Album Page

High And Inside

The Baseball Project

Release Date: 2011
High And Inside

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Album Notes:

What happens when your band's debut album is a run-scoring hit with both music and baseball fans? If you're The Baseball Project, you grab some friends to fill out your bench, take batting practice by writing songs for ESPN and deliver a strikeout pitch with Volume Two: High and Inside. The new album from Steve Wynn, Scott McCaughey, Linda Pitmon and Peter Buck is another winning collection of songs about the game's greats that will be pleasing to those who love America's pastime -- and fans of intelligent, melodic and fun rock.

When the first Baseball Project album, Volume One: Frozen Ropes and Dying Quails, was released in 2008 Wynn, McCaughey, Pitmon and Buck had yet to play one note as a unit in front of an audience. But after playing throughout the U.S. in 2009 the quartet were -- as McCaughey jokes -- "a well-oiled touring machine," which allowed the band to complete the basics for this new album in just two days. Wynn adds, "We definitely knew how to play as a band when we went in this time and I think you can hear that chemistry on the record."

High and Inside is a collection that sees the quartet deftly mix witty lyrics about baseball players past and present with a sharp melodic sensibility and engaging choruses. Opener "1976" is one of the catchiest songs to ever be written about anything from Detroit. (In this case, it's Tigers phenom pitcher Mark "The Bird" Fidrych.) "Ichiro Goes to the Moon" is a manic punk-pop track that marvels at the Seattle Mariners outfielder's ability to eat, build rockets, and yes, play baseball. High and Inside also explores more musical avenues than the first Baseball Project outing. "Pete Rose Way" is a slice of alt-country that echoes one of McCaughey's and Buck's other projects, Tired Pony. And closer "Here Lies Carl Mays" takes the story of the only pitcher to throw a ball that killed another player and turns it into a haunting ballad sung from beyond the grave.

"Fair Weather Fans" describes the band's widespread allegiances to the Giants, A's and Mariners for McCaughey, the Dodgers and Yankees for Wynn, and the Twins and Yankees for Pitmon. Yet the team most represented on High and Inside is none of those -- it's the Yankees' rivals the Boston Red Sox. McCaughey imagines a world where Bill Buckner's legacy wasn't tarnished by a groundball in "Buckner's Bolero." Wynn sings of a different tarnished legacy in "Twilight of My Career," which explores the glorious but sordid post-Sox career of Cy Young award-winning pitcher Roger Clemens. And "Tony (Boston's Chosen Son)" is a violin-driven piece that recalls Bob Dylan's Desire as it honors late beloved Boston player and announcer Tony Conigliaro. Wynn admits, "It's weird that a Yankee fan like me would end up writing more about the Red Sox, but tragedy just makes for better songs and stories than a litany of successes."

The quartet invited a lot of their friends to help out on Volume 2. Wynn explains, "We had wanted to include some like-minded baseball rocker pals on the first record but there just wasn't time so we were able to open the door this time around." Into that open door came contributions from Death Cab for Cutie's Ben Gibbard (who adds backing vocals to "Ichiro Goes to the Moon"), Los Lobos' Steve Berlin, The Decemberists' Chris Funk and John Moen, Yo La Tengo's Ira Kaplan and The Hold Steady's Craig Finn, who supplies lyrics and the lead vocal on the Minnesota Twins anthem "Please Don't Call Them Twinkies." Twins fan Pitmon had bonded with Finn over the team when the Minnesota natives reconnected in New York. And Pitmon says she was thrilled when Finn accepted the job of writing lyrics about their favorite team. She explains, "I think Craig perfectly captured the feelings that a lot of us Twins fans have for our team of humble, hardworking guys that seem to beat the odds more often than not, and Steve really nailed the mood of the lyrics when he wrote the anthemic tune we set it to." Finn says, "The Twins don't win every year, or even every decade. They don't normally compete in the off-season arms race they develop talent. Thus, when they do win I get to feel elation and bliss, and not just relief. In some way, it's like music; many of my all-time favorite bands aren't that great every night, but when it comes together it feels even sweeter."

The success and critical acclaim of Volume One opened up new opportunities that these veteran musicians never imagined. McCaughey is still amazed they appeared on the long-running weekly Major League Baseball program This Week in Baseball. "I can't say I ever thought I'd hear or see myself on TWIB -- that was awesome," McCaughey exclaims. "As a kid I dreamed of it, but I would have been making a diving catch in the outfield instead of bashing on an electric guitar." The band also struck up a relationship with ESPN that saw them launch The Broadside Ballads series. Wynn and McCaughey took it upon themselves to write and record a song per month for the 2010 season that were available as free downloads at Wynn says, "It's very exhilarating and also exhausting to come up with tunes based on the calendar rather than the muse, especially since we were all busy and on the move with our own projects throughout 2010 but that made it even more fun. I loved that songs would begin in Virginia, for example, get shuttled off to Berlin, back to New York and then over to Portland all within a few weeks."

The Baseball Project was born out of McCaughey and Wynn discussing their love of the game over dinner and drinks a few years ago. "It finally took flight at the R.E.M. pre-Hall of Fame induction party in New York," Wynn remembers. "Everyone was happy. The wine was flowing, the food was incredible and spring training had just started. Scott and I talked baseball until most of the party guests had cleared out. And we actually remembered it the next day."

Both Wynn and McCaughey's love of baseball and its legendary players made its way sporadically into songs during their distinguished careers. The Young Fresh Fellows named-checked Seattle Mariners slugger Gorman Thomas on "Aurora Bridge" from 1986's Refreshments, while Wynn tipped his cap to Hall of Famers Mickey Mantle and Stan Musial in his 1990 solo hit "Kerosene Man."

So with another Volume down, the question needs to be asked -- will there be a Volume 3? McCaughey says it's a certainty, since he still wants to write tunes about "Ted Kubiak, Butch Huskey, Don McMahon, Don Moss, Kris "Iron Man" Benson and Wilton "Peanuts" Guerrero." Wynn adds, "Just open the Baseball Encyclopedia or the 2011 MLB press guide to any page. There are still plenty of tales to tell."

Track Listing

Item 1: cd
# Track Title Play
11976 1976
2Panda And The Freak Panda And The Freak
3Fair Weather Fans Fair Weather Fans
1Don't Call Them Twinkies Don't Call Them Twinkies
5High And Inside High And Inside
6Buckner's Bolero Buckner's Bolero
7Tony (Boston's Chosen Son) Tony (Boston's Chosen Son)
8Ichiro Goes To The Moon Ichiro Goes To The Moon
9The Straw That Stirs The Drink The Straw That Stirs The Drink
10Look Out Mom Look Out Mom
11Pete Rose Way Pete Rose Way
12Twilight Of My Career Twilight Of My Career

Album Press


    On paper, the idea sounds questionable: four rock vets with more than 100 years of tenure among them knocking out original power-pop songs about baseball. But the Baseball Project works.“You do this kind of stuff all the time — getting together with other musicians and vowing to do this record or that tour and then getting sidetracked for years,’’ Wynnmore
    posted: 2011-04-01
  • AOL Music

    Click link above for Video interview with Steve and Scottmore
    posted: 2011-04-01
  • Detroit Free Press

    Mark Fidrych is being celebrated in the nostalgic new song "1976," which recounts the former Tigers pitcher's fabled rookie year -- the song's title -- and his death in 2009.The track appears on "Volume Two: High and Inside," the second album from the Baseball Project, a group made up of alternative rockers who share a love for America's pastime. Themore
    posted: 2011-03-30
  • Santa Barbara Independent

    There is a band so talented it can shunt a guitarist as good as Peter Buck (yes, of REM) to bass, not unlike the Yankees moving A-Rod to third because they had Derek Jeter at shortstop. If you think that analogy is odd, then you clearly don’t know The Baseball Project, a fantastic foursome made up of Buck, Steve Wynnmore
    posted: 2011-03-29
  • The Oregonian

    Maybe it'd be better if everyone was buttoned up and as pure of motive and character as baseball's stodgiest gatekeepers would prefer. Oh who are we kidding? It wouldn't be better at all. Baseball needs characters. Always has. Always will. Good guys and bad guys and guys who hug that line -- those guys especially. They live in the honestmore
    posted: 2011-03-28
  • USA Today

    THE PLAYLISTUSA TODAY music critic Jerry Shriver highlights 10 intriguing tracks found during the week's listening.Here Lies Carl Mays, The Baseball Project: The national pastime offers hope every spring — and you'll need it after hearing this account of a great tragedy.more
    posted: 2011-03-28
  • NPR Music

    Opening-day fever will grip the nation's baseball fans this week — and one band's got the perfect soundtrack in store.The Baseball Project is made up of four baseball-loving musicians, who get together exclusively during the Major League season to play loving odes to the game and its history. The group has just released its second album of songs all aboutmore
    posted: 2011-03-27
  • Phoenix New Times

    In a recent interview with Cowbell Magazine, Mountain Goats songwriter John Darnielle says, "I grew up a geek, so I wasn't good at sports. A lot of us maintain those biases, but those biases are silly. Sports are awesome."Darnielle doesn't appear on the new record by The Baseball Project, Vol. 2: High and Inside — which makes him one ofmore
    posted: 2011-03-24
  • Examiner

    To say the Star Bar is small would be an understatement, but then that is most of its charm. This past Friday night, March 11th, The Baseball Project and Kevn Kinney & the Musical Kings filled that small room with some sweet tunes.As the evening grew later, more and more people crammed into the little hole in the wall onmore
    posted: 2011-03-14
  • Seattle Times

    Looking for some music to put you in the mood for baseball season? You could do worse than The Baseball Project's new CD, "Vol. 2: High and Inside" (Yep Roc).Following up its hit-and-miss first volume, the lineup of Steve Wynn, Scott McCaughey, Peter Buck and Linda Pitmon again rocks out to original tunes about the national pastime. The lyrics sometimesmore
    posted: 2011-03-05
  • Paste

    We’re still deep in the throes of winter here in the Midwest. Spring seems like an impossible dream. But for the members of The Baseball Project—major-league sports nerds from better-known bands Young Fresh Fellows, Dream Syndicate, R.E.M., and Golden Smog—Opening Day is just around the corner. Their second album, Vol. 2: High and Inside, picks up right where Vol. 1more
    posted: 2011-03-04
  • Magnet

    Having read Ball Four, pitcher Jim Bouton’s seminal diary of his 1969 season with the Seattle Pilots and, later, the Houston Astros, probably seven or eight times—first in high school, then each spring for a few years in my 20s—I recall this jacket blurb about it from author David Halberstam as vividly as many of Bouton’s stories: “A book deepmore
    posted: 2011-03-03
  • Atlanta Music Guide

    Every spring, many of us look forward to the possibility of new love in bloom, enjoy basking in the slowly warming temperatures, or dread the re-emergence of all those pesky seasonal allergies. Some of us also look forward to the annual return of baseball season, with its rich traditions and near-mythological tales rich with colorful characters, heroes, and villains. Andmore
    posted: 2011-03-03
  • Spinner

    There have been baseball songs before, but the Baseball Project are the only indie-rock supergroup that writes songs exclusively about America's pasttime. Hatched during a boozy night in New York, the concept has since led to Scott McCaughey, Steve Wynn, Linda Pitmon and Peter Buck recording a pair of albums, 2008's 'Volume 1: Frozen Ropes and Dying Quails' and 'Volumemore
    posted: 2011-03-01
  • AZ Central

    The Baseball Project, a band with members from R.E.M., the Dream Syndicate and Golden Smog, will play 90-minute acoustic sets at five baseball stadiums in the Valley for six spring training games between Tuesday, March 22, and Monday, March 28.The group also will play at Martini Ranch in Scottsdale on Friday, March 25.Peter Buck (R.E.M.), Scott McCaughey (R.E.M., the Minusmore
    posted: 2011-02-25
  • Winnipeg Free Press

    The Baseball Project, "Vol. 2: High and Inside" (Yep Roc)Vol. 2 from The Baseball Project is much like Vol. 1: hit and miss.The lineup of Steve Wynn, Scott McCaughey, Peter Buck and Linda Pitmon again rocks out to original tunes about the national pastime. The lyrics sometimes read like clunky prose written by baseball geeks, and a few musical choicesmore
    posted: 0000-00-00
  • ESPN

    Opening Day is more than a month away, but baseball fans should be doubly excited because The Baseball Project's second album, "Volume 2: High and Inside" will be released March 1.Steve Wynn, Scott McCaughey, Linda Pitmon (Steve Wynn & The Miracle 3, Golden Smog) and Peter Buck (R.E.M.) -- and special guests, such as Craig Finn of The Hold Steady,more
    posted: 2011-02-22
  • Glide

    Figuring out a way to combine baseball and rock and roll while getting paid for it has surely been a dream of countless Americans over the years.  After all, there are few things that evoke more passion and debate than these two.  Unlimited arguments have taken place throughout the years over the validity of certain teams, players, bands, and moments. more
    posted: 0000-00-00
  • Spin

    The Baseball Project is a band featuring R.E.M.'s Peter Buck, Young Fresh Fellows' Scott McCaughey, the Dream Syndicate's Steve Wynn, and his wife, drummer Linda Pitmon, who geek out about their favorite baseball players and teams over power-pop riffage. See, indie nerds can play sports.Their new album, Volume 2: High and Inside, is on deck for a March 1 releasemore
    posted: 2011-02-10
  • City Beat

    In September of last year, The Baseball Project — an all-star band featuring Peter Buck (R.E.M.), Scott McCaughey (Young Fresh Fellows), Steve Wynn (Dream Syndicate) and Wynn’s wife, drummer Linda Pitmon — publicly debuted its song “Pete Rose Way” in Greater Cincinnati when it performed at the Southgate House. The band (which, as the name suggests, explores America’s national pastimemore
    posted: 2011-02-02
  • Globe and Mail

    Tim Lincecum, the longhaired and lithe little guy with a knack for tossing hardballs with astonishing verve and velocity, apparently has been immortalized in song. During its broadcast of the final World Series game, Fox Sports aired a song, Here Comes the Freak, thought to refer to the winning San Francisco pitcher known as The Freak.The British Invasion-styled track comesmore
    posted: 2010-11-02
  • The Bulletin

    With the 2011 Major League Baseball season kicking off this week and temperatures warming up in Bend, this is an ideal time to talk about The Baseball Project, a pop-rock supergroup coming to Silver Moon Brewing & Taproom on Thursday (see “If you go”).The concept is simple: Four veteran musicians (three underground, one not so much) play catchy songs thatmore
    posted: 2011-04-01
  • Napster Music Blog

    Throw on the hot dogs, roll out the barrel, and call your boss to let him or her know you might be starting to come down with something... Tomorrow is Opening Day. And even if you can’t make it out to the park, there are plenty of ways to celebrate the game, musically. A recent and quite interesting one ismore
    posted: 2011-03-30
  • City's Best Los Angeles

    Baseball season's opening day is March 31. But if you won't celebrating at Dodger Stadium, you might want to head to the Echo for a rare West Coast appearance from the Baseball Project. This all-star cult rock team -- Peter Buck (R.E.M.), Scott McCaughey (Minus 5), Steve Wynn (Dream Syndicate) and Linda Pitmon (Golden Smog) -- has shared its lovemore
    posted: 2011-03-30
  • Chart Attack

    Scott McCaughey (Young Fresh Fellows, The Minus 5), Steve Wynn (The Dream Syndicate, Gutterball), Peter Buck (R.E.M.) and Linda Pitmon (Zuzu's Petals, Golden Smog) return for another album full of great songs about baseball. It may fall a run short of the 2008  Volume 1: Frozen Ropes And Dying Quails debut LP, but this team's combination of talent, passion, knowledgemore
    posted: 2011-03-30
  • Press Citizen

    With spring training cranking up in Florida and Arizona, here comes the second collection of diamond-studded rockers by The Baseball Project, a crew of ringers featuring Steve Wynn (of The Dream Syndicate, Miracle 3), Scott McCaughey (Young Fresh Fellows, R.E.M.), Peter Buck (R.E.M.) and Linda Pitmon (Miracle 3) with cameos by members of Los Lobos, The Decemberists, Yo La Tengomore
    posted: 2011-03-03
  • Jambase

    You may have heard it in AT&T park already this season, but on the heels of the Giants’ commanding seizure of game 1 of the 2010 World Series last night, baseball-themed rock outfit The Baseball Project have released “Panda & the Freak.” Comprised of Bay Area native and Giants fan Scott McCaughey (R.E.M., The Minus 5, Young Fresh Fellows), Stevemore
    posted: 2010-10-28
  • Made Loud

    You don’t have to be a baseball fanatic to dig The Baseball Project, but it certainly doesn’t hurt. The alt-rock supergroup, composed of Peter Buck (REM), Scott McCaughey (Young Fresh Fellows, The Minus Five), Steve Wynn (Dream Syndicate, Miracle 3) and Linda Pitmon (Miracle 3), packs their latest installation with enough obscure references to America’s Pastime to make Vin Scully’smore
    posted: 2011-03-29
  • When you motor away

    Baseball and rock'n'roll go extremely well together. Going to the ballpark to see your team is like going to your favorite club to see a great local band. You get to hang with your pals, drink a few beers, watch the action, and swap stories. But hey, word to the wise, when you are sitting in the baseball stands quaffingmore
    posted: 2011-03-27
  • Athens Music Junkie

    Last time I talked to Scott McCaughey, we were battling poor cell reception in North Fricken Dakota, a lack of sleep (Scott), and a lack of voice (me). Yet we somehow managed to talk, email, and text our way through an interview. This time, thankfully, went much smoother. He's a busy guy, splitting time between R.E.M., Baseball Project, Minus 5,more
    posted: 2011-03-11

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