John Batdorf and Michael McLean _Soundtrax 2 Recovery
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Soundtrack 2 Recovery John Batdorf & Michael McLean Available from John Batdorf's online store. A review written for the Folk & Acoustic Music Exchange by Mark S. Tucker
Soundtrack 2 Recovery

John Batdorf & Michael McLean

Available from John Batdorf's online store.

A review written for the Folk & Acoustic Music Exchange
by Mark S. Tucker
(progdawg@hotmail.com)

In a companion review of the mouthwatering Portfolio 2-disc re-release of past works (here), I make it obvious the respect and enamorment I have for John Batdorf's early oeuvre, thus I'll leave it to the reader to skip over to that critique so that I can concentrate here just on this most recent in the catalog. Soundtrack 2 Recovery teams John up with Michael McLean, an excellent choice, a guy who brings back a LOT of the old Batdorf & Rodney sound and vibe…or CSNY refrains…or America…or Crosby & Nash…or Loggins & Messina; in short: some of the best of this ilk of soft but often energetic rock, the two working together as though of one mind. Batdorf started out at the top of his game in 1971 and this very affecting set of compositions shows he's never flagged since.

Recovery is about exactly what you think it might be: rehabilitation from substance abuse and addiction, the scourges of the rock world and all too many high-pressure professions in our sick uber-capitalistic culture. The CD actually commenced life, however, with an unnamed someone discovering John and Mike were working on a dozen songs reflecting the 12-Step recovery program, as both had witnessed the heart-rending tragedies arising from the addiction problem. Asked to give a concert for recoverers on the mend, they weren't sure if the material was quite ready, but 700 people showed up, and more than a few attendees urged the pair to "please hurry and get these songs recorded!", as the need was dire for this spiritual and aesthetic boost. That moved the gents to start a Kickstarter campaign, and we now have the outcome, going well beyond the original aspirations, the disc standing at 17 cuts of pure music heaven.

I distinctly recall the first time I ever heard a really serious song about getting off the habit, whether alcohol, drugs, or any item: Dion's Your Own Backyard. I've never been addicted to anything despite fairly impressive immersions in alcohol, drugs, and all kindsa stuff back in my youth, but that song hit me hard…and still does. Ian Hunter was so impressed by it that Mott the Hoople recorded a version. Then Batdorf & McLean tackle the subject from a passionate level of a deep understanding upon the grit and determination it takes to conquer one's own demons. There is, however, so much hope for redemption that every cut soars, constituting another level of Batdorf's best work…ever…of the highest order, sitting with Plainsong, Al Stewart, Gordon Lightfoot, Kenny Rankin, Joni Mitchell.

The lyrics thankfully cut through all the brightsiding bullshit and brainless positive-think so often attached to such things. The 12-Step program isn't a Dale Carnegie extension course, it forces the individual to tear down his darkness but also helps him (and her, as Mama's Coming Home Tonight shows) every step of the way, reaching for a core of real beingness. No one, it's obvious, gets to heaven without first laying eyes on the devil, and that's not a comfortable experience, not at all. It takes grit and backbone…and help, a necessity firmly established throughout the CD. Given all the aforegoing, you'd think Recovery would be non-stop threnody, but that's not the case in the least.

One of the Lucky Ones, my favorite cut, is the most despairing track, riven with pain but lofted by gratitude, mystery, and determination. The sum of the rest is resolute and often joyful in that the goal can be reached, perhaps best exemplified in the lines: "I'll work the double-shift / Until the piper's paid / I will not be afraid" amid panoplies of examinations and confessionals that pay tribute to the possibilities lying within all of us, too often dormant until we have to fight for our lives. In that regard, I have a confession as well: I had to fight back a few tears while listening to and reviewing this. It's the most striking combination of beauty and thoroughgoing humanity I think I've ever heard, a groundlevel exposition of heart and soul rarely achieved. It exults in the true human estate despite all the sadness and insanity we see all around us and is hands down one of the best CDs of the year.

Track List:

Ain't Dead Yet
I Don't Always Win
It's Not Heavy
Still Burn Bright in My Heart
Won't Go Down That Road Again
Look Inside
A Case of Treason
Forgiveness
Heaven Help Me
This Time
I'm Changed
Let It Go
Mama's Comin' Home Tonight
If You Could See Me Now
One of the Lucky Ones
I Will Not Be Afraid
Can You Hear Me (I'm the One Who Cares)
No songwriting credits given (???) nor session musician credits (???), but I know these are all original tunes and attributable to either John Batdorf of Michael McLean or both.
Edited by: David N. Pyles
(dnpyles@acousticmusic.com)

Copyright 2014, Peterborough Folk Music Society.
This review may be reprinted with prior permission and attribution.

The New Website Is Launched
Michael McLean and I are so happy to announce that our new website has launched. Please check it out and learn why this CD was made.

http://www.2recovery.org

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Soundtrax2Recovery CD Review
Somewhere back in time, John Batdorf made a decision to sing songs that make us feel a little better about ourselves and our lives. As John points out in “Ain’t Dead Yet “, the opener for his recent release Soundtrax 2 Recovery, his words are as much for himself as for the listener; “I am part of this crew, I’m in this boat with you”. Soundtrax 2 Recoveryis a collection of songs written by John Batdorf and Michael McLean. The album is powerful in its presence, strong in its beliefs that words and music can make a difference. The project started out with a working title of 12 Songs for 12 Steps. When the track numbers finally added up to a count of 17, it opened its arms to be more inclusive by dubbing the effort Soundtrax 2 Recovery. Michael McLean sees the benefits in these songs for the options that they offer. Michael states that “for many recovering addicts, it’s in rehab where they discover there are often musical triggers in their abuse (the songs associated with using), and they have to learn how to avoid those triggers that are essentially the soundtrack to their addiction. John and I are just songwriters with a passion to let the power of music help people trying to change. We’ve been wearing out our lives for the last forty years as professional songwriters hoping to make a difference. Although we understand we’re not the only guys who have songs that could help, we want to get the ball rolling.”
John Batdorf has a voice like the one we all wanted to hear as children-- confident enough to get our attention and loving enough that is does not raise up our walls. John is one half of a couple wondering “how the hell we wound up here”, admitting that the madness is in doing the same thing and expecting different results (“Won’t Go Down That Road Again”). He is the proud owner of multiple days of not doing the substances that he thought could never stop (“If You Could See Me Now”), the soul hanging on to a small light of hope (“Heaven Help Me”) and one who gets up and decides that today is the day that everything changes (“I Will Not Be Afraid”). It was one of the tunes on Soundtrax 2 Recoverythat was the catalyst for the project and validated John Batdorf’s belief in the power of song by seeing the capacity of music to illicit change in his own son. For John, the past and the present collide in the song “I Don’t Always Win”. “I left home without parents at age 15 from Beavercreek, Ohio, and basically raised myself. I learned much about life listening to records from the great artists and songwriters of that era. So in 2005, out of desperation, I decided to try a similar approach with my son. Michael McLean was living in Malibu at the time and I told him that my son was struggling and that I wanted to try another way to reach out to him, so we wrote and recorded the song “I Don’t Always Win”. Without saying anything, I played that song for my son in the car and there was an immediate connection made. He knew that I knew it was going to be a battle and that one brief moment was one of the many things that helped lead him to the road to recovery he is now enjoying. As with me when I was young, a song spoke to him.” Soundtrax 2 Recoveryis a audio reminder that you are not alone. It is supportive without being demanding. The album witnesses without judging your life; you can lead a horse to water but not make it drink. John Batdorf and Michael McLean don’t force sobriety down your throat, but they do let you know just how damn good recovery tastes.
Listen and buy the music of John Batdorf from his website

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John Batdorf and Michael McLean Release "Soundtraz2Recovery
Here is an album review from Alternate Root Magazine

Somewhere back in time, John Batdorf made a decision to sing songs that make us feel a little better about ourselves and our lives. As John points out in “Ain’t Dead Yet “, the opener for his recent release Soundtrax 2 Recovery, his words are as much for himself as for the listener; “I am part of this crew, I’m in this boat with you”. Soundtrax 2 Recoveryis a collection of songs written by John Batdorf and Michael McLean. The album is powerful in its presence, strong in its beliefs that words and music can make a difference. The project started out with a working title of 12 Songs for 12 Steps. When the track numbers finally added up to a count of 17, it opened its arms to be more inclusive by dubbing the effort Soundtrax 2 Recovery. Michael McLean sees the benefits in these songs for the options that they offer. Michael states that “for many recovering addicts, it’s in rehab where they discover there are often musical triggers in their abuse (the songs associated with using), and they have to learn how to avoid those triggers that are essentially the soundtrack to their addiction. John and I are just songwriters with a passion to let the power of music help people trying to change. We’ve been wearing out our lives for the last forty years as professional songwriters hoping to make a difference. Although we understand we’re not the only guys who have songs that could help, we want to get the ball rolling.”
John Batdorf has a voice like the one we all wanted to hear as children-- confident enough to get our attention and loving enough that is does not raise up our walls. John is one half of a couple wondering “how the hell we wound up here”, admitting that the madness is in doing the same thing and expecting different results (“Won’t Go Down That Road Again”). He is the proud owner of multiple days of not doing the substances that he thought could never stop (“If You Could See Me Now”), the soul hanging on to a small light of hope (“Heaven Help Me”) and one who gets up and decides that today is the day that everything changes (“I Will Not Be Afraid”). It was one of the tunes on Soundtrax 2 Recoverythat was the catalyst for the project and validated John Batdorf’s belief in the power of song by seeing the capacity of music to illicit change in his own son. For John, the past and the present collide in the song “I Don’t Always Win”. “I left home without parents at age 15 from Beavercreek, Ohio, and basically raised myself. I learned much about life listening to records from the great artists and songwriters of that era. So in 2005, out of desperation, I decided to try a similar approach with my son. Michael McLean was living in Malibu at the time and I told him that my son was struggling and that I wanted to try another way to reach out to him, so we wrote and recorded the song “I Don’t Always Win”. Without saying anything, I played that song for my son in the car and there was an immediate connection made. He knew that I knew it was going to be a battle and that one brief moment was one of the many things that helped lead him to the road to recovery he is now enjoying. As with me when I was young, a song spoke to him.” Soundtrax 2 Recoveryis a audio reminder that you are not alone. It is supportive without being demanding. The album witnesses without judging your life; you can lead a horse to water but not make it drink. John Batdorf and Michael McLean don’t force sobriety down your throat, but they do let you know just how damn good recovery tastes.


JOHN BATDORF - SOUNDTRAX 2 RECOVERY_CD Review The Alternate Root
Somewhere back in time, John Batdorf made a decision to sing songs that make us feel a little better about ourselves and our lives. As John points out in “Ain’t Dead Yet “, the opener for his recent release Soundtrax 2 Recovery, his words are as much for himself as for the listener; “I am part of this crew, I’m in this boat with you”. Soundtrax 2 Recoveryis a collection of songs written by John Batdorf and Michael McLean. The album is powerful in its presence, strong in its beliefs that words and music can make a difference. The project started out with a working title of 12 Songs for 12 Steps. When the track numbers finally added up to a count of 17, it opened its arms to be more inclusive by dubbing the effort Soundtrax 2 Recovery. Michael McLean sees the benefits in these songs for the options that they offer. Michael states that “for many recovering addicts, it’s in rehab where they discover there are often musical triggers in their abuse (the songs associated with using), and they have to learn how to avoid those triggers that are essentially the soundtrack to their addiction. John and I are just songwriters with a passion to let the power of music help people trying to change. We’ve been wearing out our lives for the last forty years as professional songwriters hoping to make a difference. Although we understand we’re not the only guys who have songs that could help, we want to get the ball rolling.”
John Batdorf has a voice like the one we all wanted to hear as children-- confident enough to get our attention and loving enough that is does not raise up our walls. John is one half of a couple wondering “how the hell we wound up here”, admitting that the madness is in doing the same thing and expecting different results (“Won’t Go Down That Road Again”). He is the proud owner of multiple days of not doing the substances that he thought could never stop (“If You Could See Me Now”), the soul hanging on to a small light of hope (“Heaven Help Me”) and one who gets up and decides that today is the day that everything changes (“I Will Not Be Afraid”). It was one of the tunes on Soundtrax 2 Recoverythat was the catalyst for the project and validated John Batdorf’s belief in the power of song by seeing the capacity of music to illicit change in his own son. For John, the past and the present collide in the song “I Don’t Always Win”. “I left home without parents at age 15 from Beavercreek, Ohio, and basically raised myself. I learned much about life listening to records from the great artists and songwriters of that era. So in 2005, out of desperation, I decided to try a similar approach with my son. Michael McLean was living in Malibu at the time and I told him that my son was struggling and that I wanted to try another way to reach out to him, so we wrote and recorded the song “I Don’t Always Win”. Without saying anything, I played that song for my son in the car and there was an immediate connection made. He knew that I knew it was going to be a battle and that one brief moment was one of the many things that helped lead him to the road to recovery he is now enjoying. As with me when I was young, a song spoke to him.” Soundtrax 2 Recoveryis a audio reminder that you are not alone. It is supportive without being demanding. The album witnesses without judging your life; you can lead a horse to water but not make it drink. John Batdorf and Michael McLean don’t force sobriety down your throat, but they do let you know just how damn good recovery tastes.


Another Gem from a Master & his Soul Mate_Review by The Soft Needle
John Batdorf, with partner Michael McLean, makes a CD with intense feeling and meaning. As you read the liner notes you'll see why these songs have been put together and what this duo hopes to accomplish. Above and beyond their important messages of sadness, insecurity, understanding and recovering, the songs are excellent. Some old, some new, all powerful. I particularly like "Let it Go." The piano sings quietly, eloquently, as the lyrics and the music take you deep inside our singer's heart. Wow. "I'm Changed" is upbeat and pushes using your inner strength to overcome obstacles. Love it! And the song "I Will Not Be Afraid" may be John Batdorf's best. Ever. Sing it again and again and you’ll stand up straighter & really believe in yourself. As good as “Can You See Him.” If you embrace the meaning behind creating this CD, it’s hard not to have an even greater appreciation of John and the music he’s made.

Great Stuff! Review By Dennis Wasnich
“Everybody's Recovering From Something” it says on the back cover. Alcohol, drugs, gambling, a broken heart, the loss of a loved one, you name it. Some are lost forever, some are struggling to overcome, some just need a helping hand or something to inspire them to begin the long journey. John Batdorf and Michael McLean, two talented songwriters and musicians and in the case of John, awesome vocalists, have put together just such an inspiration, but more to the point, a celebration and a tribute to everyone who has tried and is trying and who hopes to try to overcome their own addiction to whatever that “Something” might be and make a speedy and permanent recovery.

To those of us who have followed John Batdorf's “Solo” career, some (many? most?) of the songs on this CD will sound familiar because we've heard them before. Sort of... in a different context, in a different mix or even in a different recording session. But these are not repeats of previous songs like in a “greatest hits” collection. They are much, much more than that! These aren't even re-interpretations of the songs you've heard before. They are re-inspirations. They are... refinements. They are... gripping, haunting, exhilarating, inspiring, saddening, proud, poignant, hopeful, soulful, determined, and all very completely heart-catching.

But don't let me mislead you: there are new songs here too, and they are as inspiring and original and soulful as the refined ones. The most personal is the first where John introduces the “soundtrack concert” with the profound statement that defines the whole project as a gift to all of us: “These aren't just my songs; I'm passing them along because I heard them first.” And, while all of the songs aren't newly written, it feels as if they were all new with the chrome and polish still on them, shiny and sparkling in the sun, and the new-car smell, of course. Harmonies and vocal deliveries and counterpoint melodies to the music all build up a new sense of purpose and a spine tingling, poignant swelling of emotion like you haven't felt in a long time.

If there is one flaw to this album, it is that it is almost too good. You can't go from one height to another without descending into the valleys between, and the sheer mass of inspired music-making and soul-searching and gut-wrenching and tear-welling songs here can overwhelm you. It is difficult to “get your arms around” the whole of this long and lovely and inspiring mix of songs. It's almost too much of a good thing. My suggestion is to play one song a day; listen to it without interruption and with your full attention. If you have the opportunity, listen to it several times. Then the next day, move on to the next song. If you're not moved every day by the Song of the Day, then you're just not paying attention!

Okay, there's one other flaw: It does nothing to cure me of my addiction to the music of John Batdorf and Michael McLean, it only deepens it.

7
  • Members:
    John Batdorf and Michael McLean
  • Sounds Like:
    John Batdorf/Don Henley/CSN/Batdorf and Rodney/Fun!
  • Influences:
    Life_Great Melodies_Powerful Lyrics_Addiction_Recovery
  • AirPlay Direct Member Since:
    10/03/13
  • Profile Last Updated:
    09/28/15 19:58:48
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