Photo: Brooke Clark
Train's Pat Monahan Talks New Album 'AM Gold,' Premieres New Song "Cleopatra" With Sofía Reyes
Pat Monahan — the leader and only remaining original member of pop/rockers Train — details the GRAMMY winners' new album, 'AM Gold,' and premieres the Sofía Reyes-featuring single "Cleopatra."
On the surface, Train's new album AM Gold is simple enough: It's partly about loving oneself, loving others, and the persistence of memory, and the music's shot through with a 1970s flair. But for singer Pat Monahan, the trick is to say something familiar in an individualized way — and very few in the highly saturated music business possess that preternatural ability.
"If I see the song title 'Home' again, I think I might cut my ears off," Monahan tells GRAMMY.com over Zoom, days before AM Gold's release on May 20. His mind then drifts to what makes a famous song so magical. "When Tom Petty is singing about being a bad boy, and all the good girls are home with broken hearts, he says 'I'm free,' but then he finishes it with 'Free falling.'"
As Monahan explains, Petty could have left the chorus at "free." But thankfully, he didn't.
That knack for making shopworn concepts like love, loss and heartbreak fresh and personal explains "Cleopatra," the GRAMMY-winning band's lush new single, premiering below. "It's a story that you learn when you're a child," Monahan says. "The vision of Cleopatra and Mark Antony and how brief their time together was."
How did he spin it into something that sounds new? Part of it's the writing; part of it's the inspired inclusion of Mexican singer Sofía Reyes. "She just sang it so much better than I ever could have done it," Monahan says. "And then, she added some Spanish to the song, which was just enough to be so romantic and beautiful."
This interview has been edited for clarity.
From the sound of the opening title track, you might think you're in for a full-on pastiche album. But then AM Gold hurtles into classic-sounding Train — albeit maintaining that vibe. Was that an intentional balance?
I don't think it was very conscious, to be honest. I went from writing with a bunch of professional writers in Los Angeles to lockdown, which forced me to write songs on Zoom. It ended up being that they were absolutely tremendous at this. Had I not had to do all of this virtually, I may not have recognized their talent and quality.
So, the one good thing that came out of this pandemic was getting to know the talent that is right in front of my face. Unfortunately, for me, when I write with professional writers, I tend to do more of what they are instead of them doing what I do best.
My band was the opposite — they recognized my strengths so much that they were able to help me write the songs that made the most sense for my personality and voice. Then, the record just took its own shape.
I think it's important to honor the musicians that comprise Train right now. They clearly played a major role in bringing AM Gold to life.
My favorite song on the record, still, is probably "Running Back." There's a couple that I really love, but "Running Back" came early. I was like, "Wow, we can probably do a lot of great songs if we can make this." That was with [keyboardist and guitarist] Jerry Becker and [ drummer] Matt Musty. They were actually here in my studio — in this dungeon that I live in.
And then, when it was lockdown, we just tried to continue it on Zoom — whatever we could. We would send some of these things to [guitarist] Taylor Locke and [bassist] Hector Maldonado to finish up, and have the girls — Sakai [Smith] and Nikita [Houston] — come and sing on the tracks when they were at the latter part of the writing.
What can you tell me about the song "AM Gold"?
"AM Gold" was the last track to be written, and it was basically because — as my manager would [say] — I'm not good at picking hits or even [knowing] what a good record sounds like, or album. People don't make albums anymore, but I should, because Train fans have been listening to albums for 25 or 30 years. So, I need to continue to make albums for people who like what I do.
As he was listening to 100 songs and recognized that these 11 or 13 songs were really special, he said, "This sounds like an AM Gold record." I didn't even know what that is, so I looked it up and found that these AM compilations were filled with all the yacht-rock stuff I love so much. Then, I wrote "AM Gold" to finish the record.
It had tempo, it's a self-love song, and it also fills the one part of the album I think was lacking as far as an "AM Gold" compilation record — that uptempo, disco, Bee Gees kind of thing. Or at least my version of it.
Photo: Kimberly White/Getty Images for Capital Concerts
Your singing throughout the album is really nice. Do you feel like you're having a growth spurt with your musicianship?
It's either that I'm growing and getting better and understanding my own voice, or autotune has really gotten great over the past 25 years. [Laughs]
Spiritually speaking, where does AM Gold fit into your discography? Can you articulate how it expands on past albums like A Girl, a Bottle, a Boat?
You know, I was listening to A Girl, a Bottle, a Boat the other day. We were at a Mother's Day event, and we got this room where we could all be together as a family, and they started to play music. All of a sudden, these songs from A Girl, a Bottle, a Boat came on, and I was like, "Man, I love this album. It's so different from AM Gold, but I love it."
There are albums that I listen to from Train's past, and I can't get through much of it — because I want to take it back and do it better, or whatever. It'd probably be like a writer reading a novel he wrote when he's young and now he — or she — is developed in their own craft.
I feel like AM Gold is definitely me moving forward in quality. I think the songs are less quirky. And I like quirky. I wrote "soy latte" in a love song. I like those moments of "different," but there's really no weird, quirky song on this record.
What instrumental or production techniques did you pursue to get the particular sound you wanted? Obviously, you're digging into the toolbox of the '70s.
You know, there were a few moments of clarity for me.
One was, I went and saw the Eagles, and I was so — I don't want to say "blown away," but I was impressed how musically exceptional they were. So, I really wanted guitars to have a beautiful place on this. There's little riffs. Nobody's looking for a three- or five-minute guitar solo anymore, but I wanted there to be moments of "Those are some tough guys. Seeing that live would be really special."
Another moment was that [producer and arranger] Rob Mathis, who's been a lifelong friend, wrote a string and horn arrangement on many of the songs. And when he listened to the songs, he knew [Snaps fingers] immediately what I was wanting.
So, he was like, "We're going to go for that old Philly horn/string sound from the days of all these great Philly artists." Including Hall and Oates! They had some great Philadelphia sounds in there. He knew enough to make those sorts of arrangements, and I think that really made the record a lot better.
Hall and Oates with Pat Monahan performing in Portland, Oregon, in 2018. Photo: Anthony Pidgeon/Redferns
Last night, I was listening to Bob Seger's Night Moves and Fleetwood Mac's Tango in the Night, marveling at how every second was packed with ear candy. Were you trying to imbue AM Gold with that quality of sweating the details?
Probably. When you hear a song before all the little fun moments, it sounds great — because it has to. If it's not a good song, it's not a good song; it doesn't matter how many special effects you put into a movie. But if you have a good song and then you add the special effects, then it's really special, and that feels good.
Because my Night Moves, when I was a kid, was <a href="https://www.grammy.com/artists/supertramp/14792">[Supertramp's] Breakfast in America. Listening to all the special things happening in those songs was inspiring.
We're talking in part because we're going to help bring "Cleopatra" into the world. Can you expand on that song and how Sofía Reyes got on board?
This was a kind of early song, too, around the same time as "Running Back." I don't know why "Cleopatra" was the vision of Cleopatra and Mark Antony and how brief their time together was. It's a story that you learn when you're a child. That was the inspiration for the song, which was pretty simple.
But Sofía is a really amazing artist. And when we asked her to be part of it, she filled the void which was missing so much. I was singing the la-la-las, and it needed to be a woman, because I'm singing to a woman who's singing to me.
She just sang it so much better than I ever could have done it. And then, she added some Spanish to the song, which was just enough to be so romantic and beautiful. I really appreciate her being part of it.
And then, we made a little music video for it a couple of weeks ago. She's just the sweetest, loveliest young woman that's around. She's going to be a huge star, so I was just happy to have her be part of this as she gets to her place in ruling the world one day.
What do you specifically appreciate about her artistry?
Well, she sings with no pretentiousness. She's been doing this since she was 15. I think she moved from Mexico to Los Angeles 10 years ago; she's 26 now. That takes a lot of courage to do that, because she moved to LA with her managers. It took a lot of courage for her parents to believe that she was able to do that.
She's just a very authentic person. That's the thing I appreciate most about all people.
Same question, but regarding Jewel — who's obviously been around much longer.
I mean, talk about authentic! [Laughs.] No one's more authentic than Jewel. I've known her in a peripheral way for 20 years, and now I know her better. I love her music; I love her voice; I love her Instagram. What she speaks about and stands up for.
Also, I love that when she texted me about the tour, it wasn't like, "Hey, I'd better get my rider." She texted me, "Are there going to be any other kids out on tour this summer? Because I'd love it if my son had some kids to hang out with." What an amazing text that is! In a world of living in the entertainment business, there's a whole lot of other ways that could have gone. So, I'm really looking forward to spending time with her.
She appears on "Turn the Radio Up" and will be on your upcoming tour. Why her, specifically, for that song?
Well, she was going to do this tour with us. I sang on her record, and we just thought it'd be a good idea if we got on each other's albums for the sake of a great summer. And also, we'd been friends with each other for such a long time, so it was about time.
Do you habitually listen to your own music? Is AM Gold the kind of record you'd enjoy putting on around the house?
In the beginning, I listened to AM Gold more times than anyone will probably ever listen to it, because I wanted to make sure there's not a moment of cringe while I'm in the process. It's OK if I look back at it and go "Ugh, I wish that song was whatever." But not at the time. I can't doubt anything, because if I do, I can't expect other people to not doubt it.
I don't usually obsess on a record. I'll listen to it a lot, then I won't listen for a long, long time.
Pat Monahan in 2002. Photo by J. Shearer/WireImage
Whether we're talking about your past music or someone else's music, what makes you cringe about certain works? Is it just that pretentiousness you mentioned, or something else?
Well, there are just certain things where I wonder if people are trying hard enough. I mean, the goal of any storyteller is to say, "Look, we've already said the same story." But you have to figure out a creative way to say it in a way that nobody else has said it. That's the idea behind music, in my eyes.
When Tom Petty is singing about being a bad boy, and all the good girls are home with broken hearts, he says "I'm free," but then he finishes it with "Free falling." Because he could just be like, "I broke up with her! I'm free!" but he [doesn't].
So, there's a way to do music that's so creative, that I just cringe when it seems like they're just trying to get on the radio instead of saying something special in a special way.
Many artists are sick of the product they're promoting by the time it comes out, but you seem pumped about this album.
It's the opposite, because I'm really looking forward to the album being heard by Train fans. Then, we can immediately see what people are gravitating toward and playing over and over again, because that's an indicator of what we can put in our set.
There are probably 15 or 16 songs that people want to hear every night, and if we don't play them, they'll be disappointed. But we can also add a handful of new ones, and it's going to be fun for me to see which new ones people like — because they're always different than the ones I love.
I forgot to mention that my personal favorite song on the record is "Amber Light."
It's so funny you say that, because I just said it's going to be different than mine. That's the one record that I was like, "You keep complaining about 'Amber Light' and the lyrics being so simple. Should you just take it off the record?' I was like [Resigned tone] 'I don't know. I don't know if I should take it off or leave it in there.'"
That song was just so simple — about going back to high school and being in love for the first time and going to bonfires and having six-packs of beer and trying to get girls to like you. How sometimes the people who affect you the most will never, ever know it. I'm 53, and there's no way that the 53-year-old woman who made a huge difference in my life even thinks about it anymore.
That was the one song that I almost didn't want on the record, and it's so funny that that's the one your ears heard the way you wanted to hear it.
A Tribute In Black To Johnny Cash
A star-studded roster of GRAMMY-winning talent celebrates the music and 80th birthday of Johnny Cash in Austin, Texas
Though Johnny Cash passed away in 2003, he's having a very good year in 2012. The latest in a series of events honoring the man in black — an 80th-birthday tribute titled We Walk The Line: A Celebration Of The Music Of Johnny Cash — drew a slew of GRAMMY-winning performers to Austin, Texas, for a lively Friday-night show on April 20 at Austin City Limits Live at the Moody Theater.
Top billing went to Cash's surviving Highwaymen brethren, GRAMMY winners Willie Nelson and Kris Kristofferson, who teamed with Shooter Jennings (son of late GRAMMY-winning Highwayman Waylon Jennings) and Jamey Johnson in a reunion of sorts on the song "Highwayman." Under a large banner bearing an image of Cash strumming a guitar, flanked by two silhouettes, Nelson also teamed with GRAMMY winner Sheryl Crow on "If I Were A Carpenter."
Crow sounded almost as if she were addressing Cash when she joked to Nelson, "I would definitely have your baby — if I could. If I didn't have two others of my own. And if you weren't married. And if I wasn't friends with your wife."
Audience members cheered lustily in approval, as they did throughout most of the show, a taped-for-DVD benefit for the childhood muscular dystrophy foundation Charley's Fund. Just hours earlier, many of them had watched as Nelson helped unveil his new statue in front of the theater, which sits on a street also named after him.
The event was produced by Keith Wortman with GRAMMY-winning producer Don Was serving as musical director. Was recruited Buddy Miller, Greg Leisz, Kenny Aronoff, and new Rock and Roll Hall of Fame inductee Ian McLagan of the Faces as the house band. The handpicked all-star roster of performers ranged from Iron & Wine's Sam Beam, Brandi Carlile, the Carolina Chocolate Drops, Andy Grammer, Amy Lee of Evanescence, and Pat Monahan of Train to Ronnie Dunn, Shelby Lynne, Old 97's lead singer Rhett Miller, Lucinda Williams, and even Austin-based actor Matthew McConaughey, who, in addition to emceeing, sang "The Man Comes Around."
"We wanted a real broad, diverse group of artists," Wortman said backstage. "With Cash, you're as likely to find his music in a punk rock music fan, a heavy metal fan and a Nashville music fan, so he's not just a country music guy."
GRAMMY winner Monahan, who sang Kristofferson's "Help Me Make It Through The Night," commented before the show, "I think of Johnny Cash as a style, as you would think of clothing, or music or whatever. He was his own thing. No can can really describe Johnny Cash entirely.
"And no one could deliver a song quite like him," continued Monahan. "He sang hundreds of other songwriters' songs and he made those songwriters important because of the way he delivered what they were saying. There's not much that I don't respect about him, and I told his son [John Carter Cash] earlier that I'm almost more inspired by the love for his family than his music."
Lynne, who won the Best New Artist GRAMMY in 2000, sang "Why Me Lord," another song penned by Kristofferson, and delivered a spirited duet with Monahan on "It Ain't Me Babe," said Cash has influenced "all of us."
"We appreciate the majestic rebellion that Johnny gave us all in the music business. And he's also one of the great American icons of all time," she added.
Among the acts who earned the loudest applause in a night full of high-volume appreciation was the GRAMMY-winning Carolina Chocolate Drops, the bluegrass quartet re-exposing the genre's African-American roots. Their rendition of "Jackson" was among many highlights. Earlier, co-founder Dom Flemons revealed the personal inspiration of Cash's catalog.
"Johnny Cash's music has had an impact on me as a rock and roll singer, a country singer, as a folk music performer and great interpreter of song. I just love everything that he's done," said Flemons.
Bandmate Hubby Jenkins added, "Johnny Cash was really great about putting emotional investment into every song that he sang."
Co-founder Rhiannon Giddens said Cash’s core was his voice and his subject matter, and no matter how much production was added, it never diluted his message.
Miller, who named his band after "Wreck Of The Old '97," a song popularized by Cash, said their intent was to sound like "Johnny Cash meets the Clash." He also recalled always picking "Ring Of Fire," a classic inducted into the GRAMMY Hall Of Fame in 1999, on the tabletop jukebox during childhood visits to a Dallas diner.
"I didn't know what it was about, but I knew that the guy who was singing it was singing it with everything he had," said Miller, dressed in black in homage to "one of my all-time heroes." "And there was so much heart behind it, and so much conviction. And nobody could sell a song like Johnny Cash. He meant every word he said, and if he didn't mean it, he made it sound like he meant it."
(Austin-based journalist Lynne Margolis currently contributes to American Songwriter, NPR's Song of the Day and newspapers nationwide, as well as several regional magazines and NPR-affiliate KUT-FM's "Texas Music Matters." A contributing editor to The Ties That Bind: Bruce Springsteen from A To E To Z, she has also previously written for Rollingstone.com and Paste magazine.)
Photo: Alexander Tamargo/WireImage.com
18th Latin GRAMMY Performers: Bad Bunny, Alejandro Sanz & More
First performers announced for The Biggest Night in Latin Music; actors Jaime Camil and Roselyn Sánchez to host 18th Latin GRAMMY Awards live from Las Vegas on Nov. 16
Current nominees J Balvin, Bad Bunny, Flor De Toloache, Luis Fonsi, Juanes, Mon Laferte, Natalia Lafourcade, Maluma, Residente, and Sofía Reyes are among the first artists announced to perform on the 18th Latin GRAMMY Awards.
Mexican actor/singer Jaime Camil and Puerto Rican singer/songwriter and actress Roselyn Sánchez will host The Biggest Night in Latin Music on the Univision Network Nov. 16 from 8–11 p.m. ET/PT (7 p.m. Central) at the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas.
This year's top nominee is Residente with nine nominations. Also near the top of the field are Maluma with seven nominations, Shakira with six, and Kevin Jiménez ADG, Juanes and Mon Laferte with five each. "Despacito," by Luis Fonsi featuring Daddy Yankee, earned four nominations.
A limited number of tickets for the 18th Latin GRAMMY Awards are available for purchase through www.axs.com.
Antenna For The Stars
Will the current landscape of music-based TV shows continue to yield a crop of pop stars?
Has video killed the radio star…again? The Buggles' video of the same name famously launched MTV in 1981, and 30 years later television is continuing to make its unique mark within the music world.
Music and TV have been partners in creating pop stars since the dawn of the medium in the late '40s, when the popular radio show talent competition "The Original Amateur Hour," hosted by Ted Mack, segued to the small screen, helping to launch the careers of Gladys Knight, Ann-Margret and Pat Boone, among others. Programs such as "The Ed Sullivan Show," a variety show featuring musical acts that ran until 1971, and "Star Search," a talent show debuting in 1983, continued the trend. But it wasn't until "American Idol" debuted in 2002 as a Fox summer replacement series that the concept reached critical mass.
Based on the UK pop series "Pop Idol," which was a spinoff of the Australian show "Popstars," the idea behind "American Idol" was a singing contest, judged by industry professionals, in which the viewers voted for the winner by phone and text. The show was a success from the very start, averaging 12.7 million viewers per episode as that summer's highest-rated show in the 18–49 demo. By 2006 "American Idol" was attracting an average of 31.7 million viewers per episode, while the next year's season premiere peaked at 41 million viewers.
Since those heady times, "American Idol" viewing had been eroding precipitously, and before this year's 10th season, returning producer Nigel Lythgoe made several significant changes, including hiring new judges Steven Tyler and Jennifer Lopez to join original judge Randy Jackson, signing on industry veteran Jimmy Iovine as a mentor, and lowering the eligibility age for contestants to 15. The moves helped stabilize ratings, with May's finale averaging 29.3 million viewers and a 9.2 rating in the 18–49 demo, up more than 21 percent in viewers and 12 percent in ratings compared to last year. It was the first time the finale received such a viewership bump in five seasons.
"It became tune-in television again," says Shirley Halperin, music editor for The Hollywood Reporter and author of the show's authorized history, American Idol: Celebrating 10 Years. "You wanted to hear what wackiness would come out of Steven Tyler's mouth next."
"American Idol"'s success has spawned a group of similar music-based shows, including NBC's "The Voice" and "The Sing-Off," a show for a cappella groups featuring Sara Bareilles as a judge; Bravo's "Platinum Hit," a competition for songwriters; Simon Cowell's new show "The X Factor," scheduled to debut in September; and arguably the most successful music show of all time, the fictionalized music-based comedy drama "Glee." Each show has arrangements with major music companies to help break discovered talent, including Sony Music Entertainment ("The X Factor," "Glee" and "Platinum Hit") and Universal Music Group ("American Idol" and "The Voice").
Featuring GRAMMY-nominated recording artist Jewel as host and ex-"American Idol" judge Kara DioGuardi, "Platinum Hit" is Bravo's pop tunesmith answer to "Top Chef" and "Project Runway." Jes Hudak, a singer/songwriter from Saratoga Springs, N.Y., who was a contestant on the show's first season, says it has been a boon for her career.
"The whole goal is exposure, and getting my music to the people it's going to mean something to," says Hudak. "We get such harsh feedback from people in the industry, and what really matters are the people who listen, buy your music and connect with what you're saying."
While major labels are on the receiving end of previously vetted talent, artists that already have name recognition and legions of Facebook and Twitter followers, platinum sales for TV show contestants and winners isn't a given. Does the show's democratic voting process result in a lowest-common-denominator winner, preventing what truly makes a musical superstar — something unique and compelling and sometimes even off-putting? And while "Glee" has sold millions of downloads and albums, has anyone yet emerged from its cast as a superstar?
"It's no longer about record sales," says Halperin, who points to Adam Lambert as an example of a unique "American Idol" alumnus. "You have to think about Broadway, 'Glee,' making a viral video, blogging about 'American Idol,' [or] becoming a Fox News correspondent covering the show. If you didn't win, you have to be willing to embrace your past."
What separates "American Idol" from its competition is the glimpse of transformational reality we get into how pop stars are groomed, allowing the audience to become vested in its chosen favorites' destiny.
"Scotty McCreery started out as [someone] who couldn't even carry on a conversation," says Halperin about "American Idol"'s season 10 winner. "Fourteen weeks later, he was this engaged, charming and media savvy professional who's being molded into a potential country star."
It is precisely that feeling of emotional involvement the other music competition shows are also trying to convey.
"The competitive atmosphere is not for everybody," says Hudak. "I wanted to show enough of my personality so people could relate to me as a human being as well as an artist. This is a way to really push my skills. It's all about pure feedback, growth and getting better."
With shows such as "American Idol" now producing artists who have been fans from the show's beginning, it makes it much more difficult to find where reality ends and artifice begins, especially in a landscape where these series are proliferating.
"The traditional route of becoming a pop singer is not an option for [new contestants]," observes Halperin. "Their problem is the 120 finalists who came before them, and have had that much more time in the media and public consciousness. The smart ones take the [money] they make from the ['American Idol'] tour and put it in the bank."
While the current industry climate presents a mountain of challenges for aspiring pop stars, music TV shows will likely continue to be a magnet for them.
"It gives you the best possible chance to succeed," says Halperin. "But a lot of things have to come together for it to ultimately happen."
(Roy Trakin has been senior editor at HITS magazine since he still had hair, and has written for every defunct rock publication that did and didn't matter. He is also the author of biographies on Jim Carrey, Tom Hanks and Sting.)
GRAMMY Winners Pay Tribute To Carole King
Amy Grant, Jesse Y Joy, Pat Monahan, Steven Tyler, and will.i.am reflect on how they've been inspired by MusiCares Person of the Year Carole King
(On Jan. 24 four-time GRAMMY winner Carole King will be honored as the 2014 MusiCares Person of the Year. In advance of the gala in her honor, The Recording Academy asked some of the artists set to perform at the benefit concert in tribute to King to share how her work has inspired their own careers.)
"Carole King's 'Will You Love Me Tomorrow' got me to make out with my first girlfriend and taught me how to sing. Being asked to perform for Carole is my payback to her for one of the greatest moments of my life. Carol's melodic sensibility defined a generation. She got us out of doo-wop and into rock and roll and her music became the tapestry of our lives. She's a true pioneer and I am so proud to call her a friend." — Steven Tyler
"When I was a young aspirational songwriter I had heard of the giants in our industry. These giant songwriters pushed me to better myself as a songwriter to one day to create songs that would become No. 1 hits. More importantly, the work of the great writers pushed me to create songs that would impact people's lives at birthday parties, bar mitzvahs, weddings, and wherever people got together to celebrate victories like basketball championships, World Series, Super Bowls, and World Cups.
"I always looked up to the giants. Carole King is one these giants. She deeply impacted the world of music and composition in a world that was dominated by males. She slayed with wonderful songs that made us cry and with songs that made us be better people, better lovers, and be better citizens when people gathered and rallied for a better world. She pushed us to imagine, and her songs also helped us escape when times were tough. Carole King is a true giant in the music industry." — will.i.am
"Carole King is one of my all-time favorites. Her writing, singing, piano playing, it's all incredible. To be with her onstage or even just in the same room makes me feel like I'm a success. I am so blown away to be invited to this event for her.
"I was in Erie, Penn., stealing my sisters records when I heard Tapestry and that record was the beginning of me wanting to be in music." — Pat Monahan (Train)
"We are more than honored to be a part of this special night that commemorates the career of Carol King. Our dad was Mexican and our mom is from Wisconsin and we thank her so much because a big part of our music influence was the music she played to us when we were kids and Tapestry was played almost every day at home. So, for us being a part of this night is a career highlight in many ways." — Jesse Y Joy
"When an autographed copy of the original Tapestry album jacket arrived in the mail in 1995 as Carole's 'thank you' for my participation on the Tapestry Revisited project, I instantly felt 12 years old again. Heart racing, legs pumping, screaming, and shouting, I ran to the phone to share the news with the two people I knew would get it: my mother and my sixth grade boyfriend. Countless nights of junior high, Johnny and I had listened to Carole King records from beginning to end, one of us pressing the needle down until we could hear the songs sync up across the phone line. Watching the spinning A&M, reading and rereading the lyrics ... the songwriting credits ... the musicians' names … all became part of the muscle memory.
"Your honesty in the way you expressed your view of life helped to shape mine. Thank you, Carole. Thank you for sharing your gifts, your life and your heart with all of us for so many years." — Amy Grant