From NY to TN
Check out myspace.com/conanandtheshowdogs *************** Conan's Bio-----By: Mark Doyle Possessing a voice that can be honey-sweet in it's mid-register and then soar to a belting tenor, Conan uses it to convey the honest emotion of his heartfelt songs. 'This album contains material compiled through a lifetime of relationships- all of which touched me emotionally yet left me standing alone- the person I am today,' says Conan, with a wisdom belying his 30-odd years. Beginning with the opening cut, 'In Your Eyes,' the songs use the conceptual tool of following a long-distance relationship from it's inception to eventual dissolution. Along the way, we encounter some extraordinary songs, based around Conan's acoustic and rhythm guitar and driven home by his fine band. Interestingly enough, Conan's path to country music was a circuitous one. During grade school, his first instrument was a recorder, but he soon graduated to trumpet. He worshipped at the altar of Chuck Mangione and other noted jazz musicians, developing both a prodigious talent and a somewhat elitist attitude toward any other music but jazz. As fate would have it, he was dragged 'kicking and screaming' to the premiere of 'The Buddy Holly Story' in 1978 and became an overnight, die-hard rock fan. He purchased a bass guitar ('I bought it on time from our paperboy for $120; each week when he came to collect, he also collected my allowance until it was paid for!'), joined his first band and wore out six copies of the live Journey album, Captured. The trumpet was a thing of the past. His first foray into songwriting was called 'Hold You Close,' for which he wrote the lyrics. Conan continued on bass until 1990, when he got a wireless headset and guitar and began fronting his bands, combining the elements of early rock and roll with the new country music that was beginning to influence him. A desire to understand the music business from the inside out prompted him to spend the next 9 years as Production Manager for Polydor and Curb recording artist, Benny Mardones ('Into the Night'), also serving as lead singer for Benny's band, The Hurricanes, during rehearsals. Over the course of this period, Conan began honing the songs that would eventually see the light of day on From NY to TN. The opening cut, 'In Your Eyes,' was co-written with keyboardist Tony Barone. 'Tony came up with some piano stuff,' says Conan. 'It started as a ballad, but since I don't play piano live, I adapted it to guitar and it became more mid-tempo.' 'Without You' is Conan's first attempt at writing in the third person. 'I found that I was able to be more personal as a result of this technique. There are four, fairly short, verses and each verse is about either myself or someone in my life.' Continuing the long-distance relationship saga, 'Right Road' is about how 'when you don't see people all the time, you start questioning what you're thinking and feeling.' 'I'll Be Waiting' was the first song written for the record. 'I hadn't written anything in seven or eight years and, as I was driving back from Tennessee, I wrote the whole thing in the car. I'm left-handed and I was driving with my left hand and writing with my right.' 'Miss You All the While' is a straight, country two-step; 'She's a Runner' is a great cover of a Billy Squier song and the only non-original on the record. The pace picks up again with 'Pass Me By,' followed by 'Beat Again.' In a true tale of the Internet, Conan found Sabrina Scott, his collaborator on 'Where Will the Kids Go,' by doing an AOL profile search. 'Say Goodbye' had it's origins as a power ballad that Conan wrote in Los Angeles in 1989. 'Friend of Mine' is 'probably my favorite song to sing on the record. It's actually a composite of two different people and it's message is about getting along with each other after the relationship is over, especially if there are kids involved.' The record closes with 'The Good Ones,' a final-hour afterthought that was written after the recording was actually done. Conan's acoustic opens the tune, then the band kicks in with some Dylan-esque harmonica and organ. As the plaintive chorus voices the sentiment 'most people find happiness too late, some people throw the good ones away,' we are aware we have been taken on a journey From NY to TN by one of the freshest voices to emerge in today's modern country- Conan and the Showdogs. ---Mark Doyle is a producer, arranger, songwriter, keyboardist and guitarist extraordinaire. Clips from his solo release, Guitar Noir (Free Will), dubbed by Vintage Guitar's John Heidt as 'a killer album from a monster guitarist,' can be heard at markdoyle.com.--- *************** '...A dash of Garth Brooks' storytelling, a sprinkling of James Taylor's laid-back delivery and a pinch of Journey's pop, and you've got the formula for From NY to TN... Conan's warm voice, credible songs and savvy arrangements are of particular note.' Allen Czelusniak Syracuse Newtimes.