Shades of Passion
This album is a lifelong dream for me. I once dreamed of making a career in music, but chose a different path. I am sure I chose the right one, as I have no regrets. Now I realize and appreciate that I am free to express my feelings as a true labor of love. The old conflict between commercialism and art does not exist for me. If my music has a commercial feel, it is only the product of my own experiences and tastes, not the edict of someone else. But don't get me wrong. I don't create for myself alone. I truly hope that my music will be enjoyed by the people who hear it. My mother, Barbara A. Wood, is a famous impressionist painter, and I have seen the joy she has provided countless owners and admirers of her work. Art is to be shared. Several of the songs on this album are collaborations with two other writers, Neil Scanlan and John Kayden. I met Neil when I worked at an advertising agency in Dallas back in the 70's. He is very creative. He is now applying his talent to painting, though he occasionally sends me new lyrics to work on. We have created two musical comedy plays which we hope to bring to life in the future. John and I grew up together in grade school. We reunited as adults back in the 70's to collaborate on many of my first attempts at songwriting. The following are some notes on some of the songs on the album: LOVERS STILL: This song, as many of mine, is inspired by the love of my life, my wife and life partner, Heba. We have shared so much, as we always will. COMPASSION: This song is particularly poignant at this time in history. It is a plea to humanity, futile though it seems, for greater love and understanding toward each other. I SAW GOD WASH THE WORLD: I wrote the melody to a poem my mom used to read to me as a child. She read me much poetry, especially at bedtime. The poem is by William L. Stidger, a preacher and writer, who published a book of his works in 1934. I memorized it when I was young, and it has always stuck with me. KEEP ON GAZING: This was written when Heba and I lived in Dallas, just after we were married in 1975. She has wonderful green eyes . . . LOVELY VISION: I traveled much during my working career as an advertising consultant. I was away from home a great deal and missed a lot of the everyday life of Heba, my daughter, Piper and my son, Zack. I wrote this song while looking out the window of a plane at sunset somewhere over Arizona, on my way home from a business trip in Dallas. AS IF ZACK WROTE IT: This song is about my son, Zack. His mom and I have watched him grow up with Autism from the time he was a baby. He is now a young man. He has enriched the lives of our family as we have seen him face his special challenges. I wrote this song in an attempt to express some of the feelings he must have deep down but cannot bring out in his own words. So ultimately, this song is about the hope we all share with him as he seeks meaning and happiness in his life. NO HEAVEN WITHOUT YOU: This is another love song inspired by Heba. It is Piper's favorite. Some people I would like to acknowledge are: Rick Cuhna, the producer. Rick guided this project from start to finish. He is so multi-talented! He is truly a phenomenon of right brain and left brain abilities. He helped with song structure, arrangements, and played guitar. He also amassed an amazing group of musicians, coached my vocals, engineered like a wizard and provided some of the best espresso I've ever had! I am blessed to have met him and to call him my friend. Doug Livingston did most of the arranging, and played Piano, Steel and Dobro guitar, as well as Accordion. I am in awe of Doug. It is hard to describe the feeling of wonderment when something I have written is brought to life. My mom, Barbara A. Wood, is a very renowned impressionist artist. She has always felt that color is the music of painting. I asked her to create the cover art for Shades of Passion, and she captured it beautifully. Juli Wood Philips, my sister, is a very good graphic artist. She was inspired to create an interpretive video of the song, 'AS IF ZACK WROTE IT'. It is very moving. It is up on YouTube. Dan Chapman masterfully designed the album package and directed the photo shoot. He is such a multi-talented professional--creative, inventive, sensitive, competent and warm. And finally, I thank all the musicians who helped with this project: Dough Livingston (Piano, Steel and Dobro guitars, Synth parts). David Jackson and Simeon Pillich (bass), Bill Severance, Debra Dobkin and James Cruse (drums), Candy Gerard and Sai-Ly Acosta (violin), Briana Bandy (viola), John Acosta (Cello), Gary Herbig (oboe and flute) and Rosemary Butler (background vocals).