Progressive folk-rock without the bad attitude. Mandala features some of the same songs from the 1997 Homegrown Music collection recorded in a full-band format with drums and electric guitar.
What is the music on Mandala? In the past, I’ve been compared to the following artists: Lyle Lovett, Jethro Tull, Jim Croce, Cat Stevens, Gordon Lightfoot (??), Rusted Root, The Grateful Dead, and The Goo Goo Dolls. (Inclusion in this list does not necessarily represent endorsement.)
1. Just A Matter of Time – Rock – This song was the end result of a yearning to be more than a friend to a close friend of many years. Soloists: Intro JD, bridge is a combined guitar part of JD, JN and LD.
2. Promises – Folk/Rock – This song was derived from a conversation I had with my fiancee once. I guess the main message is that rings and things aren’t as good as keeping the promises we make to our loved ones. Soloist: JD
3. Give Me A Break – Rock – One of my newer songs, “Give Me a Break” is a self-evaluation of priorities that seems to have been prompted by the circumstances surrounding song #1 (see above). I saw how my life was falling apart, and how I had been fooled in many ways. Soloist: JD
4. The Shadows On My Wall – Progressive Folk – Written in a very early, dark, period of my life, this song has grown to have multiple meanings. I believe it was written shortly before, or shortly after a breakup which I initiated with a college girlfriend. Things were just going nowhere, and it yet it seemed I would always remember her. “Shadows” has taken on some rather autobiographical meaning since then, as I try to deal with my own darkness, and the fact that relationships don’t always last. Special thanks to Mike Maguire for helping with the original version, and for creating the lead break. He never wanted a songwriting credit, but to this day I’ve tried to re-create his magic. Soloist: JD
5. Someone to Touch – Folk – This is just an analysis of people and motives. Kind of tongue in cheek, but true to some extent (I hope). My fear of flying kind of peeks in, and my distrust of money as well. Soloist: LD
6. Word Traffic – Country Folk Rock – For every 10 songs I write, many are admittedly ambiguous. However, this one hits the nail right on the head. In general it’s about the music industry, told with references to driving and traffic. And, I suppose, there’s some politics in there too. Now, if I could just come up with a verse about HMOs! Soloist: LD
7. Morning Blues – Blues – A true story if there ever was one, this song was written around 5 am at a close friend’s apartment in Philly. We had seen some blues and folk entertainment that night at the Tin Angel, and I realized it was my turn to write a blues song. The song wasn’t finished for a little while, and the girl I was visiting never knew it was about her until it was too late. For years I played it, right in front of her, and she never put two and two together. Soloist: JN
8. I Ran Away – Rock – This is the end result of songs #1, #4 and #7. The song pretty much tells the story. Soloist: JD
9. What Have You Done Today – Folk – Largely influenced by Buddhism and the writings of Joseph Campbell, this song is riddled with metaphors even I don’t remember writing. I think it may have been the result of a writing exercise where I took various unrelated words, and tried to tie them together.
10. Taller – Folk – Every songwriter has one of those “Oh, I’m getting older, and I have to reflect on my life” songs. I am no different. The sample at the beginning is (you guessed it) me at three years of age. I left the naughty nursery rhymes out, but the one went something like this:
Mary had a little lamb
She tied him to the heater
And every time he turned around
He burned his little peter.
The children playing at the end was recorded at the lake at Gifford Pinchot campground, south of Harrisburg. Soloist: LD
11. Why – Progressive Rock – Even to me, this song is strange. It has gone through some changes in the past few years, especially for this recording. The song doesn’t work well live because there are so many parts and different levels. In the studio, I was able to take it places, and maybe took it a little too far. This is from the same place as “Shadows” (see above), and comes from the same kind of self-discovery I talk about in “What Have You Done Today.” Soloist: JD, filler part at end by LD
12. Breathe Deep – Folk/Rock – This song could not have come at a better time. It says neither too much, or too little, but says what needs to be said. It goes out to all the people I’ve written about above, and to all the people who have inspired me in the past. Soloist: JDIt goes out to my father, not just because he likes the song, but because he’s in the song. It’s really freaky to have your father go out of his way to learn and play one of your songs when it means so much to you. It’s even weirder to sing it with him.It goes out to the friends I’ve lost along the way, (for whatever reason) and the tears that were shed in the process.It’s about dying, (physical and otherwise); the fear of dying, and the threat of every day life.If there ever was a phrase that wraps up my existence, or the work I’ve done as a musician it is: “You are more than you can feel or see…”
Jeremy dePrisco – Acoustic & electric guitars, voice, bass,
percussion, mandolin, samples, keyboards
Joseph M. Schrum (formerly of Rogue, and Cadillac Jack) – Drums, Roland electronic drums, congas and marimba
Lou Damon – Occasional backing vocals on tracks 2, 5, 9, and 12
Lead guitar on tracks 5, 6, and 10
Jim Nowak – Lead guitar work on tracks 1 and 7
Matt Homiak – Bass on tracks 5 and 11
This is an extended list of credits. It’s hard to thank everyone by name in the small space a CD provides. When possible, I’ve provided links to the companies and services I would support in the future.
My most immediate gratitude goes to: Mom & Dad, Audra, The Musicians, Ian Anderson & Jethro Tull and Buddha
For technical assistance: George Graham, Ed Debes, Danny Demelfi, Matt Homiak, Jim Nowak.
Friends & relatives, but especially: Mike Maguire, Steve Schrum & Dianna Bourke, Mike Kattner, Bill King (my lighting specialist for many years), Amethyst, Roger Schoch, The Isenbergs, John Hearity, Pete Longo, Jason Palmer, Jaster Deebo, David Booth, Jason Ramsland, Thom Greco, The Rainbow’s End, Karen Wisotzkey, Maria Wilson, Donna Gildner, Liz Hametz, Elizabeth & Dell at D&T, and Tenzin Dhongthog & Joel Gysan from International Campaign for Tibet.
Companies & Organizations:
Roland, Fender, Alesis, Microsoft, Avery, Cakewalk, Folk Alliance, Carvin, Audio Technica, ART, Shure, Wray’s, C&C Music & Ray Carb, Johnny Moratto, Journal Newspapers, Oasis Duplication, Martin Brauen, Sean Simmers, Russ @ Smiling Otis Designs SAMAYA Foundation
Thanks to all the teachers & professors, musical & otherwise, co-workers past & present, and everyone who has encouraged me over the years (including Ed and Kathy’s cats, Linus and Schroeder.)
Mixed and mastered by Ed Debes. Mixing assistant: Andrea Shearer
Written, produced, recorded and engineered by Jeremy dePrisco.
CD Graphic Design by Russ Cox @ Smiling Otis Designs
Kalachakra Mandala image reprinted with permission © 1985 Martin Brauen
Cover portrait by Sean Simmers