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It was back in 2014 when the first JustVera (mini)album got released: ‘What took us so long?!’. Four years later there was ‘Raw and Reckless’ and now there is ‘More than anything’.

35 NEW JustVera tracks, which I composed and produced with the help of dozens of musicians from all over the world. (Full list below.)
Be prepared for some amazing new and original stuff… Mastered by Insub and Tommy Hellsten. And Tommy offered to remaster the first two albums as well. So I decided to include these remastered tracks on ‘More than anything’ as a bonus.

All official JustVera tracks collected on one album. Enjoy.

These are the artists who contributed to JustVera. For the sake of Music. It was a pleasure and a privilege to work with you. More than anything.

Alan Abernethy
Alex Zulaika
Alexander K.
Alice Minguez
Amanda Moubarak
Amy B.
Andrea Spaziale
Andrew Boucher
Bill McCarthy
Bryan Shoemaker
Buck M.
Caleb Anderson
Cali Beach
Chris Bouchard
Christine Linge
Dan Rosati
Daniel Swain
David Koehler
Elizabeth Auzan
Ellen Kussy
Esther Bredius
Frederic Osuch
G TeePee
Gabro Jazz
Gustavo Abreu
Heidar Sigurdsson
Ian T.
InSub
Jan van de Garde
Jannik Gade
Jarek Adamowski
Jean Lui Toudou
Jeff Bragg
Jeff Dalton
Jen Carie
Jim Bryan
Joel Sattler
Joey Six
John Heavern
Jon Garcia 
Jordi Ribas
Kari DeNeal
Kris Pride
Lisa Dewey
Lloyd Plueschow
Loek van der Knaap
Louis Marchena
Marc Brouwer
Mark Adams
Mark Alan Dooley
Mark Bowen
Mark Miller
Martin Nilsson
Maurizio Marini
Michel Pilotte
Mike Patterson
Monroe De La Vega
Nicola Offidani
Nigel Robinson
NunoW.
Olivia Brame
Olivier Demaine
Oppy
Parmia Vaala
Patricia Kigilcim
Pepino Lorenzo
Peter Bomhof
Peter Hendriks
Ray Kaliss
Rick Farrell
Rob Glass
Robert Saint Denis
Sean DeCataldo
Serenn
Steve Rice
Sven-Martin Keil
Tarjei Skarlund
Tez Katajala
Thomas Hjorth
Todd Vierra
Todd W.
Tom H.
Tommy Hellsten
Tracy Hayden
Tracy Hutchison

Stranger days

My initial idea was to create a musical piece like a kind of film score. Then Ramlee came along and provided an extra layered bassline. Much to my surprise Richard Lunt joined in with an amazing vocal performance. His lyrics were written in the context of a long term relation where one person has mental health issues and has become a stranger to themselves and their environment. Shivers…

I wake up in the morning,
This isn’t my head,
Thinking thoughts I never had – I feel like a stranger.

Stranger days, stranger ways

Strange that
You said
I said
Til death doeth apart

Strangest thing is
I never left your side
Just my mind wonders lonely as a clown

Stranger ways, strange days, stranger
Crazy ways
Stranger
I lost my mind

One day we’ll look back and say
Those were the days of our time
Mind declined

One of these days my mind will be mine
You’ll be denied

One of these crazy days, we’ll smile
Smile denied

Oh I want to be in control
I’ve lost control
Give me control

You lost control
You left me feeling way behind
You lost your soul
You left me feeling cold inside

Stranger days, stranger ways
Stranger days, stranger ways

(Lyrics and vocals by Richard Lunt)

Ghost in me

 

This is what you get when talented people -like Bill McCarthy, Steve Johnson, John Heavern and Tarjei Skarlund- put their skills and love in an idea. Enjoy.

 

Is it real… or a dream?
I think I’m caught… in between.
My body’s bound… in place.
My mind is found… in outer space.

Livin’ life… in a trance,
a victim of… circumstance.
I should have been… myself,
instead of what… provision dealt.

Now I stay, lost… in a fog,
ain’t got no place… I belong.

Stuck in a nexus,
I’m disconnected
from it all.
But still the voices call.

Chased by a ghost I made
all alone in my head,
but still there’s echoes.
Chased by a ghost of fate,
don’t know where I’m going…
so it’s vexing me…
My heart…
and soul…
are now a ghost in me.

Peace of mind… isn’t known:
my freedom lies… in a ghost.

There’s no prediction
that can give me
any clue.
A ghost is on the loose.

Chased by a ghost I made,
all alone in my head,
but still there’s echoes.
Chased by a ghost of fate,
don’t know where I’m going…
so it’s vexing me…
My heart and soul
are now a ghost in me.

(Lyrics by John Heavern, vocals Tarjei Skarlund)

Strangled up by fear

 

It took more than 3 years to finish ‘Strangled up by fear’. Lyrics by Mike Mantecon, vocal performance by Dave Budd. Well matured if you ask me.


Etches on the desert sky
A land lost in the wake of time
And here amidst the sands
Lies the shadow of a man

And frantically we run
There is mercy for no one
Without a reason why
We chase the summer skies

Strangled up by hate
Always a ragdoll for fate

We race the essence
Of our frantic selves
An enemy inside
We know all too well

Strangled up by fear
Always sensing danger here

Strangled up by fear
Day to night, night to day
Strangled up by fear
It all begins to fade
Away

(Lyrics by Mike Mantecon, vocals Dave Budd)

Be scared

 

Skarlund, Auzan, Mari & me. Be scared.
(Something you might enjoy.)

No-one dare
Cross my path
Be scared
Scared of my wrath
Be scared

I have come
Come for you
Be scared
Of what I’ll do
Be scared

You knew I’d come
You’ve seen my gun
You’re on the run
But you’ll not get far

You possess something
Which is mine not yours
Give it back and I’ll
Maybe let you go
Give it back. Who knows?
I’ll maybe let you go

No-one dare
Cross my path
Be scared
Scared of my wrath
Be scared
Fucking scared

You can’t hide
You can’t hide
Can’t hide
But you can decide
You can decide
You can decide
You’re not scared
Better to dare
If you dare
Your life I’ll spare

(Lyrics by Elizabeth Auzan, vocals Tarjei Skarlund)

Big black

What do Kurt Cobain and Winston Churchill have in common?

Both were pursued by the black dog of depression. Other sufferers have described a black hole that engulfs them. It is a solitary and socially paralysing disease. Caught in pure poetry by Elizabeth Auzan. The stark and deceptively simple arrangement, the heart-rending sax of the inimitable Dan Rosati underscore this introspective and troubled state of mind. The chilling vocal performance of Céline Bode fits like a purple velvet glove over a rusting fist…

A big black dog is creeping up on me
I know him well. His name’s Despair.
Nowhere to hide. Nowhere

A big black cloud is hovering over me
My world turns dark. Complete nightmare
Oh, hear my prayer. My prayer

I can’t move
So confused
I can’t choose
Cos I always lose

A big black hole is opening under me
I want to fall. But I don’t dare
Too scared to act. Too scared

I can’t move
So confused
I can’t choose
Cos I always lose

(Lyrics by Elizabeth Auzan, vocals Céline Bode)

Slowdown

The lyrics and vocals of Ramlee, Kat Orlando’s brilliant soprano sax and Timothy Reid’s subtle chords contributed to this intriguing intoxicating track ‘Slowdown’.
Contemporary? Adult? Ambient? Alternative? Cool? You name it.
JustVera agrees with your choice.

First time was a revelation, a conflagration, a coup d’état
Second time was a declination, a desecration, an au revoir
I knew at once that a liberty had been taken
I recognized henceforth that my faith was shaken

Under the right conditions, the speed of light can alter
Close to a singularity, physical laws can falter
The distance between two points in space, the light from a star no longer there
The end of time when all clocks stop, the slowdown of each love affair

Winter sun is a consolation, a mitigation, an empty kiss
Past loves are solo dance, a phantom chance to reminisce
I never doubted the sincerity of your feeling
But there are injuries beyond the power of healing

Under the right conditions, desire becomes disorder
The heart an unmapped island in a wilderness of water
The deepest point of the ocean floor, the ecstasy in deep despair
The darkness that surrounds the sun, the slowdown of each love affair

(Lyrics and vocals by Ramlee)

Something beautiful II

Last week I released ‘Something beautiful’. With the help of some great musicians we created a rocking version of my original idea. Here’s another take, with the same lyrics -Elizabeth Auzan- and vocals -Jeff Braggs-, but with a different feel and different instruments. Reason 9.5 was all I used. Less is more?

To me you are beautiful

Beauty’s in the eye of the beholder
And I’m beholding you
We both have wrinkled skin
We have been through thick and thin
We know about the ebb and flow
We’ve seen fashion diktats come and go

To me you are beautiful
Beautiful

Originality somehow sets you free
True sincerity is all
Something beautiful
So many people try so hard to please
And try so hard not to think

Beware, beware
Resist the grayscale tones
Beware, beware

Originality
Somehow it makes you free
Find singularity

We all have something beautiful
To me you are beautiful
Find your something beautiful
To me you are beautiful
Go with the ebb and flow
To me you are beautiful
Let fashions diktats come and go
To me you are beautiful

Beautiful, beautiful

(Lyrics by Elizabeth Auzan, vocals Jeff Braggs)

Something beautiful

Awesome contributions of Timothy Reed, Elizabeth Auzan, Kelly Miller, Chris Bouchard, Jordi Ribas and Jeff Braggs turned my riff into a proper song: ‘Something beautiful’. Sometimes the title says it all…

To me you are beautiful

Beauty’s in the eye of the beholder
And I’m beholding you
We both have wrinkled skin
We have been through thick and thin
We know about the ebb and flow
We’ve seen fashion diktats come and go

To me you are beautiful
Beautiful

Originality somehow sets you free
True sincerity is all
Something beautiful
So many people try so hard to please
And try so hard not to think

Beware, beware
Resist the grayscale tones
Beware, beware

Originality
Somehow it makes you free
Find singularity

We all have something beautiful
To me you are beautiful
Find your something beautiful
To me you are beautiful
Go with the ebb and flow
To me you are beautiful
Let fashions diktats come and go
To me you are beautiful

Beautiful, beautiful

(Lyrics by Elizabeth Auzan, vocals Jeff Braggs)

I never said it wasn’t

I haven’t got one particular way of starting a new song. It might be a bass riff, a drum groove, lyrics, an image: anything really. For this one, it was this one line which kept going around in my head: ‘I never said it wasn’t’…

Joel Sattler picked it up, provided lyrics and I built the song to it. With loads of influences shimmering through. Subsequently Steve Johnson, Bill McCarthy, Pere Mari and Tarjei Skarlund picked up their instruments and delivered like only they can: a splendid time is guaranteed for all…

I never said it wasn’t
I never said it doesn’t
a difference is a little thing
a difference can be everything

I said that I wouldn’t
I said that I couldn’t
that wasn’t what I meant
the meaning was not sent

You’ve gotta mean what you say
Say what you mean
If you want to be more than a dream
Mean what you say
Live your own life
Day after day

I wanted only love
that is what it does
I want to be understood
my intentions are always good

and if your dreams are haunted
that wasn’t what I wanted
don’t forget me don’t
that wasn’t what I wanted
I never said it was
it was only love

You’ve gotta mean what you say
Say what you mean
If you want to be more than a dream
Mean what you say
Live your own life
Day after day

(Lyrics Joel Sattler, vocals by Tarjei Skarlund)

See me now

I started ‘See me now’ as ‘All the times’ more than three years ago. Over time seven artists stepped in and made awesome contributions to my original idea: Nicola Offidani, Frederic Osuch, JJ Lorenzo, Bill McCarthy, Daniel Swain, Kat Orlando and Pere Mari. Their ideas gradually transformed the track into the grooving song you’re about to hear. Hear me!

The river ripples north
like credits on the screen
Quietly whispers to me
almost like a dream
As long as I have known you
I’ve known you really well
Only time will answer
in a story it can tell

It says
see me now
hear me now
see me now
hear me now

The leaves are turning all the time
Changing minds on a dime
Wheels are turning all the time
such a lovely melody

Distractions
crack reactions
All I see
is much inaction
False faces on a
big screen-scape
Looking for love
hope to take shape
Mine is a whisper
over the din
in this worried state
I’m living in

See me now
Hear me!

(Lyrics and vocals by Kat Orlando)