This group of men is one of today's most talented, socially relevant and inspirational bands who will be creating wonderful music not for just a meager handful of years, but for many, many years to come. They will evolve, last and thrive because they DO write and sing about important things and have truly become "aware of outside things" that really matter in life. Pat Monahan's powerful but seemingly effortless lead vocals clearly demonstrate that his voice is unquestionably one of the best of the popular music era. Along with the group's strong songwriting skills, their harmony is excellent and precise, and their instrumental skills are nothing less than remarkable - they can do it all!
What started as two guys with strong voices and one guitar became San Francisco's Train by 1994. It was in late 1993 that Pat Monahan left Erie, Pennsylvania and met up with the Los Angeles band, the Apostles. Lead singer/guitarist Rob Hotchkiss and fellow guitarist Jim Stafford had basically disbanded by this time, but the chance meeting with Patrick Monahan proved fortuitous, as Hotchkiss extended an invitation to the crooning Monahan to become a two-man band. After making exhaustive appearances in low-key coffeehouses, they decided to form a full band and enlisted former Apostles' members Stafford and bassist Charlie Colin. Colin brought along his good friend, drummer Scott Underwood, and Train was on its way.
Train settled in San Francisco to develop their sound in a relaxed, laid-back atmosphere. In an unlikely scenario, executives from Columbia Records expressed an interest and, in a somewhat cooperative strategy, farmed the fledgling band out to the minors -- in this instance, Aware Records -- where they could grow naturally and unhurriedly. In 1997, they went on tour, opening for the likes of Blues Traveler, Barenaked Ladies and Counting Crows. Train knew they had arrived when they sold out a performance at San Francisco's prestigious venue, the Fillmore.
Their completed debut album, Train, was released in 1998 and peaked at #76 on the Billboard Top 200 Albums charts while also yielding the hit single, "Meet Virginia" (#15 on the Billboard Hot 100). Drops of Jupiter followed in 2001 and rose to #6 on the Billboard Top 200 Albums charts while producing the hit single "Drops of Jupiter" (#5 on the Billboard Hot 100). The 2003 smash album, My Private Nation, also climbed to #6 on the Billboard Top 200 Albums charts and produced the wonderful hit single, "Calling All Angels" (#19 on the Billboard Hot 100 and #1 on the Adult Contemporary charts). The next recording was the live album, Alive At Last, which was released the following year and reached a respectable #48 on the Billboard Top 200 Albums charts. 2006 should prove to be yet another banner year for the band.
"The 'you' changes in every song," says Train vocalist/songwriter Pat Monahan regarding the sources of inspiration on the band's new studio album, For Me, It's You. "In the title song, 'For Me, It's You,' the 'you' is the woman I'm in love with. Throughout the record, the 'you' is my children or my dear friend who died this year, it's my mother, it's my family, it's my band."
Pat's band is the Grammy Award-winning multi-platinum Train, whose anthemic hits--including "Drops Of Jupiter" and "Calling All Angels"--have earned them the loyalty of fans around the globe while enduring as radio playlist staples across the country.
The band's new album, For Me, It's You, showcases a revamped and revitalized lineup: founding core members Pat Monahan, Jimmy Stafford (guitars) and Scott Underwood (drums) are joined by bassist Johnny Colt (originally from the Black Crowes), and Atlanta keyboardist Brandon Bush (John Mayer, Shawn Mullins). Johnny and Brandon have both been on-board since Train's 2003 My Private Nation tour.
With Train's new line-up gelling as a unified musical ensemble working and playing as one on For Me, It's You, the group's new album emerges as the most fully realized and keenly focused collection of the band's career.
"It doesn't sound like we're trying too hard," says Pat about the album's relaxed and intimate vibe. "I do think this record is more personal and more genuine. It's definitely an appropriate record for me personally."
Pat's brought a lot of his personal experience--including the pain of divorce, parenthood, and falling into a love that's both real and mature--to the table on For Me, It's You. So, while "All I Ever Wanted" might examine the wounds of love gone wrong, tracks like "Give Myself To You" and "For Me, It's You" open up the possibility of the transformative power of a love that practices acceptance and understanding.
In "Always Remember," Pat attempts to reconcile his feelings about the tragic death of a close friend by passing along his most cherished memories: "I got two kids of my own now/They grow up so fast/And how I wish you did not miss that part/Of who I am."
Pat wrote the song "Skyscraper" for his kids. "I always want my children to know that I can be there for them," he says, "but all I can really do is tell them how wonderful they are, but they have to do the work."
"Cab," the first single from For Me, It's You, is, according to Pat, "the metaphoric song on the album. Everything else seems to the point and literal. This whole album is about where I've been lyrically for the last couple of years, experiencing what I've had to experience. You don't choose your experiences, they choose you."
For Me, It's You was recorded over the course of an intensive seven week period in Atlanta, Georgia with producer Brendan O'Brien (Pearl Jam, Bob Dylan, Neil Young, Rage Against The Machine, Trey Anastasio) at the dials. O'Brien first worked with Train in 2001 on the double-platinum watershed album, Drops Of Jupiter (which yielded the group two Grammy awards: Best Rock Song and Best Instrumental Arrangement Accompanying Vocalists) and later for 2003's masterful RIAA platinum follow-up, My Private Nation (which earned Train two Grammy nominations for "Calling All Angels"). It was Brendan who suggested Train cover the Bob Mould composition, "If I Can't Change Your Mind." Train's "3rd generation version of a Sugar song" is one of the many musical highpoints on For Me, It's You.
In all, For Me, It's You finds Train reaching past its remarkable past achievements to find new levels of emotional depth and musical unity on 13 intimate explorations of the complexities of life and love: "All I Ever Wanted," "Get Out," "Cab," "Give Myself To You," "Am I Reaching You Now," "If I Can't Change Your Mind," "All I Hear," "Shelter Me," "Explanation," "Always Remember," "I'm Not Waiting In Line," "Skyscraper," and "For Me, It's You."
Pat Monahan - vocals
Jimmy Stafford - guitars
Scott Underwood - drums
Brandon Bush - keyboards
Johnny Colt - bass guitar