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Day 5: Love Is Right and Elephants in the Room - Premium Album Experience

 

Today's songs are: 

"Love is Right" and "Elephants in the Room (Drums)"

 

Love is Right

Love is Right : Song Story

The Muse

This one was written on a very long trip from eastern New York state to Wellington, Ohio on my way to an early SKW show at a festival Harry had developed called The Rhythm of Life. I was so excited about the song that I literally got out of the van and taught it to the guys at sound check and we played a raw version of it at the show.

This one is yet another song inspired by my spousal Muse. After Love is Right came through, it took me a while to understand what it was about. In my writing, I don’t always get a clear meaning about the song at first. I think it’s interesting that songs will appear that might not be relevant in the present day or maybe happening in the present day. Sometimes, like in the case of this one, a song will help me remember a beautiful moment I had not thought of in years.

Love is Right is about the spark that one feels when they first get together with someone and how sweet that newness is in the mystery of that person is. It’s the feeling of the torrential downpour and craving of love and affection swirling through your entire being.

Harvest Moon

The intensifying of these feelings between Tracey and I happened during a little festival down in West Virginia called the Harvest Moon where Rusted Root was playing. We had just started dating and I was (and still am) crazy about her. Now, this is going to sound like the beginning of a cheesy modern country song… We were in the back of my pick up truck. It was empty of band gear so we could sleep there for the night.  Donna the Buffalo was playing in the performance tent next to us and while we listened, she told me she loved me. 

The best part was that I knew she loved me for who I was– all the good stuff and all the challenging stuff. At that festival, it rained and rained. Eventually the rain cleared. The title Love is Right feels to me like it’s trying to say in the moment that you’re in, if love is happening, then it is right and good.

A sound like the sun coming out

Musically, I wanted to feel that contrast of sweetness and intense passion. The guys added so many special things to get us there. Through the verses/chorus, Bryan and Harry brought important movement to the groove with congas and percussion and Dan added brightness with his beautiful mandolin that sounds like the sun coming out. Then in the bridge Kevin goes full on with soaring lead guitar against Joe and Kent’s throttling Zeppelin-esque Immigrant Song groove. Kent helped to add several important chord changes through the instrumental bridge and our producer Sean came up with the idea of the high strung strummy guitar which really brightened up the verses even more. 

Originally, the last part of instrumental bridge was in 12/8. Sean convinced me that we should straighten it out to keep the groove rocking. I can see the potential for doing some different versions of that section down the road. 

Love is like a spectrum

I believe that love is like a spectrum. It’s got all of these little nuances of feeling that run the gamut from the ache of longing to untethered riotous passion to calm knowing. Love doesn’t always happen, it’s not present in those forms every single day, but when it is, there is nothing more right.
 

Live in Greensburg, PA, Palace Theater

Love is Right Lead Vocal Tracking session with Jim Donovan

Love is Right Guitar Tracking with Kevin McDonald  and producer Sean McDonald 


Elephant Drums

Elephants in the Room : Song Story

Rusted Root and Extended Drum Jams

Since my early days with my old band Rusted Root, extended drum jams have been a part of my live shows. 
The reality is, people love drums. I love drums. All my guys love them and so we do extended drumming sections in our shows. In fact, if you don’t love drums, then you probably will not like a Sun King Warriors show. 

We relish rhythm so much more than half the band are drummers. We have Joe Marini on kit, Bryan Fazio playing congas and percussion, and Harry Pepper on other various drums and percussion. Every once in a while, I like to join them and so then that makes four of the seven members who are drummers by trade.

I always want to feel like that.

The whole reason I started playing music in the first place was because my grandmother took me to Disney at age seven where I saw my first marching band and my first funk band. When I felt the vibration of these drummers reverberating my little chest, I knew immediately, I always want to feel like that.

On the last record we did, people complained that “March of the Sun King Warriors” was not long enough. I’m not sure when it will happen, but I envision SKW doing an All Drums EP at some point.

If you are a fan of drums, then you can think of Elephants in the Room as a prelude to that.

Drums speak to people on an ancient level. They move and energize us and create a space to have an emotional catharsis if we allow them to. When we drum, the hope is that the listener and or the dancer takes advantage of the space we’re making to do whatever you need to do whether to listen, dance, cry, rage or just relax.
 

Sun King Warrior Live Drumming

Origins of "Elephants in the Room" : Drums from Jim's Rusted Root Era

Rusted Root - Drums Recorded Live: 7/25/1999 - Woodstock 99 West Stage - Rome, NY 

Rusted Root Live Drums circa 1998/99

Rusted Root Drums circa 1995

Drum Trip by Rusted Root from the 1994 When I Woke album