Psyche's Playground is an alternative rock music project based in Flagstaff, AZ. Contributors include local songwriter and musician, Stan Clark and a variety of supporting artists. This first CD, Psyche's Playground, was recorded, mixed, and mastered at Sundisc Recording Studio in Flagstaff, Arizona 2010-2011 and released on August 29, 2011. This project creates imaginative songs encompassing many styles but almost always capturing a sense of the waking dream. Listen closely to each song again and again and you are likely to derive different interpretations each time you listen. As you drift in and out of the imagery and melodies you may notice that these songs seem to combine and present a loosely integrated dreamlike collage. Credits and comments for each track (lyrics are available at the Psyche's Playground website): WELCOME TO THE PLAYGROUND Stan Clark ©2011 Stan Clark (vocals, guitar, bass, keyboards); Mike Keberlein (bass, mandolin, oud, doumbek); Boone Dale (drums); Mike Taylor (drums, percussion); Tara Taylor (vocals); Lienad Kralc (keyboards); Mark Neumann (guitar); Jim DeBusk (guitar); Ray Rossi (slide guitar); Raleigh Lintner (harmonica); Tony Balbinot (lead guitar); Gary Botello (guitar); Russ Weidemann (engoma, riq); Carrie Konhya (zils); Rich Neville (bass); Tony Norris (oration) ~For me, the process of writing songs often begins as a chaotic explosion of images, inner sounds, and emotions that must be attended to, expressed, documented, and shaped into some coherent form. This introductory track represents some of those raw elements that gave birth to the other 10 tracks on the CD. HORIZON Lyrics & music by Mark Neumann & Stan Clark © 2011 Stan Clark (vocals); Mike Keberlein (bass, mandolin); Boone Dale (drums); Mike Taylor (percussion); Mark Neumann (guitar); Ray Rossi (slide guitar); Raleigh Lintner (harmonica) ~This was the first tune I co-wrote with my friend Mark Neumann. It began with the question: 'What's been on your mind alot lately?' Mark responded by sharing a guitar progression he had been noodling around with and a spontaneous comment that was shaped into the first line of the song. From there we paid close attention to the emotion of the song and tossed around phrases and ideas as they came to us in the process. We shared the sense that the character who emerged in the song was moving from a stance of 'running away' to allowing himself to feel drawn toward a new set of possibilities and this offered a theme that helped us organize all the images that had surfaced in the co-creative process. MASSAGES THE HEART Lyrics by Stan Clark, music by Kathy Keays & Stan Clark ©2011 Stan Clark (vocals); Mike Keberlein (bass); Mike Taylor (drums, percussion); Tara Taylor (vocals) Mark Neumann (guitar); Jim DeBusk (guitar) ~I spent a lot of time daydreaming in my early school years. I remember feeling early on that the follow-along-or-be-punished mentality that surrounded me was a major obstacle to being myself and finding happiness. I soon discovered that I could feel free and please my teachers best when there was an opportunity to delve into creative writing projects. At age 11 I started learning to play the guitar and immediately began to write songs. This quickly opened the door to forming alliances with like souls and has offered me a dependable escape from adult-erated consciousness ever since. In this tune I am calling out to others who may be feeling alienated to persevere in the search for whatever supports their psyches most deeply. This song features Tara Taylor in her debut recording performance. Her vocals on this track still gives me chills everytime I listen! KEEPING STILL Lyrics & Music by Stan Clark © 2011 Stan Clark (vocals, rhythm guitar, bass); Mike Keberlein (mandolin); Boone Dale (drums); Mike Taylor (percussion); Tara Taylor (vocals); Lienad Kralc (keyboards); Kathy Keays (percussion) ~This piece was inspired by a few passages in the 'Book of Changes' reinforcing my exploration of contemplative practices as a means of dealing with day-to-day chaos in the world. SACUDA Music by Stan Clark ©2011 Stan Clark (guitars, bass, keyboards); Mike Keberlein (violin); Boone Dale (drums, percussion) ~Following an outdoor performance in Flagstaff, a person in the audience came up and complimented one of my songs and encouraged me to play more danceable music like that one. This comment echoed in my consciousness for a few days then this song suddenly emerged. This is one of only a few instrumentals I have written. Boone Dale, drummer with the Skanksters, one of the most popular Flagstaff bands is featured on drums. Dig that solo! JUST SAY YES Lyrics and music by Stan Clark ©2011 Stan Clark (vocals, guitar, lead guitar); Mike Keberlein (bass); Boone Dale (drums); Mike Taylor (percussion); Tara Taylor (vocals) ~When I lived in Bisbee, Arizona I played with a band (the Arousing) that was experimenting with Americanized versions of a lot of simplified world beat rhythms. This was one one of my first songwriting attempts in this new direction. The lyrics reflect a celebration of the sense of freedom I experienced in that counter-culture community. THERE'S A POWER Lyrics and music by Stan Clark ©2011 Stan Clark (vocals, rhythm guitar, lead guitar); Rich Neville (bass); Boone Dale (drums); Lienad Kralc (keyboards) ~This one woke me up in the wee hours, pouring forth from some deep-down place that understands the subject matter way better than I do. Rich Neville's Texas shuffle bass lines on this tune are one of my favorite highlights of the whole CD! INNER ELVIS Lyrics by Mark Neumann, Tom Carpenter, & Stan Clark; music by Stan Clark ©2011 Stan Clark (vocals, rhythm guitar, bass); Boone Dale (drums); Tony Balbinot (lead guitar) ~My friend Mark and I were discussing a movie that depicted Elvis' first moments of letting loose and finding his voice. Mark said something like, 'I see, so you're telling me I should try to find my Inner Elvis.' We both cracked up and within hours this song began to take shape. We invited our buddy Tom to join us in fleshing it out and had an amazing amount of fun pulling thus one into shape over the next few months. I feel like I know the character in this tune all too well - does he remind you of anyone you know? This tune features Tony Balbinot, lead man for the Cadillac Angels on lead guitar. His solo and surfer guitar riffs always puts a smile on my face. WOMEN CAUSING AN EARTHQUAKE Lyrics and music by Stan Clark ©2011 Stan Clark (vocals, guitar, bass); Mike Keberlein (oud, doumbek); Tara Taylor (vocals); Carrie Konhya (zils); Russell Weidmann (riq) ~In the Summer of 2010 CNN reported a story about an Iranian cleric who proclaimed that earthquakes were caused by women who dress provocatively in public. I love Middle Eastern music and am a big fan of the talented belly dancers who perform in the Flagstaff area. Upon hearing this news story I began to envision a town square filling with belly dancers evoking the scorn of men who feel threatened by powerful women and delighting everybody else with their confidence and grace. The lyrics and music came together really quickly for this tune and were greatly improved by the skilled performances of Mike Keberlein and Russ Weidmann (Rhythm Oasis), and award winning belly dancer and zil player, Carrie Konhya. I've had several women who have heard this song tell me, 'You know, we really can cause earthquakes.' AWAKEN ME Lyrics by Stan Clark; music by Gary Botello & Stan Clark, © 2011 Stan Clark (vocals, guitar); Mike Keberlein (bass); Boone Dale (drums); Tara Taylor (vocals); Gary Botello (guitar); Lienad Kralc (keyboards); Russell Weidmann (engoma) ~One night my friend Gary showed me the guitar arrangement that became the musical core of this tune. I felt really moved by the music as well as the conversation we had been having about the state of the world at the turn of the century. The melody, lyrics, and chorus flowed rapidly out of who-knows-where and was virtually complete within a couple of hours. Gary then quickly composed the bass part and this tune was launched. In this updated version I tried to capture the dreamy sense of half-wakefulness that is so pervasive in mainstream culture as well as the yearning of the human spirit to break away from mindless routines and co-create conditions to support spontaneous and authentic lifestyles. This track features keyboards by Leinad Kralc (aka Dan Clark). HOMEWARD Lyrics and music by Stan Clark © 2011 Stan Clark (vocals, rhythm guitar, bass, lead guitar); Mike Keberlein (mandolin); Boone Dale (drums) Jim DeBusk (guitar); Leinad Kralc (keyboards) ~This is another song that awakened me from a deep sleep in the middle of the night, coming to me in almost fully completed form. It includes images and ideas that have recurred many times during dreams, meditative practices, periods of imagination, and other so-called altered states of consciousness since I was a youngster. Special thanks to Chris Donnelly at Sundisc for his skills as an engineer, his compassion as a human being, and his perceptive guidance in the studio and to Kathy Keays, Danny Clark, Tony Norris, Isaac & Shanti Guerrero, Avery Montoya, Dakota Keays-Clark, Mark Neumann, Tom Carpenter, Cathy Gazda, and Steve Foss for all their support. This CD is dedicated to Jubal Clark for inspiring me and helping me to begin to learn the basics of playing guitar and writing poetry and songs at an early age. Our greatest hope for humanity is that we will persevere in our efforts to work together in spite of our differences to access and apply our collective creativity. I hope you enjoy this CD - may it inspire you to attend to your own creative urges and willingness to 'play well with others.' ~Stan Clark.