Making LifeAfterlife has truly been a labor of love for me. There’s nothing – well, almost nothing – that gives me greater pleasure and satisfaction than working in the studio. And to finally record this collection of songs, which I regard as my finest work, is an achievement I will always look back on with pride.

There have been some – loved ones close to me – who, before they ever heard it, told me this album was a waste of my time and money. A reasonable assumption. After all, I’m more than 60 years old and have not performed live since 1999 (when my first band, The Lost, reunited for a one-time live show with our friends, The Remains, in Boston). I have no plans to rehearse a band and play out. I have no expectation of commercial success or critical acclaim. I have worked in the record industry for many years – long enough to have no illusions about making it big on the merit of the music alone. I have few resources to promote and market this album. But, if I can touch the hearts of just a few of you, if the joy and pain and poignancy of just one of these songs comes through for you, this 6-year-recording odyssey will have all been worth it. Hell, it was worth it anyway – just for the fun of it!

Ted Myres

The idea of recording one last album – and my first solo album – of the best of my highly melodic ballads first came to me shortly after I left Rhino Records, where I had worked as a compilation producer for 11 years. It was then, around 2001, that I started forming the track list in my mind. Five years later, around the time I started working for Concord Music Group, I ran into my old friend, Peter Malick, whom I’d known in my Boston days in the mid-‘60s. He invited me to come out and see his recording studio, Chessvolt. It was a warm, funky recording space and I instantly felt at home there. I told him of the new dream I had hatched of recording again and Peter offered to let me cut my basic tracks there. That was the impetus I needed to start work. Soon afterward I enlisted another old friend, Herb Quick, who is not only a great drummer, arranger and percussionist, but also an accomplished producer and engineer – and he had Pro Tools on his computer. Herb turned out to be the perfect collaborator for me and this project. Our tastes were instantly simpatico, and his abilities complemented mine beautifully. I will always treasure the time we spent creating this album together.

The process took about 6 years to complete. This was because I had limited financial resources and had to rely on many favors from friends, some of whom donated their talents for free or little money. So, of course, I had to wait for their availability. Weeks – sometimes months – went by between sessions.

I had recorded a lot of my demos with Jim West who, aside from being the best guitarist I have ever worked with, had a great studio in his home and really knew his way around it. Not only is Jim the mainstay of Weird Al’s band, he is a consummate practitioner of Hawaiian slack key guitar and records beautiful, pristine albums of solo acoustic guitar (see I loved the guitar sounds Jim got at his studio, and so I recorded all my own guitar tracks there, as well as his guitar tracks, some upright bass tracks, and some percussion. Jim also scores a lot of films and TV, and he has a great library of string sounds. He contributed those sounds on our string arrangements and I’m really thrilled with the results.

LifeAfterlife has compositions representing 5 decades: the ‘60s, ‘70s, ‘80s, ‘90s and the first decade of the present millennium. These songs (with one exception) were not included on any of my previous albums – in spite of them being my best – because they did not fit with the music of the rock bands that I recorded with in the past. Even in the ‘70s, friends told me, “It’s your ballads, man – your ballads are your strongest songs.” Yet, all but one of these went unreleased until now. I chose this collection of songs because, even though they were written in different decades, they share a timeless, trend-defying quality that makes them stand as rock-solid, emotionally evocative and musically valid works for all time. I’m hoping that at least a few of you connect with them and share the feelings that inspired their creation: cosmic love, a spiritual consciousness and a sweet, pervasive sadness that seems to visit the lives of so many of us.

The recordings all started with me and an acoustic guitar. Some lent themselves to fairly elaborate arrangements, either with orchestration, MIDI-generated electronic sounds, and/or a rock band. Actually, the arranging stage was probably the most fun for me, and having Herb to collaborate with on these was a joy. I’m really proud of the work we did, transforming these skeletal acoustic tracks into lush, vibrant soundscapes.

The oldest song is “Now Is Just a Time,” which I wrote in 1967 in an open tuning, inspired by the great folk artist Richie Havens, who was one of my early inspirations. The lyric starts out with a 17-syllable haiku I wrote when I was in college: “My hands across the darkness face, a flock of moments from me to you.”

The only song on the album that was previously released is “In a Kindly Way,” which was originally recorded for the eponymous 1967 album by my second band, Chamӕleon Church. We stayed faithful to the brilliant lead guitar part that was originally created by my dear friend and collaborator, the late Tony Scheuren, who left us in 1993, and whom I still miss very much. I hear influences here by the great folk/jazz/pop songwriter and artist, Tim Hardin, and some of the songs of Jimmy Webb. I also hear a little of Harry Nilsson’s version of the Fred Neil song “Everybody’s Talkin’,” with the finger-picked guitars and the soaring strings (although the original version of “Kindly Way” was recorded and released fully a year before that, if I’m not mistaken).

“Goodbye on the First Rainy Day” is one of the first songs I wrote when I moved to L.A. in 1969. It was the first of many songs that were inspired by a woman I loved in lovely Laurel Canyon for more than a decade, and who still influences my life. A friend of mine says it sounds kind of “epic,” with its psychedelic, Middle Eastern jam section. I think that description sums it up very nicely.

“Overboard” was written around 1973, and epitomizes the spirit of cosmic love I was going for on this album. It also conjures up one of my biggest musical influences, Brian Wilson and the Beach Boys.

“There’s a Song,” “Every Little Once in a While,” “Forever Blue,” “Lost Without You,” and “Rainy Day” were all written during a particularly prolific period for me in 1977-1978. I was living in a ramshackle wooden house at the top of 180 steps that snaked their way up a steep hillside in Laurel Canyon where the rain and the wind whistled through the walls and ceiling and the septic tank overflowed regularly. But it was a magic place. You could look down at the whole city from my bedroom window. This was after the release (and commercial failure) of my third album, Glider. None of these songs were on that album – because it was a rock band album.

“There’s a Song” draws an analogy between the song and the soul. Perhaps it was influenced in some way by a story I once heard Paul Simon tell: “You know,” he said, “when you’re driving along and a song pops into your head, and you just can’t write it down or record it in any way and then, when you get home, it’s gone. When that happens, I always say: ‘somebody else must’ve gotten that one.’”

I recorded the original demo of “Every Little Once in a While” all alone in that funky canyon shack with an acoustic guitar, an electric guitar and a couple of Shure microphones going through a little Altec P.A. board with a spring reverb into my Tandberg reel-to-reel, sound-on-sound tape recorder. Sound-on-sound was a technology that enabled you to overdub on a little quarter-inch tape machine, but everything was bounced – pre-mixed – down onto a single track, so the result was a mono recording. But somehow the mono demo of that song, with the guitar part doubled on electric and acoustic and my voice through tons of that spring reverb, suggested a vast and mystical soundscape. It took more than 30 years, but I finally realized the sound I originally had in mind on this version.

“Forever Blue” is the jazziest track on the album, and I suppose it’s a salute to my jazz idols of the early ‘60s, that nether-time after Buddy Holly had died, Elvis went into the army, Little Richard found God, and Chuck Berry went to jail, and before The Beatles resurrected rock. During those years I turned to Miles, ‘Trane, Mingus, and Monk. There were many others, of course, but for me, these were the ultimate artists of their day.

“Lost Without You” was started when my old friend JC Scott (who contributes harmony vocals to this album) and I were jamming one day. He was on acoustic piano, and he started to play this amazing, classically-inspired arpeggio part. Later, I went home, learned the part on guitar, expanded upon it, and wrote the words. The lyric is from the POV of a guy whose love has died. He no longer has any interest in his waking life. Instead, he escapes into dreams where he is once again with his love, and every night he prays that he will sail on that “ship of dreams” eternally. For the final master, we returned the center of the arrangement to the piano, but on the demo I played all those arpeggios on electric guitar.

I wrote “Rainy Day” in that same ramshackle eagle’s nest atop the canyon wall. One winter – I think it was 1977-1978 – it poured incessantly for weeks. I would look out my window, and it was like I was up in the clouds. I was actually looking down at clouds. “Rainy Day” captures the magical bitter-sweetness of those days and that time.

“Summer Boy” was written in the mid-‘80s, after I had recorded 9 master-quality tracks with my band, Incognito, which were never released. This song laments the temporality of youth and the onset of middle age. It’s also something of an homage to Led Zeppelin, one of my all time faves, especially tracks like “The Rain Song” and “Kashmir.”

“Sad, Sad Song” was written in the mid-‘90s, after I got summarily dumped by a girlfriend. It’s intended to sound retro, and is a pastiche of styles that includes the Phil Spector Wall of Sound, Beach Boys melody and harmonies, Stax horns and organ, Joe Walsh slide guitar, and mariachi trumpets! It’s like a recipe that sounds dreadful on paper – until you taste it.

The newest song on the album is “Ordinary Girl,” inspired by a brief affair in 2009, and written as a very obvious tribute to The Beatles and, in particular, Paul McCartney’s timeless, classically-inspired “Yesterday” and “Eleanor Rigby.” This is the track on which my long-time dream of recording with a live string section finally came true, thanks in no small part to my old friend, Erik Lindgren, and a group of wonderful young string players out of Boston. It was truly a thrill to hear a string arrangement Herb and I had envisioned in our heads and plotted out in MIDI come to life in the hands of great players.

So that’s about all I can tell you about LifeAfterlife, my humble offering. While I know not everybody’s going to love it, I’m really hoping some of you do. If you do, join my page on Facebook, give me a “like,” or shoot me an email to

Love & Light,