Lifehouse’s Jason Wade Talks Songwriting, Almería

Videos by American Songwriter

Videos by American Songwriter



ALMERÍA: A song by song review from my seat in the studio with Lifehouse, by producer Jude Cole

“Gotta Be Tonight”

An intro to the album or the live show. Keep focused, there’s a lot of shit out there that tries to derail you when you have a new vision for yourself, and what better time than now to move along with it? Jason experiments with hypnotic beat-type tracks but doesn’t delve where he doesn’t live either… No pseudo-radio-rap here, just Lifehouse with a big new sound. Charles Jones from Houston helps out with a vocal sample that sounds like it was lifted from an old B.B. King record.

“Between The Raindrops”

The first single, an epic landscape of imagery featuring banjo, horse hoofs, gigantic timpani drums and bombastic toms from Ricky Woolstenhulme Jr. along with a stunning guest vocal from Natasha Bedingfield.
All this scenery provides backdrop for a gorgeous love song with a Spaghetti Western theme that sounds like no other record from Lifehouse or anyone else for that matter. When you try something new it’s always risky, but this band doesn’t mind taking risks. A song that proves why the guys have been around for 11 years and still going strong.

“Nobody Listen”

Another hypno-bed of music contrasting a lyric with a sound message… shut up and witness the beautiful life that is your own. You can almost see a fast pace video taking place in New York or Tokyo where life and thought get in the way of the true essence of actually ‘being there’. News, TV, gossip and clutter… that’s what we fill our days with while we miss a world of magic around us.

Again Rick’s drums are larger than life, new addition Winnie (Chris Murguia) providing a worldly background chant, and homage to U2 guitars make this another original standout track while Jason sings more to the tapestry than trying to sing above it.

“Moveonday”

Ever try to break up with someone but you just keep getting pulled back in until you realize the relationship is slowing down your life? This song is about doing a 180´turn with a new lust for the living. Ah but the smart phones and social networks keep you connected!

Very live and performed in Jason’s studio, Bryce Soderberg’s bass intro kicks the song’s ass right into gear while they continue to play with trance-like qualities of the prior three. Perception is nine tenths of the law and Lifehouse is not perceived as an alternative band, but you’d not know it from this one.

“Slow Motion”

Inspired by The Doors, it was a jam that turned into a song. Using odd tunings, sitar guitars and drones, the final track harkens back to a little more Bad Company than Jim Morrison. In mastering I let Bryce’s bass stay boomy, which adds to the live feel of the session. Kind of secretly wished we could have included the instrumental track as a bonus. It was pretty trippy to listen to as well.

“Only You’re The One”

This ‘event’ is really two people falling in love. A couple sets out to see a concert, but somewhere during the show they find the real celebration is them being together. The stage and arena go quiet in their minds when the two realize it’s for keeps. Big, thundering drums and a Gabriel-esque vocal from Jason. More experimenting with moody tracks that turn the corner into epic chorus. This is sure to be magic in the live show or on radio.

“Where I Come From”

“The stars light the road… that’s bringing me back home”

Originally written for a solo project of Jason’s, it was too good to pass up. Musically and spiritually this is quintessential Jason Wade. Combining real and faux strings, adding Ricky’s live drums and Bryce’s bass this song could score Lawrence of Arabia riding a camel through the desert or me drudging through traffic across Los Angeles on a sweltering friday afternoon. I had Jason try some alternate vocal takes only for him to prove that I don’t need to touch what works.

“Right Back Home”

Almost every line in this song is an old blues title. Why? It started out as a gospel piece but evolved into what ultimately describes Peter Frampton, who plays a ripping 16 bar guitar solo and his story of losing his classic ’54 Les Paul (yes the one on Frampton Comes Alive cover) in a plane crash back in the early 80’s. It was fatefully returned to him 31 years later as he discovered someone had rescued the guitar before it burned with the plane, and the rest is history. He named it Phoenix, and broke it out for this track.

Charles Jones takes a gospel verse and plays a Hammond B3 straight from the southern baptist church of kick my ass! (sorry…)

“Barricade”

Yet another experiment, not so much in the world of music but certainly in the wheelhouse of Lifehouse. Three part harmonies featuring Jason, myself and Michael Gurley (Dada).

I come from days where you could turn on an FM radio and hear Neil Young grunge on one single, then switch to a lazy porch country ballad the very next. We brought in Greg Leisz for pedal steel and pretty much made a 70’s track. The lyrical sentiment is sweet, with echoes of a 60’s Glen Campbell-type guitar doing a simple tremolo riff underneath.

“Aftermath”

We went to the big studio for this one. I got to pretend I was Roy Halee for a day while I had Ricky take his snare drum in the back of the huge EastWest tracking room and play military snare, quadrupled. Patrick Leonard gently touches on a civil war ragtime piano part while Ben Carey plays his volume pedal guitar swells. Five of us gathered for the live vocal bridge, singing at the top of our lungs. Quite a memorable day it was. Jason sounds like the broken soldier either going off to war or coming home from it. This track gives me chills on my vintage Marantz, up loud of course.

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