WHAT'S MY STORY?

I have been singing since I was 5 or 6 in choir and glee club and continued thru college. While at Sewanee, a close friend and I started a well received acapella group called the Tranquillizers. Around 8th grade, I found a discarded harmonica on the floor and have been playing my collection of them ever since, including on this album. I started playing guitar in college as accompaniment for singing Spanish duets and continued with guitar as my main process for writing music.

 

Eventually, I got a degree in physics and then, of course, headed back home where I worked in my fathers construction company and was part of a group that started the 1st coffee house in Delaware called the Attic in 1961. After a couple of years I made the decision to pursue a career as an architect / structural engineer / construction manager, along with some real estate development. Even though I was still writing songs, music took a back seat for a while as I was helping to raise a family with 2 amazing kids (now not kids) and eventually running my own business.

 

Finally, some 20 plus years ago, my friend Frank Baker and I realized that we didn't have enough music in our life and so we put it back in and began performing and founded the Whirled Peas Band. Recently, 3 of us (2 of us Peas) started 3ple, a trio of American Roots and original music. As Willy said “The life I love is making music with my friends”.  

Songwriter Todd Breck Thumbnail Description:

"Todd Breck is a song whisperer. One gets the feeling that these songs weren't wrestled into being, but stroked and beguiled and seduced from the ether into the airwaves. They lope and roll like breakers onto the beach; inevitable and irresistably fun. Todd's lyrics and voice are gruff and imminently listenable. It's easy to imagine that these songs might be making the ghosts of Jerry Garcia and Gram Parsons smile."  -David Morreale

 

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MAKING THE ALBUM WELCOME HOME:

 

Again, I enlisted Wyatt Easterling to produce it and Jen Smith to create the album graphic design. While the 1st album was recorded in January 2016, it took until November 2017 to pull all the pieces together to do it again. The sounds created by the Nashville musicians with me on the album are creative and poignant.


The songs range from brand new ones (”Take Us Down to the River”, “The Old Table”, “Bad Decisions”) to songs 40 to 50 years old (”Shawnee” and “Tanya”). There is no overriding theme to the songs as a group, but they each evolved out of some event which triggered a recall which got crafted into a song. The events around “Eternity” showed up on my road trip to Nashville to create the 1st album. “Twilight at Antietam” is a piece of music by the same name written by David Poland. He was playing it one night when I felt compelled to put words to it.. “Tanya” and “Shawnee”, for those who don’t know me, are my daughter and son; each song written when they were quite young. “Take Us Down to the River”, started with the music and the words, just fell into place. “The Old Table” came out of a co-writing workshop. Candy Fernaux had just bought an old table. We did take some liberties interpreting the table’s autobiography. “Bad Decisions” also came out of a recent workshop while co-writing with David Hanson. “Praise the Stars” was born out of a religious discussion with a friend. “Welcome Home” emerged out of that sentiment when that special someone opens their hearts to you upon your return. “Birthday Gifts” showed up after another of my many birthdays and is a sentiment of thanks for being able to hang out on the planet for so long. “Many Some Odd Year Ago” was created after my wife and partner of 45+ years finally told me when she fell in love with me.


So, selecting the album title, Welcome Home, was a bit of a challenge. The album was totally complete before I was able to sit down quietly and for long enough to hear what the title should be. All of us at some point have made an odyssey that, upon returning from our adventures, we find ourselves under the care of those we love and visa versa. So, may this album heighten those sentiments of appreciation, caring, awareness and understanding of everything and everyone around us while we happily leave those unanswerable questions unanswered, even though we are bold enough to ask.

MAKING THE ALBUM INSIDE JOB

 

I have been writing songs on and off for 50 years as a way to explore the way I feel about pretty much everything: relationships, emotions, belief systems, the cosmos, and general every day absurdities. In June 2013 a singer songwriter network emerged sparked by a singer songwriter couple, Jen & Scott Smith (Naked Blue) from Baltimore who host the 5 day Wood and Stone Songwriting Retreat every year in Crisfield, Md. It has been this network of new friends that helped me make the decision to create an album. I realized their experience could help me make it a reality.

 

I knew I needed some help sorting thru my songs: edits, arrangements etc, and looking back I see how unaware I was of the overall process of how a professional album comes together. My producer and now good friend, singer songwriter Wyatt Easterling, (also a teacher at the Wood and Stone Retreat) in true puppet master fashion, assembled a talented gathering of Nashville musicians, singers, and sound engineers who, in 6 days, every day, helped create this album (one day less than the universe). I started by sending him 28 scratch vocals to listen to and make suggestions about which ones should go into a first album. We thought 10 songs was our target, we actually created 11. Wyatt booked the studio and the musicians and set a schedule to DO this the last week of January 2016. You may just remember the East Coast was gifted with a major snowstorm which pretty much closed the normal routes from Delaware to Tennessee. Undaunted, I left a day early and drove West to Pittsburgh, to beat the storm, before turning south through Louisville, KY and then rolling into Nashville - right on time. Wyatt brought his long time friend Bill McDermott of Dog Den Studio to engineer and kibitz on the album. It was an honor and way too much fun to participate in the long hours and hard work with such talented professionals and to end up with a great collection of songs. Jen Smith took on the task of creating the album cover and all the diverse elements that go along with it including the numerous registrations, social media, websites etc.

 

While all my songs have some point of reference, some bear mentioning. Wyatt has been so instrumental in making this album that I wanted him on it vocally as well. His harmonies are on “Fond Farewell”, which honors past friends. “Debor” was written in 1972 at the beginning of our now 45 year partnership. I honor my mother, my first inspiration, in “Mama Was A Dancer”. She started singing and dancing for a living at 15. “Girly Girl” evolved out of a songwriting exercise at the Wood and Stone Retreat. Candy Furneaux, my co-writer and a singer songwriter, as well, flew in from Texas to sing background vocal on that song. Co-writing became part of my process thru these Retreats. You can see in the song credits that my co-writers are diverse and numerous and my sincere thanks goes out to them for their patience and guidance. Freebo, from the first Wood and Stone Retreat opened up a new musical vocabulary for my writing by teaching me new tuning voices for my guitar.