Give Back From the Heart - by Steve Hagler
This album is much simpler than my last, Eight Virtues. This is a collection of straight forward soft rock, blues and folk-type songs, some of which have a very deep emotional meaning for me. I hope you find a few that will touch you as well. I like each song for very different reasons. For example:
Little Blue Heron Flying is a song thick with memories. It's about a float trip I took on the Current River with my wife and two children when they were small. During the trip we were being followed, or really led, by a Little Blue Heron (the name is a misnomer - these birds are large). The event had a very unearthly quality as the Heron and the surrounding scene put me in a sort of spiritual, meditative state. I tried to capture this in the song.
Mississippi Swing is about a time in St. Louis when Gaslight Square was the hot area of town. This area existed during the mid 1950’s to the early 1960’s. Many famous entertainers developed their skills in the taverns and restaurants here, including the Smothers Brothers, Barbara Streisand, Miles Davis, Woody Allen, Dick Gregory and many more. Gaslight Square is now long gone, but this song captures the nostalgia of that place along with a feeling for St. Louis at the time.
Moses Makinda is a great story about a fictitious character who is, nevertheless, very charismatic. It's a very abstract sketch of his life. I think of Moses Makinda as a homeless person who is otherwise extremely wealthy in the things of greater value that transcend the physical. He has that gift of bringing out the best in others.
The title track, Give Back From the Heart, includes my favorite line on the album, “…but the only things that we own in life are the things we give away.” To put this another way, our preoccupation with possessions is foolishness, as it is charity that enriches the soul. This song was originally written as a sound track for a video on service projects being done by the company I was working for at the time. However, I feel its message is universal.
These are a few thoughts on four of the cuts. I hope you enjoy the album. – Steve
Eight Virtues - by Steve Hagler
This album was really a labor of love. It took ten years to write and record. The songs themselves are somewhat structurally similar to StarCastle compositions. These are mostly extremely complex pieces, which is what I find most appealing. I love the depth and the intricacies.
This is a concept album, beginning to end. It has a prelude and postlude, and eight songs depicting each of the eight virtues. Many of the lyrics have a clearly religious foundation. The songs were written in sections, and each section was recorded as it was being written, which is a very unusual approach. I played all the instruments and did most of the vocals. My wife, Carol, helped with vocal harmonies on a few pieces.
The selection of these eight virtues is a very personal matter, but suffice it to say that they have great meaning for me, even though I'm the last person who should claim any high ground on virtue. Nevertheless, I've tried to express my thoughts and feelings on each as well as I could in this format.
My sincere desire is that you find this music uplifting and inspirational. I hope it touches you in that inner core where the light shines strongest through each of us. - Steve