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The Lesson – 1/22/11
I am short on words as I reflect on watching the boys craft their latest album at Thunderbird Analog Studios in Oceanside. On this night, producer Thomas Yearsley (the Paladins) had been conducting the band as they worked through a fan favorite “I’mgonnagitchu”.
A rollicking romp filled the space while Thomas bounced back and forth between the booth and the studio. The song came together in just a few takes so Bret and Broy decided it was time for a break. As Sean sat with Thomas in the booth, listening to the last couple takes, I had no idea what is about to transpire. Sean had been working up a new tune, emailing rough demos to the brothers Hazzard who had been calmly putting together the track in bits and pieces.
When everyone reconvened, they determined to give the new tune a try. Just in case, Thomas decided to let the tape roll the first time through. Over the next 2 minutes and 50 seconds, the molecules in the room were completely rearranged. Even tough this was the first time they had all played the song together, there was magic in the room that cold January evening.
“The Lesson” carries a message of personal growth and internal serenity with an emotional heft rarely felt by this writer. It starts as a quiet hymn with Sean’s voice sturdy and heartfelt. “There’s a lesson to be learned, (the Hazzards quietly join in) but still I battle all the time. I need to find peace of mind. Its like I’m just serving time”. Goose bumps rise as I reflect and listen back to that first take.
Captured there, on that celluloid, is a timeless bit of understated truth. As the song reached its crescendo, “A good-time band is playin tunes, sunshine jumpin off their strings” Bret added tiny fills, knowing instinctively that the song stands on its own, without the need of any unnecessary filigree.
“The Lesson” is just that, a mantra to be repeated until it becomes a part of your soul. For a band best known for its whirl-wind guitar attack and box car funk, this song is a new plateau. I for one can not wait to see it unleashed.