Down the Road
How the Album Came to be…
Down the Road manifested from an idea singer/songwriter/guitarist Groovey Pantesco had while working on some new tunes in his home studio outside of Atlanta. After years of friendship with drummer Steve Gorman (Black Crowes) he realized that the two had never actually jammed together and wondered if Steve would be willing to do a session with him if he got some studio time in Nashville. Afterall, what was the worst he could say? No?
Much to his surprise, Steve’s answer was yes, so Groovey immediately called Welcome To 1979 in Nashville and booked a two-day session.
Groovey picked 4 songs to record for that session with no plans on doing a full album. “I just wanted to record some of my songs in an analog studio on 2” tape with a band,” he explains. “I hadn’t written but a couple of new songs at this point, ‘These Days’ and ‘Funky Ho Crazy.’ I also had two other older songs (‘Blinded by the Lie’ and ‘Time for Love’) that I had demoed in my studio, but without a band.”
“I wasn’t sure who I was gonna use Bass so I asked Steve if he could recommend a bass player for the session. He called me back and said Robert Kearnes said he’s good to do it. At that time, I couldn’t remember Robert off the top of my head, so I did what you do these days and Googled him.” Groovey then remembered he had met Kearnes (Cry of Love, Lynyrd Skynyrd, Sheryl Crow) some years back at a Black Crowes show. “Needless to say, I was super excited at this point and thought ‘man, this is gonna be a lot of fun’.”
So, the three guys headed to the studio and knocked out the songs in a matter of hours.
Groovey headed back home, super excited about the four songs he had just recorded, and immediately began working on more songs. “At the time, my personal relationship was falling apart, so I did what I do in these times - I wrote songs to help me through the mess. ‘Easy to Leave’ was the first one out of the gate, then ‘Get on Down the Road,’ ‘Best of Me’ and ‘Miss Independent’ were the next three.”
Within three weeks Groovey had his new batch of songs ready and called Steve and Robert again with hopes they’d be willing to do another session. The guys all agreed, they were good to go.
Wanting to add some Hammond/piano on the songs, Gorman recruited Nashville’s own Michael Webb (Poco, Bobby Keys), with whom both Gorman and Kearnes had done session work in the past.
After another great recording session, the idea of doing a whole album started getting Groovey’s wheels turning, so he called his friend Diane Ward to come in and sing some backgrounds.
With the basic tracks now done, it was up to Groovey to add the finishing touches.
“I was still thinking I did have enough for an album I only had 8 songs, I was on the phone with Michael Webb one day I had a dobro sitting in my lap and we were talking about some of the tracks because there were no keys on the first batch of songs so I sent him all those tunes to play what he thought was gonna work for them and he did just that, but while I was talking to him one hand was hitting notes on the dobro and I heard something I told him I would call him back. I wrote In My Life right then and there I think by the end of the day it was done and I sent it to him, it still needed something I was thinking an upright Bass, so he hooked me up with Brian Allen from Nashville and I sent it to him the next day it was done, I had him add cello months later. That pretty much completed the album. I really wanted this to be as true of an album as I could make it, real players, analog and no expectations, for me that’s what it is.”