Brick By Brick
November 1st, 2020 – January 1st, 2022

Produced by David Granati & John Vento

 

Track 9 – “For What It’s Worth” – Released 7/22/21

Download Now – https://ffm.to/forwhatitsworth2

 

 

 

Track 9 for John Vento’s , “Brick By Brick” album is a cover of Buffalo Springfield’s classic 1966 release, “For What It’s Worth”. As Vento says, “ I had no intention of recording a cover song on this album, but with the social and political upheaval from 2020 this song kept haunting me. It seemed that it was playing everywhere I went, including my doctor’s office (LOL). We started to perform it live last winter and then it became clear to me that we needed to record the song, but in a different way. I decided to add other lead vocalists and directed our great producer David Granati to make it raunchy. Sure hope folks like how we approached it”

 

 

 

For What It’s Worth

There’s something happening here
What it is ain’t exactly clear
There’s a man with a gun over there
Telling me I got to beware

I think it’s time we stop, children, what’s that sound
Everybody look what’s going down

There’s battle lines being drawn
Nobody’s right if everybody’s wrong
Young people speaking their minds
Getting so much resistance from behind

It’s time we stop, hey, what’s that sound
Everybody look what’s going down

What a field-day for the heat
A thousand people in the street
Singing songs and carrying signs
Mostly say, hooray for our side

It’s s time we
STOP !
STOP !
STOP !

Paranoia strikes deep
Into your life it will creep
It starts when you’re always afraid
You step out of line, the man come and take you away

We better stop, hey, what’s that sound
Everybody look what’s going down
Stop, hey, what’s that sound
Everybody look what’s going down
Stop, now, what’s that sound
Everybody look what’s going down
Stop, children, what’s that sound
Everybody look what’s going down

STOP!
STOP!
STOP!
STOP!
STOP!

Written by : Stephen Stills
Produced by : David Granati
Performed by:
John Vento – Voice
Cherylann Hawk – Voice
Bob Zigerreli – Voice & Acoustic Guitar
Hermie Granati – Voice
David Granati – Electric Guitar, Bass, Voice
George Perilli – Drums

 

Track 8 – “That Damn War (Father & Son)” – Released 6/20/21

Download Now – https://ffm.to/thatdamnwar

 

 

After the May release of the highly produced and full sounding “Let God Drive” ( #1 on the Christian Radio Chart ), Track 8, “ That Damn War ( Father & Son)”, on John Vento’s “Brick By Brick” album is very intimate and raw. With just a single  acoustic guitar track and voices, John and his producer/co-writer David Granati have created a powerful song that will be released on Father’s Day (6/20/21). The song was originally inspired by a set of lyrics that co-writer Matt Wohlfarth presented, working title; “I Didn’t Know My Dad Until He Died”. John and David began working on those lyrics but for whatever reason things just didn’t click. After weeks of false starts David came up with an entirely new chord progression and things moved quickly from there. John and Matt revised the lyrics and fine tuned the story of a Vietnam Vet who even with his emotional struggles, was a good dad who loved and supported his family. As Vento says; “Even though we specifically focus on a Vietnam Vet in the song, it could have been anybody who struggles between certain demons (addiction, divorce, etc.) and their family responsibilities. In other words this song is about relationships”

That Damn War (Father & Son)

Dad you were always there for me
Never missed my little league
Though you were busy working hard
To provide for our family
But your mind was still haunted
Couldn’t close the door
On that damn war

Your words were few and far between
With just a glance I knew what you’d mean
Saw so much pain and anguish
Chasing ghosts inside your dreams
Mom would say I wish ya knew him before
That damn war

You never got a welcome home
You never talked about Vietnam
You lived through the fall of Saigon, But
A part of you, never came back

You found comfort in the pouring rain in the middle of the night
You locked that torment deep inside and gave us a better life
I remember our trips to Crooked Creek where we’d catch that steelhead run
It was the only time you let me in
Just a father and son

Though you been gone for so many years
On this Father’s Day I wiped my tears
And opened your old tackle box for the first time
Much to my surprise I found
Your Purple Heart
From that damn war

Video Production Credits :
Jim Pitulski – Video Creative Concept , Filming, Editing
Very special thanks special thanks to Vietnam Vet Jim Cardillo for the photos featured in this video.

Written by : John Vento, David Granati, Matt Wohlfarth

Produced by : David Granati & John Vento

Performed by:
John Vento – Lead Voice
David Granati – Acoustic Guitar, Voice

 

 

Track 7 – “LET GOD DRIVE” – Released 5/1/21

Download Now – https://ffm.to/letgoddrive

 

 

In the winter of 2018 John Vento began having serious voice struggles , and by January 2019 he could no longer sing. Too many years of poor singing technique/abuse combined with vocal chord scaring from tubes put down his throat during major surgery a few years earlier had taken it’s toll. By the summer of 2019 John was struggling to speak let alone sing. At that point he opted for multiple vocal chord medical procedures which unfortunately did not help. Throughout this period John and his wife Michele had been attending church service praying for healing. When others would also offer prayers, Michele would confidently tell them, “When John can sing again he has promised me that he will write and record a gospel song.”. Part Americana, part traditional gospel, highlighted by a soulful choir of praise voices, this track (“Let God Drive”) fulfills that promise. Though many elements of his singing voice have returned, John still has a long road ahead in training and rehabilitation to get where he wants to be. In the meantime he feels completely blessed and thankful for everyone’s prayers and support.

 

Let God Drive

I was lost in the desert
In a sandstorm of lust and greed
On my knees, filled with shame
Prayed for grace
Jesus rescue me

I was drowning in the ocean
In a sea of addiction and lies
Couldn’t catch my breath
Near death
Then the Lord opened my eyes

I was headed in the wrong direction
Thought I knew what to do, but I couldn’t see
Now I’m Living through his resurrection
Gotta’ trust, have faith and let God drive
Let God drive, Alright!
Let God drive. Alright!

I was trapped in a jungle
With an evil serpent on my tongue
Tried to run so fast
From my past
But he forgave me from the cross with his blood

I was headed in the wrong direction
Thought I knew what to do, but I couldn’t see
Now I’m Living through his resurrection
Gotta’ trust, have faith and let God drive
Let God drive, Alright!
Let God drive. Alright!

I was headed in the wrong direction
Thought I knew what to do, but I couldn’t see
Now I’m Living through his resurrection
Gotta’ trust, have faith and let God drive
Let God drive, Alright!
Let God drive. Alright!

Performed by:
John Vento – Lead Voice
David Granati – Acoustic Guitar, Electric Guitar, Bass
George Perilli – Drums & Percussion
Fred Delu – Organ & Piano

Voices In The Choir :
Beth Claussen
Eugene Perry
David Granati
Glen Freeman
Joe Freeman
Nicole Freeman
Opening music by – The Trumpets of Joy ( Aliquippa, Pa.)

Video Production Credits :
Jim Pitulski – Shot & Cut
Matt Wohlfarth – Video Concept
Special thanks to video locations :
Trinity United Methodist Church – Brackenridge,Pa.
Lost and Found Christian Fellowship – Coraopolis, Pa.

Video Character Actors :
Ashley Venezia – Daughter (Girl #1)
Tammy Venezia – Mother
Steve McGranahan – Homeless Man
Alyssa Deleonibus – Friend (Girl #2)

Choir Actors :
Cindy Hanek
Danielle Hughes
Steve McGranahan
Eugene Perry
Greg Spencer
Eugene Titus
Morgan Williams
Darlene Williams
Harriet Williams

Church Attendee Actors :
Michele Vento
Linda Leddon
Dennis Frankovic
Lisa Zannit
Sal Guadagnino
Ann Listorti
David Listorti
Michael Titus Jr.
Alice Williams
Mikayala Howar

 

Track 6 – “NEW MEXICO WAY” – Released 4/1/21

Download Now – https://ampl.ink/GkaqX

 

 

It doesn’t happen very often, but sometimes good songs just come together in short order. This track (“New Mexico Way”) from John Vento’s “Brick By Brick” project is an example of such magic. John had a concept for an upbeat rock-n-roll tune, and of course the perfect guy to create such a thing is David Granati. David and John were on the same wave length from the jump on “New Mexico Way”. As Vento says, David and I have created a ton of music together but we’ve never had something fall into place so quickly and organically. Everything David played just sounded and felt great, capturing the exact vibe that I wanted”. Once producer, multi-instrumentalist, David Granati laid done the initial tracks, Vento pulled out some cool lyric notes from collaborator Matt Wohlfarth. “New Mexico Way” is a song about leaving your problems behind in search of a new beginning. In this song Vento sings about a specific destination (New Mexico, USA), where he searches for an old friend in hopes of finding peace and tranquility.. “Where God comes to play”.

New Mexico Way

Gotta’ get back New Mexico Way
Nothing to do even less to say
Searching for a friend
So far away

Saddled up with me
Hopes and dreams
Blown away by some tumbleweeds
Hoping we can reconnect again
Some day

Gotta’ get back, gotta’ get back
New Mexico Way

Gonna’ live off the grid
Just like them old cowboys did
Leave this rat race behind

Up in the mountain air
Wild and free thinkin’ clear
This is where God Comes to play

Gotta’ get back, gotta’ get back
New Mexico Way

There’s a cowboy in my soul
Ridin’ hard breakin’ rules
Like rock-n-roll

I’ll see the sun rise at first light
Watch the moon shine late at night
As the stars, heal a broken heart

Gotta’ get back, gotta’ get back
New Mexico way
Gotta’ get back, gotta’ get back
New Mexico way

Gotta’ get back, gotta’ get back
New Mexico way

Written by : David Granati, , John Vento, Matt Wohlfarth
Produced by : David Granati & John Vento
Performed by:
John Vento – Voice
David Granati – Acoustic Guitar, Electric Guitars, Bass, Percussion
George Perilli – Drums
Cherylann Hawk – Voice
Jim Pitulski – Video Concept & Production

 

Track 5 – “LAST SUNSET” – Released 3/1/21

Download Now – https://ampl.ink/2LPyG

 

 

Over the past year John Vento has developed a creative friendship with author, poet, and script writer Matt Wohlfarth. Matt is a prolific writer who would share ideas with John on a regular basis. One of Matt’s poems, titled “Last Sunset” sparked the creation of this recording. As Matt says, “The inspiration for Last Sunset came on a late summer visit to the Jersey shore. Walking the empty boardwalk reminded me of summer romances that had to end as lovers returned to their real lives. “

John presented the lyrics to guitarists David Granati and Bob Zigerelli who jumped on the vibe and created a beautiful chord progression and textured guitar parts. Actually the first day of recording the demo for this track was 10/6/20. That day is important because that is when we lost Eddie Van Halen. What does that have to do with recording a song in Pittsburgh you may ask ? Well it turns out that David Granati and his brothers toured with Van Halen twice in the early eighties and remained friends to this day. David is convinced that Eddie’s spirit guided him through the creation of this guitar track. In fact the first demo guitar parts were never altered and is the performance from David and Bob that you hear on the mastered recording. Vento’s original concept for the song was to use guitars and voice only, but things progressed with piano and string parts added. Then at the very last minute the great saxophonist Kenny Blake was brought in to replace what was a guitar solo section with soprano sax.

 

Last Sunset

Boardwalk is empty
Beaches are too
We’re the only spirits on the coaster
Me and you

You walked into my life
About 16 days ago
But who’s counting
Fightin’ a wayward kite
We both laughed as it broke off
And flew out of sight
Tonight’s our last sunset

I’ll cherish this summer the most
Bare foot in sand
Just me and you

I’ll cruise through my life and
Treasure the memories we made
This is my last sunset with you
Holding you tight
Like a muscle hugs the pier
Can’t face the loneliness without you

Cold winds of change
And grey cloudy days
Are soon upon us
Trying hard to not let go
But deep inside we both know
The boardwalk is closed

Tonight’s our last sunset
I’ll cherish this summer the most
Making love on the beach
Just me and you
I’ll cruise through my life and
Treasure the memories we made
This is my last sunset with you

Tonight’s our last sunset
I’ll cherish this summer the most
Bare foot in sand
Just me and you
I’ll cruise through my life and
Treasure the memories we made
This is my last sunset with you

Written by : Matt Wohlfarth, Bob Zigerelli, David Granati, , John Vento
Produced by : David Granati, Bob Zigerelli & John Vento
Performed by:
John Vento – Voice
David Granati – Acoustic Guitar, Bass
Bob Zigerelli – Acoustic Guitar
Kenny Blake – Soprano Sax
Joey Granati – Piano, Strings
Cherylann Hawk – Voice
Jim Pitluski – Visual Concept & Production

 

Track 4 – “NOT YOUR KINDA’ MAN” – Released 2/1/21

Download Now – https://ampl.ink/q3akl

 

 

“Not Your Kinda’ Man” was actually born almost 5 years ago when a young singer songwriter from Pittsburgh (Jessica Bitsura) was preparing to head down to Nashville to attend Belmont University School of Music. At the time Jessica was a well-known artist and performer, opening many times for John’s group (The Nied’s Hotel Band). Needless to say John and the guys in the band were big supporters of Jessica, especially since she wrote really great original songs. Right before she was leaving for Nashville, John jokingly asked Jess if she would be interested in collaborating with an “old guy” like him. Vento had some lyrical sketches and Jessica jumped on it, recording a contemporary country style demo. Unfortunately Vento couldn’t reproduce the quality or vibe in Jessica’s demo so the song was shelved for years. It might have been shelved but it was not forgotten. Vento brought the original demo to producer/ multi-instrumentalist Dave Granati who created two distinct electric versions of the song. Both recordings were killer but Vento still didn’t feel they captured the right vibe. He kept saying it had to be stripped back to the bones with an old school feel. Granati knew exactly what to do, and after many starts and stops, “ Not Your Kinda’ man, is finally ready for the world. Special note : Jessica Bitsura was awarded an Emmy for her Song “Dear Neighbor”. Written and performed as a tribute to the victims of the Tree Of Life Synagogue massacre (2018) in Pittsburgh.

 

NOT YOUR KINDA’ MAN

I can’t change the way I am
I’m never gonna’ be your kind of man

I see the storm comin’ round
It’s time for me to leave this town
My One true love takes me from you
It’s the life I live, the life I choose

Can’t you see I see ya everywhere I go
You’re the light that’s shinin’ deep down in my soul
But I can’t change the way I am
I’m never gonna’ be your kind of man

I can see those tears you’ve been cryin’
While I’m under the stage lights burnin’ to shine
Things were different just yesterday
When you came and you loved everything, I sang

Can’t you see I see ya everywhere I go
You’re the light that’s shinin’ deep down in my soul
But I can’t change the way I am
I’m never gonna’ be your kind of man

I can’t change the way I am
I’m never gonna’ be your kind of man
I’m never gonna’ be your kind of man

Written by : John Vento, Jessica Bitsura, David Granati
Produced by : David Granati & John Vento
Performed by:
John Vento – Voice, Foot Stompin’
David Granati – Guitar, Bass, Foot Stompin’
Greg McIltrot – Harmonica
Cherylann Hawk – Voice, Hand Clappin’
Peggy Tiderman – Hand Clappin’
Jim Pitulski – Video Concept & Production

 

TRACK 3 -“NO ONE WEARS A WATCH ANYMORE” – Released 1/1/21

Download Now – https://ampl.ink/b1lEV

 

 

Once again Vento collaborated with his good friend and artist Frank Ferraro. Vento came across Frank’s lyrics quite accidently through an email exchange of some rough sketches that Frank was working on . The lyrics jumped off the page and Vento immediately asked for and received permission to use Frank’s words for a potential new song. As Ferraro said “ I wrote these lyrics using metaphors, to reflect the chaos happening all around us in the world and ask the question , are we truly aware of the not so simple times we are living in and its consequences”. Vento says, “ I wanted to record a more upbeat groove type of song for my new project ( Brick by Brick), and the line (No One Wears A Watch Anymore) was just the perfect hook for such a composition. Once I brought my ideas to guitarists David Granati and Bob Zigerelli, things came together quickly. “

 

NO ONE WEARS A WATCH ANYMORE

The world is full of silhouettes
With paper thin alibis
Integrity falls from grace
Headlines full of lies

No one wears a watch anymore
And everyone is on the fly
The world has turned so dark
Or are these the best of times

The waters are rising
The ghosts start boarding the plane
Captain has one last cigarette
Before he leaves the game

Another concrete needle pierces the sky
A monument to the kings
As the stars collide

How can we find the time
No one wears a watch anymore
How can we make a rhyme
No one wears a watch anymore

You can walk through darkness
To see what you can find
Sometimes you gotta leave
To feel what you left behind

Coral Bells are ringing
Sweet songs of release
I called a porter
to cut my baggage free

How can we find the time
No one wears a watch anymore
How can we make a rhyme
No one wears a watch anymore

Written by : Frank Ferraro, David Granati, Bob Zigerelli, John Vento
Produced by : David Granati
John Vento – Voice
David Granati – Guitar, Bass, Voice
Bob Zigerelli – Guitar, Voice
George Perilli – Drums

 

 

TRACK 2 – “HIGHWIRE” – Released 12/1/20

Download Now – https://ampl.ink/eE44E

 

 

Without a doubt “Highwire” is the most personal and meaningful song that I have ever recorded. Over the past few years multiple people have come into my life that deal with debilitating diseases such as MS, Parkinson’s, and Muscular Dystrophy. Tasks that seem so mundane to many of us are a daily struggle for these folks, like trying to keep your balance on a highwire. Yet somehow they maintain their courage to forge ahead and become an inspiration to so many. This song tries to capture the perspective of someone like me, that has a close up view, yet has no idea what it is like to be in their shoes. The line, ” We both hurt but you own the pain”, says it all. I collaborated with lyricist Bert Lauble and multi-instrumentalist/producer David Granati to help me bring this song to life. We purposely created an arrangement that projects anguish, with frantic changes to reflect the emotional roller coaster of people with serious challenges. I am hopeful that we captured the authenticity of the message with both the recording and the video (Created and produced by Jim Pitulski).

 

HIGHWIRE

It’s a long damn wait but you sit up straight
To hear the news that’s not so great
Then you close your eyes
When they say, we’ll have to see
If we can brew a remedy
Your hope just dies

A long thin line, living life
On a highwire

Wizards ponder your disease
There’s blood to let and charts to read
On a highwire
We both hurt but you own the pain
Cold calculation runs through your veins
Machine heart beats

The sands of time, are so unkind
On a highwire
The state of mind is so resigned
On a highwire

Well I would be as brave as you
A balance bar to help you through
To the other side
Hold on to me and don’t look down
Faith will be our common ground

You Walk through fire
Live your life
On a highwire
You Walk though fire
Live your life
On a highwire

On a highwire
On a highwire

Written by John Vento, Bert Lauble, David Granati
John Vento – Voice
Cherylann Hawk – Voice
David Granati – Guitars, Bass & Percussion
Wil E. Tri – Harmonica
George Perilli – Drum

 

 

TRACK 1 – “AMERICA (THE SAINTS COME MARCHING HOME)” – Released 11/1/20

Download Now – https://ampl.ink/GkqMo

 

According to co-writer/artist Frank Ferraro, “The song was written to call out the injustices being committed by the people against its own people, by both the general population and those seated in power. It conjures up the ghosts of our past and holds them in parallel to the hurtful acts being committed today. ‘America’ is not a battle cry for more acts of destruction. It is a simple call for universal peace.”

Vento adds, ” Extremists from both political spectrums are committing horrible acts of violence. Even though these groups represent a very small fraction of our citizenry, they seem to get all of the TV and social media coverage. When, in truth, most of us are peaceful and despise such violence.

AMERICA (The Saints Come Marching Home)

Reverends and diplomats
Blood on their swords
Rich, fat aristocrats
Above the hungry and poor
America, America
The saints come marching home
The holy ghost is on his knees
Crushed by sticks and stones

Cold blooded murder in the streets of my town
The devils daughter took another good soul down
Her reputation was lost and then found
Hurricane thunder on a federal freight train

Reverends and diplomats
Blood on their swords
Rich, fat aristocrats
Above the hungry and poor
America, America
The saints come marching home
The holy ghost is knees
Crushed by sticks and stones

Big brother stirring up the bones of destruction
You see the drones as they struggle for redemption
Another one led astray by deception
Kicking up dust on the backs of the weak
Kicking up dust on the backs of the weak

Reverends and diplomats
Blood on their swords
Rich, fat aristocrats
Above the hungry and poor
America, America
The saints come marching home
The holy ghost is on his knees
Crushed by sticks and stones

Reverends and diplomats
Blood on their swords
Rich, fat aristocrats
Above the hungry and poor

Written by – Frank Ferraro, John Vento, John Fox
John Vento – Voice
Rhonda watson – Voice
Zack Rock – Acoustic Guitar
David Granati – Bass
John Fiore – Recorder & Conga