In 2015, I had the opportunity to meet a film industry professional
that has become a creative and business partner. Rick Padilla is a
film director that worked with the legendary Hal Ashby as his
creative associate. Hal was considered one of the greatest
directors to come out of Hollywood in the 20th Century. Hal comes
from what has been called “the New Hollywood” wave of
filmmaking. Hal Ashby directed a flurry of films in the 1970s
ranging from “Harold and Maude,” “Being There,” “Coming Home”
and “Shampoo.” Rick Padilla worked closely with Hal in Malibu
until his death in 1988. Rick worked on a number of high profile
projects with the creators of “Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon,”
“Hotel Rwanda” and the development of his own films, “Immigrant
Song” and “Pilsen.”
Padilla eventually went back to his home state of Arizona where he met and began working with cowboy author, JPS Brown.
Brown’s first book was a Paul Newman film. They created Make A Hand Publishing to produce media and distribute Joe’s literary works. It was around then that Rick reached out to me about recording an album for his son, Cory Padilla. Cory had written an entire album based on one ofJPS Brown’s books, “The Spirit of Dogie Long.” Cory’s music felt like a mix of traditional Country Music and Texas Swing. I suggested a long time friend and mentor, Grammy winning producer, Ray Kennedy. The eventual sessions included a whose who roster of Nashville greats including Chuck Mead, Donny Herron, Jim Hoke and your’s truly on piano. The alternative band would have been The Time Jumpers with Vince Gil, however it was my feeling that they didn’t have the “toughness” that Cory’s music required.
After the album was completed, I produced and audio book of “The Spirit Dogie” long that featured vocal coach to the stars and producer,
Mama Jan Smith, narrating. We recorded her dialogue at Jan Smith Studios in Atlanta which was edited and mixed at my studio. Jan and I had a few emotional moments as we recorded the book. Joe’s writing is very descriptive, but also rich in emotional devices and connections to Dogie and other characters. We had to pause recording at one point to compose ourselves before we continued. Jan Smith is a master of what she does and one of the most professional people that I have ever worked with.
Fast forward to Spring 2017, Rick and I got together in Atlanta, GA to work on film projects. Rick was finishing scripts, synopses
and budgets while I composed primary themes and cues for the projects. One of the films was based on the JPS Brown book, The Spirit of Dogie Long. Since we recorded the album and published the eBook and audio book, Rick and I had been discussing the movie project. I felt immersed in this story in a way that I have not been before. Normally, themes come to me easily, however, Dogie had another thought in mind. It wasn’t until I was on a 30 mile ride on the Silver Comet Trail in Atlanta that the theme came to me. Simple and elegant, I whistled my theme over and over again until I stopped and recorded it on my phone. The theme was fully flushed out while Rick and I were working together at my place in Atlanta.
Recently, I began the process of releasing my own music to the world. I have produced a lot of different styles, from Hip Hop and R&B to various Latin styles and classical. The theme to The Spirit of Dogie Long is a passion of mine and represents my musical voice in a way that makes me truly happy. As we are getting close to production of the actual film, I wanted to share this story in the form of my musical interpretation in its theme. I hope you enjoy it as much as I enjoyed making it. Rick and I want to remind everyone that, “what the world needs now is Dogie Long.”
– John F. Forbes