Summer of 2002 was a fine time for Ping. We got booked onto the Cornerstone Festival's Gallery and Acoustic stages - both of which I'm well familiar as an instrument tech. As I'll always say, "I enjoy that, but it's more fun to play 'em than to tune 'em!" The tour we built around the festival dates dotted the map all over the Land of Lincoln. With a few University of Illinois grads in the band, it seemed funny at the time to steal a line from a college fight song and dub our trip the Loyal to You tour - even though we eventually booked dates in Wisconsin and Michigan, too. We're loyal everywhere people want to hear Ping music. How about your place?
Some savvy listeners may see this album as a diversionary tactic, as live albums can often be. The rhythm section for the Meet Your Maker album has been finished for three years, after all, waiting for overdubs. Since that time, I've taken several opportunities to work on projects for other people as player, writer, engineer, or producer - my own full-length record had to take a back seat.
Still, we didn't want travel empty-handed in 2003. Fortunately, we had the chance to multi-track our Cornerstone sets. The intention was to keep most of it for ourselves, but listening back recalled the thrill of playing and seeing everyone. Why not give it a proper shine and offer a souvenir to those who were there, and a snapshot to those who couldn't make it? Besides, No Outlet began as something of a fundraiser/diversionary tactic, and look how well that turned out ... Rationalization aside, I'm assembling the troops to reignite Meet Your Maker a.s.a.p. Until then, enjoy Loyal to You. It bridges the gap stylistically between No Outlet and Meet Your Maker. It includes some older songs from the days of Farewell to Juliet and Sunny Day Roses, and the response to a dare or two.
No animals were harmed during the making of this album. We made sure the squirrels had earplugs.
- Jeff Elbel
Recorded by Rev Hillstrom for Creation Station Media, July 4 & 6, 2002
Produced by Jeff Elbel and Rev Hillstrom
Editing by Jeff Elbel and Rev Hillstrom
Mixed by Rev Hillstrom for Creation Station Media
String arrangements by Emily Randle
Photographs by Lisa Reid and Joe Cote
Art Direction and Design by Brian Heydn
John Barber, percussion
John Bretzlaff, guitar
Kim Bretzlaff, vocal
Clint Davidson, bass
Jeff Elbel, Guitar, vocal
Stacey Krejci, organ
Bernie Mauban, violin
Andrew Oliver, drums
Emily Randle, violin
Eric Sanford, harmonica
Thanks to our families and friends for support, permission and tolerance beyond the call of duty. Thanks to Steve West, Tony Shore and the Silent Planet crew at the Acoustic Stage, Jeremy Gudzinas, John J. Thompson, Matt Barnes, Lisa Reid, Joe "Commander" Cote, Kevin & Tina Goodwin, Jason & Tina Morris, Brian Heydn - super genius, Joanna Ruth Wirtz, John Fischer for the introduction, Brian Healy, John Herrin and all at Cornerstone/JPUSA (including Glen Van Alkemade at the Gallery Stage), Joe Mancuso & North, The Hopescope, Parkview Christian Church, all Ping alumni, the sound crews & promoters who hosted Ping on tour. Three cheers to all who came to listen and say hello, and to everyone listening now!
02. Holiday on Ice
03. Mary Across the Ocean
05. Here Comes the Sunburn
06. Just Add Water
07. Going My Way
08. Miracle Rain
09. Bedouin Girl
14. All the Way Home