In the grand tradition of such songs as "Dancing in the Streets" and Lee Greenwood's "God Bless the USA," Marcus Singletary's "Here in the USA, You Found Your Way" is a patriotic song that calls out many cities within the United States. On it, Singletary plays some exuberant country guitar licks that complement lyrics emphasizing the American dream's viability.
The album itself is similarly an exploration of the American ethos. "Dawn of a Rainbow" offers some sun-drenched improvisational guitar that leads directly into stirring experiences like "Fallen Heroes" - which showcases a liquid jag and couplets on the sacrifices American soldiers have made for the constitutional freedoms "I Do What I Want" celebrates.
Regardless of a person's ultimate fate, America has at least provided a starting point for its citizens to live a life reflective of their own values.
"Streets of San Diego" is a Bob Dylan-type tune describing the exploits of drug cartels near the US-Mexico border. "Sunset Junction Blues" travels north to L.A. as dealers sing "narcocorridos" for their buyers with refrains such as, "With a bomb, you can own the world today." "Prisoners of Ice" depicts the pitfalls of life as a U.S. migrant. "Meet You at the Red Bank" invites you to the showdown between ideological factions within the nation's culture war - which appears again in Singletary's discussion of gender, "Saved By a Woman." It asks if women retain their true personalities after their identities have been altered through marriage and other personal choices. Its musical toughness certainly recalls the arena rock era of the 1970s.
The raging blues of "Demons Down Under" sums it all up nicely by asserting that it is within the best interests of all people to expect the unexpected. Here, Singletary slash through the sexy template like the guitar gods of yore with Olympian acrobatics. "Improvisation is one of the keys to life," Singletary says. "Unlike most other places around the world, America encourages this method of self-discovery, which is beneficial to use to further your own happiness and chances for success."
Despite change and one's choices, America has at least provided a starting point for its citizens to live a life reflective of their own values.
All eight instrumentals on Marcus Singletary's eighth studio album The Breakaway were spontaneously improvised in the recording studio.
He plays guitar, bass, and drums on a title track that hints at "yacht-rock" with its smooth musical liquidity and, from there, the clear-eyed Martin acoustic leads stand alone, with only Singletary's use of pedals providing accompaniment. Angular, rapid-fire solos, unexpected melodies, and unconventional chordal patterns emerge throughout the playlist, and closing tune "Three Windows, Five Walls, No Doors" contains elephantine licks that prove Singletary's instructional project, Advanced Guitar For All Ages, was no fluke.
Subject-wise, winding extrapolations chart the mysteriously-surnamed character Yiyr's exploits in California and the Middle East, and his cosmic encounters in the "Magic Mushroom Hotel," "Friar Yiyr's Psychedelic Sushi Room," and "Yiyr's Yacht."
Whether the character is a doctor, a friar, or both, and what led a person entrusted with these responsibilities down such pathways are issues for Rubik's Cubers to ponder. But the spirit of invention is most obvious, as the material deviates from any true standards, structures, precedents, or protocols. The music has been shaped on the fly - which displays an awareness and acceptance of the risks involved in forging ahead with a format in which the creations could either "jump the shark" or ignite a spark depending on the performer's skill level. Quite clearly, on The Breakaway, they catch a fire.
Life Was Never Better Than It Is Right Now offers up 30 Marcus Singletary alternate takes, live cuts, and vault finds, and is a companion piece to the 50-track compilation The Complete Aviation Studio Albums (2004-2020.)
It marks the first appearances anywhere for the studio versions of "King Astrohead," "Roll it One More Time," and "In a Matter of Time," and the first official album inclusions for singles "Big Bass Man," "Carina Sextantis," and the title cut - a radio show theme song mastered by legendary engineer Brian Gardner.
From the progressive Americana of "Tomorrow, No" to the modality of jazz guitar improvisations "Chicago Stomp" and "I Want Someone to Love," a wide range of expression abounds - leaving listeners pondering whether William Shatner inspired such cinematic, Trek-ian cuts as "I'd Like to Find Out What's Going On" and “(Off to the) Shores of Hell."
Elsewhere, you get smoky Bo-Berry blues (“Come On Over to My Side, Baby,” "My Mind's Working Overtime”), LSD-induced apparitions (“Come and Get It,” "Space Train to Babylon”), and a top-tier portfolio of highlights for six-string enthusiasts (“Boys of Summer," "Cartwheel and Comet," "Green Sky Guitar," "King Astrohead," "L.A. Marathon Song.”)
Marcus Singletary wrote, arranged, and produced all 30 of these songs, composed 48 of 50 from the previous collection, and has amassed a prolific catalog that can be presented to new listeners in many different forms. Most other artists cannot exercise such options.
© 2023 Sebhedris Music Publishing (ASCAP).