Eight hours of flying yesterday wasn’t too bad. I met up with the band in Houston, and everyone welcomed me warmly. I sat next to Josh on the flight, but we didn’t talk too much. We both did our own thing to pass the time. Once into Ecuador, I immediately noticed the altitude. I was very lightheaded (Quito is about 8,000 feet above sea level). We checked into the Hotel Quito and had dinner at about 11:30pm. The view from the dining room on the 7th floor is amazing. Mountains and valleys all around. Such an incredible landscape.
This morning we are driving to Otavalo where we will spend 2 nights. I’m just trying to soak in everything I see. Hopefully I can get some good stuff for the website on this trip that will somehow benefit the band. The fact that I am living out every fan’s dream is not lost on me. Even though I am just as much a friend of the band as a fan now, this experience is still surreal.
What a great day. We did the 2-hour drive from Quito to Otavalo this morning. Cliff and I talked a lot along the way. His passion for this new record is infectious. This band is really encountering a paradigm shift right now. No longer are they concerned with how great they can be or how many accolades they can garner. They feel like now that they have a soapbox, that they better use it for something. No one exudes this sentiment more than Cliff. He’s tired of making music for self-serving purposes and is ready to do something worthwhile. This CD and subsequent tour will be about raising two things: money for specific projects and awareness of what’s going on in these countries, the latter being the more important to the band. To hear Cliff and the other guys talk about it, you get the feeling that it is really going to be something special.
We stopped at the equator for a photo op on the way to Otavalo. That was pretty cool.
Our cabins are on a lake at a place called Puerto Lago. The view is breathtaking.
This afternoon we went to a Compassion Project and met with about 100 kids. They were so cute. We played games with them, took lots of pictures, gave them candy, and lots of hugs.
We took a short walk to the home of Cliff and Danielle’s sponsored child, Gisella. I can’t get over the living conditions in those villages. They live on $20 a month in dirt floor houses. It really makes you question how you can ever be discontent with what we have here in the states.
A few minutes ago Andy Osenga and Randall called us into their room to play us a song they had just finished called “Sarala”. It’s fantastic. It’s a true story about a girl who’s father was once one of the untouchable Dalits of India but escaped the Caste system to make a life for himself in the U.S. Musically and lyrically this song will be one of the best on the album methinks.
Lyrically, this album has a lot of promise. Josh Moore, Andy Osenga, and Randall Goodgame will be carrying the mantle of songwriting on the record and have decided to come at it with a different approach. Instead of guarding their in-progress songs and keeping songs to themselves until they are finished; the trio have gone out of their way to involve each other in their writing. Verses, choruses, and bridges are all open for scrutiny and honest opinions are being encouraged. This approach should lead to great songs, considering the ears that will be weighing each line. And of course, if getting a song onto a Caedmon’s Call record is like getting into a quality club, Cliff is still the head bouncer. He knows what he’s looking for and if any part of a song doesn’t make the grade, he’s not afraid to let you know. Between Cliff’s instincts and the clan of talented songwriters working on the project, this CD has a lot of potential.
Tonight we brought in 4 brothers from a nearby village to play for us. They play guitars, charangos (like a mandolin), and various pan flutes. I was completely blown away by them. The sounds from their native instruments were so refreshing and they played very well together. Extremely tight. Not sure how they are going to get worked into the album, but it will be great. (Note: They can be heard as the intro to the song “Volcanoland” on Share The Well)
After dinner Cliff, Josh, Andy, Randall, and I were hanging out in one of the rooms. Cliff and I were talking baseball while the others were working on songs. Cliff and Andy eventually went to bed and I stayed up with Randall and Josh until 1 am watching them work on songs. It was an interesting experience. Josh and I have been rooming together since the first night and it is working out well. Neither of us snore or sleepwalk so it’s all good.
(–> Day 3)