Reviews: 3.26.19: Terry Draper Invites You Into His Garden, Brad Marino Does What Comes Naturally, and Popdudes Channel the Cookies, the Beatles and Roy Orbison

By Alan Haber – Pure Pop Radio

Terry Draper | In My Garden (TerryTunes, 2019)

How you got here from there really isn’t all that important; it’s that you wound up here that really matters. Many, if not most of you will, while flying your Klaatu flags high, proudly note that you were here from the very beginning (some of you will have been here even before the beginning, which is quite a feat of legerdemain).

In any case, you are here now because the music of Terry Draper has spoken to you through the years, since Klaatu burst on the music scene in 1976 or even before (kudos to you). Think about that: Terry Draper has been making music for at least four decades plus. That is a very long time to be putting smiles on people’s faces.

So, kudos to Terry. The thing is, though, that some of you will have come to this new album, a gathering of earthly delights picked from previous releases and featuring two new songs, without having experienced the wonder that is Klaatu. For you, this new album, In My Garden, is perhaps the perfect introduction to the music that Terry Draper has released during his solo years–music that looks at life and how to negotiate it.

Released on 180 gram vinyl with 11 tracks for old-school enthusiasts and on CD with three bonuses for everyone else, In My Garden is a veritable cornucopia of musical joy–something for everyone and then some, bringing together a community of been-there-all-alongs and hey-I’m-new-heres to celebrate the music of one of melodic pop’s most important practitioners. (Purchasers of either the vinyl or CD from Terry’s website also get a download with WAV files of the songs, a digital booklet, and nine videos.)

Whether you’ve been following Terry’s music all along or have just been hipped to him, you will find much to admire and enjoy here. Some personal favorites that may well be yours too, regardless of your starting point: “When I Grow Up,” from Civil War… and Other Love Songs, which contains one of Terry’s prettiest melodies; it’s a wistful song about holding on to one’s youth as a way of tempering the less-than-happy shades of one’s life. And “Jules and Me,” from Searching, a pretty, multihued song about getting lost in good books–in this case those written by Jules Verne–and being taken away to far-off lands because how cool is that.

More personal favorites: “Pied Piper,” a fun cover of Crispian St. Peters’ top five Billboard chart hit from 1966, which features the great Ray Paul, whose new compilation is about to be released, on harmony vocals. And another fun song, “She’s All Mine,” from Remarkable Women, a joyous, pop-rocking charmer about accepting one’s partner lock, stock and barrel.

Of the two new songs on offer, the beautiful “I Wish I Could Fly” is my pick to click–a gorgeous song that, on the surface, is about the freedom of flight and what it might be like looking down from above as you glide along through the skies. The first song written for an animated cartoon called Sparked (unfortunately never produced) is about the childhood of Nikola Tesla, who was the inventor of, among other things, the AC, or alternating current, motor. What a joy this cartoon would have been to experience!

Making its first appearance on an album (in this case, the CD version of In My Garden; it was previously released as a single track), “Latitude Adjustment,” featuring Ray Paul on backup vocals, finds Terry escaping the cold for the warmth of the sun in Florida. Never has an escape to the Florida Keys been so melodic or catchy. Or sun-tanny.

Helping to bring Terry’s catchy creations to life are Dana Countryman, Bill Nadeau, Brenda Webb, Spitt Passion, and more melodic fellow travelers. Old friend Ted Jones, who brought so many Klaatu album covers to life with his imaginative designs, provides this collection’s captivating cover art.

Welcome to Terry Draper’s garden of earthly delights. However you got here, you are here in this very special place. Track one, here you come…

Where to Get It: Terry Draper’s Album Store (USA), (International), (Canada)

Brad Marino | “What Comes Naturally” (Rum Bar, 2019)

For this rocking new single off the upcoming, highly-anticipated album from the Connection’s Brad Marino (Extra Credit, releasing April 19), the multi-instrumentalist extols the virtues of a rock ‘n’ roll lifestyle in a song that portrays a Rolling Stones-meets-outlaw country vibe.

What comes naturally for a guitar player keeping the beat? Sleeping late, steaks on the grill, breakfast (at a quarter to two), checking the sports scores, celebrating happy hour (but only from 3:30-5), and listening to records. Sounds like a life, doesn’t it?

Tap your feet in time with this top-flight melodic rocker, and look forward to Marino’s album, just a little over three weeks away.

Where to Get It (Single releases digitally on April 1): Amazon

Popdudes | “Chains” b/w “Dream Baby” (Big Stir, 2019)

The 21st entry in the ongoing Big Stir digital singles series is a warm-hearted, joyous double-sided melodic pop hug from Orange County, California’s Popdudes, with up-and-coming popster Addison Love and his pop Tim joining always-and-forever members Michael Simmons and journalist/drummer John Borack.

This million dollar quartet is more than up to the task of celebrating the original recordings by the Cookies and the Beatles (“Chains”) and Roy Orbison (“Dream Baby”). The harmony vocals on “Chains” are quite attractive; Addison Love sings the solo lines and plays lead guitar. On “Dream Baby,” Tim Love steps up to the microphone with a sweet lead vocal–channeling the Big O, no doubt (he also plays electric bass); the equally sweet sha-la-la-la, uh-uh-huh background vocals also shine.

Where to Get It: Big Stir Digital Single No. 21

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Alan Haber’s Pure Pop Radio is the premiere website covering the melodic pop scene with in-depth reviews of new and reissued recordings, and a wide variety of features. We’ve been around since the first weekly Pure Pop Radio shows, which began broadcasting in 1995, and the 24-hour Pure Pop Radio station, which ended last August.

Welcome to your number one home for coverage of the greatest melodic pop music in the universe from the ’60s to today.

Welcome to Pure Pop Radio’s Holly Jolly Christmas Party!

By Alan Haber – Pure Pop Radio

So how’s it going? Have you checked your 2018 holiday gift list once, and then twice? Do you have room on your list for some melodic Christmas song gems to give to yourself, your friends and your family? Of course you do!

We’ll be here all week–our Holly Jolly Christmas Party is in full swing, spreading the holiday cheer by suggesting some wonderful, melodic pop Christmas songs and albums that you can give as gifts to your friends and family (and maybe even to yourself!).

And we’ll be giving away a couple of melodic pop presents each day this week. Today’s pair of giveaways: Dana Countryman’s new Cabaret of Love, and the Corner Laughers’ 2015 classic, Matilda Effect. Enter below…

We begin today’s listing with…

Les Bicyclettes de Belsize 
The 12 Days of Christmas (2018)
A late-year surprise and not only a charming, top-flight holiday-themed album but one of the best melodic pop albums of the year, Charlie Darling’s collection of original from-the-heart Christmas songs will warm you like a heaping cup of peppermint candy cane-flavored good cheer.

Bittersweet holiday tales told in pretty swaths of lovingly rendered melody, and sung with an everyman’s sweetness, color this delightful song cycle; sincere, understated orchestration, a literary approach to lyrical conceits, and a pinch of sleigh bells catch the ear time and again in lovely slow- and mid-tempo-ballads.

Darling’s vocals, sort of a contemporary cross between the tones of the Big Dish’s Steven Lindsay and Pet Shop Boys’ Neil Tennant, are key to making  songs like gentle ballads “Every Christmas,” about missing a love gone away, and “Stars on the Christmas Tree,” about the true meaning of the holiday, grab hold of your heart. “Holly and Ivy,” a quick-footed waltz, is a dream of a tune about settling into the feelings of the season with friends, and the charming, upbeat “Under the Mistletoe” poses the musical question, “What secrets do you keep?”

Two songs deviate ever so slightly from the mood and pace of the bulk of this magnificent album. “Bad Christmas Cover Version,” an uptempo rocker of sorts, is about exactly what you might think: bands covering the lesser of Christmas classics (“You might’ve sung a song by ol’ Greg Lake”). And “Andy Partridge (From XTC)” is a spirited pop sprint substituting the names of pop and rock bands through the ages for the various creatures evidenced in “The Twelve Days of Christmas” (Three Dog Night, the Dave Clark Five, Gang of Four, Nine Inch Nails and Joe Strummer (strumming), among them). It’s all in good fun and thoroughly clever and creative and perfect for this very time of year.

Working on his own, in true do-it-yourself style as the band named after the 1968 film Les Bicyclettes de Belsize, Charlie Darling is no stranger to the music scene, having spent time as a member of the four-piece pop-trash band Taxi, which was signed to a major label. Les Bicyclettes’ previous releases can be found at Bandcamp. Charlie’s next non-seasonal album is being produced by Ronnie Borland from the Orchids.

Les Bicyclettes de Belsize’s The 12 Days of Christmas is a rather pleasant surprise in these waning days of December. I’m thrilled to be able to recommend it to you without any hesitation. One of the best albums of the year, Christmas-oriented or not? Yes, indeed.

black box Where to Get It: Bandcamp

The Twigs | “Flying Kites on Christmas” (2018)
This typically engaging song from Laura and Linda Good, a ballad bursting with luscious harmony, an intriguing piano figure, and a gorgeous melody, is all about being together and happy under sunny skies at Christmas. The flying kites of the title act as a metaphor for problems that can ascend to the skies, away from good holiday feelings. A tremendous achievement, your holiday soundtrack is not complete without it. Melodic and wonderful.

black box Where to Get It: iTunes, Bandcamp

Seth Timbs | Belly Full of Christmas | (2018)
A double-sided holiday single straight out of Nashville, this belly full of good cheer comes in two flavors: ballad and uptempo celebration. “This is Your Christmas Song” is a pretty tune in which a mother sings to her child about comfort and joy that will last through the years (“And life will be sweet and long/Until we’re old and grey/From now on/So says your Christmas song”). “Belly Full of Christmas” is a good old-fashioned uptempo celebration that urges the listener to get just what the title suggests. It couldn’t be catchier. Seth Timbs always delivers; may 2019 be his year.

black box Where to Get It: Bandcamp

Dana Countryman | “Gonna Be Home for Christmas” (2018)
Continuing with his ongoing tradition of offering a joyous Christmas song every year, the King of Retro-Pop delivers this sweet paean to being together at the holidays. Dana’s wife Tricia sings, Jon Goforth plays sax, and you benefit from the artist’s ongoing commitment to communicate to listeners the joy of pop music. (“Gonna Be Home for Christmas” is a bonus track on Dana’s latest album, Cabaret of Love, which is highly recommended.)

black box Where to Get It: Bandcamp (Purchase Cabaret of Love here)

Terry Draper | A Very Terry Christmas (2016)
Resplendent on the cover in front of his Christmas tree and wearing his Santa hat and sunglasses, Klaatu’s Terry Draper pours a heaping helping of Christmas cheer in the form of five warm holiday classic sides, including two versions of the Beatles’ “Christmas Time is Here Again” (one by the jolly musical mirth makers, the Swamp Manor Jug Band), and two versions of the lovely ballad “A Song for Christmas,” one sung by Maureen Leeson. Full of joy and goodness, and a must play during the holidays.

black box Where to Get It: Terry’s Digital Store, Amazon

Win a Pair of Presents!

Enter below to win a pair of melodic presents for the holiday season from Pure Pop Radio (Dana Countryman’s new Cabaret of Love and the Corner Laughers’ 2015 CD, Matilda Effect). Be sure to fill in all fields (type “Dana on the Corner” in the Comment field), and send the completed form to us by tomorrow–Tuesday, December 18, at noon ET. US residents only. Good luck!

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Alan Haber’s Pure Pop Radio is the premiere website covering the melodic pop scene with in-depth reviews of new and reissued recordings, and a wide variety of features. We’ve been around since the first weekly Pure Pop Radio shows, which began broadcasting in 1995 and ended this past August. Welcome to your number one home for coverage of the greatest melodic pop music in the universe from the ’60s to today. Happy holidays!

Klaatu Celebration Week Continues: John, Dee and Terry Wax Poetic About Sir Army Suit

alan headshot from schoolBy Alan Haber – Pure Pop Radio

This week, we’re celebrating the 40th anniversary of Klaatu’s momentous third album, Sir Army Suit, because, as I often say, history is important. With each song, with each collection of songs that we treasure from our favorite artists, we strengthen the musical foundation that we build upon.

klaatu sir army suit coverIt is important to know where things come from. Klaatu’s Sir Army Suit came after the group’s eclectic first album, 3:47 E.S.T., and the follow-up, the orchestrated concept long player Hope. Sir Army Suit was an attempt to build on Klaatu’s strengths with shorter, radio-friendly songs sporting indelible melodies, clever chord progressions, picturesque lyrics, and creative production for the purpose of increasing the band’s marketplace footprint.

Shorter, radio-friendly songs. No problem! From the opening classic “A Routine Day” to “Perpetual Motion Machine,” a sprightly tune about acquiring the gift you didn’t know you needed, this is what Sir Army Suit delivered. Moreover, the album served up a diverse musical experience that continues to resonate with fans today.

Klaatu’s John Woloschuk, Dee Long and Terry Draper spoke to me recently about Sir Army Suit, an album they look back on fondly. Click on the photos below to hear what they have to say about one of the great melodic pop albums of our time (then right-click on the stream graphic to download each interview).

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John Woloschuk looks back at Sir Army Suit

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Dee Long looks back at Sir Army Suit and ahead to new music

terry draper photo

Terry Draper takes a look at Sir Army Suit

In the spirit of our ongoing celebration of Sir Army Suit, on the occasion of the album’s 40th anniversary, we return this Friday with John, Dee and Terry each talking about three of their favorite Klaatu songs. Don’t miss it.

radio1Alan Haber’s Pure Pop Radio is the premiere website covering the melodic pop scene with in-depth reviews of new and reissued recordings, and a wide variety of features. The 24-hour Pure Pop Radio stream ran from 2013 to August 25, 2018. Welcome to your number one home for coverage of the greatest melodic pop music in the universe from the ’60s to today.

I Love that Album! #3: Klaatu’s Sir Army Suit (1978)

alan headshot from schoolBy Alan Haber – Pure Pop Radio

klaatu sir army suit cover“We all rose to the challenge,” Terry Draper says about “Calling Occupants (Of Interplanetary Craft),” Klaatu’s momentous signature song that opened the band’s debut album, 3:47 E.S.T., but he might as well have been referring to Sir Army Suit, the Canadian trio’s triumphant third album, released in August 1978 and now celebrating its 40th anniversary.

klaatu juicy luicy 45 labelThe challenge Terry, John Woloschuk and Dee Long were faced with, as they gathered to work on Sir Army Suit–really no challenge at all–was to write and record relatively short radio-friendly songs that would increase Klaatu’s marketplace footprint. And with wonderful nuggets such as “Juicy Luicy,” a catchy disco parody; “Tokeymor Field,” a hummable soft-pop romantic romp inspired by the music of the Young Rascals; and “Older,” a rocker about making time count before it’s gone, success should have been a fait accompli. And it was, for fans who held 3:47 E.S.T. and Hope, Klaatu’s previous two albums, dear.

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(l to r) John Woloschuk, Dee Long, and Terry Draper

John, Dee and Terry’s mandate was always to write and record songs that were different from each other, and for Sir Army Suit, they came up with their most diverse set yet. Songs about long getaways (“Everybody Took a Holiday”), the gift you didn’t know you needed (“Perpetual Motion Machine”), falling in love from a berth on the high seas (“Dear Christine”), and leading a humdrum existence (“A Routine Day”) were brought to life with fanciful, creative arrangements. Working with producer Terry Brown, the band’s George Martin, Klaatu delivered exactly what was called for– an album stocked full of unique treasures that is as enjoyable today as it was 40 years ago.

One of Sir Army Suit’s most engaging slices of songcraft is the cinematic number that opens the album. John’s majestic “A Routine Day,” about a man living possibly the most humdrum existence imaginable, offers up exquisite and complex chord progressions, one of the loveliest, most seductive melodies in Klaatu’s catalog, and a surprising Twilight Zone-esque ending, in which the hapless narrator waits on the pier, as one does, for Charon, the ferryman of Hades.

Then, there are the tremendous songs written by Dee Long, charming, melodic wonders all: the aforementioned “Everybody Took a Holiday” and “Perpetual Motion Machine,” and “Older,” “Mr. Manson,” and “Cherie” (Dee also cowrote the wild sci-fi closer, “Silly Boys,” with John). “Cherie” may well be the loveliest of all of Dee’s creatures on this album:

Of course, a band is more than just one member’s vision; Sir Army Suit wouldn’t be the creative triumph it is without John Woloschuk, Dee Long and Terry Draper working together to fuse their ideas into a successful whole. And, it cannot be said often enough that the trio, working together with Terry Brown, were collectively a tremendous close-knit, creative force.

klaatu sas back cover 5

Sir Army Suit’s Back Cover

All of this sterling work came wrapped inside Hugh Syme’s beautiful, imaginative cover art that finally provided visual proof that the members of Klaatu had never been Beatles, even if the band members and fellow travelers depicted didn’t come with names attached. That would have to wait until Klaatu’s next album, Endangered Species.

Klaatu produced five albums in their relatively brief lifetime; all of them offer slices of hope and a little courage, but Sir Army Suit is perhaps the most courageous of all.

radio1Alan Haber’s Pure Pop Radio is the premiere website covering the melodic pop scene with in-depth reviews of new and reissued recordings, and a wide variety of features. The 24-hour Pure Pop Radio stream ran from 2013 to August 25, 2018. Welcome to your number one home for coverage of the greatest melodic pop music in the universe from the ’60s to today.

Klaatu’s Sir Army Suit Turns 40: A Pure Pop Radio Celebration

Pure Pop Radio celebrates the 40th anniversary of Klaatu’s Sir Army Suit with a weeklong celebration

alan headshot from schoolBy Alan Haber – Pure Pop Radio

You could pretty much claim that every year–go on, pick one!–was a good year for music, and regardless of your preferred genres, you would be right.

klaatu sir army suit coverWelcome, then, the year 1978, in which a number of influential, or simply beloved, albums were released, from the Who’s Who Are You, Warren Zevon’s Excitable Boy, and the Police’s Outlandos d’Amour to the Talking Heads’ More Songs About Buildings and Food, the Cars’ self-titled debut, and Bruce Springsteen’s Darkness on the Edge of Town. For melodic pop fans, and especially for fans for whom the Beatles are dearest, Klaatu’s diverse, thoroughly enjoyable third album, Sir Army Suit, was also king upon its release in August.

Sir Army Suit, which, on its cover, depicted Klaatu’s mysterious members as they walked with fellow travelers toward an equally mysterious destination, was the band’s third and perhaps best album, and one that came with a specific remit: increase Klaatu’s marketplace footprint with more radio-friendly songs. Different, in other words, from the band’s second album, the orchestrated conceptual collection, Hope (although the beautiful title song would have made a great single).

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(l to r) John Woloschuk, Terry Draper, and Dee Long

Tomorrow, as part of Pure Pop Radio’s very special weeklong celebration of Sir Army Suit on the occasion of the album’s 40th anniversary, I will take an in-depth look at Klaatu’s timeless third release in the latest edition of our popular feature, I Love that Album! On Wednesday, you will hear Klaatu’s John Woloschuk, Dee Long and Terry Draper talk about Sir Army Suit in all-new audio interviews. On Thursday, the trio will talk about three of their favorite Klaatu songs. And on Friday, I will return with my list of Klaatu favorites.

I leave you now with Sir Army Suit’s brilliantly-written and performed opening salvo, “A Routine Day,” John Woloschuk’s story of a man who leads a humdrum life and is rewarded with a visit from none other than the ferryman of Hades. A neighborly tale, in other words.

Join us all this week, won’t you?

radio1Alan Haber’s Pure Pop Radio is the premiere website covering the melodic pop scene with in-depth reviews of new and reissued recordings, and a wide variety of features. The 24-hour Pure Pop Radio stream ran from 2013 to August 25, 2018. Welcome to your number one home for coverage of the greatest melodic pop music in the universe from the ’60s to today.

The Latest Hits! Pure Pop Radio is Your Home for the Greatest Pure, Melodic Pop (until August 25)

alan headshot from schoolBy Alan Haber – Pure Pop Radio

pure pop radio radioThe latest and greatest pure, melodic pop hits are streaming on Pure Pop Radio, but hurry–you have only until August 25 to bop to the catchiest beats in town!

the turnback new album cover august 2018What’s new and now playing in rotation on Alan Haber’s Pure Pop Radio? “California Moon,” Fernando Perdomo’s new single, featuring Pat Sansone (Wilco, Autumn Defense), is top of the pops, as are four standout, propulsive tunes from the Turnback’s soon-to-be-released album, Spinning the Earth in Reverse.

coverSpeaking of spinning, the Jangle Band’s new single, featuring the Byrdsian “The Guy Who Used to Care,” is playing in hot rotation, as are new songs from Azwel’s latest long player, Phantasmagoria, and new releases from Scott Brookman, Yani Martinelli and Friends; Lannie Flowers (another in his growing line of free songs being released prior to Lannie’s new album coming due in the fall); and McPherson Grant, whose debut album features the Klaatu-ish tune “The Marvelous and Mysterious Adventures of Sir Ollie and His Ox,” supported percussively by Klaatu’s Terry Draper.

wilkerson album coverNew songs from Optiganally Yours, Tsar’s Jeff Whalen, George Usher and Lisa Burns, Michael Slawter, Jeffrey Foskett and Jeff Larson, Sean Solo, Miami Dan and the Hayes Street Band, Farrington, Wilkerson, Tony Valentino, and many more of your favorite artists are also being featured in these last 11 days of broadcasting.

Remember that we will be active as active can be here on the Pure Pop Radio website, even though Pure Pop Radio will be going off the air on August 25. So fire up your Internet radio receptacle, groove to the pop tunes, and we’ll see you on the air.

ppr radio purple background - insetPure Pop Radio plays the greatest melodic pop music from across the decades, 24 hours a day (until August 25). Listen by clicking on the Live365 Listen Now button at left. Hear us once and you’ll be a listener for life. Join us, won’t you? You’ll be glad you did!

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100+ Songs Added to the Pure Pop Radio Playlist, Including the New Single from Paul McCartney. Now’s the Time to Tune In!

alan headshot from schoolBy Alan Haber – Pure Pop Radio

pure pop radio radioMore than 100 new and new-to-you songs, including the latest releases from your favorite melodic pop music artists, have been added to the Pure Pop Radio playlist.

At thpaul mccartney egypt station cover 2018e top of the list are two new songs, released as a single, from Paul McCartney’s forthcoming album, Egypt Station–the stomping rocker “Come On to Me” and the tender ballad, “I Don’t Know.” But that’s not all!

Caper Clowns-Sacre Bleu-Singlecover

Caper Clowns

terry draper latitude adjustmentAlso spinning now in rotation are the latest from the Doughboys, a frantic, pumping take on the Rolling Stones’ “Play With Fire,” and both sides of Caper Clowns fantastic new single–“Sacre Bleu” and “Something of Value.” You will also hear, throughout our broadcast day, the new single from the Outryders, featuring Joe Algeri; Terry Draper’s catchy earworm “Latitude Adjustment,” featuring background vocals from Pure Pop Radio favorite Ray Paul; and Kai Danzberg’s “My Beautiful Day,” written with Dana Countryman.

nick lowe tokyo baydana countryman summer sand cover2018You want more? You’ve got it: Nick Lowe’s new four-sided single, featuring the twangy, upbeat “Tokyo Bay”; Trip Wire’s “Act Fast”; the b-side of Bill Lloyd’s new single, “The Bridesmaid’s Song,” with special guest Raelyn Nelson; tracks from the sprawling new compilation, The Co-Op Communique Vol. 4, including John T. McMullan’s “The Thought of Your Name”; Dana Countryman’s new summer single, the lovely “Summer Sand”; and tracks from the Davenports’ most-welcome new album, Don’t Be Mad at Me.

With all that, we’re just scratching the surface of the catchy tunes you’ll discover when you tune in to Pure Pop Radio, the 24-hour Internet radio station playing the greatest melodic pop music from the ’60s, ’70s and today, with a special emphasis on the latest releases you want to hear.

Don’t miss a minute–tune in now! Click on the Live 365 Listen Now link below, and enjoy!

ppr radio purple background - insetPure Pop Radio plays the greatest melodic pop music from across the decades, 24 hours a day. Listen by clicking on the Live365 Listen Now button at left. Hear us once and you’ll be a listener for life. Join us, won’t you? You’ll be glad you did!