We had just gotten back from our sixth UK tour, and things were really heating up over there. It was time for a new album, and something had been on my mind.
Friends, both professional (musicians) and non-musicians, had remarked that some of the older albums had great songs, and it was a shame they weren’t being pushed anymore. A few specifically said I should re-release them.
But with over 50 songs to choose from, which ones should I put on a new album? I didn’t want people to feel ripped off, so I decided to use no more than 5 out of the 13 tracks. And I wanted to add horns and our back-up vocal group, which are a regular part of the band now, and have it remixed and remastered. You know, new set of ears and all that.
The remixer was Bob Stander, a Grammy winning engineer/producer (and incredible musician), plus the mastering company I now use is run by Gene Paul, Les Paul’s son. Another incredible talent most people will never hear of, but hear his work every day.
So after writing a number of new tunes, I made up a list of songs I wanted to redo. There were about 30, which got cut down to 15, which got cut down to 6. Something had to go. The choice was between a cool, funny song about drinking and the title song of our second release, “Angel In The Shadows”.
Angel is unique – it’s a medium paced ballad, still blues, but not a blues ballad like “I’d Rather Go Blind” or “Since I Fell For You”. People have used it for their wedding song, anniversary song, and just as a good love song.
And I’m not really a love song kind of guy. Like everything else, it came from my life, but that was one hard song to write. It didn’t just come flying out – I worked on it for at least two months, just to get the basic song written.
But it was this uniqueness that convinced our first UK agent to take a chance on us. He said “you’re blues, but it’s not like all the other blues bands I’ve heard. And that Angel song was the clincher.”
So, after some discussion with my wife Joanne (who is also one of the backup singers) and some friends, Angel won out. And after the album was released, reviewers used words like “gorgeous” and “beautiful” in their articles. So I guess it was the right choice!
As a thank you for being one of my subscribers, I’d like to give you “Angel In The Shadows” for free – no strings attached.
If you like it, you might also consider checking out the whole album, “The World Moves On”. It’s gotten an incredible reception, with world wide airplay. And listeners have told me some of the songs stay with you, as part of your life.
And that’s the whole point of writing them.
Thanks for your support.
– Russell “Hitman” Alexander
The Hitman Blues Band
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