It’s here! Well, in digital terms at least. As of today, “It’s Time” can be purchased and downloaded in its entirety from iTunes and Amazon, with other online retailers soon to follow. If you’re willing to wait a little bit longer so that you can purchase the actual physical CD, those should be available for purchase (through CD Baby) by the end of the month. I will send out another blog post at that point.
But back to the exciting news — “It’s Time” has been released! And before I go into a few details about the album, I’ll pause for a few minutes to give you time to go buy and download a copy.
Okay. Now that that’s out of the way, I want to share a few facts about this album that I find kind of interesting.
- “It’s Time” includes over 45 minutes of original music — my first such album in seven years (wow)
- There are 11 tracks in total, including two instrumentals
- It’s my most secular album ever (I intentionally saved the religious pieces for another album that I want to start on soon), with the exception of “Prayer of St. Francis“
- This album was truly an international project: pieces of it were recorded in three countries (United States, Germany and Poland) and in eight separate cities
- Never before have I had a piano-less track on an album and “It’s Time” includes three of them: “Eternity,” “Prayer of St. Francis” and “Lorraine’s Song”
- Six of the 11 tracks (“Place of Mine,” “Wherever You Go,” Eternity,” “Doolin,” “Prayer of St. Francis,” “Lorraine’s Song”) were written in 2012 and five of those were written from Germany (I wrote “Lorraine’s Song” during a visit back to the States in April)
- The oldest song on the album, “This Could Be,” dates back to the summer of 2006 (“If We Walk” was also written in 2006)
- Just as “Carry On” had several references to the title throughout the album, “It’s Time” also includes several songs that talk about time. Of course, there’s the song the album is named for. Here are some others:
Now’s the time to open our hearts and to see our lives are drawn by the places we seek. (“Place of Mine”)
No more hesitation. We’ll have the time of our lives. Every indication says it’s time. (“Wherever You Go”)
Everything I have in life always happens on my time. That’s changing. (“Eternity”)
Time goes on. Never slow. Seasons come. Seasons go. (“Eternity”)
It’s an Irish home in an Irish land and I’ll pass the time with cards in hand hearing stories of this town I’ve come to see. (“Doolin”)
I also want to give a quick public ‘thank you’ to Larry Pajakowski and Mike Przygoda. Larry has been the sound guy behind most of my albums. He was the one who knew ‘how to record stuff’ back in 1998 when I wanted to record a piano CD called “Pure Inspirations.” He is a true friend, full of knowledge, patience and enthusiasm. Because I lived in Germany, we spent most of the album sharing files back and forth on Dropbox and trading early-morning and late-night emails. It was a blast. And Mike, a friend of mine from high school and a force behind my recordings and live shows for several years, served as an assistant producer for “It’s Time.” He gave Larry and I a fresh set of ears to help us critically listen to the tracks and offered sound advice whenever we were stuck as to which direction to take. On top of that, he single-handedly played and recorded a vast number of the instruments you hear on the album. He’s a true friend and a great musician. (Side note: If anyone ever needs recording help of their own, he just started his own company with a friend called “Speed-Fi.”)
So there you have it. A little bit of information about an album that I can proudly say is my best ever. I am so excited for people to hear it and even more so to hear which songs they relate to. This was a very real album for me. Every single song was born out of some experience — good or bad — and I know that others are going to identify with them for one reason or another.
Another thing that made this project so fascinating was the way technology has opened doors that were closed back in 2006 when I recorded “Carry On.” I alluded above to using Dropbox with Larry when doing the mixing. Thanks to “the cloud” I could go into a song, make some edits and Larry could instantly see my changes and hear them on his end — even though he was in Illinois and I was across the ocean in Germany. Think of how much time and effort that saved.
Another example is when I saw a viral video on YouTube of a guy, Ryan, playing drums on this summer’s mega-hit “Call Me Maybe” (which a friend had forwarded to me as part of a random conversation we were having via email — unfortunately the video is no longer public). I was so impressed with his drumming that I reached out to him on Twitter, asked for his email address and then asked if he’d be willing to record some tracks for my album. Turns out he and a friend own a studio and he was able to take my audio (thanks to the cloud) and lay down drum tracks from Minneapolis and shoot them over to be in Munich. How awesome is that?! YouTube + Twitter + the cloud = access to musicians anywhere in the world.
And then there’s Daria, the cellist on this album, who is the reason I get goosebumps every time I listen to the song “It’s Time” (just wait until you hear it!). I heard her playing one day in Munich’s Marienplatz. She was the leader of a cello quartet. In between one of their songs I asked for her email and whether or not she’d like to be on my album. She said (in broken English) that she’d love to, but she was going back to Poland later that day. Normally that would have been the end of that, but thanks to technology, I was able to email her the tracks and sheet music and she was able to work with her engineering friend to record and send me pristine tracks of her playing the cello.
Maybe this doesn’t fascinate you as much as it does me. But the fact remains that independent musicians like me who record albums on our own now have access to an infinitely greater number of musicians than ever before. Technology is so amazing.
I could go on and on about the album, but think it’s time I shut-up so you can go and listen to it. I’ll leave you with a portion of the liner notes that explain a little bit about each song.
Place of Mine — Our lives are defined by the people and places we seek out and experience first hand. And while none of us can know with certainty the destination, it’s the journey that makes life worth living.
Wherever You Go — The message of ‘wherever you go I will follow’ has been around since biblical times (Book of Ruth 1:16). For me, I never felt this way more strongly than when my wife and I decided to take a leap of faith and spend 2012 in Europe.
It’s Time — We all have demons in life that we need to face at one time or another — things that drag us down or keep us from being who we were truly meant to be. This song is about rising above those challenges and helping others do the same.
Eternity — Waiting is hard, especially when it’s for something completely out of our control. But there are just some things in life worth waiting an eternity for.
This Could Be — A song about realizing the person you’re dating could be the person you’re going to spend the rest of your life with. And in my case, she was.
Eileen’s Song — Dedicated to my wife’s grandmother, Eileen Rickey, whose motherly presence will forever be remembered.
Doolin — I wrote this song after visiting the town of the same name on the western coast of Ireland. As Irish as an Irish town can be.
My Love — The first person to ever hear this song was my wife, Katie, who heard it just minutes before I proposed in April of 2008.
If We Walk — I’ve always said that the American Cancer Society’s “Relay for Life” is the greatest fundraiser idea ever — millions of people raising millions of dollars one step after another. It’s amazing how much hope and change comes from a simple walk.
Prayer of St. Francis — One of my favorite prayers and a reminder that the path to peace, love, forgiveness, faith, hope, light and joy begins within each one of us.
Lorraine’s Song — Dedicated to my grandmother, Lorraine Kitzke, who lived life with unparalleled beauty, grace and enthusiasm.
I hope you enjoy the album as much as I enjoyed making it! I’d love to hear what you think: firstname.lastname@example.org.