I am excited to announce my first-ever album of ballads: What You Don’t See
As a musician I may be best known for a particular solo guitar style I invented in the late 1980’s that involves percussion and funk grooves.
But there is more to my story as an artist and composer…and it is my ballads.
Throughout my forty-year recording career I have always included ballads alongside more up-tempo compositions. As a record producer then and now I believe it is essential to vary rhythm and mood in a track list. It creates a more balanced listening experience. A melodic ballad can bring a refreshing change to a sequence.
I have always felt lucky to be able to communicate emotion through my music. Ballads have been my vehicle for exploring nuanced emotional landscapes. I consider the compositions and musicianship in this collection to be among my very best work.
A “ballad” is defined as a narrative set to music. Each track in this collection possesses a particular melodic, emotional, ethereal, mysterious or romantic quality that tells a story without words.
The title tune – “What You Don’t See” – was written for my daughter Lily when she was seven years old. She was devastated at not winning a children’s talent contest. I wanted to let her know that I loved her and that there were bigger and better things awaiting her in life.
As a phrase, what you don’t see is also a perfect metaphor for the inner, emotional content of all of my ballads. Sometimes I want to tell a story that an uptempo composition cannot tell…to slow things down…to explore space, time, texture, imagery, mystery, silence, a particular vibe, a mystical stillness, or magic…to take a journey. These ballads reveal hidden realms.
My wife Catherine chose the music for this 20-tune collection from albums I have recorded over the last twenty plus years. Since we met in 2000 she has always wanted to release a stand-alone collection of my ballads. Now, finally, is that time. You could say this album took nearly twenty years to make.
We sequenced the tracks to flow as effortlessly as possible from one tune to the next. What surprises me when listening to them side by side is how different the experience is from hearing them in the context of the albums they originally appeared on. It is as if they were always meant to be presented this way.
Some of the tunes may surprise you. “After A Rain” begins as a breezy stroll through an evergreen forest…but gathers speed and momentum as it goes along. It is still a romantic, story-telling composition however. “Film Noir” is briskly fingerpicked, yet has a retro, mysterious, old black-and-white film quality. The bluesy “Lost Time” is a statement of aching irony and emotional rawness. The vibrato slide-textured “Radiance” – one of the most unusual compositions I have written – is a mystical exploration of space. It has an anticipatory feeling that makes me think of the final moments before a spaceship takes off.
This project has been re-mixed and re-mastered by the original engineer, Paul Baron. I have worked with Paul for over a quarter century. He has realised a remarkable warmth, clarity and a quality of intimacy on these tracks, drawing out the personality of each guitar I used whether it was an acoustic guitar, a solid-body electric guitar, a semi-acoustic jazz guitar, an electric baritone guitar or a nylon string classical guitar. I think he has accomplished the impossible here and actually improved on his own superb work.
I hope you enjoy this collection. Thanks for listening.
You can buy it here digitally: https://prestonreed.com/what-you-don-t-see
Your purchase will help fund the recording and manufacturing of my next album! Thank you for your support 😊♥️