as a bird of the air… liner notes

January 1st, 2020


Where do I begin…? I go into states where I can’t be reached…where I can’t function in the world…where I am beyond my beliefs…and just “am”… Words, language and thought are limitations of the indescribable… But music…that seemingly non-essential, intangible thing, that doesn’t make anything, touches my soul…prevails…and it doesn’t give a damn about efficiency or productivity… 

Can we rise above our Earthly cares? Can we live as a bird of the air or lily of the field? Or are we as the grass that is tossed into the furnace?

This album is about those ideas…the profound ideas we attribute to the Nazarene…that we could live without worry or little more concern than a sparrow or flower… Considering the many human frustrations & dilemmas – love, time, money, relationships, spirituality, mating, loss, lack, longing, societal acceptance, job, loneliness, being wronged…and the romantic love we deeply want…a supportive person that completely accepts us as we are and excites us…what are we to do? I started contemplating this, and it sent me into the Abyss… The lyric… Maybe I’m too young, too old, too much, too blue…or maybe, I’m not enough…says it all succinctly…

2019 was a year of change…I think it may have been a global thing… The 2018 album, If All the World Were Right, caught me completely off guard with 2 songs popping into the Top 40 Billboard Indicator Chart as well as on other national and global charts. It even got to #15 on the Cashbox/DRT Global Adult Contemporary Chart (Ed Sheeran, Taylor Swift and Pink are good company…Ha!). I was in a bit of inner turmoil and angst about many of the pressures I felt with the music business…lawyers, relationships, expectations and such…the hype, the portrayal…the seemingly endless promotion… All of these things I have always been uncomfortable with… I was also experiencing an upheaval from reflections on personal losses…of children, marriages and relationships in my life…but it’s not like it was negative or depression…but rather a resistance I needed to break through like a sprout emerging from the soil…or through a crack in the concrete of NYC…  I found the “flow of life” taking me to a place of the deepest contemplation I have ever experienced without any real deliberate thought…of wonder and release…a reconciliation of opposites and paradoxes…  I found myself in high vibrational states, even to the point where I found it difficult to function in the world… I did few events and couldn’t even interact on social media…and I played guitar for countless hours…playing to my audience of trees, rocks, streams, squirrels, birds, grass, insects…a meditative practice of sorts…that put me into states where the illumination of the world would engulf me…and I started the process of making…as a bird of the air…   

Not touring the cities where my records were heavily played and not doing any social media for a time is musical suicide in this day and age… and as I “followed the wind” – it wasn’t taking me to do an album stamped out of the same mold to the dismay of interested music companies… I put away my acoustic and dug into playing my old Strat and Les Paul Custom. As indicated, I isolated myself from the music world and social media at the cabin for more than a year and created this uniquely sonic album by SATURATING analog tape running 3 TIMES normal speed, with performances captured at the point of inspiration… We caused a reverb shortage around the planet as we used so much! The result was a completely different SOUND…a rock album that sounds like modern 80s at its best with high-energy rockers and passionate power ballads. I found that I sang really well in higher vocal ranges… I ended up playing all the instruments on the album except the drums, which were played by the extraordinary Wayne Redden. I had a number of other drummers completely track the album prior to Wayne, but the wild and sheer power I was looking for was not there… Wayne played so aggressive and hard that he couldn’t play for the next 3 days after the tracking sessions because his wrists hurt so badly! That’s what you call playing hard! I think there needs to be a physicality to rock music…

As an evolution of this isolation, I transformed into Andrew Reed & the Liberation… I see “the Liberation” as a personal event of complete self-actualization and self-acceptance. The vibe of playing live, amazingly, was captured on this album… Even my aggression with guitars was captured… I do tend to be very hard on guitars, cracking cymbals with the head and scraping the necks against mic stands…but to me, that is rock… Rock was never meant to be pretty…but desperate, risky and bombastic…where it could go off the rails at any moment…not over-rehearsed or efficient and safe…where you want to throw your life away on something or someone… This record captures that…

It is all really about liberation…and everyone I know wants to get free…and live the most authentic life he or she can… Heaven or Hell is within… The Kingdom of God is within… Our Life is within…WITHIN… That is where I perceive liberation lies…and we all have it…NOW in my humble opinion…without striving for it… It’s already there…  And perhaps it’s not about uninterrupted eternal bliss and happiness or Summerland or whatever… It is LIFE as it is…with full acceptance of it…and playing with it with the absorption of a child, a type of celebration…everyone getting off on thrills, endless color, variety, puzzles, games, storms, dress up, wars, dramas and comedies…  That’s what we like! And we would get bored quickly with eternal non-variation in anything… It all goes up and down…the oscillation of Life…

From a place of Love for All Expressions of Life,

~Andrew