Posts Tagged ‘New Album’

Dylans’s Ghost- Track 1- Songs of a Lifetime

February 16, 2016 5 comments

Album2- R&G

I’m blogging some background on the songs on Dylan’s Ghost.  Here’s the story behind the title tune. The photo above is me and my son, Charlie, performing in Reston, Virginia about six years ago, just a couple of weeks after the song “Dylan’s Ghost” was written.



The title song of the album is a tribute to my son and a recognition of what I’m sure happens with all parents when they have what I call the “full-circle moment.” That’s when all of a sudden you realize your child is all grown up and some of the things that used to inspire you, now inspire them too.

First of all…here’s Charlie:


This song was written in early 2009 in New York City. I had the great fortune of living in a really nice apartment on the Upper West Side. Here is the approximate location:

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I woke up one Saturday morning and it was snowing hard. There are few more beautiful views in this world than the Manhattan skyline in a snowfall. From 18 stories up. Just gorgeous.

Anyway, I checked my e-mail, and my then 18-year-old son, Charlie, who was living in Atlanta, had sent me an audio attachment. It was him singing Wagon Wheel– a song started by Bob Dylan and finished up by Old Crow Medicine Show’s Ketch Secor, 40 years later and would become a country hit for Darius Rucker in 2013.

Charlie’s version, the Old Crow Medicine Show edition, was so sweet and sung with such passion. And I’m realizing as I’m hearing this, that my son has discovered Dylan and the whole genre with the “folk” pedigree now known as “Americana.”

So with Charlie’s voice echoing in the room and watching this beautiful snowstorm- a song was born.

Dylan’s Ghost
By Robert Garcia/Copyright 2015


It’s snowing sideways but I’m smiling on the inside
And I’ve got a warm heart thinking of you
Who knew?
It was a cold day like this when I brought you home
Wrapped in a blanket and a prayer
A lifetime to share

Now I’m listening to you sing
As the ghost of Dylan rings
From your soul
You make me whole

Someday you’ll know maybe sitting in a falling snow
What’s it’s like to watch something grow
So strong
So true
So you

The Southbound Train pulled into the station
Rocking like a Wagon Wheel
Anyway you feel
And I don’t know about the destination
I’m just along for the ride
Right by your side

Now I’m listening to you sing
As the ghost of Dylan rings
In your soul
You make me whole

Someday you’ll know maybe sitting in a falling snow
What’s it’s like to watch something grow
So strong
So true
So you

Producer, Jeff Severson’s guitar (and Dobro) work on this tune is just spectacular. The mix of the driving finger-picking that animates the song from the start is complimented perfectly by Jeff’s many guitar riffs weaving in and out like magic. It’s a small thing but I love the replication of the sound of a steam engine just as the line “The southbound train” starts the second verse coming out of Jeff’s ridiculously good guitar break.

The phrase “southbound train” has two origins. It’s the name of one of the best tunes Graham Nash ever wrote and it also symbolizes what would soon be Charlie’s trek south from Washington to Atlanta and finally, to Nashville, Tennessee where he currently resides.

You also now know why the train was rocking like a “Wagon Wheel.”


Dylan’s Ghost- Songs of a Lifetime is available for digital download at I-Tunes, CD Baby, and Amazon Music. Purists who would like a hard copy of the CD can contact me directly at and we’ll make arrangements to ship it out to you.

The Making of an Album:  Dylan’s Ghost- Songs of a Lifetime

February 13, 2016 3 comments


The title tune in it’s entirety…and more to come in the days ahead..right here at Garcia Media Life!


But please buy the record!  Instructions  below…


The Story Behind the Album

Music has been an important part of my life for a half-century- ever since I first picked up a guitar and my mom helped me figure out the lead line to the Beatle’s Day Tripper- at the age of 8.  But it is not until now, at the age of 59, that I have finally put together an actual record- an album- for the first time.   It’s just six songs.  But I hope folks will understand- a very special six songs, literally spanning one man’s lifetime.

This is ultimately a bid for immortality.  I’ve had a couple of close calls in recent years.  Having survived them, I became determined to create a musical work of some of the best tunes I’ve written- from 40 years ago to a few months ago- for posterity- in the hopes this musical part of my life lives in perpetuity somewhere in the digital cloud, long outliving my stay on this little blue planet.

Music Versus Journalism

I have always had a tortured relationship with music and the concept of being a singer/songwriter.  I have loved it as an art.  When it has devolved into work, like playing for drunks in assorted bars in my 20s, I found it could also be corrosive to the soul.  It’s also an absolutely brutal industry.   It chews people up and spits them out and humbles even the successful as staying at the top is as hard as getting there, and most never get to even a hint of the mountaintop and if they do it can be fleeting and elusive.

So I chose a career in journalism that I have now been engaged in for nearly 40 years.  It has been rewarding and important work.  I have worked for organizations like CBS, CNN, ABC and NPR.  I have seen history up close and personal.  I have worked with remarkable individuals whose courage and grace has helped the citizens of this country stay informed about their world, even at the risk of their very lives.  I made the right choice.

But music has always returned periodically in my life, tugging at my sleeve and reminding me that the art of the original song was always my first love.

It’s one thing to cover popular tunes, but when you write music and lyrics- when it becomes personal and you’re pouring your emotions and musings and thoughts and loves and fears into something to share with an audience- well, that’s art and that’s what I want to share now with my friends, my colleagues, my family and anyone who wants to give a listen.

When you come out with a record, your distributors want to know what kind of music it is.  Turns out after perusing through the various genres, that this is Folk-Folk Rock-Power Pop- Intellectual. But what it really is to your heart and your mind is a collection of songs with meaningful lyrics, music and melody that creates emotion and mood and is, hopefully, inspiring- and a performance and expression that is as honest as possible and executed with as much grace as one can muster.

With a Little Help from My Friends

It takes time to do this right.  Work began on this record in April of 2015.  About six weeks per song.  I owe a tremendous debt of gratitude to Jeff Severson who produced and arranged it with breathtaking skill and sensitivity.   Our collaboration was smooth and easy.

Jeff is a tremendous musician, a Master guitarist whose skills are in evidence all over this album. He has put out 11 instrumental albums, any one of which will knock your socks off.   He was a driving force behind 4 out of 5 Doctors on the CBS label many moons ago, a power-pop band whose music is still fondly remembered and loved by their many fans.   Last year, Jeff was inducted into the South Dakota Rock n’ Roll Hall of Fame.

But there’s a knack to producing that is also one of Jeff’s strong suits.  It involves getting the most out of the artist.   It involves diplomacy, psychology, perseverance and of course, creativity. And then there’s his arranging skills- a whole other remarkable skill-set.

Turns out I had written a lot of songs that were actually only about 75% complete.  They were all, like, 2 minutes and 15 seconds long.  Though this is a highly artistic project, one does want to provide some semblance of commercial viability.   Jeff is a wonderful songwriter himself and his diagnosis of what each song needed was spot-on.   I wrote new lyrics.   I finished unfinished verses.  I added to breaks.  And it was Jeff who pushed me every step of the way.

Here are the album notes.  The artwork for this album was all done by Jeff’s brother, Scott, who is an old High School friend which is my good fortune, because he’s also one of the most talented graphic artists I have ever known.  Scott’s cover concept of the “just left” Bob Dylan sunglasses and coffee cup against an East Village backdrop is just brilliant for an album called Dylan’s Ghost,  don’t you think?    Please note that in the lower left hand corner of the album notes there is a subtle image of little Gracie,  a cat I rescued 15 years ago that I had to put down at the start of the year.  It was the last photo ever taken of her.  So this album is also a bid for Gracie’s immortality as well as my own 🙂

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Here’s How You Can Hear the Album

Over the next couple of weeks, I am reactivating this blog to share these six songs with you.   I will publish the lyrics, talk about their meaning and some of the textual and musical changes we made along the way.   I intend to embed each of the songs in their entirety into these blog posts so you can hear what it is I’m posting about.   I would still appreciate if you went to places like I-Tunes and CD Baby to plunk down a mere $6 for the whole album so you can hear it in its entirety and so your humble artist can recoup some of his production costs.

Purists who want the CD itself can drop me an e-mail at and we’ll arrange to have it shipped to you.

You can purchase a digital download at I-Tunes, CD Baby and Amazon Music.