John Talley is a jazz musician born and raised in the Midwest. He tries to create jazz music that is accessible to a wide range of listeners. He's focusing on creating his second CD. This one will be comprised of music from the American Song book.
The Sweet Apple Dream liner notes:
This collection of music has been several years in the making. It has been said that a work of art is never finished, only abandoned. The artist, reaching for perfection, merely comes as close as he might, and then surrenders to God as the only perfect creator. There are certain Indian tribes in Guatemala known for their beautiful weaving. I bought a couple of blankets while living there years ago. I was told that into each blanket is woven a single error. Although they had many generations ago perfected the art of weaving, they are conflicted by the idea of creating a perfect blanket when only God is capable of perfection. I am not so conflicted, and having put my heart and soul into this music, I now abandon the project in all its unintended imperfections. This is as close to the expression I had hoped to make as I think I will come. I surrender to God.
There are a few things that have come together to make these recordings possible. First, I must thank my wife Belinda for her unabashed love of my music, and especially my singing voice. She has been asking me to sing to her for 35 years, and has tolerated my many nights away from home as I endeavored to sing for her the perfect love song. God knows our marriage isn't perfect, and relationships are delicate and fragile things really, requiring much care. We have traveled these years together with a substantial measure of commitment, determination, an abiding love for God, each other, our children and grandchildren, and every once in a while we glimpse a measure of perfection along the way.
My children were very encouraging and supportive throughout this project. But I thank them not only for their enthusiasm on my behalf, but also for being really wonderful people. Whenever my struggles in life become so overwhelming that I lose sight of my blessings, the one thing that is never obscured is how blessed I am to have them, to have a family. I declare God created four perfect people. If there is now to be found any imperfection in them it should be taken into account that they lived their formative years with me.
There is a list of things I must thank Dave McKenna for. He holds a Wednesday night jam session among friends that I have attended for many years. He graciously opened his recording studio to me based on, I suspect, the idea that if I could handle a guitar maybe my songs might be good. But every song I brought to the studio was in raw form - melody, chords, lyrics, and an idea of the style and feel I was going for. Every bit of the arranging and production of this music was a collaboration between the two of us. I knew what the texture of each arrangement should be. He was brilliant and indispensable in helping to create it. He is a genius in a digital recording studio who manages to find a solution to every technical challenge. And as a multi-instrumentalist, he is to be credited with every instrument recorded other than my guitar, voice, and some of the percussion. (I have to thank my son, Mike, for the rockin' finger snaps in one of the songs.) Above all, we are kindred spirits in the attitude we bring to the creative process. As Dave would say, mistakes in performances are singular, soon forgotten events, but mistakes on a recording are repeated over and over again. Dave, though he surely appreciates the humility of a Guatemalan Indian, does not suffer any conflicts over attempting perfection in music. He looked for it in every recorded millisecond, and surrendered only when he was certain we could come no closer. His threshold for abandoning any recording is very high.
I also must thank my brother Doug for his generosity in allowing me to mess with his poems. Nearly the entire content of his poems that I adapted into lyrics are rendered just as he penned them. Really, there are only a few minor adjustments that were required to set them to melody. The most successful way to write a song, I feel, is to create the melody and lyrics simultaneously. That is a challenge, to be sure, and often one will come before the other. If I had to chose one to begin with I would take the words. I find that in writing a song the lyrics will suggest the melody, and it is a testament to Doug's gift as a poet that his lines almost sing themselves. His ideas are poignant, his images riveting. His themes are always rooted in the divine without becoming overbearing. And although I am certain he would never presume to have achieved Godly perfection in anything, I am equally certain that my brother labors over each syllable as though perfection could be wrested from it with a bit more patience. As he has written, "autumn hides in a leaf all summer." None of his work is rendered quickly, but rather like that leaf, unfolds in all its glory very slowly.
And now back to where I began...God's work too, seems to be rendered slowly. I am grateful he has not, nor will ever, abandon me. Though I am far from perfection I sense there is potential if I can but render some patience, and manage to surrender to God.
Song of Eden - music John Talley / lyrics Doug Talley
Her Song in the Open - music John Talley / lyrics Doug Talley
Because It's Good - music and lyrics John Talley
Home For Awhile - music and lyrics John Talley
All Heaven and Earth - music and lyrics John Talley
The Former Rain - music John Talley / lyrics Doug Talley
Escapista - music and lyrics John Talley
Sweet Apple Dream - music John Talley / lyrics Doug Talley