: Bird-On-Fire Recording Studio / West Union, Iowa
Our dear friend John Rees passed away on July 10, 2015 in Sioux Falls, South Dakota.
John's affiliation with the Memory Brothers goes back to the '80s when he used to visit my recording studio in West Union, Iowa to have his songs demoed. There John would collaborate with Kevin Conner and me on song arrangements and rewrites. After we'd get each song "just right", Kevin and I would record the background instrumental and vocal tracks; and finally Kevin would lay down the lead vocals.
Arguably the most popular of John's many tunes may have been "A Full Moon Up Above" which was originally recorded by Johnny Hart in 1997. When I'd heard this particular recording off Hart's A Saddle and a Heartache album, I immediately fell in love with the song; and started performing it at our shows.
Whenever we'd perform "A Full Moon Up Above," someone would invariably ask about it: "Who recorded that?" "Who wrote it?", etc. I soon decided that this would be the perfect John Rees tune to record for the Memory Brothers. My only reservation was that - at just over 2 minutes - it seemed too short. The listeners and dancers always wanted it to go on!
I was tempted to repeat one or more of the verses, but I thought a better solution would be to add a bridge (a short contrasting section) to inch the song closer to that magic 3-minute mark. So with John's blessing, I wrote the bridge; and in 2013 Christopher Jon and I recorded and released "Full Moon" on our Feelin' Alright CD.