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  1. Late December

From the recording Late December

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Late December

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"Late December" in tribute to Buddy Hall, who passed away Jan. 29, 2021, at the age of 64. My friend for more than 40 years, Buddy produced this song during sessions we began in October 2018. Although not officially mastered, what you hear is the near-final mix that we made in, fittingly, late December 2019. The amazing solo guitar is by Reb Beach of Winger, Whitesnake and several solo projects under his own name. Reb's a Pittsburgh guy, like me and Buddy.

This song is free, but if you wish, you may contribute whatever you like: I want it to be a tribute to a man who was my brother in many ways, both musically and spiritually. The world deserves to hear Buddy’s artistry. Whatever proceeds I get will go toward finishing and mastering the 5 songs Buddy and I had in the can before his death. If you contribute, I will appreciate your generosity.

We designed "Late December" as an album closer, which explains why it has a long fadeout that brings the running time to near 8 minutes. We envisioned it as a throwback to the days when people use to sit down and listen to an entire LP at one time. Particularly, I thought of it as the closing track to an LP by Pink Floyd, Yes, Genesis or any of a number of British bands who produced rock opuses in the Seventies. We wanted the listener to let out a long sigh -- "ahhhhh"-- when the song finished and walk away still enraptured, caught up in the moment. I hope you find yourself experiencing this feeling.

“Late December” is a song about relationships. I think anyone who has been in love will relate to the lyrics. Specifically, it tells the tale of a man who sees his relationship with a woman slipping away because, no matter how good things are, she sees only the negative aspects. Thinking about this, an image of bleakness came to me – a dark, dreary day in mid-winter when her black mood against snow produced shades of gray. Thus, the chorus begins: “In your mind, it’s always late December/All I find is love’s dying ember/Don’t let it burn out/Where there’s a spark can be flame.”

Buddy’s production for this tune is more than I could have hoped for: It’s as close to being a rock opus as anything I’ve ever written.

Buddy was one of the most talented guitarists and producers I have even worked with. We were brothers in many ways, and the life happiness he gave me and the thousands of others he touched over his too-brief lifespan will stay with me forever. Buddy had an innate ability to see to the core of a song, to take disparate elements and mold them into cohesive whole. He made my music come alive.

Lyrics

The day we met still lives in my memory
My eyes were closed, you opened them up for me
All that long summer, our love it grew on the vine

But seasons change and with them your attitude
All your moods now seem so much more subdued
You say you love me, but it can’t work out this time

The girl I knew I no longer recognize
It’s as if you are wearing a strange disguise
Help me see through it, show me the love in your eyes

I try so very hard to anticipate
Your every need But you don’t appreciate
What I go through
To keep our romance alive

In your mind it’s always late December
All I find is love’s dying ember
Don’t let it burn out
Where there’s a spark can be flame
Tend the spark and make it glow
Feed the fire and build it slow
Love knows no season
Keep it alive, let it grow

The things you say tear out the heart of me
Don’t turn away … you’re still such a part of me
Can’t you remember
We’ve always been lovers and friends

I try so very hard to anticipate
Your every need But you don’t appreciate
What I go through
To keep our romance alive

In your mind it’s always late December
All I find is love’s dying ember
Don’t let it burn out
Where there’s a spark can be flame
Tend the spark and make it glow
Feed the fire and build it slow
Love knows no season
Keep it alive let it grow