The Links – Take It Away


“Take It Away” came out of an impromptu recording session held earlier in 2019.  Our drummer at the time was testing a certain mic setup, which led to the main drum patterns heard during the verses & choruses of the song. I played an acoustic guitar progression over that & sung a verse melody I had in my head at the time. We put a bassline on the verse somewhere along the line, then I felt compelled to play the chorus progression and sing the relatively “call & response” vocal lines that go over that.

After taking a few days from the song, we came back to re-assess the overall arrangement of the thing & put in the bridge. Troy (our guitarist/bassist) came in about halfway through the songwriting process for this one to put his own leads & guitar lines over the song which really brought it together with an additional post-punky layer which I further emphasized with some dreamy echo guitar stuff at various points in the song. We’d had a stray synth line come in after the first chorus which ended up being a bit of a lead-in to this brief guitar “solo” thing that occurs before verse 2. 

When the song was essentially done, we were kind of jokingly referring ot it as a “sequel” to our other song Imperial, since they both had that kind of driving beat with a more simplistic (seemingly, at least) songwriting approach then some of our other tracks. In a way, it’s not total inaccurate. It’s a sort of follow-up to that kind of song with more of a bent to 80s music and that kind of VHS-dipped aesthetic – big drums, ringing echo-y guitars & all. 

– J. Marola, singer/guitarist of The Links

Bill Abernathy – You Can’t Go Back


I’ve been setting around thinking about the good old days
All the good times we had, the games that we played
We didn’t know what we had then
And our ignorance makes me laugh
I’m so glad that we can never go back

Listen to You Can’t Go Back

On a beautiful day in Midwest suburbia I had decided to wash my car in the driveway. As I was working on the car, listening to music from a boom box, (yes, I am that old) a car pulled into the driveway. A long white car with a black vinyl roof. Looking through the windshield I see an old friend named Randy that I had not seen for a long long-time. He was of course giving me the international “your number 1” hand sign with both hands. I started laughing and so it began.

You see we had a long history. We had met in high school and had many music classes and activities we were both involved in. Randy played guitar and it was natural for us to play a few tunes together at school events.  Our music was pretty popular with our classmates and soon evolved to playing and doing concerts across the Midwest. We had written a few tunes together, but before we could really do anything with them, life brought changes for each of us and we went our separate ways. Over time we completely lost touch.

After a few pleasantries in the driveway, we ended up drinking a beer and catching up about our lives, our music, and how we missed the “good old days”. Setting around the kitchen table, the guitars came out, paper and pen soon followed, as did a steady flow of cold boys and old stories. 

We started out talking about some of the shows we played. As with any musician, some shows, are more memorable than others, but there was one we both remembered in great detail. This one in particular had many young ladies in attendance that were being a bit silly and really got into our music. They were waving their hands, winking at us, and making it clear that they were interested in post-concert events. It turned out to be a really fun evening. 

Interestingly enough, one of these young ladies stayed in contact for a while, so got to know her a bit more than just the proverbial one-night stand. Nothing permanent came of it, but some good times were had, and some good memories were made. Many years later I connected with the same lady at an invitation only event. We were in similar relationship situations and it seemed like an interesting idea to have a drink or two. In a short conversation I learned her life had not played out as well as she had hoped. There were many stories about how life had brought some deep drama to her. It also became clear she had made some plans for her and me to rekindle what once was. The way she looked, the way she was dressed, made it clear she was trying hard, too hard, to make a good impression. We had a short conversation and within 10 min I learned that trying to go back into the past and relive those memories was a really bad idea.

We used to play those songs make all the young girls cry
But none of those silly girls ever understood why
Later in life you meet and their dressed to impress
As a hot mess in a tight red sequined dress

After that short meeting, it became abundantly obvious to me that our good memories are just that. Good memories. Trying to relive those memories, or rekindle past relationships is just not a good idea. My good memories of those times are now forever tainted in my mind, based on this ill-advised attempt to relive and regain what once was.

Sometimes we think we might go back just a year or two
Try the be the way we were, do things like we used to do
Time and tide wait for no man, that’s a simple fact
Ya gotta face the music, you can’t go back

I learned a great lesson that weekend drinking beer and playing music with Randy. What we once could do, we still could do, but just because you can, does not mean you should. The recovery time was very long and painful. LOL That said, telling all the stories, writing some new music, laughing, and reminiscing is great fun for sure. Be comfortable with your past, learn from it, but always remember, You Can’t Go Back.

I still play these songs and write a tune or two
That’s a part of me I’d like to hold on to
The memories are nice for a little flashback
But they live in the past, you can never go back”You can’t go back, you can’t go back
You can’t relive your past, you can never go back
You can’t go back; your memories are all you have
You can’t turn back the clock you can never go back

Can’t Go Back – Bill Abernathy on Spotify

John Vento – Baby Blues


Listen to John Vento’s “Baby Blues” 

Baby Blues was the very first song that we worked on for “Love, Lust & Other Wreckage,” and it ended up being a sort of theme song for the album.

It all began after my cancer surgery and the struggles that followed, when my dear friend and co-writer Bert Lauble came to visit me, and we had a real heart-to-heart discussion. We talked about regrets, and about taking responsibility for damaging or ending relationships that had potential to be fulfilling. We decided to write songs that approached relationships from that perspective.

When Bert presented the first draft of our first song, Baby Blues, it was really a completely different melody, which he had written over the music from another song that we had started months earlier. It was just frankly kind of boring, but the lyrics and the bones were there.

Then when producer David Granati suggested we bring singer/songwriter Cherylann Hawk into the project, she added life to the chorus, so we decided to revisit the main melody of the verses. We re-wrote a lot of the lyrics, and even much of the melody several times until we stuck with what you hear now. You can hear some of the previous lyrics and melodies in the second verse if you listen to what Cherylann sings. She was singing a harmony to what I had sung. When we changed my part, we kept hers as a counter melody. We tried to do so for the other verses as well, but decided it worked best only on the 2nd verse.

Well, I’m so glad we were persistent in creating and completing Baby Blues, because I think it’s the song that captures the whole message of “Love, Lust & Other Wreckage” the most. Because of this, it will be featured prominently in the stage play, which is a collaborative multi-media experience written by playwright Amy Hartman, which tells the story of one man’s struggle to understand the fractured mess his life has become. He recalls his crooked journey of heartbreak, his own cruelty, and his insatiable lust for the stage. After losing all, he must climb out from under the wreckage he’s created, which sends him through a dark journey of chaos and despair, eventually leading him to love, discovery and forgiveness… and it’s mostly all true.

The video for Baby Blues that will be featured during the stage play was directed by Nicole W. Ross, who stars in the video, and is also the model on the front cover and throughout the artwork of the CD. Nicole will also appear in multiple film vignettes throughout the stage play.

It’s amazing to think of all the wonderfully talented artists involved in creating songs, videos, and even a stage play based on part of my life story, and it all began with Baby Blues.

#CherylannHawk #DavidGranati #AmyHartman #NicoleWRoss #BertLauble

Liz Parker – For Facundo Cabral

On the afternoon of Tuesday, July 4, 2011, a group of us were gathered to celebrate and play music in a friend’s backyard here in Marfa, Texas. One of my friends played a song called No Soy De Aqui, by Facundo Cabral, and it moved me so much I asked her to play it again. When I got home I looked up his song and music on the internet and found he was a beloved folk singer from Argentina and an icon in all of Latin America, much like Bob Dylan. He was named a United Nations Messenger of Peace in 1996, the same award given to Mother Theresa and the Dalai Lama. 

I was immediately inspired and I began hearing the music to a song and picked out the melody and chords within two days, but the words would not form within me. That following Thursday Facundo Cabral was mistakenly and brutally murdered in a drive by shooting in Guatemala on his way to the airport. I felt like I had lost a newly found friend.

That night I struggled with the words and music. I sat outside beneath a black, star-filled sky at about 3:00 a.m. The words began to form within me. I said aloud to the night, “this song will be called For Facundo Cabral, and the first words are the dance goes on, the song goes on”. Immediately after I spoke the words a shooting star sailed across the sky above me, from north to south almost to the horizon, leaving a green trail of light. The next instant, another shooting star split the night from over my right shoulder, traveling east to west leaving a golden trail and almost seemed to skip out of the atmosphere. I laughed aloud. I felt like Facundo Cabral was telling me, thanks, see ya.

The words formed easily after that and the song was finished the next day. It is a tribute to him and his vision of a beautiful world that sings to us, if we only take the time to hear it.