Tokyo Rosenthal talks about writing about jet lag and getting laid off; working with fiddle and pedal steel players; and his Irish roots.
Tokyo Rosenthal - Photo credit: Pat French
Tokyo Rosenthal talks about the name of the album being a play on "Beethoven's Fifth." He says that this collection of songs doesn't have a particular theme. He says that after he finishes an album, he doesn't write anymore songs for several months in sort of a sabbatical. Instead he saves up scraps of paper with phrases he runs across. He say she's not a "volume writer." Instead he focuses on a smaller collection of songs and works on them until he gets them right.
Tokyo Rosenthal sets of "Mulberry Place." He says this is the first song he wrote for this album. It's based on the jet lag experience he had after flying overnight to the UK. The jet lag, combined with getting lost, trying to drive on the wrong side of the road, and having trouble with the hotel made him very unsettled. He found himself sitting in a cafe around noon and one woman in particular woman stood out for him. Tokyo say the anguish in the woman who was taking care of her handicapped daughter. Her angst combined with his jet-lagged angst combined to to make the song what it is.
[Calvin plays "Mulberry Place" from Tokyo's Fifth by Tokyo Rosenthal.]
Tokyo Rosenthal notes that the fiddle player is John Teer from Chatham County Line. Tokyo says that the song originally was going in a "Waylon Jenning's" direction. Tokyo says that Teer took the song in a different direction and Tokyo was so happy with it he was literally dancing around the studio. Tokyo also says that he was worried when Alan Love came into the studio to do the pedal steel part because he was afraid that Love would fight agaisnt Teer's tracks but Love put "great little things around what John had done."
Tokyo Rosenthal sets up "What Did I Used To Be." He says that it's based on the unprecedented economic times. Tokyo had read a story about a man who'd been hot so hard by the economic crash that he'd attemtped suicide. Tokyo was so moved by the story he was compelled to write a song to voice the man's point of view. Calvin says this song feels like the cornerstone of the album. Tokyo talks about the video for the song that Nic Beery directed. Tokyo also says that Alan Love did a great riff on the pedal steel that's based on a pedal steel part from Roseanne Cash's "Seven Year Ache."
[Calvin plays "What Did I Used To Be" from Tokyo's Fifth by Tokyo Rosenthal.]
Tokyo Rosenthal talks about falling in love with Ireland and visiting Killaloe, where his aunt and uncle used to live. He and his wife visited the town and met people who were close to his aunt and uncle. While there, they heard a story about a fiddle player who used to entertain people there in town. Tokyo heard the line "Killaloe , you've lost your fiddler" and that became the core of the song.
"What Did I Used To Be" by Tokyo Rosenthal
- Halfway To Houston / The Leavers / Once Upon A Time... / 3:32
- Uncle Bones / Mark Lucas / Uncle Bones / 3:37
- Lift Us / Chastity Brown / Back Road Highways / 3:46
- Fox In A Hen House / Rachel Brooke / A Killer's Dream / 4:01
- What I Deserve / Beautiful Loser Society / The Desperate Promenade / 3:58
- Susquehanna Breakdown / Cabinet / Leap / 2:58
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photo credit: Pat French