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The Story of Mother Redcap

... As they drove down the NJ turnpike, Steve Oakley and Rodger Delany began to plot a creative blueprint that’s only goal was to make the best music they could make. It would be as simple as that. Whatever happens happens. No more BS …

Formed in the southern shadow of Philadelphia, the band is unapologetically New Jersey. From its blue collar muscle to its ability at achingly beautiful lyrics and melodies the band moves all over the dial but in a way that seems natural. Drawing on influences such as the Beatles, Springsteen, Pink Floyd, Neil Young, Rush, Steve Earle and the Replacements, Mother Redcap has developed a unique sound that is familiar yet all its own.  As Oakley says, “We write. That’s what we do. We love to perform and jam and all of that but what we really get off on is writing.”

Upon completing their debut CD “Up to Now” in 2000, the band supported the record for the next year before hitting another career crisis. “We had been at it for awhile,” says Oakley.  “We didn’t have a whole lot to show for it.  Our Bass player (Chris Ritchie) decided he was done.  So, then we were a trio - a fairly unhappy trio to boot”.

While trying a few different bass players out with Rob Rossi on drums, Oakley and Delany began recording with Delany’s good friend and a long time friend/fan of the band Paul Puckerin at his studio in West Chester. “We just really began to grow” states Delany. “As far as textures and layers and overall sound definition, we grew up over night.”

As Paul remembers, “They had sorta gotten into this groove where they wrote certain styles really well and tended to gravitate towards them, but I felt they were only scratching the surface of what they could do.”  For the next couple of years, the duo estimates they recorded between 50-75 songs consciously trying to expand their sound and increase their depth. Puck played svengali and non-violent Phil Spector type but refused to join the band for live festivities. About this time, the band decided to do a one off showcase for a promoter who they’d worked with in the past. It turned out to be a fortuitous decision because in the audience was an old friend and former band mate Mike Lightart.

As Mike recalls, “I hadn’t seen them in a very long time, and I was surprised and impressed by their performance.”  Mike had been on the sidelines for a few years and was itching to get back to playing. He had recently begun practicing with his longtime Prog collaborator (Infinite Echo) John Knorr and was curious to see how it would meld when Oakley called him and asked him to do some session work (the band’s original drummer had bowed out of the process).

As Delany says, “We re-cut the drums on two songs that we had started at Ground hog, and we knew instantly that this was gonna work”… Buoyed by this, Oakley and Delany went to work writing songs and in a leap of faith booked studio time for that August at Milkboy recording studios.

As Oakley remembers, “It was a heady, confusing time.  Rodger and I decided to bring three songs each. I had Ever After, Crash and I Meant Everything. Rodger brought Every Time, Done with You and What You Do.  We were nervous and excited. I really believed it was the right time to do this. …then with all the stars aligned, it of course, turned into a disaster…  We had all kinds of problems, slight clashes with the engineer, definite personal issues, just a real bad vibe. Wasn’t a good time.  Even now I look back at it and wonder how we got thru it, but there were still some magical moments in those first few days, enough to keep plugging.”  As the band wrapped up the second session, it was apparent to all parties that some changes had to be made. With that, the band’s longtime bass player quit for the third and final time. Enter Paul Puckerin and as Delany cites “The sky opened up, well not really but we believed it all happened for a reason and this really lifted our spirits..."

The new lineup immediately jelled and coupled with a switch in engineer (Co-Producer Tim Sonnefeld) the band hit the ground running. They spent the next 2+ years working on “All This Nothing.”  According to Oakley, “For the first time in our lives we took control. On our past records we really just rehearsed and documented (on tape or Digital whatever).  What we had, on this record we created it bit by bit, step by step. We weren’t under any financial pressure to finish “right now” so we were able to live with the songs and had free reign at experimentation.”