“Life…Intro” (Randal Johnson)

As I started feeling like this had the makings of a concept album, I wanted to add an intro to the album, so I used the harmony vocal takes from the “Life..Better Late Than Never” recording, and added the synth guitar at the end to give it a quirky double bass or cello sounding opening.


“You’re the Best of Me (2020 Re-Mix) (Randal Johnson)

This was written in Daytona Beach in February of 2015, and was a song where the words and music came together simultaneously.  I didn’t really know what it was going to be until I got into it.  First recorded in October and November of 2018, with David Milligan providing the drums on November 13th.  Dave Hardman provided two lead guitar takes, which were both used on this album.  It was re-mixed in August of 2020 to tweak the drum eq’s and vocals.  


“2AM” (Randal Johnson – David Milligan)

This was definitely one of those “you got peanut butter in my chocolate” situations.  Written in Oak Island on March 10th of 2018, David Milligan and I were on a weekend get away at a mutual friends beach place.  I was noodling around on my guitar one morning with the opening lick when David came out and said that he had some lyrics, and we built it from there.  David recruited his son, Michael (who had been a working musician in Nashville) to add the bass part, and Dave Hardman provided the lead guitar part, which happened in one take!  The song was recorded between December of 2018 and May of 2019.


“Covid 19 Blues” (Randal Johnson)

This is one of those tunes that was written in about 20 minutes on March 28, 2020 in Charlotte, NC.  I videoed myself playing and singing it, then put it on Facebook on March 30th with a request for FB friends to add parts to it.  Frank Pratte answered the call with the bass part, and some amazing tech skills.  Marc Bickler was kind enough to add his blues harp to it.  This was most definitely a Covid style collaboration.


“Forevermore” (Randal Johnson)

I wrote this in Charlotte, NC between May 27 and June 2 of 2020 as my 40th Anniversary present to my wife, Sara.  I had a hard time writing something that didn’t sound cheesy and lame until I got the first line, “Music played the night we met…”  It all flowed from there.  I liked the idea of  making the song sound like a sea voyage.  This one was probably the most quickly recorded song.


“Blue Girl” (Randal Johnson)

Over 41 years in the making, I wrote the first two verses in Santa Barbara, CA on April 24th, 1979 (at the age of 21) and just left it in my little music folder.  On July 30th, 2020 I came up with a guitar lick (that I called “Dirty Blues”).  Eventually, I put the two together, and came up with a direction for the story, which my wife refers to as “the naughty song.”  This was the first time I used a wah-pedal, which provided the “bow-chika-wow-wow” feel in the tune.


“Hurricane” (Randal Johnson)

This was first written as a poem in Daytona while awaiting the arrival of Hurricane Dorian.  Posted on Facebook on September 3rd, 2019, I always felt that it could make a descent song with some dark ominous music.  I finally came up with the riff, and completed the song on in August of 2021.  David Milligan’s drumming and swells make it feel like you’re in the middle of the storm.  This one was recorded and mixed between November, 2021 and February, 2022.


“In Your Head” (Randal Johnson)

Written in Charlotte around December 31, 2013 (mostly), it was inspired by one of those Wounded Warrior commercials on TV.  I pulled in the concept that we all have setbacks in life that are to a greater (or lesser) extent in our head…whether it’s physical or mental, the end result is that it’s mental.  It sat around for a while, as I felt it needed a bridge to put a bit of a silver lining on it.  I finished the song June 18th of 2021, and recorded it in August and September of 2021.


“Road of Life” (Randal Johnson)

I had the idea of playing with different motor vehicles as a metaphor for how we deal with obstacles in life.  The story is told through the driver of the car in traffic, the biker on a mountain road, and the long-haul trucker driving across the country.


“You’re the Best of Me” (acoustic reprise) (Randal Johnson)

Jeremy and Andrea (Our Friends Electric) graciously agreed to sing on this, and recorded their parts in Daytona in October of 2018.  As I mentioned, Dave Hardman took two passes at recording the lead guitar part for this song on December 29, 2018.  The first was used on the electric version, and the second was used on this version.


“Life…Better Late Than Never” (Randal Johnson)

After having everything recorded, and working on a play list for this album, I felt like the project needed a title track, and after stewing on it for a couple of months, I woke up the morning of July 29, 2022 wih the melody in my head, and jotted down some rhymes during breakfast.  I had the song charted by about 11:00am (except for “It’s a journey”, a line that was giving me trouble).  As I had more of a fast ‘punk rock’ feel in my head, I enlisted my son, Darek, to play the drums, as I know no one better to drum in that style.  I decided to use the “Ooh-Ahh-Ooh’s” at the beginning of the song (which were alternate background vocals) as a last minute idea for an intro.  This was the first project recorded on my Mac with Logic Pro…a format I’m still learning.


“In Your Head” (acoustic) (Randal Johnson)

I just liked the haunting feel of this acoustic version of this song.


“Girly Girl” (Randal Johnson)

I’ve been singing this little chorus part to my wife, Sara, while just walking around the house as a little song of endearment for umpteen years. It always sounded like an old-timey song in my head, and I finally decided to write it out as a novelty tune.  It’s sort of a Gene Autry, meets Carl Perkins, meets the Energizer Bunny kind of thing…definitely designed to make you chuckle and put a smile on your face.