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Hard Place To Find
a collection of solo covers by Tobin Mueller, volume 2
Cover of Hard Place To Find
Hard Place To Find
available on Spotify YouTube Music, Apple Music, Amazon and Qobuz

The time I spent working on my first cover album, Song of Myself, was so rewarding, I decided to do another. My long time friend and marvelous artist Eric Green agreed to lend his fabulous artwork (Pool, see above) as cover art. It sets the mood perfectly. Thank you, Eric.

I have been breathing more easily, coughing much less, even though there are other health issues that make rehearsing and recording a challenge (due to my A1AD). My voice isn't any stronger, but not having to do re-takes due to coughing is a huge plus. I continue to choose songs that go with the aged quality of my voice.

From the first moments when Tobin Mueller laughs and calls his piano style “Reggae soft shoe,” it is obvious that this isn’t going to be an easy-listening oldies collection! The second volume in Mueller’s series of vocal covers, Hard Place To Find shows him to be in somewhat stronger voice than on 2012’s Song of Myself, sounding more seasoned and expressive than painfully smoke-damaged (from volunteering at Ground Zero in the days immediately following 9/11). All of the fourteen songs in this collection tell tales of journeying, seeking, and recalling episodes in life’s great and sometimes tragic adventure. This recording is just Mueller and his piano, creating an atmosphere of intimacy and spontaneity. His long history in musical theater often shows in his dramatic delivery, and these new interpretations come from classic rock and folk to stage and a couple of pop tunes - some very familiar and some not so much. From the laughter at the beginning to the tears at the closing, this is Tobin Mueller’s story told through his interpretation of some of the great songs of the past several decades.

Tobin Mueller is something of a Renaissance man of the arts, and Hard Place To Find presents another volume in his prolific and impressive output. More of an art-music album than a pop release, I recommend it if you are looking for something different and deeply personal!

I also chose songs I wanted to share before I'm unable to sing again, which is always a looming threat. Some of these songs are less known than those I chose for Song Of Myself. I hope you enjoy them. They all include themes of journeying, questing, reshaping, or searching for that Hard Place To Find.

I've taken the liberty to change lyrics to a few songs. Arrangers have a free hand to interpret chordal settings and melody, why can't singers do the same with lyrics? (They do, of course, but not often done.) Each of these songs tells a partial story of myself, of my journey. I changed some lyrics to keep that story honest. Also, I try to make all my arrangements into something unique. I don't want to merely repeat what someone else did, do I? Life is too short.

For example, Richie Havens' recording of Paradise is a hip, uplifting yet cynical statement about not needing to believe in anything. But I just couldn't sing "searching is such a waste of time" and mean it. I changed the feel and flow of the song, as well as several other lyrics, to tell a slightly new story. I also remade Gordon Lightfoot's folk epic Don Quixote into a blues-jazz tone poem, creating variations far more visceral and visual, and changed the last two stanzas.

Since No More follows Don Quixote on the album, I sing "No more windmills" instead of "No more witches." In Alfie, I replace "I" with "you" in the line "As sure as I believe there's a heaven above." I rewrite the entire chorus for Show The Way. I have posted notes for every track on their lyrics pages. (see below)

I've also created a few combination songs. They aren't really medleys... the additions I chose from different songs are more like parenthetical comments then the stringing together of unrelated tunes. Adding Dear Prudence as a coda to Dulcinea seemed both playful and apropos. Interjecting Dangling Conversation into Paul Simon's Still Crazy became a poignant flashback moment. Using Moon River coming out of Let Yourself Dream just seemed a natural extension. All these combinations add to the narrative of the album as a whole.

Click here to see more videos.

Play button 1 Paradise [Richie Havens]
Play button 2 Don Quixote [Gordon Lightfoot; with altered lyrics]
Play button 3 Shelter From The Storm [Bob Dylan]
Play button 4 Still Crazy [Paul Simon]
Play button 5 Letters From Rome [Anders Osborne]
Play button 6 Dulcinea/Dear Prudence [Dulcinea: Mitch Leigh/Joe Darion (Man of la Mancha); Dear Prudence: Lennon-McCartney]
Play button 7 Bob Dylan's Dream [Bob Dylan]
Play button 8 Alfie [Burt Bacharach/Hal David]
Play button 9 No More [Stephen Soundheim (Into The Woods)]
Play button 10 Heaven [Jai Uttal]
Play button 11 Show The Way [David Wilcox]
Play button 12 Let Yourself [Tobin Mueller (Runners In A Dream*)]
Play button 13 Moon River [Henry Mancini/Johnny Mercer] (piano solo)
Play button 14 Somewhere [Leonard Bernstein/Stephen Sondheim (West Side Story)]

*Runners In A Dream is a musical written by Tobin Mueller & Randyll Appel, ©2004, 2006.