Willard Grant Conspiracy

Let It Roll

Release Date: 03/20/2006 · Format: CD · Catalog-No: GR 646

“The basic tracks for Let it Roll were recorded last May in Ljubljana at Metro Studio where we recorded the last record, Regard the End. It was recorded with Janez Krisaj at the engineering helm during a week long break in touring between dates in Italy and Glitterhouse Records annual Orange Blossom Festival celebration.

We recorded the record as live as we could make it, taking advantage of the months of live shows the band had done in the previous year and the dynamics that had developed as a result of the constant playing. It was important to me that we not only got the sound of the live band onto the record but that we managed to get some of the members of the band that had, as of yet, not been able to play on our previous recordings. So we got Erik Van Loo (acoustic and electric bass), Tom King (drums and percussion), and Jason Victor (electric and acoustic guitar), along with Josh Hillman (violin and viola), Yuko Murata (piano and synthesizer) and myself this time to do the basic recordings. Additionally, we were lucky to have Chris Eckman (Walkabouts) join in for some crazy analog synth and organ parts. It was a magical week of recording with everyone exceeding their own inspiration. The initial recordings were added to over the next few months and then we assembled the tracks in Holland at Enschede’s Studio Metro. We also took the opportunity to record a new song, “Lady of the Snowline”, while we were there to finish the record.

The songs on Let it Roll are a collection of tracks written over the last few years. The oldest song is “Mary of the Angel”, originally written for Regard the End. Some of the songs, like “Let It Roll” and “Crush”, feature a harder sound reminiscent of songs like “Go Jimmy Go” and “How to Get to Heaven” found on Mojave. The lead song is a humanist anti war song based on a famous document from the American Civil War called the Sullivan Ballou letter. This letter was written a few days before the writer’s demise at the Battle of Bull Run and its prescience was the inspiration for the song.

Continuing the tradition of collaboration started with “Rosalee” on Regard the End, using an internet modified version of the surrealist game Exquisite Corpse, I wrote the lyrics with Steve Wynn, who also provided back up vocals on the song together with Linda Pitmon (Miracle Three, Golden Smog) and Mary Lorson (Saint Low, Madder Rose). The song “Lady of the Snowline” also features vocals by Mary and by Esther Sprikkelman (Nightblooms, Safe Home) in a long distance non-collaboration that meshed perfectly when we brought them together in the studio.

Bringing the tracks back to California, I was really pleased to get Robert Lloyd (John Wesley Harding, Kingsize Maybe) to contribute to a few songs along with Blake Hazard (The Submarines) who worked with us on Regard the End as well. Dennis Cronin (Vitamin D, Lambchop) added his exquisite trumpet, playing from his home in Brooklyn, NY, and David Michael Curry (Thalia Zedek, Empty House Cooperative) retired to his lair in Cambridge, MA to record some remarkable guitar, saw and viola. Our longtime soundperson now turned recording and mastering engineer, Marzel Morsink, who also recorded the tracks “Lady of the Snowline” and the Dylan cover “Ballad of a Thin Man” at his studio in Holland, assembled all the parts. We finally mixed the tracks back in NYC with another long time band member Charles Calello at his Studio 303 just in time for me to race up to Boston with the finished results and get Jeff Lipton to provide his final mastering flourishes.

In the end, I find myself humbled by the amazing collection of talents that contributed to this record. Without the fairly well documented contributions of the musicians and engineers or the behind the scenes participation of record label personnel, interns, booking agents, and promoters these recordings could never happen. Furthermore it’s the people who listen to the music, imbue it with their own experience and pass it along to their friends that help grow our audience. Every time a new record is finished, I am left with a grateful understanding of the efforts and sacrifices that many people made to allow the songs to come to life.”

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1. From A Distant Shore
2. Let It Rol
3. Dance With Me
4. Crush
5. Flying Low
6. Skeleton
7. Breach
8. Mary Of The Angels
9. Ballad Of A Thin Man
10. Lady Of The Snowline