Long Arms to Hold You
Long Arms started as a studio project for James Menefee, with the intention of recording songs that he had been writing and that wouldn't mesh well with his louder rock outfit, the hard-hitting pop/punk/rock band River City High. As River City High slowly went on hiatus, Menefee had more and more time to devote to his new material in the studio. Recording over the span of two years under the guidance of his friend Pedro Aida, Menefee would go into Aida's Detached Sound Studio every week for a few hours adding more parts to the songs. 'I didn't think Long Arms would ever be a band,' he says. 'It was just supposed to be me and my long arms playing acoustic guitar, thus the name, but then I started adding more instruments to the tracks. I surprised myself in the studio when I discovered I liked what we were putting down, and I thought it would be a fun adventure to try to take a couple of the songs to fruition.' As recording continued, Menefee reached a point where neither he nor Aida could play some of the things he was hearing in his head, like banjo. The idea of inviting other people into the project was approached. 'The record kept building and building,' he elaborates, 'and by the time Pedro and I had five or six different people playing on the tracks, we realized the songs had come a long way from just me in my room playing my old Martin acoustic. They had taken on a life of their own. I knew then that I would want to release the record, and to even start playing some shows as a band, two things I had, up to that point, not even considered.' One of the collaborators on the record is mixing engineer Paul David Hager (Goo Goo Dolls, Jonas Brothers) who offered to mix two of the tracks once the record was done. 'When I heard Paul's mixes, I literally jumped out of my chair. I couldn't believe the songs that I had written quietly on a four-track could be taken to that level. The whole Long Arms experience thus far has been like that. It was all about having no expectations, having fun with experimenting where to take the music, and then getting surprised at every turn of the road when things worked out.'