Russ Arlotta has been under the songwriter’s unpredictable spell since the early 1970''s (writing his first song at 15). He has tried to remain true and honest to that muse whenever she calls and to listen to what she has to say: “Songs serve many purposes... They may comfort or confront... challenge or motivate... or simply make for a gratifying, pleasant diversion... Certain songs can even help in healing those injured in heart or mind... And every now and again there comes along a song that holds within it, a key... or perhaps a rope ladder... something which may open an unexpected door, ... or lift us above the walls we build for ourselves - to glimpse something bigger... something beautiful... something profound... ”
Russ is the youngest of four siblings. He attended high school and college in the seventies, received his B.A. in English; a J.D. in law followed. He has been a practicing attorney by day and songwriter/musician by night for some time... He and wife, Joanie, have three grown or nearly grown children, who now find themselves standing at the threshold of their journeys, eyes open to the beauty of it all...
“It has been really gratifying to hear from listeners that the songs from “The Road We Travel” resonate for them on a meaningful level. The common thread that binds this collection of tunes, I would say, are the lyrics that reach out in an effort to touch basic truths we count on for meaning in this world; love… kindness… honesty... joy... compassion,…courage... those key ingredients that nurture spirit and soul on this road we travel...
The title song, “The Road We Travel,” is an allegorical (if conversational) tribute to those through time who have lifted up our humble human race... the ones who have helped to raise the bar of our humanity, with the chorus refrain being a wish to the heavens;
“For those who guide us to that better day, may the stars protect you on your way. For those given sight, beyond common light, be our north star at night...”
“Such a Time as This,” was written as a metaphorical prayer/plea in the fall of 2002 for a brighter and better day when it seemed startling and yet inexorable that a small handful in power would pull our country into an unpremeditated, unprovoked war. There was a sad and surreal quality to those days... and the days that followed...
“Reasons come and go... they can’t add up to what we know... One mistake can dash it all... one false step can mean the fall. The power of the gun... it can not be undone... reasons and lives get blown asunder... when rage erupts to take us under... ”
“You Just Stood There” is a tip of the hat to those “who wonder... who care...” and who realize that “it’s just the brilliance of the moment that we really own...” It’s always special when the road we travel crosses paths with one of these enlightened sojourners...
“Spring” addresses themes of rebirth... new beginnings... rights of passage... from the perspective of the one undertaking the journey. Oh, what a beautiful, lonesome, challenging, rewarding road awaits this traveler...
“Starting out on two good feet; but you can’t tell the beat that drums within your head.
Feeling lost, feeling on the wrong road, carrying the wrong load, but what,...
but what can be said, except
No more mothering; no more smothering what’s dear to you
No more covering what’s real to you
We were craving for something... new”
“Blue Sky Pie” is a song of joy that celebrates this precious gift of life we’re given. “… And when I look into your brown, green, blue, or hazel eyes, I see, blue, blue sky ...”
Heaven’s blue sky pie is right there for each of us to grasp. Let’s have a slice!
“Things Are Changing” - Despite starting out in a minor key and acknowledging some stark realities within its verses, all around this song’s winding edges, is pretty clearly a message of hope.
“Maybe all this sorrow and all this weepin’s just a bad dream… we were all just sleepin’… Gonna wake up, wake up, to a brand new morning,… a fresh start, a new beginning,… this could be our only warning…that things are changing.”
“Silent Flight” is a fast tempo tribute to the artist in each of us that understands on some fundamental level that we’re “here to see what we can see”... be it “the wind dancing with the trees… the bootless soldiers marching… the face of something so divine… the best in us,… or even... the loose ends of our lives at length…”
“A Better Place” - A reporter reviewing the cd release concert considered this song to have a zen quality to the lyrics. I agree and would simply add that taken as a whole, the song is part zen philosophy (with a small “z” and a small “p”), part humanist prayer, and part practical (or pragmatic) imaging or... imagining. May we each “walk through this journey with an open heart.” We surely will see more that way. And may we all “imagine this world in a better place than it is today…” If we can imagine it, we’ve got a chance to make it happen...
A wonderful and wonderfully talented group of friends/musicians added their beautiful artistic talents and vision to this project:
Zan Mcleod - electric bass, acoustic, electric and E-bow guitars, and mandolin(also studio engineer and co-producer)
David Hartge - electric guitar(also graphic designer for cd cover and lyric booklet)
Karen Taylor - vocal harmonies
Mindy McWilliams – violin
Charlie Trapp - acoustic and electric bass
Skye Mcleod - drums
Paul Lojewski - harmonica
Dan Robinson – bouzouki
Sam Morgan - electric piano
And a tip of the artist’s hat to Caitlin Arlotta - (original creator of the sun, moon and stars on our family’s garage doors, which through the combined mysteries of technology and artistic license, now also grace the back of the cd cover).
Well, this is some of what you will encounter on “The Road We Travel.” Thank you so much for your interest in this music! ... I really hope you enjoy it!!!
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