Few good things have come from Covid-19, but if it weren’t for the pandemic the new album by Darrell Marecle might never have seen the light of day.
The project, Past Present, releases Feb. 14 on most of the streaming sites, Spotify, Apple iTunes, Pandora ... to name a few.
Micheal Graham co-wrote two songs on the 12 song album, played keys, guitar, etc., and also produced, mixed and mastered the tracks.
Covid played a role because one of Graham’s main jobs is playing keyboards, touring and doing all the forementioned for Paul Thorn. Normally he’d be on the road with the rest of Thorn’s team. In fact, the boys have a new CD ready to pop, but are holding off the release, so they can support it by traveling from venue to venue.
“Fortunately for me, Mike has been off the road with Paul since March (2020). So I asked him — do you want to make a record with some of my songs? and he was ‘sure, let’s do it,’” Marecle said.
Other players on the project were Rusty Benson, guitar, piano; Richard Dabbs, bass; Jason Palmer, drums; John Presley, drums; Jeff Spencer, guitar; Patrick Stevens, guitar, steel and Rodney Reeves, keys.
“Darrell and I have been writing and collaborating musically, on and off, for about 35 years,” Reeves said. “Darrell had started this project, asked me to come in to put some piano tracks down, to kind of frame the songs — and it grew from there.
“Musically, Darrell was open to any ideas I might throw out there.”
“This was a collaboration, not really a band and I just had bones and they put the meat on it ... especially Michael,” Marecle said.
“I put the legs and the wings on the chair,” said Graham.
Marecle and Graham have also been friends for at least 30 years. The album name alludes to that.
“Some of the stuff was written long ago, and some was new. I played some bass, some keys and a little guitar, but as far as musically he (Michael) was the driving force,” Marecle said.
The venture stretched from March with the two putting the final touches on it in November 2020.
“Studio tools today are so inexpensive, and there are tons of things you can get your hands on. It didn’t used to be that way. Today, I can say I’d like to have one of those and I can get it,” Graham said. “It’s amazing what you can put together with a little time and a little luck. “The (recording) process really hasn’t changed in the last 50 years. It’s all about balance.”
“He’s really being to modest,” Marecle said. “His stage name with Paul is ‘Dr. Love,’ I started calling him ‘Dr. Remarkable.’”
Some of the songs to listen to are “The Outside,” “Carried You,” “The Things,” and “Gonna’ Be.” The album contains most any genre a listener can think of.
“It’s just what the songs wound up being. ‘Things’ was just kind of a heavy prog rocker. Jeff wrote the music for it and we kind of kept it that way,” Marecle said. “Some (songs) were really country, and ‘Gonna Be’ — what do you call that?”
“Gonna Be” was written about Marecle’s mother, who suffered from dementia, who at times didn’t always remember when he visited her.
Usually most of the recording sessions would be the vocals, scratch guitar and drums, and other parts would be added by Graham. Dr. Remarkable has the gift of knowing what a certain track needs.
“I don’t think I see it ... I just feel it. It’s usually the first thing that pops in my mind,” Graham said. “I learned to record old school, which is nobody plays on top of each other. I added little arpeggios. If there’s a hole you got to figure out, who’s goin’ fill it.”
“The thing was — he took my sow’s ear and made a silk purse out of it,” Marecle added.
For the non-musical — an arpeggio is a type of broken chord, in which the notes that compose a chord are played or sung in a rising or descending order. Clearly the guys had a lot of fun completeing this labor of love with Marecle being thankful for his teammate, saying in the dedication “Michael Graham without whom this music would never have been.”
“I’ve weaseled my way into a lot of records,” Graham said and laughed. The seasoned musician has played and engineered every Paul Thorn record, but for two.
In case you’ve been living under a rock, Thorn is an American Southern rock, country, Americana, and blues singer-songwriter. His 2010 album Pimps and Preachers debuted at No. 83 on the Billboard 200 chart, his highest chart position to date. His 2012 album What the Hell Is Going On was the 12th Most Played Album of 2012 on the Americana Music Association Year-End Chart.
Past Present was recorded at Lamont’s Kitchen, New Albany and The Pool House, Tupelo.
“I have no dreams, or anticipation or goals of seeing this become huge, because it’s not. If people want to listen, that’s fine. If they don’t, that’s fine too. I did what I wanted to do,” Marecle concluded.
Marecle is the owner of MRI Productions in Tupelo. The 25-year-old company specializes in live audio, lighting, video production and studio and remote recording. They can be reached by calling 662-844-8533 or 662-372-1049.
The group of musicians who made Past Present possible are known as “solankr.” For more, go to www.facebook.com/solankrproject