Track By Track: Carl Baldassarre - Grand Boulevard

By John A. Wilcox

For those of you who may not know, Carl Baldassarre is a composer / guitarist / educator & former banker! His new album - Grand Boulevard - is bursting with strong, catchy compositions and memorable guitar acrobatics! Read on as Baldassarre takes us through it track by track...

Track 1: You�re Gonna Be Right
CB: The idea for the story came from a fortune telling machine in East Village, New York. The mechanical fortune teller gave me this message on a ticket: �If you believe you can�t or if you believe you can�you�re right�. Great wisdom for .25 cents! The riff was inspired by Shostakovich�s Fugue No. 5 (Measures 5-8 if you want to look it up).

Track 2: Dead Ballet
CB: A split mood piece telling the story of a very unhappy and unending relationship. The opening mood is given by the shifting chords on a pedal note of C while the chorus shifts to an intense Deep Purple inspired heavy riff. The ending reveals an unusual half-step key change to C# minor which is slipped in almost unnoticeably. For fun, play the last few moments and then rewind to the beginning and you�ll hear the key change.

Track 3: Ready, Fire, Aim
CB: A smokey sort of jazz vibe with a fun, yet ambiguous story based on one of my favorite titles relating to doing things out of sequence. My favorite lyric is �If this don�t end well�please misspell my name��

Track 4: Sands Of Tarifa
CB: An Eastern, Kashmir-like song telling the story of a fantasy love. Inspired by a vision I had while spending time on the beaches in the southernmost point of Europe � Tarifa, Spain. From that vantage point, you can see Northern Africa and Morocco. Hence the lyric, �Waking to the flight of a sparrow, holding her ghost to my chest, feeling her down to my marrow, then I hear sounds drifting from Marrakesh.� Recorded at Abbey Road Studios in London, the London philharmonic musicians played the orchestral tracks beautifully on site!

Track 5: Lily
CB: One of my favorite tracks. I wrote it all in one sitting at 2:00 am one weekend. A very potent track about a women/girl named Lily who struggles with depression and loneliness. The lyric metaphor of a leaf falling is one of my favorites on the album.

Track 6: Forever With You
CB: I wanted to write a quintessential love song that would be the words that anybody would love to hear from their lover. I think it�s one of the most beautiful songs I�ve ever written. Marcus Scott delivers the lyrics with such soulful sensuality.

Track 7: A Little Bit Of Heaven
CB: I was walking in East Village, New York through a rain shower one afternoon and I heard this melody in my head through the din of the surrounding city noise. It was so strong that I stopped and sang it into my cell phone. The chord progression conceals a very famous rock song. The lyric is meant to be uplifting and unifying for our troubled times. I set it in a reggae style to further evoke the sense of unity and peace. I love the lyrics, �If we believe love�s a little bit of Heaven, we are a piece of a little bit of Heaven.�

Track 8: So Seville Good
CB: This is a metaphor of a beautiful city being like a beautiful women. I wrote this while in Seville, Spain, an extremely beautiful place. I set it in a Spanish guitar style to honor my guitar hero, Andre Segovia, and to capture the flamenco music I was hearing.

Track 9: Simple Song
CB: This is a song about a good melody being like a beautiful woman. Sometimes you just have to be patient and wait for the right �tune� to come along. I love the lyrics: �Simple song won�t you come to me, this ain�t no time to be slow, simple song won�t you come with me, the band is ready to go.�

Track 10: Gin With Alice
CB: I wrote this song while in Edinburgh, Scotland. I was staying with a friend whose wife (Alice) knocked on my door and said, �It�s 4:00 and I�m going to have a gin, would you like to join me?� I thought that was a great title for a song. The song itself has nothing to do with her, and the subject matter is extremely difficult as the �Alice� in my story takes her own life. The notion of the �second-last goodbye� is quite moving to me. Charles Iverson delivers such a beautiful lead vocal performance on this one.

Track 11: Margarita
CB: This is another song that wrote itself at 2:00 am. I was staying in a rental flat where a most beautiful, but troubled Columbian woman was living in the flat below me. From the day she moved in I got a contact high from the smoke wafting up from her flat. Fine quality indeed. Unfortunately, she was arrested early one morning. As she was being led away, the music and lyric came to me, and I started strumming out the whole song from top to bottom right on spot.

Track 12: Another Day
CB: I was with a lovely friend in London enjoying a beautiful day strolling along Primrose Hill and through Regents Garden where the Queens roses were in bloom. I said to her, �This is so beautiful!� To which she replied, �It�s just another day.� I thought right! I wrote the song with all the names of the different roses and set it in the style of a very Beatles-like, 60s London pop song. It�s one of my favorites on the album.

Track 13: Wait
CB: One of the first songs I wrote for the album. It�s an anthem for procrastinators. Imploring myself to get on with it (writing this album) before it�s too late.

Track 14: The Reckoning
CB: A very powerful British-styled rock waltz with lots of heavy guitar. The message is about being one�s own worst enemy. I�m particularly fond of the guitar solo section.

Track 15: You�re Wrong (Dead Wrong)
CB: I wrote this in Austria after taking my two sons to see an AC/DC concert. They were being such good sports following me around through my classical music adventures in Vienna. I decided to surprise them with tickets to that show. I honestly wasn�t so sure I�d like the show, but by third song, I was blown away by the power of the band and the audience�s connection. I thought I had to write a rock anthem to capture that mood. I chose an underdog story line to pull it together.

Track 16: Love Never Dies
CB: Inspired after seeing the modern musical, Hamilton. I decided to write a duet for musical theatre. It was probably the most complex piece I wrote. I studied Beethoven�s only opera (Fidelio) to learn how to write overlapping lyrics and melody. This is a biographical story about a son and his deceased mother having an ongoing dialogue. It really worked out great and I�m especially proud of this piece.


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