Releases

My Guitar Heart, coming early 2013
The Last Mile, April 2011

The American Dream, March 2005

My Guitar Heart



















The Last Mile

Geir about the album:

1. If You Were Mine

This song was originally written back in 2005, and was one of the first songs we recorded in the studio sessions with the Band, in May 2008. It is essentially a love song, and it means what it says. All of the songs were recorded live, but the lead Guitar, some acoustic Guitars, and keyboards were overdubbed later.

The actual studio time for this album, has been very little, but spread out in time in between other projects and jobs.

2. One Last Chance

This is the song we chose to make a video from. It’s a straight forward rockabilly song, except the piano is not playing the traditional boogie woogie style. I used my Gibson Les Paul for the leadguitar, and tried to play it in a Mark Knopfler style and sound, because he is a master of this style. I’m also very pleased with Ingar’s drumming on this one, and we got a fabulous sound on the toms I think. Tony is also a master of getting the best sound out of the drums you can possibly get, in both recording and mixing.

3. I Wish You Were With Me Now

The inspiration for this song came from just missing my girl, when I was away for many weeks back in the winter of 2007. It’s recorded and mixed in a Tom Petty style. Just a simple pop song. I’m very pleased with the acoustic guitars on this one, and I had to play tremolo guitar on it. I just love tremolo guitar! For that I used my Fender Telecaster through a Vibrolux amplifier.

4. Road To Nowhere

Another rockabilly / blues song, but with shuffle beat to it. I guess I was inspired by Eric Clapton and J.J Cale’s song “Ride the River”” which is simply a great tune, with great guitarplaying on it. If I remember correctly, we used the first take on this one. I overdubbed a second rhytm guitar, and a Dobro.

For the lead I played my ’52 reissue Telecaster through a Fender Bassman amplifier, with a Hot Cake overdrive Pedal in between. That’s it!

5. It’s Gonna Be Allright

I wrote this one back in 2006, and it reflects my love for acoustic Guitars.

I played my wonderful Martin and my Resonator, and Jostein played his Ayers, which has a lovely sound. I added the tremolo guitar later. We also used pad sounds from the Korg synth. The Band played live in the studio also for this song. The song itself is essentially a love song. I tried not to go for “the big solo”on this one, but tried to go for details in several instruments, and that can be difficult, because the overall sound can be muddy, and it can be hard to separate the instruments. But, I think it works in a way.

6. Burn In Hell

This is a straight forward rock tune with a groove the Band is very good at playing. I guess the song is about a guy that is depressed, and not content with anything in his life. I think we all feel a bit like this from time to time. I played my Gibson Les Paul with a wah wah pedal on the main riff, in a Billy Gibbons style and sound. I played my Resonator afterwards. Jostein played an electric guitar in the tracking, and the Hammond Organ was overdubbed later on.

It’s really an ugly song and it’s got this terrible title, so I wasn’t sure if the song would make it to the album, but I guess it’s the only rock song we recorded this time, so I decided to use it.

7. Here, Right Now

This song was partly inspired by Jimmy Nail’s fantastic song “Big River”, which is one of my favourite songs. I wrote the song in 2006, but was never happy about it, and changed it several times. The album version turned out okey.

The electric guitars sounds allright, and we played a couple of fancy chords in it to make it sound a bit jazzy here and there. We used guitars with humbucker pickups to make them sound a bit dark, and I think it worked out the way I hoped it would.

8. You And I

I’ve been a fan of Chris Rea and Mark Knopfler for many years, and I guess this tune reflects that. I think Tony came up with a good mix for this one.

9. Ain’t Goin’ Down

This song gave me the possibility to play some bottleneck on my Resonator Guitar (Steel Body). This was the song I was least satisfied with after the Band was finished tracking. I overdubbed two slide takes, and panned them to each side, then the song took shape. Tony came up with a great mix, and I’m pleased how it turned out in the end. It’s just a straight forward blues song.

10. The Last Mile

This is the title track from the album. I’m quite pleased with this song, and how it sounds. It’s kind of a sad song, and it’s about trying get the best out how here and now, and not struggle for everything that’s gonna happen in the future. You never know when it’s all over. I wrote the song back in 2007, right after one of my uncles passed away. The song also is a bit inspired by Mark Knopfler’s wonderful song “Shangri La”

The lead guitar is also a bit influenced by one of my first guitar heroes, Hank Marvin. I played my Red Strat, with a plectrum, and used the tremolo arm. I remember I had lot of takes, to get it to sound right. The acoustic guitars is a Martin and an Ayers. One of them is capoed. They sound great together, I think. If you are recording two acoustic guitars for a song, the secret is often in using a capo on one of them. The effect of that is very often amazing.

11. Better Days (bonus)

This song was originally recorded in Stiklestad Sound Studio back in 2005.

We also made a video for it, and can be seen on the website, or on YouTube.

The version on this album is the same, but we have remixed it. It was actually difficult to get the right sound on the song, because the other songs we recorded in Lydhagen Sound Studio, sounds so much better. But, we thought this song deserved to be on the album, and we did the best we could in the new mix.

Credits:

Musicians:
Geir Engen: Vocals & Guitars
Jostein Hanssen: Guitar
Arve Karlsen:  Bass
Ingar Frelsøy:  Drums
Pål Steinnes:  Keyboards

Recorded and mixed in Lydhagen Studio by Tony Waade.
Except track 11, recorded in Stiklestad Sound Studio
by Svenn Frøseth. Mixed by Tony Waade.
Mastered by Cutting Room
All songs by Geir Engen
Produced by Geir Engen

Thank you: Arve Karlsen, Jostein Hanssen, Ingar Frelsøy, Pål Steinnes, Tony Waade, Einar Olav Larsen, Bamse Jørstad, Håvard Sørli, Henrik Sjømæling Jensen, Ola Årbogen

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  • The American Dream, Geir’s first “real” album. Released in 2005.

    Geir about the album:

    1. Never say goodbye.

    This is the first track on the album, and was one of the first songs we recorded in the studio
    sessions in March 2004. It is basically a love song, but with a relatively fast tempo in a pop/rock style. Originally I wanted to do the song in a Daniel Lanois style, but for some reason it came out a bit heavier than his lovely, “falling at your feet”-song. which I think is a great song. And of course, a lot better than mine.
    I don’t like to get too spesific about the lyrics, but my attempt was, it could be about something you had experienced, or it could be about something you wish you had experienced
    Leave it kind of open. That is often a bit tricky.
    The song was recorded live in the studio, with all the musicians playing together. I do belive
    You get the best results, recording live.  What really made the song work for me is
    Arve Karlsen’s great backing vocal on it, and the tremolo guitar I overdubbed later on.

    2. You can run but you can not hide.

    Mark Knopfler has always had a big influence on me and my music. And on my guitarplaying of course.
    On this song I’ve tried to get a similar sound that he has been using on many of his songs.
    Especially on his three first albums. I used my red Stratocaster for this song, which seems
    now, perhaps to be a good choice. We also played a couple of acoustics, to help the rhytm
    section in the groove, which I think worked. I’m very pleased in way this song turned out to be.
    The song is absolutely about what the title says, no matter where you go, or whatever
    You try to run away from, you can’t run away from your self. I think that is something we all
    Have tried in our life, but it doesn’t work. At least that is my experience.

    3. Sail Away.

    I was thinking about creating musical “pictures” in this song. It starts kind of slow, and the music is building up towards the end, with all the musicians playing together. We really managed to get a really decent play-out on this song. I’m very proud of Ingar Frelsøy’s drumming on this song, and I think Svenn did come up with a great mix on this one.
    For the leadguitar I used my Gibson Les Paul. I just love that Guitar.
    Regarding the title of the song, I thought that “sail away” had a kind of “dreamy”quality.
    And again I tried not to get to spesific in the lyrics, so everyone can use it in the way they want.  It could be about  friends who are into sailing, or it could be about  an ending of a relationship. I guess that’s why the song kind of works for me.

    4. Behind the Sun.

    Behind the Sun, I just liked those lines, and began working on the song from there.
    The song is about how people deal with death, and how we react when someone we
    know or we are fond of passes away. When people feel sorrow we often turn that sorrow
    and use it in the most positive way we can. Perhaps we find comfort in thinking that our loved ones are in a better place, where ever that might be. And we find out sooner or later that life must go on. I guess this is a  sad song in a way, but I hope it can turn out to create something positive. Also, I’m very pleased with the acoustics in this song.

    5. Take me Home.

    This is rockabilly song. I’ve always loved rockabilly music, and I guess this song reflects that.
    It was recorded really fast, just a couple of takes. I added the lead guitar later. I thought it was appropriate to play slide guitar on this one. I used my Les Paul for it, and all though this guitar is not set up for slide playing, I think it worked okey. I just tuned the guitars to open G tuning,
    and off we went. If you listen to guitar players who are really into slide playing, you soon find out that it is really an art of its own. I’m not really good at it, but I actually enjoy slide playing
    from time to time. I was also thinking about the great Sonny Landreth and David Lindley when we did this song, cause they are true masters of this. And I remember Lindley’s playing on “Mercury Blues”, from the early eighties, which influenced me then.
    The lyrics in this song is about a person who is in the army, and just wants to return home.
    And that’s about it.

    6. Who will it Be.

    This is my little tribute to American music from the great fifties. Carl Perkins, Elvis Presley, with Scotty Moore and James Burton on Guitar, Jerry Lee Lewis and Chuck Berry, to name a few. I used to listen  a lot to these guys when I was a kid, and a lot of this stuff was recorded at the famous Sun Studios in Memphis Tennesee.
    My attempt on this song was to capture a live performance in the studio with very little overdubbing, except for the Harmonica, which was overdubbed later. We were trying to get the spirit from some of my favourite songs from the fifties, into this one song. You can hear a little bit of Chuck Berry’s “Nadine” and Jerry Lee Lewis’ “Rock’n roll Ruby” in there.
    We actually used a microphone from the fifties on my vocal, for this song. It’s an RCA dx 77, Which is the same brand as many of the great artists back then used. I read somewhere that Scotty Moore has one, as a souvenir on his desk. He used this microphone when he was recording with Elvis.  How cool is that ?

    7. Waiting for a Train.

    I’ve been playing the Guitar for nearly 25 years now, and one of the first influences I had
    was the great J.J. Cale. He was on my mind when I was writing this song, trying to get the same kind of laid back approach in the groove, and also a couple of Guitar likcs, played in his uniqe style. If it wasn’t for him, Mark Knopfler and Eric Clapton wouldn’t play the way they play today, I’m sure.
    This song is not only about a person waiting for a train, but perhaps about someone who wants to get a better life, or wants to move to a better place, or simply would like to hide.
    In fact, many of my songs are about that. People dreaming of better times, places, and so on.
    That’s a life time struggle, isn’t it, always looking for something better ?

    8. Lonesome Rider’s Blues.

    I’ve always been in love with blues and roots music. From the early delta blues to the more electric Chicago blues. I’ve listened a lot to Muddy Waters, Howlin’Wolf and B.B. King, to name a few. I think it is important to have a bit of knowledge of the roots of the music. You
    Listen to new music in another kind of way, and if you are a songwriter, you try to absorb some of it, and use it in your own music.
    I also like the band ZZ Top, and I ‘m big fan of Billy Gibbons. I think his Guitar playing is great, with a kind of special sound, which separates him from many other blues players.
    One of the problems with Guitar players today is, they sound exactly the same!
    The song “Lonesome Rider’s Blues” is essentially about a person who is tired of the same routines, and wants to do something different in another place.
    We played this song without the clique track, and that helped, regarding dynamics, I think.
    If you can record without a clique track, I think that’s generally the best.
    We managed to get a great groove, and I tried to get a sound on my Guitar, to sound a bit like
    Billy Gibbons’.  But you have to judge for your self. My good friend Anders Halten is also helping out on the Harmonica.

    9. World Like This.

    I originally recorded this song  about a year ago on a demo. The lyrics are nearly the same,
    but I changed the chorus lines and added some things on it that wasn’t on the demo.
    I wanted it done a bit more like in the style of The Eagles, which is one my favourite country bands. Which was probably the last interesting country band .  Country music today is not very challenging, and it doesn’t appeal to me at all. But, The Eagles had something special.
    The harmonies on their vocals are incredible, and they have written many good songs
    I think.  So I was thinking of them when we recorded this song.
    The song is really about when you see the news on TV or read the paper, there are many bad things happening in the world. While you see that, I was comparing that with my own little
    problems. Like, can’t find my new blue sweater, or, where is my flight case for my guitar
    or whatever it is. So, I was making a comparison between the two, and you soon find out what’s the most important of the two.

    10. Shut up and Leave.

    This song is about a domestic disagreement. Everyone who lives with another person hasexperienced this, I guess.
    I’ve always loved Eric Clapton’s “Lay down Sally”, and the song “Liza Jane”by Vince Gill. And my song was a bit influenced by those two songs. The same type of Rockabilly groove.
    I actually read an interview with Vince Gill some years ago, in which he stated that he was influenced by “Lay down Sally”, when he wrote “Liza Jane”. Vince has always been one of my favourite guitar players. And he’s an incredible singer, absolutely fantastic voice . He has a really big name in Nashville.
    This song “Shut up and leave”, we recorded it really fast, just a couple of takes.  I added a Guitar to it after we tracked the song, and that was all it was. No big deal.

    11. A Rainy September.

    Hank Marvin & The Shadows were probably the first guitar band I heard when I was a kid.
    This instrumental piece is my little tribute to them. Hank Marvin has always had a unique sound on his guitar, and have inspired thousands of guitar players around the world with his red stratocaster. I actually went to see him play live in Trondheim not so long ago. Great show.
    Regarding the title of this song, I just liked the line, but I also have an instrumental album called “Themes of a rainy Decade”, by an American super guitarist named Richard Bennett.
    I’ve listened a lot to this album, and I  have a little bit of contact with him. He’s been giving me a lot of advice regarding guitars and amps. So I guess this “Rainy September” tune, is also a little tribute to him as well.

    12. Crazy Man.

    “Crazy Man” is a groovy rock tune played in a very “bluesy” style.
    Jostein has this cool old Gibson guitar he used for the overdriven rhytm guitar part on this one.
    Originally I wanted a brass section for the theme, but Håvard came up with this great keyboard sample when we tracked the song, and we decided to keep it in the final mix.
    The only thing we added to this song was the lead guitar.

    13. Will you wait for Me.

    Another kind of love song. We tried to get a bit of a keltic / Irish sound to this song. A little bit of U2 in there, and also maybe a little bit of Pink Floyd in the outro. The song starts kind of  slow and it builds, and towards the end the tempo doubles.
    This is maybe the most “worked” on song on the album. I added a couple of guitars and some keyboards after we tracked, cause we wanted it to sound “big”, and in fact that can be difficult ‘cause you can end up adding too much, and the whole thing can be a mess, and you can’t really seperate the instruments. That’s why we try to keep the overdubbing to a minimum, but as I said, that’s quite difficult. But I think the song works in a way, at least I’m very pleased with the way the band played on this one. They are truly great.

    14. The American Dream.

    This song is about one of my all time favourite actors, Steve McQueen, who died of cancer in 1980. What actually inspired me was this book I was reading about him, “Portrait of an American Rebel”, by Marshal Terrill, which is a great book, and really fascinating.
    And of course I’ve seen  many of Steve McQueen’s movies through the years. I think McQueen was one of the best actors on screen, and he was one of a kind. You don’t see them like that today.
    Musically I was trying to capture an unplugged  feeling to this song. I tried to make it sound “old”, but with an “up to date” sound on the recording.
    I used my great Martin acoustic, and Anders was playing his wonderful Simon and Patrick acoustic Guitar.  I added the Dobro after we had finished tracking, which helped to get that feeling I wanted. We were also working a bit to get the tempo right.  Ingar also added Bongos
    On this song, which was great. And I think we had a good thing going with the acoustic Guitars on this track. But it was a real struggle to sing this song, to get the right pitch, cause we didn’t want to use auto tune. Others have to judge how good it is…

    15. Get up and Try.

    We recorded this song originally about 3 years ago, for my first album. I wasn’t happy with that version, and we’ve been playing this song so many times live, so I decided to record a different version for this album. All though, we played it quite similar to the original, this version has a lot more power, and the tempo is slightly faster. We recorded two takes, and went for the first, that’s it.  My friend Peer Gynt is playing the lead guitar on this song, ‘cause he’s a great artist and a very good guitar player. His playing is completely different from my playing. He plays very hard, and he’s more in the Stevie Ray Vaughan /Jimi Hendrix style of playing. It worked out rather good, don’t you think?

    Features:

    Geir Engen: Guitars & vocals
    Jostein Hanssen: Guitars
    Anders Halten: Acoustic guitar, harmonica & backing vocals
    Håvard Sørli: Keyboards & hammond
    Arve Karlsen: Bass & backing vocals
    Bjørn Dyrnes: Bass
    Ingar Frelsøy: Drums

    Peer Gynt: Leadguitar, track 15

    Recorded and mixed at Stiklestad Sound Studio.
    Engineered by Svenn Frøseth
    Mastered by Morten Lund, Masterhuset A/S, Oslo

    All songs written by Geir Engen
    Produced by Geir Engen

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