After we had performed “To Belong” for the final time last year, Alycia Tierney, a rising senior (and Vocal Ensemble president-elect) came to me and declared, “I’M writing next year’s graduation song”. My answer was something like, “yah, ok, can we talk about it in six months or so?” As it turned out, we sat down with only a title at the beginning of April, and by the beginning of May we had this beautiful song finished, with a studio-quality demo and choral arrangement. It’s so wonderfully personal, with great details about her life, while being just wistful enough to make you miss high school and your friends, even if you’re not the one graduating. It’s one of my all-time favorite co-writes. The 70s Fleetwood Mac vibe was entirely intentional, and stands as a pretty significant contrast to last year’s pop-oriented arrangement. There are great background vocals from Colby, Jacob P., Jenna, and Sam, and, of course, that’s Jacob Lauria on drums. We were severely pressed for time the day we did the tracking, so I cut the lead guitar track in one take. Sometimes we make our own pressure for fun, I suppose. Released as an online single in June, 2019.
This was a fun piece to write, and it’s one of my favorite choral works, so far. It’s dedicated to Fr. Robert Hawkins, the former pastor at St. Luke’s, and was originally performed at his retirement mass in June of 2018. The title is taken from one of his best-loved homilies. It wasn’t easy to record, since we were so scattered (Caroline literally ‘phoned’ her part in from Maryland), but as always, the vocalists of Listen Above brought the words to life. It has also been performed by the Mt. Hope Vocal Ensemble, who featured it at the Providence College Choral Festival in February, 2019. Released as an online single in October, 2018. Please check our website for tour dates and more information about the band.
I originally wrote this for my own high school graduation, but was never totally satisfied with it, so it’s been rewritten countless times over the years. Someday I’ll grab all of the demos and make one (unlistenable) EP out of them. We had an amazing audition choir at Mt. Hope High School in 2018, and they inspired me to finally finish the song and write an SATB arrangement, which we then recorded and performed for graduation. It was the first official release by Mt. Hope Music, and due to the terrible events of that year, it was also used as part of a fundraiser to benefit the Stoneman Douglas High School victims fund. Released as an online single in May, 2018.
“Public Therapy” b/w “What Is It About You?” was the final released single by the D.J. Lauria Band, and had a harder-edged sound than our earlier releases. The title tune is about talk radio, and how it was poisonous to public discourse. HAHAHAHAHA Twitter is laughing at me now. Old friend (and professor, may he rest in peace) Henry Gaffney raised a few sarcastic questions the first time he heard the mix-down: “kind of a long guitar solo, don’t you think? Well, you know your audience, I guess.” Then, later: “what’s up with all the French? Isn’t this a rock song?” “What Is It About You?” has so much that I love: exaggerated lyrics, big guitar solo, intro in 7/4 time for no reason… Also, for some reason John S., in full Dr. Seuss mode, managed to convince a lot of people that the title was “What is it, a balue?” THAT’S HOW YOU MAKE HITS, KIDS.
Originally released on cassingle, C&D Records catalog #48-218. Currently unavailable, unless you ask for one really nicely.
This was a good one. “Time That I Forgot” started as a songwriting exercise: I wanted to see if I could fit new words to an old, preexisting song, and then write an entirely new song from the lyric (I’ll never say what song I used for the template, and I’d be astounded if you guessed). Eventually, it became a beautiful bit of power-pop all on its own. It’s both defiant and hopeful, and I don’t think I’d really pulled that off before. I was humbled when it was chosen as an honorable mention in the 1997 Billboard Song Contest, and it’s still one of the songs of which I’m most proud, both for the writing and production. At the time, I was playing an old Ibanez 12-string acoustic, the one from the 70s which, inexplicably, used a bolt-on neck. It had imploded, as most of them did, so we repaired it with a huge block of wood, hoping that would better support it against all the string tension. We were lucky enough to double-track it on this song before it blew again, for good. The Strats are doubled, too, and the whole thing sits on one of John’s finest drum tracks. The flip side is “Previous Engagement”, which is pretty much one joke. Love the marimba, though.
Originally released on cassingle, C&D Records catalog #45-163. Currently unavailable.