Posts Tagged ‘Neil Young’

Written by Carson James

Tied to the Stone belongs to the Neil Young school of Americana, built on a foundation of country and folk but given a classic-rock kick. Based in California, Tied to the Stone more closely resembles the roots-oriented acts of the late ’60s and early ’70s (I could imagine them opening up for the Band or Poco) than much of what passes for Americana today. Lead singer Dan Worley discusses the meanings and origins of the group.

Carson James: The name of the band: Tied to the Stone. It can have two meanings, one positive, one negative. The positive being that the stone is a solid foundation, such as spiritual faith that you’re devoted to; the negative being that it’s something that is holding you in place, preventing you from moving forward. Which side of the coin is it on?

Dan Worley: I named the band after the song. I wrote “Tied To The Stone” on one of the worst days of my life. I wanted to give up on everything. I didn’t know what else to do so I sat down at the piano to try and sort it all out; that’s when the song came out. I could feel God giving me that song as a blessing to help remind me what was important and to hang onto Jesus and not let go. He’s the Stone I’m tied to. I decided to name the band Tied To The Stone to keep reminding me. I need a lot of reminders or I take over and screw everything up.

James: Your songs strike me as being quite personal. Were any of them uncomfortable to write?

Worley: Extremely so. For the most part, I enjoy writing songs, but for me it’s always a journey into uncomfortable territory because I end up having to wrestle with feelings and issues and aspects about myself and the world that I’d rather ignore. I’d love to just write about how hot and sexy and wonderful I am (like so many songs I’m hearing on the airwaves), but for some reason that never seems to come out. I wonder why? Even the happier more positive-sounding songs can be uncomfortable to write because it takes me a lot of internal processing to get to that point. I cop out once in a while, for sure. Out of fear, I may not go the entire distance to explore what it is the song is trying to reveal to me, or I just don’t have the talent or patience to get there artistically, so I end up taking short cuts and missing some of the scenery. Many of the songs for the album were specifically uncomfortable to write because they deal with pain I’ve carried with me since my youth, self-inflicted and otherwise.

James: Do you consciously write songs with the goal of longevity or are you not even conscious of that during the process of penning them?

Worley: Longevity, no. Integrity (hopefully), yes. When writing, I never think about if a song’s sounding like a hit or if it’s current or if it will have staying power, or anything like that. I want to write what’s truthful and meaningful to me at the time I write it, and it has to have the right feel and sound and fit. Songs are not commodities to me; they are a form of therapy and a way of communicating with myself and others.
I do want people to listen, and I do want them to get something out of them and like them, and I try to do the best I can so that will happen, but I can’t write specifically for a market or for posterity’s sake.

James: Is Tied to the Stone a real group or is it just you and session musicians? How did everyone get together?

Worley: We’re all friends who have played music together in one way or another throughout the years.

James: When did you start your musical career? Let us hear your story.

Worley: I’ve been writing songs for 40 years, since I was 12. In and out of bands and work for a lot of that time. Gave it up and tried “regular” jobs so I could raise a family. Bored me to tears (the jobs, not my
family). I always kept writing. Went to work for my producer Carolyn Wing Greenlee at her studio. She took a liking to my songs and encouraged me to do something with them, and she supported that effort.



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Reviewed by Kit Burns

Steve Pichan/Am I Here Already?

I had become so fond of singer/songwriter Steve Pichan’s Am I Here Already? that actually writing about it proved to be somewhat difficult; after all, what new words could I use to praise a CD that is now so familiar to my ears? The last decade has seen artists that nobody has ever heard of, many of them musicians who once dreamed of a rock & roll life, releasing their material to the global online community. Of that constantly growing population, Pichan is among the best. Am I Here Already? is the kind of consistently superb record that can create positive competition between regional artists. In other words, it raises the bar in terms of songwriting, instrumentation, and singing. Pichan knocks this baby out of the park like Barry Bonds pounding a 100 mile-an-hour fastball.

Pichan grabs us quickly. The opening cut, “The Line (Voter’s Lament),” greets us with the same winter melancholy vibe that envelopes the pictures on the CD’s packaging. Set to twangy guitars and a shuffling beat, Pichan addresses the State of the Union, namely the confusion and lack of confidence felt by voters during the presidential election due to previous broken promises by politicians. “Tell me no lie/Tell me the truth/Tell me the things I can expect out of you,” Pichan sings, his voice carrying the weight of disillusionment. The powerful “Iron Man” is charged with images of 9/11: “Watch with unbelieving eyes/The scene as it unfolds/Bricks and steel fall from the sky.” The “Iron Man” of the title seems to represent everyday heroism, the courage that bursts from us during times of great tragedy.

Pichan’s haunting, pensive vocals are definitely in the mold of Neil Young, especially on the desolate “Mile” and “8th Day.” There isn’t a single tune here that I would throw off the island; it’s as close to perfection as it gets.


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