done anything with, 'Come On, Ride On'. It was years ago that I came up with the melody/lyrics for this tune, and it has stuck with me, although I never formally recorded it. This version of the song is pretty rockin', especially compared to what was once called 'a gospel song' by a listener years ago. It works as a great transition from the acoustic tracks on the album to the more distorted and sonically textured songs. The lyrics are about coming out of hermitage and sharing what you have learned with the rest of society. It's about finding yourself, and then living among the masses, helping others to find themselves on the path of self knowledge.
'About the Way We Live' was the next tune to be written and recorded. I began working on that song years and years ago, while I was working as a dishwasher at a pub. I never recorded it, other than to get the melody saved, which wound up getting lost anyway (along with the original lyrics). But the melody has stayed with me over the years, along with lyrics from one and half verses and the chorus. So on November 13th I sat down and wrote out the new lyrics and began practicing them and piecing them together with an acoustic guitar. The version of the song from the album was recorded on November 15th. It is a straight forward folk protest song, the message of the song is what I needed to stand out, so I kept it simple yet as profound as I could manage at the time.
The final group of songs were recorded on old Paiute land, near Mt. Charleston, NV on November 21st. 'On Our Love', 'And We Start Asking Questions' and 'With Friends on the Mountain' were recorded during a day trip to the Joshua Tree forest. I played my music to the trees as they danced in super slow motion around me. Those trees are amazing, and if you don't believe it, do some research on them and find out for yourself. I recorded the three songs, along with a few others which didn't make the album, as the sun began to set in the western mountains. 'And We Start Asking Questions' was the first of the three, and it is about the beginning of a journey through curiosity. It includes an ultra free form vocal interlude, which although strange at first, tends to grow on people. 'On Our Love' is an ode to my beautiful mamacita, and as with all love songs, it can easily be used universally. Sharing my love with her love has had a profound effect on the both of us. And although one song can't describe how much I feel for her, its a nice addition to the ways I show her. 'With Friends on the Mountain' is a snippet of a song about my son as he says hello to me after hiking up the mountain. His love too has transformed my life and has opened up my eyes even further. This track is the perfect transition from the acoustic songs to the more textured tracks to follow.
That about sums up, in limited detail, the loving process of recording this album for your ears to hear. I hope that you truly enjoy it, and if you do, please share it with a friend - I won't mind...I am counting on it!
keep the peace....