It all began in San Francisco at the Hotel Utah. I was fresh out of college and looking to play my songs around town wherever I could. After hearing my demo, Patrick Winningham, the venue manager, booked me to play. Little did I know at the time that it would set me on my life’s musical path.
After meeting Patrick and playing the show, a friendship was quickly born. He was a staple in San Francisco’s thriving music scene, playing around town with many of the local SF greats such as Chuck Prophet and Jeff Trott (of Sheryl Crow fame). At that point in time, I was next in line to take on guitar duties on the songs that would end up on the Tender Mercies disc. Also in the lineup was the quiet bass player Kurt Stevenson, who wrote songs with the timeless quality of chestnuts like “Circle Be Unbroken.” On keyboard was Charlie Gillingham, who played with many bands at the time (including my own when I played solo). Meeting Charlie changed my life. A year or two later he quit all the bands he was in and hooked up with a new band on the scene. The band was Counting Crows.
Over a decade later I moved back to SF and as the Crows began having having more time off I hooked back up with Patrick and Kurt and started playing shows every now and again. This time we had the benefit of having Jim Bogios play drums, rounding out the line up. The songs still resonated with me. I had also played my own tunes from over the years to Jim and it was his suggestion that we add them into our repertoire.
Last year, more time off led to the realization that we had never really recorded any of these songs in a meaningful way. So, I bought a Protools rig, hired and engineer and set up shop in the music room of my house to record for a few days. The whole experience was very satisfying and I would have been happy just to know that these versions existed. I gave the recordings to Grover at The Collective and their reaction to the strength and sheer vibe of the recordings was frankly better than I expected. In many ways this was an old school approach harkening back to records we loved – like Beggars Banquet, Big Pink and Hank Williams’ recordings. What you’ll hear is the complete history of Tender Mercies all on one disc. The songs may be older than you are, but we stuck with them because of their timelessness.
I hope they stick in your head at least as long as they have stuck in mine!
Enjoy, Dan Vickrey