THE REVIEWS ARE COMING IN!!!
Roger Wayne Parr and Joe Coco’s second collaboration, aptly titled, Second Chance, is a polished and upbeat follow-up to the duo’s brooding 2012 debut, Hindsight.
Second Chance is an album of change, growth, and rebirth. In many ways Second Chance is about healing the wounds Parr and Coco explored on Hindsight. Consider "Sister” from Hindsight and “Shina" from Second Chance. Both songs feature voicemail messages. The haunting voice on “Sister” is Parr’s late sister, while the voicemail on “Shina” is an adoption coordinator introducing Parr to his new daughter. This poignant contrast introduces a sense of both musical and emotional closure.
The tracks on Second Chance are upbeat and inspiring. "Don’t Wait For the Sun" has an easy-going, island feel, with overtones of the Beach Boys, while “Backpedal" is up-tempo pop rock with a singalong vibe. Clever percussion and a memorable chorus highlight "Lose Me, Lose You." Both "Cross to Bear," with its chugging acoustic drive and big fuzzy chorus, and "I’ve Arrived" sound like country-crossover radio hits. "Two Masters" is built around a dramatic accelerando, a ripping guitar solo, and a power hook. "Angel’s Cradle" has the dreamlike quality of a lullaby, while “Shina" is a beautiful love song from a father to his daughter. "Death on the High Seas,” which features Parr's high-end guitar work, has a slippery, funky feel, while "Cradle to the Grave” is down-and-dirty blues rock. The album’s title track is another Southern rock-inspired feel-good toe-tapper, probably the best on an album filled with them.
Parr and Coco deliver the goods on this album. Powerful and personal, Second Chance is a satisfying collection of pop gems seared with a country-smoked flavor.
- Rob Errera – Award-Winning, syndicated columnist
Roger Wayne Parr and Joe Coco make a magnificent team on their album released through Performance Records, HINDSIGHT. The entire album plays like an autobiography of a musician, touching not only on industry struggles but personal ones as well. The CD opens with "Foresight/Eyes of a Child" and closes with "Hindsight/Eyes of a Man", which accurately displays the journey the album takes you on. Coco's vocals fit perfectly with Parr's instrumentals while each track flows flawlessly into each other. It's great to sit down and listen to or just play in the background while doing some work (I kept the CD in my car for weeks and saved it for longer car drives by myself). The tracks are extremely catchy and I found it extremely difficult to not tap my foot while listening. I found track #4, "Pick It Out", to be my favorite. "Pick It Out's" upbeat feel corresponds with that feeling of buying a new/first instrument, and that's what it's about. Coco sings, "Is this a job or is this a drug", touching on a love for playing music. HINDSIGHT is both fun and insightful at the same time, the rhythms and overall sound of the album making it hard to ignore.
- Shawna Reuther - Montclair State University student
SIDEMAN TAKES CENTERSTAGE
Debut album 26 years in the making enters the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame
Since its release, Roger Wayne Parr’s debut album “Hindsight” has garnered some very prestigious awards, including the "Smart Heart of Art Award" from the American Musical Arts Society for Compositional Vision, Arrangement Acuity, Production Proficiency, and Recording Excellence. It has been receiving heavy rotation on college and internet radio stations, has been featured in music publications as far away as Tampa, Florida, and most recently was added to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum in Cleveland Ohio as one of the best albums to chronicle the tumultuous nature and setbacks of being a career musician!
Roger has spent the better part of the last 26 years being a Sideman, or Hired Gun, on countless recording sessions, late-night gigs, and major concerts. As each gig or session came and went, he was helping the bandleader or solo artist get one step closer to realizing their own musical dreams. Gig after gig, album after album, he gave everything he had musically to everyone else. He longed for the day that he could finally record an album of his own material that he could proudly hold in his own two hands.
That day finally did come, and on December 12, 2012 – 12/12/12 – HINDSIGHT was officially released to rave reviews!
Roger states, “There are many reasons why it took me 26 years to release my debut album, but two reasons really stick out. The first is that I kind of had to wait until technology caught up with the production I was hearing in my head. I actually started recording various versions of Hindsight at least four times over the years, becoming frustrated with different aspects of each one, and ultimately shelving them because they just weren’t good enough. And the second reason is my affliction with OCD, which unfortunately rears its ugly head specifically in music. I’m a perfectionist by nature, and when it comes to music, I simply can’t sleep at night if something doesn’t sound right musically.”
“I do believe that everything happens for a reason, and I know now that the songs needed to percolate till they were ready, and I needed to grow and mature as a musician, to gain the tools, and the knowledge, so the songs could reach their full potential. What’s really ironic is that with all of today’s technology and the ability to fix and enhance performances with computer-based, music-editing software, I didn’t use any of it. I recorded the entire album on a Tascam 2488 MKII Portastudio in my basement, with no computer assistance. I basically recorded it the same way albums had been recorded in the 60’s or 70’s. I am extremely proud that everything you hear was physically played by me without needing a computer program to make it sound good. I’ve always felt that music should be real and when people use all that technology to fix their performances it comes across as somehow fake and contrived. I can honestly say that when I listen to Hindsight now that it really does sound just like it did in my head all those years before.”
“I also realize that I could never have done this without my lyricist and singer, Joe Coco. He pushed me to get this done and became more than just a friend throughout our musical journey. He became my musical therapist, getting me through the tough times with just the right amount of encouragement. The recording process for this album was much like climbing a mountain. I was presented with problems, glitches, and technological limitations on a daily basis. Since turning back was simply not an option this time, I was forced to hit these stumbling blocks head on and work through them. Being able to conquer these hurdles and face my own demons has made me a much better musician, audio engineer, and overall person. I now know that there is nothing I can’t do if I really put my mind to it.”
“I’m not sure whose idea it was to frame the songs’ subject matter around my life, but it just made sense to me that Hindsight would work better as a concept album, with each song linked to the next thematically instead of a bunch of unrelated songs on a CD. So the music plays more like a soundtrack than a regular album. It starts off with my birth and early years and ends up at today. Once we knew the direction we were going to take I sat down and wrote 13 short stories about the most powerful experiences that I had ever had. Most of them involved a choice that was made in my life, and how my life’s path was affected by that crossroad decision. Joe took those stories and turned them into lyrics and we were off and running. It was this theme of good or bad choices and whether or not I would choose differently if I could go back in time that gave birth to the album’s title “Hindsight.”
“So how did I end up playing all the instruments on the album? My very first musical instrument was a knockoff Gibson SG copy electric guitar I got from Santa in 1978. But learning the guitar never really came easy to me. My father was a retired drummer and one day he took his old Slingerland drum kit down from its attic slumber, put the sticks in my hands, and said try this instead. For some reason I just got it right away and I felt comfortable and was making music that day. Although I yearned to be a great guitar player, I ended up being a pretty good drummer instead. Throughout my career as a drummer, I’ve always had the good fortune of performing and recording with world-renowned guitarists and bass players. I would watch them like a hawk, soaking up everything they played like a sponge. It became better than having formal training on the guitar – I had the best training ever! So eventually I got to the point where I could play the guitar pretty good and Hindsight then became a vehicle to showcase those talents as well. I have come across many drummers and guitarists who are far more talented than I am, but I have yet to find a drummer/guitarist who I believe is extremely talented at both. I’m kind of like a two-sport pro athlete and I’m really proud of that.”
“Many people say you have your whole life to write your first album, and that statement couldn’t be any truer in this case. Some of the music or parts of songs were written as far back as 1985, with most of the material being written between 1988 and 1999. Once I recorded these songs for the last time I had a huge period of creativity, spawning another three to four albums worth of material. Before that I really hadn’t written anything for almost seven or eight years. I believe that keeping the songs from Hindsight always on the fire so to speak and never finishing them caused a bottleneck and kept any new material from surfacing. Once it was out of my head and onto the speakers my mind was wide open again and I filled it all quickly with some really fantastic new material.”
“Being included in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum has been an unbelievable honor and also lends credibility and legitimacy to my body of work. It makes me proud to know that my peers are no longer the unknown garage band around the corner or the local cover band but are now the Higher Echelon of Music Royalty enshrined in the Hall.”
So now that Roger has hit a proverbial grand slam home run at his first at bat, what’s next? “I have a lot more material that I would like to record and right now we’re working on some local and international touring. I still have much more to say as a musician and can only hope that “The future is so bright I have to wear shades.”
- Lou Thomas - The Performance Company
Centenary Professor’s Album is a Must Listen
Students go to class each day and get to know their professors. However, they may not be aware of some of their professors’ achievements. Joe Coco, an adjunct art professor at Centenary, is one of those professors with a long list of achievements. Recently he released the album Hindsight with Roger Wayne Parr, and it has been receiving attention and air play on the radio.
Coco is a former Warner Bros songwriter and his talent landed him the opening act spot for artists such as B.B. King, John Hammond Jr. and Fontella Bass. He was a soloist in the Italian production of TOMMY by The Who, and he won the Italian Blues Album of the Year with Michele Lotta & King Biscuit Time Band, Italy’s top harmonica player. Coco and Lotta’s Blues House-A Blues Opera is considered one of the first blues operas ever written, and it is included in the Rock ‘n Roll Hall of Fame’s collection.
Parr is another successful musician in his own right. He is an accomplished drummer who toured in Ireland with Chaz DePaolo. He has also produced Coco, Martin Neilan, and Luciano John. Hindsight is an album that tells the story of Parr’s life chronologically, and Coco’s vocals help bring it to life. Parr played all of the instruments, and Coco served as lead vocals.
“The album is about choices musicians make,” Coco said. “Some choices they regret, but some come back to be, in the end, much better.”
As the title shows, this album is about looking back on choices made in the past and thoughts of if you could go back to a certain point in time to change something would you? The overall tone is dark, but that does not mean that all of Parr’s life was. He decided to focus on some of the harder times to show listeners what it is like to be him, and it also proved to be therapeutic.
“Each song becomes a piece of a whole,” Parr said. “It lets listeners create the picture in their heads.”
Hindsight utilizes typical Rock instruments including acoustic and electric guitars, bass, drums, organs and synths, and several others. Parr’s playing skills are fine-tuned and Coco’s vocals layer it well. “I Wish I Knew Then (What I Know Now),” one of the key tracks, is a punchy song about one of Parr’s ex-girlfriends. They were together for 10 years, but the relationship went sour. It gives closure to the relationship, and Coco’s vocals lend themselves to the powerful ballad.
“Ran Into You” is another track on Hindsight that evokes the raw emotion felt throughout the entire album. Parr based this song on dealing with obsessive compulsive disorder, or OCD. He had trouble finishing projects, and it took almost four tries before he finally finished Hindsight.
“I turned my OCD into an identity, like a person you run into,” Parr said. “That helped me deal with it.”
Throughout his own career Coco has composed over 700 songs which span over 41 albums since 1970. He has performed nationally, had songs pitched to Judy Collins and Loretta Lynn and has his artwork displayed in museums such as the Museum of Modern Art and the Guggenheim. Hindsight is another accomplishment Coco can add to his overwhelming list, and it is an honest album filled with confessions and stories from his colleague Parr’s life.
Hindsight is available on iTunes, and it is worth downloading. It is a rich album, both musically and lyrically, and it is nice to know that Centenary staff members are achieving things of which students are unaware.
- Loren Kessell - The Quill, Centenary College, NJ
Multi-instrumentalist Roger Wayne Parr and singer-guitarist Joe Coco have collaborated for many years. In their latest release, Hindsight, they break new musical and thematic ground while celebrating the old. Coco wrote lyrics to Parr's existing arrangements, framing episodes from Parr's life with plenty of reference to his own in straightforward, affecting verse. Each song is a chapter in their lives as gigging musicians and as men tackling relationships; each is a refreshingly grown-up take on growth and change, unabashingly masculine, unapologetically emotional, and fearlessly honest.
"Sister" asks where a beloved but ill sister has disappeared to. It's opening references to snow-covered mountains and empty houses instantly remind me of Stevie Nicks' classic brand of melancholia. An insistent guitar riff repeats the question in its own way throughout, moving from the background to front and center for the last chorus. "I Wish I Knew Then (What I Know Now)," a shimmering track that mutes its hardest moments to better show off Coco's voice, highlights both Parr's producing chops and his partying past. "Ran Into You" draws brilliant analogies between the affliction of OCD, the requirements of a practicing musician who must choose between steady relationships and hours of solitary practice, and all of us who aren't ready to trust new free spirits in our lives.
Parr and Coco embrace the biographical impulse and incisive observations of tender songwriters without sacrificing their hard edge or their effortless technique. The final song, "Eyes of a Man," speaks for the whole album by asking "What kind of a man makes love to a guitar?" -- then closes with a crunchy, driving post-metal riff. Who are you when you've lived through so much? Possibilities are foreclosed, but that doesn't make the future any more clear. Far from sounding certain, Hindsight reminds us that the older we are, the less we know.
- Kendra Salois - Ethnomusicologist - Montclair State University
Foresight/Eyes of a Child - strong musicianship, the music does a nice job of backing the "troubled identity" theme.
Second Son - nice snare sound, I like the storytelling, the music captivates the angst of the lyrics.
War Movie - Joe's original phrasing always sounds very unique and distinctive, these songs remind me a little bit of the cohesion between songs on Rush's 2112.
Pick it Out - beautiful lead guitar, beautiful acoustic sound, with the lyrics now suggesting a channeling of the restless anxiety. The music does a great job of embellishing that sentiment.
Hands/Red Brown - the sing-song fluidity of Joe's non-rhyming prose reflects shades of Dylan, very creative bridge, really nice lead guitar. Also reminds me of Dire Straits a little bit (and Mark Knoffler is the shit). The decision to go over 5 minutes is more than justified by the exciting musicianship, the drum groove towards the end was really something for a white boy (just kidding)
Inside Out - Rush-like music feel, this is harder than I've ever heard Joe rock and why we are all lifted by sharing our gifts - I think that's what it's like to play in a band.
Up Here! - the breaking up the band with the femme fatale is a ball breaker.
Sister - nice snare sound, the wood fish or castanets sound like a really cool texture, the voice at the end is haunting - sorry for Roger's loss.
I Wish I Knew Then (What I Know Now) - there is a real conviction in the "Love Gone Bad" outpouring, with a little stronger percussion groove it would have felt a little like an old James Gang song.
Ran Into You - I continue to enjoy the great snare sound and lead guitars.
No Rebound Girl - nice acoustic sound, Joe's voice sounds in fine form here.
Great 2 B. Goode - the sentiment of "it's all a crapshoot" really rings true for me.
Eyes of a Man/Hindsight - these lyrics are so personal; it's amazing that Joe was able to articulate another person's feelings that deeply. The songwriting process between Roger's raw expressions and Joe's lyrical elegance must have been really moving and different for both of them in a very inspiring way. Although we are all certainly different, there is an undeniable sizable overlap to all of our musical journeys.
Overall, very professional sound, engineering, and look. The cover and back prose are certainly appropriate bookends, as is the line “I speak better with a guitar; I get heard with a drum.” I love to complete the circle. Obviously a lot of heart and soul, combined with experienced and highly skilled lyricism and musicianship came together on this CD. It was enjoyable for me to hear Joe’s voice with a little more bombast behind it. While I appreciate all of his solo “James Taylor” sensibilities, I just love me some Brian May. When we share our gifts with others, the end result really is greater than just the sum of our parts.
– Michael Lowrey – Music Critic - Chicago, Il.
Hindsight is a strong collection of introspective rock tunes, ranging in style from bluesy to prog rock. Parr has all the musical bases covered, and delivers some impressive guitar work reminiscent of Boston's Tom Scholz. Listen for some fine pickin' on "Second Son" and "I Wish I Knew Then (What I Know Now)." Parr's percussive chops are equally impressive -- check out the breakdown during "Hands/Red Brown." Vocalist/Lyricist Joe Coco's soulful, engaging voice and storyteller-style lyrics complement Parr's music quite well. I can see why Hindsight won the Smart Heart In Music Award. This is an album packed with honest, unflinching songwriting, and well crafted/well played rock & roll - a combination you don't see often enough in today's lifeless musical landscape.
- Rob Errera - Award Winning, Syndicated Critic/Songwriter/Guitarist/Musician Extraordinaire!
I've been enjoying it ever since I got it! Great stuff... your songs are very creative and well produced. You definitely picked an excellent vocalist. Your production is very "classy"; tight rhythms and orchestration without being overdone. You've got a lot of talent. ( Probably the best drummer I've ever had the pleasure of working with ) I still can't believe you played all the instruments, it sounds like a whole cast of veteran studio cats!! The main thing I can say that pretty much sums it up: I tap my foot every time I listen to it! You deserve to win awards for this... I know you will!
- Joseph Baum - Master Keyboardist and Music Producer
Got the CD and all I can say is..............................AWESOME. Have been listening to it since!
- Lou Moritz - Master Luthier and Custom Guitar Builder to the Stars!
This CD is FANTASTIC!!! I can honestly say that you have become one of my 12 favorite guitar players of all time!!! And this is incredible considering that you're a DRUMMER!!!
- Luciano John - Christian Music Guitarist/Singer/Producer
Thanks for the CD! I'm only about halfway through it so far, but holy crap you rock, brother! This is quality stuff. You've got some real chops! It doesn't sound like a one-man band at all.
- Phil Wisneski - local musician and Rutgers Computer Guru
I downloaded Hindsight from iTunes. What a great album. The song Sister brought me to tears. Congratulations on your first CD.
- Debbie Montera Korman - Great Music Aficionado