Dave Manning | Road Trip Songs

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Road Trip Songs

by Dave Manning

I live on the road, and these are road trip songs. The album was mixed on the car stereo in my tour bus. The piano and voice recorded in a 17th century manor house in the Scottish Highlands, and the harmonica recorded in a remote Arizona canyon.
Genre: Easy Listening: Love Songs
Release Date: 

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  Song Share Time Download
1. Jack's Boogie
5:22 $0.99
2. Oh Christ
6:17 $0.99
3. I Don't Want the Song
7:43 $0.99
4. Somewhere Tonight
7:57 $0.99
5. 'Nuff With the Stuff
5:48 $0.99
6. Donner Pass
7:18 $0.99
7. Alkali
8:26 $0.99
8. Mary's Song
7:15 $0.99
9. Chines Cowboy Hat
5:47 $0.99
10. Bad Ass
8:03 $0.99
11. Last Orders
6:10 $0.99
Downloads are available as MP3-320 files.


Album Notes
1 Notes from back of album
2 Inside cover notes
3 Inside Facing cover notes
4 Individual Song descriptions

1 Notes from back of Album (comes free with the cd purchase)
This album is a trip, a road trip. Ever since I was a little kid in the back of my parent’s Country Squire station wagon with the fake-wood paneling on the side, I’ve been more at home on the road than in any one place. Blessing and a curse that. The songs on this album are meant to flow together as one story. They sound best while driving a long highway. I mixed them on the car stereo in my tour bus. Like my first two; this album is long, it could easily be a double, I believe in giving value for money.
This road trip begins in the deserts of the American west. The long empty highways, mountains, and hot springs that are my home. Once a year, the people called burners come and build a temporary city in my home & I consider it my hometown. It’s strange to have a hometown that only exists for one week a year…unless your home is the road. When I sat down on the dusty ground under Mark Lottor’s Cubatron light sculpture at Burning Man 2009, I was lit, and just wanted to stare at the lights. I fell into a conversation with a woman sitting nearby. We talked until my bladder was full. I asked her if she wanted to come with me to the porta-poddies. That was our first date. Two weeks later I was buying a plane ticket to a place I’d never heard of before: Aberdeen, Scotland, where she lives. Now I have two lives. One living in my ‘65 VW Bus touring the American west, and one living in the one-room cabin Mary built in the countryside of Aberdeenshire. There I went to a party at the House of Newe, a 15th century manor house in the Highlands. I met a piano there, a magical piano. I didn’t know how it could ever happen, but I knew I wanted to record my next Album on that piano. A year later, friends encouraged me post a video on the universal net-web and just ask for the money it would take to make this album. It worked, over a hundred fans sent in money. They believed in me. Their confidence took my music to a new level. I listened to what they wanted, kept the arrangements sparse, let the songs breathe, and channeled my soul in chorus with the many ghosts in that old piano. Here is the result. And if you don’t like it, I’ll give your money back.

2 Inside cover notes (these come free with the cd too)
“Let the songs breathe.” And so I did. I played these songs like they should be played: from my heart. I relaxed, and for 3 summer days at the House of Newe I concentrated on nothing else but these songs. And whisky. But only in the evenings. I can’t say I felt or saw the ghosts in the 1916 Bluthner piano, but I do believe their hands were guiding mine those days. I’d never played like that before. That piano was lovingly passed down for 3 generations in that house; it hasn’t been moved from its spot since 1927. That’s why the songs are long. They are meant to be. I just didn’t know it until I let them breathe. I guess I’m like a painter that uses big canvases.

That’s why I couldn’t fit all the songs on this one CD. CDs are a terrible format, only 80 minutes, and digital; music should not be reduced to just numbers. But for now, that’s what we got. I didn’t want to drop songs from the Album, so I decided not to. To keep the disc under 80 minutes I put three of the longest songs on my website. They are free to download, please do. They include my personal favorite; the Oh Christ Instrumental Reprise. It’s almost 13 minutes. When you download them from my website, you’ll see lots of other free stuff I’ve posted up. Videos, audios, pictures from the road, and my radio show with stories and music from other artists I’ve met in my travels. If you can, please leave a little something in my digital tip jar. It will help keep me on the road; where I’m at home.

3 inside facing cover notes
Nevada to Newe is more than just a theme. The album you hold in your hands was recorded in two places. The piano and voice were recorded at the House of Newe, in the Scottish Highlands. The harmonica and clarinet parts were recorded in Kaiser Wash Canyon in Arizona; one of my favorite winter campspots. I’ve counted 9 echos in this horseshoe bend section of the canyon. I used only the natural reverb of the canyon in the recording. You get a bonus gold star if you can pick out the sound of the cactus wren in the background of some tracks.

4 Individual Song Descriptions. (Okay, just buy the goddam cd, we put a lot of work into it!)
1) Jack’s Boogie “Bankers are leeches, fat and bloated, stealin’ from the poor just to get promoted.” Our road trip begins here, just outside Reno, Nevada. Late night, empty desert highway, the gig’s over, the blues club is closed. Jack Rudesill, Reno’s Smoothest Slide Guitar, and my long-time music partner came up with this blues pattern; his take on the classic boogie style. He asked me to put words to it. I looked around at our society, and what makes me blue.

2) Oh Christ “On that Memphis balcony, they killed him again.” I park up the tour bus in the wee hours of the morning. I like to camp alone far out in the desert. No gigs until next weekend. For a couple days I listen to no music, read no books, make no phone calls, and speak to no-one. At first its scary, then it becomes cathartic. My mind starts to deal with all the stuff it’s shoved to the back corner of its messy closet. On the way out here the election news was on the radio. They interviewed a right-wing Christian. At one point, he said “Well, none of the candidates is Jesus, but we’ll find someone to vote for.” I pictured Jesus running for president. I pictured Jesus speaking at the Republicrat National Convention. We are just clever apes; we have little changed since biblical times. The song is about Abraham Lincoln, Mahatma Gandhi, Martin Luther King Jr. and John Lennon.

3) I Don’t Want the Song “Don‘t drop your quarter ‘till your party answers the line.” I was on tour with Neighborhood Conspiracy, playing at the Atlin, British Columbia Music festival. Atlin is the dead-end of a 60 mile dirt road from the Yukon. My girlfriend dumped me over the Pac-Man shaped payphone at the general store. Doug Brown, the guitarist, consoled me on a long afternoon walk. He said “Someday Dave, you’ll be over this…and in the end, you’ll get a good song out of it.” It took 5 years Doug, but here’s the song.

4) Somewhere Tonight “Cracklin’ radio fades with the dawn.” After camping out a few days alone in the desert, I continue down U.S. Hwy 95 that connects Reno and Vegas. My mind replays memories of playing at the Sourdough in Beatty, the Alternative in Silver Peak, the Mizpah and the Clubhouse in Tonopah, and fueling up at that truck-stop in Hawthorne. Wide open spaces, long distances, and a late night bar in a tiny town; I imagine a romance.

5) Nuff with the Stuff “I sold everything that wouldn’t fit comfortably in my van.” A little auto-biographical number. While talkin to people after the next gig, I find people are just as inspired by my life-style as they are by my music-style. I tell them that before I decided to go on the road full-time playing music, I made a pro and con list on a piece of paper sitting in the Snowgoose Brewpub in Anchorage, Alaska. On the pro side were lots of esoteric things like freedom, open road, adventure, and living closer to nature. On the con side were things like my couch, my piano, my Jeep: STUFF. I made my choice, and that has made all the difference.

*5 & 1/2)A Thousand Miles “I’m runnin’ Jeffery Pines, I’m runnin’ Joshua Trees” When I get down to Arizona I play a gig at a boutique winery outside Sedona. It’s an outdoor wine and cheese pairing among the vines and stone paths leading down to Oak Creek. A summer thunderstorm rolled in. I threw the tarp over my music gear just in time. The skies opened with buckets of water, mud pooled inside the bottom of my amplifier, and lightning slit the skies. Thunder shook the roof of the little garden shed where the everyone took shelter. Susana worked for the winery, we drank a dark red watching the storm out of dirty windows. I never forgot her. This song sat unplayed in my notebook for years after she broke up with me. She never heard it.
I found it again shortly before I went in the studio. I’m glad I did.

6) Donner Pass “CB Radio playin the trucker sound; they’re talkin’ Will they close this pass down?” From California Hwy 20 you can see the ruts of wagon trains that passed that way in the 1850s over Donner summit, the dangerous pass in the high Sierra Mountains. It’s named after the 1846 Donner party, many of whom starved after being snow-bound there. A few months after we met, Susana dumped me over the phone; I drove east up that highway from Nevada City. A young woman and her duffle bag were alone in the snowy Jeffery Pines 10 miles out of town. That hitch-hiker was with me all day, I bought her lunch. We warmed our hands on mugs of coffee in the back of the bus that night as the temperature plunged. I saved her, and she saved me. I gave her my phone number, told her to call me if she ever got in a tight spot. I made sure she got another ride before I left. The next day I found her ethereal sketch pad left in my bus. Someday hopefully, I’ll get to hand it back to her.

7) Alkali “The moon haunts the sky like the flash of your eyes.” In the The Great Basin Desert I feel at home. The dry lake beds, mountains, hot springs. 450 miles from Donner Pass: Alkali, Nevada is listed as a “site” on the state hwy map. It’s my favorite spot to be quiet. Before I get on the long dust road that leads there, I roll a cigarette, open the windows, put on my sunglasses, leather gloves, and Bruce Springsteen’s Devils & Dust. I can usually get the bus up to about 55mph leaving a dust trail visible from 20 miles away across the wide sagebrush basin. This song was written there; remembering a one-night love affair years before, on another dry lake bed: The Black Rock Desert.

8)Mary’s Song “They made me tough enough to love you.” It was a few years later when I sat down, half-cocked, under that amazing light sculpture built by Mark Lottor. Burning Man is nothing if not a life-changing event. I didn’t realize I was sitting down next to my future bride. Several hours later, just before the dawn, I asked her to take my arm. Our first kiss was at sunrise, legs dangling off the high balcony of the temple. I don’t know if I wrote this song. It feels more like it just fell out of the dusty hundred year-old piano that lives in the corner of Cas and Mike’s Tucson home.

9) Chinese Cowboy Hat “Who died for that diamond on your hand?” My hat was getting road worn and tattered. In a western clothing shop I picked up a good looking cowboy hat, Emblazoned with an American flag; The tag said it was the official hat of “Support the Troops” country singer Toby Keith. Turn the tag over: MADE IN CHINA. Truly a man that supports America. Really, no sarcasm. That’s what America stands for today. That’s why I don’t stand for America. We didn’t free our slaves. We just moved them overseas. Fuck Yeah.

10) Bad Ass “Sometimes she spanks me with a spatula and we slow dance by the fire.” After we met at Burning Man, I followed Mary to her home outside Aberdeen. Now I live there half the year. While riding my 1951 bicycle on a lovely spring day, I saw a beautiful woman strolling the wooded path. “What’s that brick she’s holding to her head?“ Yet another smart-phone addict ignoring the nature around her. It makes me fall in love with Mary even more. Mary and I both bemoan folks that rely on their “2nd brains.” And yes, Mary does have a Chainsaw license, and yes, she did rob banks, and yes, she is Bad Ass. Put that in your google and smoke it.

11) Last Orders “The rain tonight is pourin’, but my feet know where they’re goin.” Aberdeen, Scotland is a unique city with it’s busy commercial port smack in the middle of downtown. Most of the town’s economy comes from servicing the oil rigs of the North Sea. Every Monday I’d go over to Pete Coutts’ apartment to tune his piano. I’d usually only get about 10 strings tuned before we’d get distracted by red wine, talk and dinner. When it was finally all tuned he played me this song. I wish I’d written it. He captured the cold-dark-wet streets, seedy bars and hard-drinking oilmen perfectly. Thanks for letting me borrow this song Pete.

*12) Rebecca’s Song “My fingers running through your dark blonde hair in the cold November air.” I’m happy to say this is my first commissioned song. Thanks to Ryan for believing in me and hiring me to make his anniversary present. It was a magic moment when I first played it for them under the stars of Yakima, Washington. Rebecca had no clue until I began introducing the song, that Ryan had a surprise gift for her. We were all moved.

*13) Oh Christ Reprise This is my personal favorite song on the album. It’s the first time I’ve put an instrumental on an Album. It was a sunny late afternoon at the House of Newe. We’d just finished recording the album, we all took a deep breath. I was emotionally spent after two intense days putting all I had into the music. We decided to get some pictures before we packed away all the microphones. I told Johnny to hit the record button while Kym’s sister Claire took some pictures of me playing. He went off to fix a cup of tea. I just closed my eyes, felt the piano keys, the ghosts, the history, the emotion, and played.

* These songs were too long to fit on the CD, but they are part of this album. They are free downloads at www.davemanning.net please take the time to get them.



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