Great seeing you guys ! Got the C.D.'s...soon on my show !
Paul W. Smith - WJR Radio NewsTalk 760am (Oct 4, 2007)
Dear Jeff and Sue,
WOW....Have just listened to your fantastic new CD "Bird" and we are knocked out with the music, lyrics and the production. You guys are just great!Last evening we listened to "Bird" and we were transported back to our most enjoyable times in Garland. Somehow you have captured the magic of Jeff and Sue onto a CD, something that is often disappointingly often NOT the case. How often when taking a vacation or visiting a restaurant where there is a resident band that is just so perfect. So you hurry to purchase their CD and play it at home only to find that it really was only the location, time and ambiance that was good. NOT SO THE CASE WITH YOUR CD. Somehow you have captured the essence of your distinctive style onto a very professional compilation of original and touching music and lyrics. We could imagine being there listening to you.
Great work on your CD, we love it.
Brian and Ricky
Brian and Ricky - A Fan (Oct 4, 2006)
I have listened and listened, and I want to share my humble opinion with you. .... well, I liked it immediately. I like every song, but still need time to pick a favorite! I love the way the songs almost seamlessly blend into one another. I love the way it showcases the clarity, strength, beauty of your voices and your talent for making music and writing incredible words.
I hear it, feel it, and like it. The instrumentation is perfect and beautiful.
I simply cannot imagine the amount of work, heart and soul that went into this labor of love. I can hear the passion, compassion, love and pain; I think there is so much more to this creation that only the two of you understand. I love the way you included Scooter and Mr. Coo. I am thinking about the way so many of your words apply to my own life. Someday when we have time to chat I'll tell you what "birds" really mean to me.
I wish you all the success in the world.
Jeff and Sue - Cult of 2, stand tall and proud because baby you nailed it!!!!
Love you guys, Beverley
Beverly - ...A Fan (Sep 16, 2005)
Jeff and Sue/Cult of 2,
Your energy, passion and creativity is so refreshing!
When I heard you were releasing a CD of all original work, I just knew that same passion and creativity would be unleashed in your own personal way. I particularly love the texture of your compositions. You weave a tapestry of music and vocals that is as good as ANYTHING I have heard...EVER !!! The CD "Bird" is pure gold as far as I'm concerned. I'll probably have to buy another copy because we're wearing out the tracks!
The sky is the limit for U2....you've already taken us above the clouds !
Thanks and Good Luck,
Bill & Pat
Bill & Pat - ...A Fan (Sep 26, 2005)
Dear Jeff and Sue/Cult of 2
The night Terry and I made the t-shirts and got your CD, I played the WHOLE CD when I got home. I listened to it from start to finish without interruption (Terry went to bed). I was up till 6 am listening to every track. No stopping, rewinding, or fast forwarding! Jeff, I promised that I would listen with headphones and I did.
I was overwhelmed with a magnitude of emotions...I wept, I smiled, I felt enormous amounts of love emanating from your music and lyrics. It made me think about my own life and whether I truly love as I should. I was moved by the thought-provoking and truly awe-inspiring lyrics and I was positively perplexed by the production!!! From all of the sampled sound effects, like in "Little Human Prelude" and "Cane Is A Grain", to the sheer number of vocals in all the songs. There was even reversed samples and loops in there. The mixing on everything and the level of musicianship on the entire CD was mind blowing! This is truly a work of art!!
Jeff and Sue...it is surely one of the best CDs I have EVER listened to!! (By the way, the beer had worn off by the time I listened to it, too!! And I haven't had a drop for the last six days as I listened to it here at home!!! Ha, Ha, Ha) The song styles and music on the CD are more diverse than most other bands and definitely influenced by your many years of playing! There are only a few moments where you kind of sound like another band, but then you give it the CO2 TWIST! and your back to the CO2 sound.
You both told me that you hoped a few people would REALLY LISTEN to it, and realize everything that was going on in the mix and in the production. Well...I have listened to it almost non-stop for the entire week. My family has heard it and they love it.
The following are the songs listed by track order. I've included a breakdown of each section of the song and what I hear going on. I kept playing back part after part after part because...THERE IS A LOT OF STUFF GOING ON IN THERE!! I am AMAZED with your abilities, and feel like putting my foot in my mouth for even acting like I know a lot of stuff...Jeff and Sue...I am truly humbled by your gifts and marvelous talents!!
1. Little Human Prelude:
Here you two have blended together an interested attention grabbing track with sounds from a real birth and Mother nature. COOL pads and piano part! With birds chirping and a newborn crying, you drew me, the listener, into your celebration of birth, life, and love!!
2. Little Human:
What can be said, but WOW!! The “gang vocals” in the beginning are as good as any group out there and the listener is naturally forced to move while this song plays because of the AMAZING BEAT!! (I'm moving right now thinking about the beat!! YeeeeHaaaaaa!). I love the BIG STRING SOUND at the beginning on the “D, A, C, G, E, F#, G, A” progression. The sound of Sue cooing and Jeff's breathing is REALLY COOL! The rap vocal has that "telephone" or "megaphone" eq, doubled or tripled vocal parts, and possibly some distortion(?) on it which gives a great separation from the music, yet is very captivating. Jeff is in the back singing something too, which gives the verse even some more texture. The Climb has a great sounding guitar part which mimics the vocal melody. The vocals during the Climb rise up in pitch until..."Get Out Of My Way!" which pushes as into the Chorus! Lot of harmony in the Chorus (really the entire song/CD). All of the major rock instruments are playing during the Chorus (Drums, Bass, Guitar, Organ). And that scream...Jeff...my screams don't even compare to your scream!!! Excellent bass part behind the guitar solo!!! (Was that Sue?) AWESOME GUITAR SOLO which is half of the Chorus progression. PERFECT length for a commercial song!! The third verse has even more vocal effects than the previous verses. GREAT pause right at the end of the Third Verse which gives the listener a short break as they are taking in this musical menagerie. Wow...YOU TWO REALLY ROCK HARD ON THIS SONG!!!!!! Never does the music nor the playing get in the way with the story telling!
3. Let Me Be:
Dobro...LOVE IT! Steven Curtis Chapman (a VERY popular Christian artist) uses this instrument A LOT!! Great choice for this song. Leslie tremolo or wammy (?) on the guitar on the left in the beginning makes that part sound more interesting. Guitar harmonics at "sparkle" in the right channel in the beginning even though the acoustic is in the LEFT CHANNEL...LOVE IT!!!. Great. Plus, the comping on the electric keyboard sound and shaker in the right that continue through the beginning until the B (Verse) section "fits like a glove". Reverse samples (sections of loops?) give motion and simulates the struggle with fear and the struggle in our heads!!! What is this with the B (Verse) section?...what is the timing for the verse? I'm TERRIBLE with figuring time signatures out (let me know). Chorus...WOW and DOUBLE WOW!!! The lead vocals are doubled (at least) and the background vocals are FANTASTIC...let's see...with the Ohs, "Let Me Be" part with many vocals, the "telephone sounding" background, the panning, the dynamics with parts flying in and out...I think my brain is farting out from trying to analyze this song!! The bridge ROCKS! Once again, the vocal lines running so close to each other and over each other gives me, the listener, a sense of the singer’s confusion and then the singer’s resolve when the line "Be More" hits!! Oh yea, the high "D" that Sue hits at the end...SUPERB!!!
GREAT JOB GUYS!!! ONE OF MY FAVORITE ON THE CD (even if God doesn't choose favorites...I do!! Ha, Ha, Ha )
4. Love Just Keeps:
Definitely a "Michael W. Smith and Steven Curtis Chapman like" inspirational song!! Possibly my favorite because of the loving words to your wife, Jeff, and the "Scooter and me by the sea. Love just keeps rolling along" part. (Terry's absolute favorite, because of the name, Scooter.)
Well, this song is in 6/8 time or 3/4 time? (I told you I was bad at this). The two acoustic parts in the beginning are magnificent, Jeff!! The synth gives it some "early Boston, Toto, or Yes" feel. Great Violin part! Just enough to give it that intimate "dinner with violinist" or "walking on the beach in a movie with a soundtrack" feel. Once again, using that "band pass" sound on the vocals to highlight that line "and my head won't let her soul out of my dreams" which made me start weeping! Actually, I was weeping from the start and especially with the lyric, "Scooter and me by the sea!". BEAUTIFUL, GOURGEOUS, LOVING!!! (I'm crying tears of joy, right now guys, with the love you have for life, each other, and music....blessings to you!) During the very tasteful double guitar solo, you have Mandolin, organ, and then...double violin solo section...BEAUTIFUL!! Very COOL drum pattern for the last Verse...and background vocals that are like "voices of conscience" coming and going saying things like, "Hope...hope"..."always knows what's right" and Sue singing "I need to remember" and all of Jeff's overdubs like "Scooter and me by the sea". I even think I heard, "Scooter just keeps" or maybe "Love just keeps" in the background towards the end...(which is it there?) I like the way you don't sing "rolling along" at the end because it makes the last line different than the Chorus, plus, the ending drum fill finishes the vocal track...and WHAT A COOL LAST CHORD!!! I'm floored and humbled by your musicianship!! LOVE YOU TWO, ALWAYS!!
5. Way Behind:
Cool drum loop opens this song, with the vocals bouncing around. Both of them have another “pass” eq on them. “Ohs” and "I, I would. I, I would" set up the first verse. Stereo separated acoustics again...(man I wish I could play acoustic better...this sounds SO COOL!). Some pad sound in the background of the verse, but it is just barely there...neat touch. The phrases, "as" and "change" fill in the space between vocal parts. I can't make out what Sue says after "cope and rearrange". It sounds like it might be the next line, "Everything is better", but I'm not sure. Cool background and doubled vocals here! The Bridge Section has a super simple but extremely effective synth line on the right. GREAT TOUCH GUITAR SOLO, a vocal part with "oh" sung by Jeff, and a lead in to the second time for the bridge. (How do you know how many times to do a section? Or to change the lyrics in a section the second time? I don't know how to do this.) Then more Jeff comes in towards the end...very effective. The female "aah's" at the end...auto panned? Delayed? Reverbed like crazy!! Sounds synth pad-ish!! Another hit in my book!
6. Cane Is A Grain:
I can't wait to comment on the lyrics, but I am only doing music comments right now...but just wait, I have a lot of ideas about the meaning to this song, and I hope I find out from the artist herself!! :)
Starts with a cool distorted organ/pad sounding chord. Then...pow...what sounds like Sue's voice falling in a reverb washed vocal and then Jeff speaking a very ear catching and meaning vocal line with some cool effect on it again. Tremolo guitar again in the left and then...what is that...flanged cymbals??? COOL! Maybe the drums?? Maybe the entire mix?? (Not 100% possible but AWESOMELY SWEET!! (pun intended of course!) "Purify, Sugar" and various other vocal parts from later in the song foreshadows what we will be hearing! Sue's vocals are so diverse because of the effects and eq. She sounds mean during the, “get rid of this” portion. During the Chorus we have background vocals coming in quickly to fill in the lyrics and move the song forward. Love the way she sings, "Sugar!!!!" Great key change during the bridge. Then a different, "try to impress" vocal part in the Climb Section. Jeff comes in with, "Go" or "Gone", I’m not sure, but either way, COOL! Then ending it with SUGAR BEING POURED SAMPLE, I hope people realize how gifted you two really are!!
You know, this could have made it on the Charlie & The Chocolate Factory Soundtrack!! I absolutely believe that it is that good!
7. Alone With Me:
First off, did you have to Auto-tune Mr. Coo, Jeff, or does he coo like that perfectly on pitch?? Ha, Ha. The bass in the beginning sounds like a synth bass. Sue sings, "you see, you see, alone, with me", as it pans from left to right and back again multiple times. Then the band (Jeff and Mr. Coo) kicks into a VERY TIGHT AND STRONG GROOVE. Synth lead lines and pads are the strongest during this section...(this is something finally that I think I can play)...although there are at least three guitar parts, too. POWERFUL! After that hard rock beginning, I DID NOT SEE THIS VERSE COMING with its lush synth pads and percussive synth parts. There are those acoustic guitars again (I'm not worthy...I'm not worthy!!!) Sue is again singing with herself. I like the way she phrases, "stretch for miles". She sang it in an interesting way (Guys, these are definitely not just three chord songs and easy melodies! Tough stuff!) The Chorus has a lot of vocal parts in the background and strings and things. Then a reedy organ solo. More ensemble strings just before the second Chorus. Back into a wash of vocals and pads, chorus guitar, and great drum playing. The acoustic solo is NOT LONG ENOUGH!! MORE GUITAR!!!! The keyboard solo is really great here. The rest is a mesmerizing mix of vocals, synths and rockier playing...hey...that's where the beginning came from...it came from the ending!! Coo-l. Once again, at the end, Mr. Coo steals the song with his perfectly pitched coo! Wow...that “cat” can sing!!! Ha, Ha, Ha
8. I Am Free:
The beginning is another awesome percussive strumming acoustic guitar part on each side. Nice cymbal swell and some kind of hand drum or roto tom. A little piano goes a long way here! Love the wah guitar in the right. Doubled background vocals and then the lead comes in the middle. Cool vocal comes across from left to right, "we are special" and "ahs" in both channels. Bass plays a groove that goes into the higher notes and walks down. Chorus guitar comes in the left channel before the second verse. Chorus has background singing, "Free, I am free!". Bridge has a new and great melody where the vocal goes up to a VERY HIGH NOTE! Very well done!! After the words, "chaos reigns and everything’s perfect", there is some kind of Gong? or Sitar? Not sure. Close to the last Chorus there are strings that come in which intensifies the song just enough to make the ending different than the other Choruses. Once again, awesome background vocals that use other words and phrases from the song in almost ever corner of the stereo spectrum! Nice guitar solo work on the left side. Nice fade out...
Catchy beat and hook with “I am free!”..SPECTACULAR WRITING!
9. Rebel Without A Clue:
This is the most radio commercial song in my opinion. Basic guitar strumming in both speakers, with an arpeggiated guitar on the right side...this is perfect!! A pad or vox sound pans around before a distorted guitar swells in to the second verse perfectly, where the full band come in. The phrase "fireflies" and a quick "ah" from the right to left during the second verse makes this verse memorable. Just before the Chorus, Jeff is joined on the word, "Lead" by...well...Jeff. All of the elements of the Intro and Verses melt together in this Chorus like sugar on a hot stove. In the third verse the "ah" from Sue comes from the other direction, left to right, NEAT. This time, before the Chorus, Jeff sings "bed" in the background. Sue is singing the ending lyrics in the background of this Chorus...(how do you two think up this cool stuff???) The guitar solo kicks in with a GREAT TONE!! Organ and tambourine in the background...and then all of a sudden...double harmonized guitar solos...WOWWW! The background vocal this time, before the last couple Choruses, is "Thing". Love the changed lyrics on the last Chorus! Once again, Sue is singing the end lyrics during this chorus, and then all voices kick in with harmonies and some GREAT mini-guitar solos. Not sure, but I think Sue sings, "ya, wooh". Then the band kicks down a notch for some very solid beats and hits, which goes into Sue singing the end lyrics which by now should sound familiar since she sang them in most of the Choruses. Nice "oohs" and "doo doo doo doo" before the word "high" echoes from center to left to right. The last instrument parts are bass, shaker, cymbals, guitar feedback in the center, chorus guitar in the left, arpeggiating guitar in the right, another guitar doing slides in the right, and a lovely cymbal swell. The song ends with that tremolo guitar , some cymbal taps
Once again, this is a great rock song which should get radio air play!! This would be one people would still remember on there way out of your concerts.
10. On Sunday:
Acoustic in the left and tremolo guitar in the right, bass in the center playing long notes. Cymbal swells panning back and forth from right to left and back. “Crying” guitar fades in and suddenly disappears...cut right out. When Sue starts singing the acoustic and bass continue as the main instrumentation. That crying guitar lead is panning back and forth very quietly just for movement in the background...it’s clear, yet not in the way of her vocals...IMPRESSIVE! The tremolo guitar comes back in on "time" and continues playing...there is a guitar which has feedback and whammy effects as it holds one note in the left speaker. For the second verse the full band kicks in. Jeff sings echoing vocal lines with different words which go hand in hand with what Sue is singing. Just before the Chorus, female background vocals singing, "aah" come in once, then again in the center channel and then the Chorus starts. These female vocals continue filling behind Sue's vocals. Sue has another echoing vocal saying, "see you on Sunday”, which backs up the lead. The next Climb has an organ come in the mid left channel then we go into a Bridge section. The Bridge starts with a guitar lick, Sue and background female voices singing, then back to the guitar, then back to Sue and the background vocals with the guitar playing over the end of her line. "yea, yea" is one of the main background parts during this Bridge. Back to a Climb with an added, "ooh" by Sue as it fades in and falls in pitch and then fades completely out. Back to a couple of Choruses which are similar to the first Chorus. Sue has a panning echo on the word, "soul" which emphasizes that line. Towards the end a guitar takes some lead lines in the right channel then the left channel and then moves into the center channel. The Ending has a drum fill into a synth pad sound on a great chord, again.
This song was impressive live but with all of the instrumentation and vocals it is even better. GREAT JOB!
11. In Fidelity's Face:
Shaker in the right channel, with what sounds like a drum loop in the middle. Piano comes in mostly in the right channel with a lot of effect (reverb) on it? Then the bass comes in followed closely by the drums to complete the rhythm tracks. A synth pad fades in and out in the center. Sue starts singing with this foundation laid well in advance. The B Section has a harder rock sound with open hi hats, a lot of snare, and a very tight and close harmony vocal sound. Plus, the bass has a very busy part. The C Section has echoing female vocals singing phrases like, "reaching out", "guide me to", and "promised land". The next part with the title sentence is actually the background vocal singing it while Sue ROCKS OUT with "woah's" and other vocal comping. Then we have a the guitar solo which is softer and the guitar is VERY CLEAN preamp-wise but soaked with reverb and delay!! Jeff plays VERY WELL in this section. Then on the last Chorus Jeff starts soloing in the left channel on guitar, then on organ in the right channel, THEN ALL LOVE BREAKS LOOSE!!! A TOTALLY COMMITED DUEL BETWEEN THE GUITAR AND ORGAN!!!! FREAKING AWESOME!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Everything is going Ernie Ball's to the wall and JEFF IS PICKING HIS HEART OUT and then all of a sudden toward the end of his solo he mixes it up with a little bluesy solo riff!!! UNBELIEVEABLE!! By the way...Sue is still SCREAMING HER HEART OUT!!! These two souls ROCK HARD TOGETHER!!!
12. If I Lost You:
As this song starts, the listener is instantly brought to an emotional place where they will have to ask what they would do if they lost someone close. With a beautiful piano part, strings, synths and a saw synth part (?) ran through effects, the beginning is a gorgeous painting revealing the talent and compositional ability of these two extraordinary people!! Background vocals, "ah, ah", from the sides. Sue singing, "ooh", and the background vocals again. NICE REVERB ON THE VOCALS!! Drums only for hits and emphasis make this a truly orchestral piece. Not much changes, which is fine since it's all good, until the Bridge! WOW! This is not good...IT’S SUPERB!!! Sampled sounds of kids playing on a playground, crescendos, fantastic string parts, quick piano runs and DYNAMICS!! You don't hear CDs like this a lot anymore! Then towards the end Sue gets WAY UP THERE...HIGH D SHARP! I think that's the highest lead vocal note she sings on the whole CD. She sings it with her head voice and in a whispered tone...LOVELY!!! This song pulls and tugs on the heartstrings!! A respite in your project which the listener will appreciate.
13. Fly Away:
EXTREMELY COOL SYNTH PARTS IN THIS SONG. Great stuff with Sue's vocals too, like the part during the break before the second verse with the, "mmm" that hits different notes and different places in the stereo field. The song starts with two electric keyboard sounds pan opposite each other. Then Sue's vocals come in with "yeah, hey, hey, yeah, hey, ey, oh" which is a climbing melody. Sampled barks from Scooter sound like a percussion track at first until the sound moves to the right and has a more irregular barking pattern. All the while a synth solo is playing over this “bed of techno” arrangement. Sue has some echoing background vocals in the first verse. Cool tom fill in the middle of the second verse and climb. During these sections I can hear a synth string part, too. I think I hear Jeff go, "sssshhhh ssshhhh" fading in and out. I believe during the synth lead I think I hear reverse vocal parts up until that same, "mmm" on different notes and pan positions...and then Scooter growls, which is funny. The barking starts again towards the end of the song as Sue sings, "mmm" with the same melody as before. IMPRESSIVE MIXTURE OF TECHNO AND TECHNIQUE!
This beautiful song starts with a beautiful piano part in the right and a synth violin part in the center. NEAT SOUND. Bass comes in halfway through the intro with a "mini moog" sound. Jeff, you really show your range with this song and you sing this with a lot of emotion. The stereo reverb on the vocals is huge on this song and works very well with the mood. Wow...you can hit some low notes. Drums and a loop come in on the second verse. Guitar comes in on the Solo section and is panned right, but it is the synth sound that solos. I also hear an organ in the left channel. There is a crescendo just before the first verse is repeated with Jeff doing some background, "oohs" and "yeah". During this repeated first verse the vocal melody goes up an octave from where it was the first time through the verse. Cool key change on the line "never be the same" which is fitting with a key change. I believe Sue comes in singing, "I am a partner for you", "I am a partner for you", "I am a partner" which is the only time she sings on this song. The song ends with a VERY COOL DRUM FILL and cymbal taps and finally only the piano and synth part are left playing the same phrase as the beginning.
15. Cradle To Grave:
Cool little groovy song! Bass, acoustic rhythm in the right, and a high pitch synth part in the center. Shakers in both channels again create a toe tapping groove! Jeff starts his lead part with an cool sounding vocal "umm". Vocals fading in with "ooh" and then out again. An acoustic lead plays a couple quick licks in the left channel. Jeff sings first in a intimate style, then Sue joins him with her lines. Jeff even has another telephone sounding, "I wanna be" before that phrase is sung on the lead track!! COOL. The C Section has a HUGE background reverberated vocal sound!! With a couple harmonics in the right channel we are back to the clean sound of the beginning...but not for long...because we go back into that Cathedral sounding reverb with Jeff humming and Sue singing, "la, la, la, la". Then lots of strings and lots of "oohing and aahing". There's a pause from the shakers as strings and an Oboe (?) play a little solo section. The shakers fade back in and then an effect fades in? Jeff...PLEASE TELL ME HOW TO DO THIS!! IT'S GREAT! Jeff's telephone vocal part sings "clear, clear" in the right and the left. On the last, "cradle to the grave" many vocals fade in for that line. The acoustic in the right channel plays as everything else stops, when it is done, looping string samples, birds singing, wind chimes, and possibly a water or windmill effect pans from right to left and back...then EVERYTHING STOPS DEAD as if the track was cut short!
This is definitely one you two could do live and I think people would slow dance. I LOVE IT!
Well, guys, I hope that this is as useful to read as it was for me to write! I learned a LOT about mixing and production from this CD, but I won't be able to do something this good for years or maybe never. I will definitely hire you two when it comes time for my CD project!!!! Love you 2!!
I have to say that Terry and I truly feel blessed to have you in our life and especially as our friends. Some wondrous supernatural phenomenon brought us together and has sent our souls strolling along together on the beach of life! (...love just keeps rolling along!)
Well, once again I don't know if this letter will help you two feel a sense of accomplishment, but it should!!! You both work your brains out all year long and even longer on this CD, but you have given your fans and listeners an open window into your soul and that is a special thing!!
Blessings, peace, and LOVE, forever and ever,
Brad - ...A Fan (Sep 26, 2005)