Winter's End is its Own Revenge
I've struggled with this. I've ripped so many pieces of paper out of my typewriter and crumpled them up that I look like I've been on the losing end of a snowball fight. The thing is I've got so much to say about this record and so little liner note space. The main thing: Will is back! He's been around tribute-and-country-banding it up, but now it's his material that he's bringing to life. It's good to have him back. Hearing his voice, thoughts and music made me realize how much I missed him. Will's sole focus has always been on the music. Now he's further exploring, through his band, different instrumentation like subtle synth and heroic trombone riffs. I don't always care what's going on when it sounds this good.
So you're going to be listening to whatever particular format you find this recording on and, of course, you're going to form your own opinions about what you're hearing. I'm here to give you a few interpretations of my own. I have been sorting through the clutter that surrounds me, looking for my preview copy of the recording in all my Quayle piles, distracted by scraps of paper and trying to decide what I'm supposed to do with them. I get cold seeing the winter sun dwindling too early. The Upholsterers have recorded a soundtrack to my gray day. Out of coffee! How can I get anything done under these conditions?
This is a pretty damn good tiger song! I mean who else is writing tiger songs, zookeepers maybe? It's late, it's night and it's cold, and then you realize what you must do: Bust out that one string guitar solo. When in doubt bust it out. What's all this crap on the keyboard? You know I can't type with old drafts draped across my fingers.
I'm cleaning as I listen and paper piles are layered like snowflakes making snowbanks and Will is singing about birds with bird sound effects and it makes me want to just hold on until I can hear real birds singing—just get through the winter to something better and the horn blasts. Hang on for spring, for some warmth, some brighter skies, some hope. You can hear the theme and the passion in the trombone landscapes as the birds look for greenery through the grimy snow above the brown mud.
Yeah, so “Landscape With Stag and Hound” seems to be inspired by the inside of a castle with an electronic zither plugged in by Prince Harry wearing a Bob Dylan t-shirt--royally psychedelic. We can only be glad that no one took pictures. Majestic in its imagery and sonic artistry, the song transports me to a misty Hipgnosis album cover world. How am I going to keep this organized? I got piles of receipts that aren't mine. I got pictures of dogs wearing birthday hats for birthday cards because everyone should see a picture of a dog wearing a birthday hat on their birthday. I got a screenplay. Paper, paper, so much paper driving me mad.
“Waiting For the Night” features one loping guitar riff that I could listen to all night! Can I borrow a file folder? It will help me organize. Envelopes pile up, empty envelopes. Robins get name dropped. Robins are birds. Time is going so fast. The second hand is like the minute hand it just keeps moving then there's a jazzy trombone solo, one that a Robin might like to listen to. It's guitar solo vs. trombone solo then, mon Dieu! - a bass solo. And this isn't even a solo album!
Traveling around town, looking at churches, but everyone seems lonely and the trombone adds isolation. Just a little sun that can't warm this day to add to the mood and people wearing long coats—too cold to socialize. I really can't explain...the light, the winter light, the weather we all have to survive just to get to a better day taking me back to a sixties solo man blow my mind why don't you?
If “The Telephone” is not one of the greatest songs about telephones ever written then it's a screenplay that's been boiled down to be a song. There's a character. He's crazy. He's working too much. He's a badass who talks a good game. Most people expect to see him expired in a ditch by the side of the road while his car door remains open with this song playing on the car stereo.
We're out on a lonely night—that's a literal translation of the song title and overly simplistic but you get Will as a guy who's out and about looking at stuff, maybe breaking out a little notepad and writing a line here and there. The cathedral could tell you everything but it's gone, gone into the darkness, gone into history. Is it a misty night or watery eyes? Life can get sad for a moment; pull your coat or your gal closer to try to get to some warmth and let's keep moving and block it all out with trombone!
Then there's is a tongue in cheek nod to the flu, I think. So it's more of a love song. Oh man where is the trombone? Busy and fun with loopy quick fluid guitar twirls with bouncy drums, got to have some heat around here. There's a lyric that makes me blush out loud. I'd stick a trombone in there. Clipboards, I got a clipboard collection. I have a collection of everything. Madness. The only cure is trombone!
Quayle Smithers, Portland, Winter of 2013
released January 1, 2014
All songs by Will Simmons except “The Dummy Song” (Ray Henderson, Lew Brown, Billy Rose)
and arranged by Will Simmons & The Upholsterers.
The line “Autographed by the sidewalk, his face” is lifted from an interview with Philip Schultz.
Will Simmons: guitars, keyboards, vocals
Bill Fulmer: trombone, guitar on “Kisses on the Nile”, “The Chills”, and “The End of Your Wire”
Bob Jungkunz: drums, percussion, vocal on “The Dummy Song”
Greg Lagrosa: bass, trombone on “Landscape with Stag and Hound” and “The Silhouette”
Recorded/mixed Summer-Fall-Winter 2012 by Will Simmons on digital 16-track/Cakewalk, at home, in Pittsburgh.
Mastered by John “Double-J” Johnston at Silvertone Studio in Erie.
Artwork by Kirsten Ervin.
LP/cassette design/layout by Chris Fischer/WS.
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