Chris Paul Overall (CPO) is my buddy. We were born weeks apart. At times we've behaved even like brothers. PawnShop kings (PSk) are two genuine brothers by blood - Scott and Joel. They'll tell you that brotherly love means both exhilarating and not-so-loving exchanges. CPO and I have spent many many hours together over the years. We're both moody creatures with big hearts. You see where I'm going with this.
Or perhaps you don't. I'm not about to wax on about past quibbles or road dramas. 'Tis no tawdry tabloid today. Push-and-pull as any fraternal relationship will inform, I'm feeling proud this day, refreshed and delighted by my longtime friend and collaborator... just as CPO and I were together reinvigorated by a collaborative reunion with some of our dearest music pals. We've just captured a remarkable moment in our story. And it's time, at last, to share it with you...
You see, after years offstage AJ+CPO have returned in 2015. And it feels exciting. We're aging. But it's sweetening. Our voices are rounder and deeper, their ranges adjusted. The responsibilities in our lives have evolved. And our scopes have widened. Our passions are more fiery than ever. Yet our hearts have softened.
In August, we spent an idyllic day with friends in the forested mountains above the eastern L.A. basin, for the wedding of our same-aged friend Jay Buchanan to his flawless bride Caitlin. Then in early October, we took a trip that reminded us of the old days. We journeyed to the heartland of America, and -- despite that Chris grew up in neighboring Texas -- to a place neither of us had been before: Oklahoma. We'd been invited to give a live concert of our Hymns Collaboration before a multi-generational crowd of students and alumni gathered from around the country for a university's annual homecoming celebration.
Earlier that day we joined some of their exceptional undergraduate musicians to lead a morning chapel service, then gave a guest lecture and Q&A for one of the school's choir courses. The evening concert culminated with the crowd on their feet joining us for the classic hymn How Great Thou Art at top-lung. Afterwards we followed them all outside for a lakeside ceremony to release glowing sky-lanterns in memory of alumni who had passed. We had come to give of our song. But the university staff, faculty, alumni, and student body gave us so much we hadn't expected. When it came time to scoot back home, it had all come and gone too quickly. CPO remarked that he hoped we field more invitations like this in days ahead.
I very much wish the same.
And what's more... Out in those low hills above Tulsa, we were sitting giddy on a juicy secret. We'd just spent a late-September evening reuniting with longtime music pals Scott & Joel Owen, Scott Devours, and Daniel Rhine at The Warehome in Orange, CA. Video crew from 4th Street Productions (Long Beach, CA) were along to shoot the making of a fresh AJ+CPO recording to commemorate the release of our new Collector's Edition of The Hymns Collaboration album on 12" vinyl. We wanted to make it special. And the best way we know is to bring together legendary music friends to celebrate with us.
Many of you may recall nights at The Gypsy Lounge in Lake Forest, or at The Space or The Blue Cafe in Long Beach, or even more recently at The Warehome herself, when any combination of these guys and others might join impromptu for uniquely inspired musical performances that would never again be heard the same way? That heart still beats. Strong. On this warm September evening in Orange, we captured one such pulse. After much hard work putting it all together, we are so excited at last to share this moment with you. The song download is now available as companion to AJ+CPO's Collectors Edition vinyl. And here's a sneak peak of 4th Street's video, coming soon:
So... CPO and I invite you to be part of this, our brothers' reunion. This spankin' new full-band recording of Sweeter the Pain , live from The Warehome is included free with the Collectors Edition Vinyl LP, which comes also with a full color 2-sided square "Sweeter the Pain" poster and a download card of the complete album digitally.
Merry Christmas from Chris and AJ. Let's keep on singing. Together.
Liner notes for Sweeter the Pain , live from The Warehome feat. PawnShop kings:
AJ+CPO - AJ DeGrasse (piano, voice) + Chris Paul Overall (guitar, voice)
PawnShop kings - Joel Owen (guitar, voice) + Scott Owen (guitar, voice)
Daniel Rhine - bass
Scott Devours - drums
Shot and recorded at The Warehome (Orange, CA), September 2015.
Tim Omel - tracking & monitoring engineer
Dallas Kruse - mixing engineer
Adam Watts - mastering engineer
4th Street Productions - cinematography
Featured fine art @ The Warehome by:
Salem Cade, Eric Leonard Jones, VA Lewis, Serena Potter
Our special thanks to: Helena McGill, Marley Hemmen, Chuck @ Tech Arts, Paul @ Buzzbomb Sound Labs, and Hollingshead's Delicatessen.
As you spin this album in your home or share it at your parties - check back here to learn the stories behind the music you're hearing. And post your thoughts in the comments below alongside others who are soaking in it like you. Or if you prefer, click the RSS link below to get each new blog entry automatically fed to your browser's bookmarks as soon as it posts