All This Distance Album by American Catapult

(1 customer review)


$7.99 (Member Price)

11 Songs.

Genre: Indie Rock.

AmCat receives all purchase proceeds.

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Read principal songwriter Tom Townsend’s personal notes about this album here.



1. Motorcar


2. All On Me


3. Be The Moment


4. Radio Play


5. Behind Me


6. Chase Down The Wind


7. Second Wind


8. On The Outside


9. Something Left To Prove


10. Smoke Signals


11. Turbulence


1 review for All This Distance Album by American Catapult

  1. Bob Rice (verified owner)

    Read principal songwriter Tom Townsend’s personal notes about the album:

    This was the first real full length follow up to our most popular album, Trees of Mystery, in 2010. Lots of ideas were coming out since we found our voice, knew we could play shows, knew we could get radio airplay, and knew there were people other than our close friends who would listen to and enjoy what we do. There was a real effort to show some growth and strength. I think the songs overall feel more muscular and dynamic than previous albums. We had found ourselves as a band by then. The songs were written in 2006-2007, many while we were promoting Trees. Many of these songs we still play live today.

    All This Distance was nearly finished at the end of 2008 when Terry Overlin (original AmCat bassist) left the band to move to Wyoming. Many of these songs we had already been playing live up until then. We took a pause at that point and considered whether to finish the album. Didn’t know what to do with it, and didn’t know if we would find another bass player to play the songs live. There was one more song I had just written that we wanted for sure to record, Smoke Signals, and we ended up bringing in another friend to play the bass on it, Rod Romero. This song needed more than our foursome as well, and we asked James Collett to bring some pedal steel love to the track. James also played some lap steel on Something Left to Prove.

    Although we felt this effort was strong, we just didn’t do much to promote it. No team was put together for publicity and marketing, and we did very little delivery to a handful of radio and podcast friends. We still were moving between bass players and didn’t know what was next for us. There was real distance suddenly between where we were with the grand promotion and play of Trees and where we found ourselves at the end of this record. Eventually we did ask Rod to join us, and he did play with the band for about a year. We began working on the follow up effort, Band. Not the Weapon sometime in 2010, with Rod initially, before switching gears and asking John Gregorich to join us on bass early 2011, along with James on pedal steel and guitar.

    So this record was kind of lost between chapters. I think it would have done better than Trees but by the time this record was finished we were already gone. John and James came on board, and our attention went toward shiny new things. I have fond memories of making this record though. We had a lot of material to work with, laughed a lot and worked consistently every week for a while to learn songs and record them. To this day we’ve never worked harder as a band. The extended edition of ATD (now available) reflects that.

    MOTORCAR: We wanted the first song on the record to have a different feel and be more contemplative. The song idea came from a moment in rehearsal where we started playing the chorus progression, and the words Motorcar came out. So I wrote a song around that. When I was in high school, my good friend drove a giant old Cadillac around town and I remember calling it the Motorcar. We would go cruising in it and it felt like freedom. That same friend and I formed our first band together, the Innocence, and the first line of this song is one of a handful of references I’ve made in AmCat to the Innocence days. Shawn played in that band as well, that’s how long we’ve played together.

    ALL ON ME: A big nod to Son Volt’s song Drown. Included in the song was my feeling of carrying the bulk of the load in the band at that point, and welcoming any help. This proved hard to play live. I think we did it once and just laughed, and that was the end of that.

    BE THE MOMENT: Many lines in this song are from band reviews, reviews of Trees of Mystery, and looking forward as a band. We were hopeful. I loved that we were called by someone ‘A fine blast of noise’, and I hope we always live up to that.

    RADIO PLAY: I think this is one of the most underrated songs we’re ever recorded, and I love the way it came together. We’ve never played it live though. It’s probably best just the way it is. It’s another song about the band, and our experience during Trees. We had a lot of opportunity to play out at that time in places that were playing our music, but we never made the effort to get there. “All these open roads without a wheel”. But getting so much radio airplay was flattering and exciting.

    BEHIND ME: This first version is a more acoustic interpretation that what ended up on Band. Not the Weapon. Another song about leaving the past behind and moving forward. I’m playing lap steel on this, for what it’s worth. I might actually be playing bass on it as well.

    CHASE DOWN THE WIND: This song took a while to come together, as it is a combination of about three song ideas. But the feel turned out to be just what I was hoping for, and then lyrics were added after the structure was finished. That’s how it goes most of the time actually, music then lyrics. Things change, don’t worry about it, just move on, don’t waste time chasing down what you can’t control. I love singing and playing this song as a band.

    SECOND WIND: This would be the B side to the Chase Down the Wind single. The feel is decisively more resigned and weary. “Still I can’t abide when card houses fall with every shake”. My favorite line. It’s a better live song now when we let Michael loose, and James plays off of him.

    ON THE OUTSIDE LOOKING IN: I remember being on the road heading to a few Trees shows in Arizona, riding in the car with Shawn, and talking about the band being a blip on the radar screen. I wrote it down. We were just really happy to be a blip, but still feeling like we were on the outside of any community of bands. We knew we weren’t alone, but we didn’t feel connected. I also love playing this song live. Every time I sing “Not sure if this is how it ends” I wonder if it’s the last live show we ever play. My insecurity.

    SOMETHING LEFT TO PROVE: Yep, another song about the band experience. This one came from a song idea of Shawn’s that we called the Swamp Song. I had a feeling of freedom coming from a stifling band situation to the group that would become AmCat. Third verse is about the last show that previous band played, with Shawn’s seven daughters (the seven wonders wandering), many friends and strangers, and myself thinking after every song, “well that’s the last time I’ll play that”. Couldn’t wait to move on, whatever that would be. Years later and we still feel like there’s more to prove.

    SMOKE SIGNALS: Definitely remember writing most of the lyrics to this song on the passenger side on the road touring Trees. I was exhausted. Tensions were high at times. I believe in diplomacy but many times don’t have the patience for it. I’m convincing myself to hold out hope that words are enough. This song represents something of a style we really wanted to express and explore. The feel was unlike anything else we’d done to this point. It was the last song to be recorded on this record, and we had brought in a different bass player and James on pedal just to get it done after Terry had left. Our publishing company pushed for this to be included on an episode of a modern western law show whose name I can’t remember now, and we would have played it on camera in the background on the episode, but at the last minute the producers went in another direction. Ah well. Such was our experience back then, still on the outside looking in.

    TURBULENCE: This was intended to be included as a hidden bonus track at the end of the last song. It’s us playing live in studio as we’re learning it for the first time. We’ve never played it live or recorded it proper since. I am proud of the lyric and like the way the song makes me feel, but maybe it’s just one of those things that are better left as a personal devotion. I don’t know. It’s kind of fitting that the album would end with this. It represents how quickly we were working and writing at that time. ~ Tom Townsend

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