Singled Out: Notar's You Went Away

09/13/2011
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Today Notar tells us about the deeply personal song "You Went Away" from his brand new album "Devil's Playground," which hits stores today. Even if you don't know who Notar is, this is a story to read. Here is the story:

"You Went Away" is the most important song to me personally on "Devil's Playground" it is also the last song on the record. This piece of music served as a release for me in an almost cathartic sense and allowed me to throw away some of the baggage I had been carrying with me for so long.

This song was my way of dealing with how I felt as a child when I lost my father and his father with in the same month. This song allowed me to harness the pain of death and loss I was feeling as a young boy and relay it in the most honest, sincere way I knew how. This was not an easy song for me to write.

If you listen to the string arrangement that begins the piece you will hear the workings of the incredible Grammy Award winner composer/musician/songwriter Victor Vanicore. I wanted Victor to be a part of this song for a few reasons but most importantly because he was my father's best friend and roommate at Berkeley School of Music. My father always use to speak about Victor and how talented he was. I remember taking trips to his house (the same house I recorded the strings with him on this song) when I was a child. My first trip to California was one to go meet Victor and his Son for the first time with my Father and little sister. I remember seeing the pictures Victor had hanging on his walls with him and Michael Jackson, Tony Bennett, Johnny Mathis, as well as a slew of others. I thought that was so cool. He would sit at that piano and play for my family and from the first note of hearing him, even as a kid he would give me chills. He is an amazing man and I'm am blessed to have him as part of my debut album.

At the beginning of the piece you hear Victor's beautiful, dark strings. As the Strings paint the mood for the piece the lyrics come in as the build increases with... "You ever feel you have to end something before it starts? Right when you become attached things fall apart? Well loving and
leaving for me it just Ain't right/ I'm so jaded I'm amazed that I don't hate life." Hear I am really trying to express how I feel about having lost so many people in my life to the point I almost feel incapable of love or attachment.. I was trapped in this mentality of rather not getting involved with anyone rather than loving them only to eventually get hurt. I try not to be anymore but when the evil wind whispers in my ear some days I just can't help but feeling that way.

The next lyrics show that exactly with: "I lost count how many times I've ever loved and lost/ Watching someone I care about being "carried" off"/ Either that or we are fighting right out the door/ it happens so often I can't love anybody anymore" I guess as I grew from child to young man I grew cold and numb to pain because of how much I experienced growing up. I was almost used to death and agony as unpleasant as that might sound. There was this one day I remember when my Father was in the Hospital towards the end I decided to call him from the cafeteria phone at school. He answered and I'll never forget that day because all I wanted to do was call him and tell him I loved him. Unfortunately I wasn't able to do that because as soon as I started to say it one of the bully kids in my class thought it would be funny to hang up the phone. I still have nightmares about that. The next day my Dad was gone. Hence these lyrics which were inspired by this incident... "I'm seeing Hell in my Dreams Tell Myself Don't Look!/ I wonder if Heaven has a number in a phone book". Even after I knew he was gone I would still call that hospital room number. I still remember to this day what the phone number was and as much as I'd hate to admit I still call.

"You Went Away" is a song about my life. It's a way for me to remember my father and how great of a man and musician he was and that is why I decided to play trumpet on this track as well. Adam and me talked about bringing in another musician Curtis Watson to blow over the changes as well and our call and response on trumpet sounds like a conversation between father and son. I was honored to have the chance to work with Curtis as well. I cannot forget about the efforts from Kevin Augsburg and also Grammy Award Winner Ken Lewis on pulling the little splashes together to make this record sound as good as it does. I believe they both play some really great guitar stuff on it as well. There is a piano piece (my favorite moment on the entire record) played by the incredibly talented Timothy J. Reinhart. This truly takes not only the song but the entire album full circle and instrumentally paints the perfect image. Just creating this song and pulling people I truly care about to help me make it means everything to me. It's the realest stuff I have probably ever written. I spit on it like I actually trusted the listener... I'm naked walking up a highway on this track. Completely vulnerable. Completely Real.
Much Love, Notar

Hearing is believing. Now that you know the story behind the song, listen for yourself and learn more about the album right here!

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