OUT FIRST ON BANDCAMP. FULL RELEASE COMING SOON!
"Between The Commas" was recorded during late 2022-early 2023 at Reed Recording Co. in Bay City, Michigan. The collection of seven songs by Jeff Karoub was co-produced by Andy Reed and Jeff Karoub, and engineered, mixed and mastered by Andy Reed.
"You don’t need advice from me — but somehow I think I should provide it."
That’s how I lyrically kick off "Between the Commas," the leadoff track of the album for which it’s named. Now, does the world need advice from a 50-something male singer-songwriter? Maybe not. But it turns out to be an appropriate place to start, because I am offering up some hard-won wisdom throughout this album. Especially to myself.
We’ve all lived through a lot in the past few years: A pandemic, insurrection (here in the U.S., at least), major wars, increasing natural disasters. Personally, I lost my mother. All that wouldn’t seem to be inspiration for hopeful music, but I’m here. If you’re reading this, you’re here, on the planet. That has to be enough, and counts for something. I close the album with “On the Planet,” in which I sing: “I find so much to bring me down, across the world and right here in this town. It leaves me feeling low, forgiveness comes so slow—I’ll count whatever blessings are around.”
This is a collection of songs about living through crises — the big and small, imagined and observed, personal and universal. Sometimes they are shared, sometimes they are ours to face alone. Some bring us together, others tear us apart.
I didn’t set out to make a concept album, nor do I think I necessarily achieved it. But crises of all kinds emerge as a theme, anyway: I explore what’s gained (and lost) as we age and how we grapple with all that life throws our way. One song, “Little Bird,” was inspired by a New York Times story about an endangered bird losing its ability to sing its mating song—and what that says about us and our relationship with each other and the only planet we currently inhabit or can sustain us.
So, is it all a downer? I don't think so. There is always struggle but somehow we persevere and even manage to find a groove. There’s always the hope that as long as we are here, we’re finding common ground. It starts with each of us and though I routinely fall short, I sing this in "Leaving Love": "Sometimes I get it right, and the tune’s in tune with me."
I believe that songs can and often do have multiple meanings and inspirations, including ones the composer hasn't thought of or might not care to broadcast to the world. I share some stories below that offer at least some of what was on my mind or in my heart as I wrote these songs.
Between the Commas
Summer's Almost Over
For All That's Been Lost
Lead With Your Heart
On The Planet
Jeff Karoub: vocals, guitar, violin, alto saxophone, keyboards
Andy Reed: bass, drums, guitar, keyboards, vocals
George Luckey: Guitar on 'Between the Commas' and 'Little Bird'
Dan Houston: Drums on 'Between the Commas' and 'Little Bird'
The painting featured on the front cover and the artwork used throughout is by Adnan Charara (http://www.adnancharara.com/). This work is part of his series entitled "Lunacy," described as "a strong look at our collective struggles, emotional challenges seen through the lens of lunacy."