Features > Artist of the Month > February 2006


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   "The 'you' changes in every song," says Train vocalist/songwriter Pat Monahan regarding the sources of inspiration on the band's new studio album For Me, It's You, "In the title song, 'For Me, It's You,' the 'you' is the woman I'm in love with. Throughout the record, the 'you' is my children or my dear friend who died this year, it's my mother, it's my family, it's my band."

   Pat's band is the Grammy Award-winning multi-platinum Train, whose anthemic hits--including "Drops Of Jupiter" and "Calling All Angels"--have earned them the loyalty of fans around the globe while enduring as radio playlist staples across the country.

   The band's new album, For Me, It's You showcases a revamped and revitalized lineup: founding core members Pat Monahan, Jimmy Stafford (guitars) and Scott Underwood (drums) are joined by bassist Johnny Colt (originally from the Black Crowes), and Atlanta keyboardist Brandon Bush (John Mayer, Shawn Mullins). Johnny and Brandon have both been on-board since Train's 2003 My Private Nation tour.

   With Train's new line-up gelling as a unified musical ensemble working and playing as one on For Me, It's You, the group's new album emerges as the most fully realized and keenly focused collection of the band's career.

   "It doesn't sound like we're trying too hard," says Pat about the album's relaxed and intimate vibe. "I do think this record is more personal and more genuine. It's definitely an appropriate record for me personally."

   Pat's brought a lot of his personal experience--including the pain of divorce, parenthood, and falling into a love that's both real and mature--to the table on For Me, It's You. So, while "All I Ever Wanted" might examine the wounds of love gone wrong, tracks like "Give Myself To You" and "For Me, It's You" open up the possibility of the transformative power of a love that practices acceptance and understanding.

   In "Always Remember," Pat attempts to reconcile his feelings about the tragic death of a close friend by passing along his most cherished memories: "I got two kids of my own now/They grow up so fast/And how I wish you did not miss that part/Of who I am."

   Pat wrote the song "Skyscraper" for his kids. "I always want my children to know that I can be there for them," he says, "but all I can really do is tell them how wonderful they are, but they have to do the work."

   "Cab," the first single from For Me, It's You, is, according to Pat, "the metaphoric song on the album. Everything else seems to the point and literal. This whole album is about where I've been lyrically for the last couple of years, experiencing what I've had to experience. You don't choose your experiences, they choose you."

   For Me, It's You was recorded over the course of an intensive seven week period in Atlanta, Georgia with producer Brendan O'Brien (Pearl Jam, Bob Dylan, Neil Young, Rage Against The Machine, Trey Anastasio) at the dials. O'Brien first worked with Train in 2001 on the double-platinum watershed album, Drops Of Jupiter (which yielded the group two Grammy awards: Best Rock Song and Best Instrumental Arrangement Accompanying Vocalists) and later for 2003's masterful RIAA platinum follow-up, My Private Nation (which earned Train two Grammy nominations for "Calling All Angels"). It was Brendan who suggested Train cover the Bob Mould composition, "If I Can't Change Your Mind." Train's "3rd generation version of a Sugar song" is one of the many musical highpoints on For Me, It's You.

   In all, For Me, It's You finds Train reaching past its remarkable past achievements to find new levels of emotional depth and musical unity on 13 intimate explorations of the complexities of life and love: "All I Ever Wanted," "Get Out," "Cab," "Give Myself To You," "Am I Reaching You Now," "If I Can't Change Your Mind," "All I Hear," "Shelter Me," "Explanation," "Always Remember," "I'm Not Waiting In Line," "Skyscraper," and "For Me, It's You."

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   Formed in San Francisco 1994, Train quickly developed an avid local following and, by 1997, was opening for national bands like Blues Traveler, Barenaked Ladies, and Counting Crows.

   Its D.I.Y. debut album, Train, was produced by the band and Curtis Mathewson. In February 1998, it came out on Aware/Columbia, and the band hit the road in a rundown 1987 Dodge Ram minivan with a little red trailer. It stayed on the road for the next two years.

   In autumn 1998, the Fox Television series, "Party Of Five," began to feature Train's first single, "Free," already a radio favorite. By August, a second single, "Meet Virginia" led Train to a four week stay at #1 on Billboard's Heatseekers chart. In November, the album was certified RIAA gold and later achieved platinum.

   Early in 2000, Train took a break from the road to begin recording a new album with producer Brendan O'Brien. The band recorded for the rest of the year, between headlining tour dates, and making television appearances.

   When Drops Of Jupiter arrived on March 27, 2001, its title track single, "Drops Of Jupiter (Tell Me)," was already a runaway hit on several Billboard charts. The song's lush orchestrations by Paul Buckmaster touched a very wide group of new fans and radio listeners. Drops Of Jupiter has gone on to achieve RIAA double platinum status. The single spent a total of 53 weeks on the Hot 100, through April 2002. The track also won a Best Arrangement Grammy for the group and Buckmaster.

   The release of My Private Nation in June 2003 gave Train fans the Grammy-nominated #1 Adult Top 40/Adult Contemporary radio smash "Calling All Angels." Alive At Last, the group's acclaimed live concert album was released in 2004.

   Each of Train's studio albums--beginning with 1998's self-titled debut and carrying on through Drops Of Jupiter and My Private Nation--has achieved RIAA platinum status or better while generating a string of hit singles that touched the lives of the group's fans in profound and powerful ways: "Free," "Meet Virginia," "I Am," "Drops Of Jupiter," "Something More," "She's On Fire," "Calling All Angels," "Ordinary," "When I Look To The Sky," "Get To Me."

   Playing literally hundreds of shows for thousands upon thousands of fans since forming in San Francisco in 1994, Train earned a well-deserved reputation as one of the nation's hottest live bands. With For Me, It's You, Train continues its musical journey into new territory, offering the group's fans 13 new reasons to celebrate a great American band.