One of music’s most distinctive voices, David Pack has won acclaim worldwide for both his insightful solo work and as the charismatic lead vocalist - and guitarist - for the celebrated progressive pop-rock group Ambrosia. As a songwriter, Pack’s compositions took the band to the top of the charts repeatedly, and have delivered hits for a diverse group of artists. As a record producer, he’s worked with many of the biggest names in music, his collective works selling over 30 million units. Pack’s imprint producing and music directing truly major events includes the masterminding of President Clinton’s two star-studded inaugural galas.
On The Secret of Movin’ On, his long-awaited new solo album and debut disc for Concord/Peak Records, David Pack’s ongoing evolution from his phenomenal stint as Ambrosia’s frontman into the compelling artist he is today is revealed in a way that’s both powerful and intimate. His creative journey paralleled by one of intense personal exploration, Pack’s latest music - as suggested by the album title - is soulful and authentic, driven by his deep commitment to a spiritual path and the earned wisdom of major life-changing experiences. “I was walking through an emotional hurricane when the opportunity came to make this CD,” he explains. “As a result, it’s one of my most personal, and most revealing, to date.”
As ever, Pack’s stellar song craft shines through as well. In speaking about his mentors and friends Quincy Jones and the late Leonard Bernstein, David said recently, “They were larger-than-life figures who taught me that all great things start with a song. For a songwriter, a great song is like discovering a secret code that you can share with the world.” This mysterious alchemy of artistic translation that Pack refers to works magic throughout The Secret of Movin’ On.
Highlights include four exciting new vocal collaborations with friends and guest artists, among them the moving ballad “A Brand New Start,” featuring the soulful counterpoint of former Journey frontman Steve Perry, who also co-wrote and co-produced the track. “It’s one of the handful of songs Steve and I wrote just after 9/11,” recalls Pack, adding, “we just needed to express ourselves.”
Other harmonic partnerships are the gently seductive title track, the Latin-flavored “The Secret of Movin’ On (Travelin’ Light),” graced with Heart’s Ann Wilson, and the folksy, “front porch-flavored” “Tell Her Goodbye,” featuring Pack in tandem with Dewey Bunnell of America. The upbeat yet bittersweet “Where We Started From” features a duet with the unmistakable, soaring voice of Eagles’ Timothy B. Schmidt. These and other tracks also feature the instrumental prowess of several of modern jazz’s top talents, including David Benoit, Vinnie Colaiuta, Luis Conte, Russ Freeman, and Eric Marienthal.
On bringing some of his oldest friends to his newest venture, Pack commented, “Their voices remind us of how we felt at a certain time by triggering something emotionally, but it isn’t just about nostalgia - it’s about connections.”
Also meaningfully connecting Pack’s present to his rich past are transcendent reworks of two of his most famous compositions, “Biggest Part of Me” and “You’re The Only Woman (You & I).” Both massive Ambrosia hits, these classics sparkle with new life as Pack reinterprets them with a spirited and jazzy contemporary flair. Pack closes the album with songs honoring his daughters, the wistful and lovely “Think of You (Song 4 Kaitlyn)” and “Elizabeth”, featuring Beth Pack, a special needs child, ending the track with a heartfelt, “Hey dad.”
Another personal touch making The Secret of Movin’ On extra special to David is the extraordinary album art, featuring the paintings of famed lyricist Bernie Taupin, also a highly respected visual artist. Their friendship dates back to 1992, when Taupin invited Pack to be music director/conductor for AIDS Project LA’s Commitment To Life VI, a benefit concert featuring Barbra Streisand, Elton John, Billy Joel, Natalie Cole, Wynonna, and others that raised over four million dollars.
David Pack first rose to stardom when Ambrosia’s debut hit, 1975’s “Holdin’ on to Yesterday”, captured the pop culture consciousness, followed by the blockbuster 1978 Number Three Billboard single “How Much I Feel”. Before Ambrosia disbanded in ‘82, Pack penned them two more signature smashes (and three million plus BMI airplay award winners) - both reincarnated on his new album - ”Biggest Part of Me” and “You’re The Only Woman.” The band’s legacy was honored in 2001 with Warner Bros.’ Anthology, a “best of” compilation also featuring three new tracks.
Pack’s debut solo album was the 1986 Warner Bros. release, Anywhere You Go, produced by Lenny Waronker, with the stand-outs “I Just Can’t Let Go” and “Prove Me Wrong,” the latter also featured in the Taylor Hackford (Ray)-directed motion picture, White Nights. Unborn (2004), introducing a dozen diverse songs written over the years but never before recorded, is Pack’s only other solo disc prior to The Secret of Movin’ On.
The years in between have been filled with a much-lauded career as a visionary producer, which began in 1983 when Quincy Jones connected David with Patti Austin for multiple projects. Two decades-plus later, his production credits include work with artists Kenny Loggins, Aretha Franklin, Michael McDonald, Phil Collins, Selena, Wynonna, CeCe Winans, Natalie Cole, Chick Corea, James Ingram, Patti Labelle and Trisha Yearwood, among many others. Notable highlights also include the GRAMMY®-winning Best Contemporary Gospel Albums Handel’s Messiah-A Soulful Celebration (‘95) and Tribute: The Songs of Andre Crouch (‘96).
The most personally meaningful to Pack of all his many projects as a producer is 1996’s RIAA Gold CD The Songs of West Side Story (with Phil Collins’s Top Five hit “Somewhere”), an all-star tribute to music legend Leonard Bernstein, who was also godfather to Pack’s eldest daughter. Most recently, Pack produced the multi-artist Time-Life CD Committed 2 Rock, featuring an enviable line-up of top modern rock and contemporary Christian acts - including Dave Matthews, Creed, Moby, and Nickelback - performing positive-skewed songs. The project was the first one conceived by Mpowered Ideas, the independent media company Pack co-founded in 2001.
As David Pack returns to recording for the first time in many years, he says, “I’ve had the great blessing to do so many wonderful projects with stars from classical, jazz, rock, pop, and gospel music, yet I feel like I’m only just hitting my own stride artistically. It feels like exactly the right time to be recording again, to bring all these things together. The Secret of Movin’ On is really about ‘traveling light’ in life, letting go of the internal baggage we carry around, which only comes through forgiveness, and through love. That is the road to true inner peace, and for me, it’s a beautiful place to be right now.”