Songs from the new album “Lay It On The Line”!
Stream or purchase the new album “Lay it on the Line”
Purchase a physical CD
Below are Tracks from the previous album “Devils On The Radio”.
Saffell is a singer songwriter, performer and producer from Northern California with a soulful, funky, electro-pop sound. His new album “Lay It on The Line” comes out June 18th. Saffell performed, recorded and even mixed the entire album himself during a two year process of intense study, learning, and experimentation in all areas of the recording process. Saffell’s determination to get the sound in his head out into reality has resulted in this sultry, rhythmic, lyrically compelling, sexy collection of new songs.
About the title track “Lay It On the Line”
“I wrote this song around the beginning of 2017 while I was going through a big transition in how I was approaching my music career. After years of trying to keep a band together in support of my original music, touring, promoting, recording and all the rest, I found myself miserable and struggling with crippling depression. I had been grinding it out challenge after challenge, rhythm section after rhythm section and I had just done a grueling solo Northwest tour where I completely lost my voice and had to cancel the last 3 tour dates. As far as I could tell none if it was heading for success, which I could have overcome except that now I wasn’t even enjoying it anymore. Was I going to just quite music? Well, before I throw in the towel I thought, why not just take some risks and try a whole new approach? So I decided to drop everything. I let go of my band, I stopped booking shows and I stopped virtually all my social media activity. This was terrifying because I actually had a great band and more gig opportunities were showing up. But something in me was suffocating. I needed to try a whole new way, internally and externally. This song (and this entire album) is about taking that leap into the unknown.
I had recently started to get into live-looping and I had added a Microkorg synth to my live-looping rig. Looking back now, the Microkorg was probably my gateway drug into electronic music production. Anyhow, I was messing around with some of it’s sounds and stumbled into a progression based on one of its synth patches and then I started improvising with my main Rhodes sound on top of that as well as some looped hand percussion. Before I knew it the basic groove and the chorus of the song was born! I also started to realize I was having a lot of fun building up arrangements with live-looping! The rest of the lyrics and the final form of the song took shape as this transition in my life continued to unfold. So looping was a fun new approach to my live performance, great, but what about making the next album? I had also just found a 1926 Baldwin grand piano in great playing shape for super cheap. Once I saw this in my living room I began to have ideas of recording my own album. I had recorded in professional studios before, and I knew how much was involved in making an album so I didn’t take the idea lightly. None the less, I had this feeling that I could write, record, engineer, produce and even mix my own album and that it would be great. Now, if you’ve ever made an album, not a bedroom demo but a real album, you’d know that those are some bold statements. It also helped that a friend of mine had offered to give me some world class recording gear. So all these different things were swirling around while this song was still in my notebook, half finished with verses left to be written. So you think you can do it all yourself? Then prove it, make an album, and then put it out there… lay it on the line.
For me “Lay it on the line” meant to really put yourself out there. To do what you’ve set out to do with 110% of your heart and soul. I had just decided to let go and re-invent how I was making music and so I went all the way. I was going to build my own studio and record my own album. This ended up being a two year process of intense studying and learning in all areas of the recording process. And at the beginning there was this song and me taking look at what was going on with me? Why was I so miserable and what the hell was I going to do about it? I should also mention that my wife believed in me 100% and had my back all the way. This album would not have been possible without her.
I wanted to reconnect with the initial joy of music that led me to pursue a career in music in the first place. And in doing so I had a lot of letting go to do. Letting go of old storylines I was still telling myself, letting go of old negative self-talk and the hardest of all, letting go of what other people think. The line “I’ll take a big step back and bow my head until the grace blows my mind” is about stepping back from how I had previously been approaching a music career. It wasn’t working and I was making myself miserable. I had seen the path of “suffering to make art” but I wanted to attempt to also relate to my music with fun and lightheartedness and flow. To be honest I still struggle with all my same issues. I didn’t find nirvana but I did lay it all on the line. I dropped everything for 2 years and faced my fears, built a studio and taught myself the skills to record the album I always wanted to make. The line, “I’ll take a long minute to find the right rhythm, get the rhythm to call my life back” is also about taking that brake, letting go and and getting back to the joy. Taking this long of a break was terrifying because if your not posting about your next gig or hustling to get your next opportunity or working to make a mark in the scene, than what are you doing?
The line, “I got a rage un-seen below the surface, take a screenshot of my soul. you see a wise old man, a scared little kid still waiting for mother to come home” is about me facing unresolved issues still operating behind the scenes inside of me and affecting my ability to just feel ok period, music or not. And of course during this period their was (and still is) the frustration of what’s goin going in the Government which is expressed in the line, “take apart the fantasy find the motivation with the politician bringing you down. Let the feminine rise up and take the front seat, stop screwing all the woman around”
I also had to face the possibility that after all these years and after all the effort I had put into music that it might not ever amount to anything. But I was still going to build a studio and record my own album. And over the period of the last two years I did just that, with no guarantee that anyone would ever hear it or care about it. For me, taking that risk was “laying it on the line”. And this song is about me walking into that fire with no idea of how or if I’d come out the other side. I am now out gigging again with my live-looping rig, promoting this new album and I’m excited to share these songs! But I am still walking that line everyday. The doorway to spiral down Into self doubt is ever present and this transformation is never really over. The choice to “Lay to on the Line” is one I have to make each day, in each moment. “