Next Stop, Willoughby

(4 customer reviews)


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Ever since I was a young boy, the music in my head has never stopped. I am constantly “hearing” melodies, lyrics or just plain old great song concept ideas.

Songwriters don’t really know where the ideas come from, we just feel blessed to receive them and it’s our great privilege to complete the songs with the craft we have refined through the decades and share the music with the rest of the world.

Often times the songs are meant for someone we might not ever meet and may have a positive impact their life so it’s vital that we deliver the goods.

Just maybe that song you need is on this CD!

All Vocals and Instruments: John Batdorf
Produced, Arranged and Mixed: John Batdorf



This song was inspired by a Twilight Zone episode that made a big impact on me as a youth. It was a story about a driven businessman on the brink of a breakdown until he wakes up on a train and discovers a little town called Willoughby. This place was filled with such tranquility and happiness, which was exactly what he needed in his life, and eventually he went there permanently.

When my wife and I first saw our new home Eagle Crest, it reminded us of our very own Willoughby, and now we are here for the long run. This song tells the story.

When I was young I loved TV,
It took me places, set me free
Every week my mind was blown In the Twilight Zone
It took me one more step beyond,
Far beyond where I’d ever gone
Oh I loved every episode in the Twilight Zone

How could I be so affected
Why did this show so connect with me?
So well produced, so well directed
Stories with such scary endings

Except this story of a man
Who worked as hard as three men can
But his world came crashing down
He was lost in his hometown

Then the story, changed direction
Leaving outbound on this mystery train
When he woke, upon reflection
He felt like his old self again

All the sudden things had changed
Seems the world’s been rearranged
He felt happy as can be, in this place called Willoughby

Smiling faces, no more rain
Wouldn’t trade this
Not for anything

Never forgot that story line
Cos it so reflected mine
For 40 years I stayed around now I’m lost in my hometown
So we took a leap of faith moved onto another place
And now we’re happy as can be ‘cos we found our Willoughby
Yes we’re happy as can be oh yeah ‘cos we’re here in Willoughby
We’re as happy as can be.

John Batdorf, Bat Mac Music BMI
©2017 All Rights Reserved

I’m In Love with You

This groove felt great from the beginning and after some chorus re-writes, this is what I ended up with. It’s a story of someone who has been friends for life with another and suddenly finds himself wanting to be more than a friend even though he knows in his heart, she is way out of his league.

But that doesn’t stop him from trying!

I’m in love with you, please don’t hate me
I’m in love with you and I know it’s true you’re
Out of my league, but what am I supposed to do
I’m in love with you, Yeah it’s crazy
I’m in love with you but maybe there’s a fairy Godmother who will come make this dream come true

I’ll only ask for riches if money’s what you need
In wanting you to love me, the greedy one is me

I’m in love with you it’s my delusion
Yes I’m in love with you and it’s so confusing but maybe there is a potion to cast a spell

Cuz I want to leave you spellbound like
You leave me each day
I want to be your hero I’ve got to find a way
I know it’s kind of reckless, I know that it’s insane
I know I’m going way to fast now, but
I can’t stop this train

ahhhhhhh i know, i know,
It’s senseless holding on to this but I can’t let it go

Tonight I’ll keep on planning exactly how I’ll start
To tell you what I’m feeling, and what’s inside my heart
And if you roll your eyes, girl, and then just walk away
I’m gonna reach for my guitar and this is what I’ll say…

I’m in love with you please don’t hate me
I’m in love with you, I know it’s crazy
I’m in love with you

John Batdorf, Bat Mac Music BMI
Michael McLean, Shining Star Music ASCAP
©2017 All Rights Reserved

Don’t It Make You Wonder Why

This is a about the power of a song. Have you ever heard a song that stopped you in your tracks or hit you so hard that you had to pull your car to the side of the road so you could just listen to it without distraction. It’s happened to me several times and I love when it happens. But why does this song hit you like no other?

Don’t it make you wonder why?

Don’t it make you wonder why? Why does this one make me cry?
When all the songs before just made me smile
How can just a melody? Touch a place so deep in me
Then grab my heart and hold it for awhile

And when I hear that song, I need to sing along
Feels as though the words were meant for me, can’t you see?
I know I can’t be wrong, the message is spot on
And sings to me in perfect harmony.

Don’t it make you wonder why, We can never say goodbye….cos
Once you’re in our soul it’s thru and thru
Makes me wanna testify, there’s one thing I can’t deny
No one says I love you like you do

And when the music ends, we’ll cue it up again
With every listen we’re more in love with you, oh it’s true
I’ll share you with my friends, and watch the joy begin
Now everyone will be in love with you

Oh the music feels so fine, all the words with perfect rhyme
Flowing together as every note rings true oh so true
Now we all know this song, so we can sing along
And now all the world is so in love with you

Don’t it make you wonder why, why does this one make us cry
Music fills our hearts with love and we love you
We’re In love with you, in love with you
Don’t it make you wonder why?

John Batdorf, Bat Mac Music BMI
©2017 All Rights Reserved

Sure Could Use Some Love

No need for a big explanation of what this song is about. Just put it on and follow along. We all could use some love!

How about some tenderness, How about a sweet caress
God my life is such a mess, I sure could use some love
I been down on my luck, so lost and panic struck
I got lost and now I’m stuck, I sure could use some love

The sun keeps shining, everywhere I see
And I keep waiting for the light to shine on me yeah

I’m tired of feeling bad, Where’s the joy that I once had
But don’t feel sorry don’t feel sad, I just need some love

The sun’s still shining, everywhere I see
But I can’t wait for the light to shine on me oh

I’m not the only one, chasing dreams we can’t outrun
I pray for all the lonely ones, they sure need some love

True love is never guaranteed
It’s hard to find the love we need
But I know it’s there and wants to find me

How about some tenderness, How about a sweet caress,
This old world’s in such a mess and sure could use some love
The world could use some love, this world could use some love
Yes we all could use some love.

John Batdorf, Bat Mac Music BMI /
©2017 All Rights Reserved

John Batdorf, Bat Mac Music BMI
©2017 All Rights Reserved

They Can’t Have Everything

Writing songs about politics can be a slippery slope for a writer because so many seem to get offended and downright mad if they don’t like what we are writing about. Being A-Political myself, I can’t say that I completely get it. We are all, well at least the majority of us are in the same boat and on the same planet. So for me, the best way to address these touchy subjects, is to keep it light and humorous. Just follow the bouncing ball and you will get this song!

We should’ve seen it comin’, we should’ve seen the signs
The one percent get richer while the rest are in decline
You’d think with all that money, they’d help those down on their luck
But it’s become apparent they that don’t really give a flying you know what

No…. They can’t have everything
They’re takin’ their share and more in fact
Those billionaires don’t give much back
But no, they can’t have everything
But who will come and save the day cause they’re takin’ it all away

We sold our souls to China, and sent the jobs away
What’s happened to this country? How did it get this way?
Politicians keep on spending millions way too fast
But if they want my money, they can all just kiss my you know what

So no…….. They can’t have everything
They take a little this, take a little that
Keep on takin’ and never give back,
Oh no! They can’t have everything
The game those politicians play is taking it all away

I know it’s true, Cause everyone of you, are
Nodding like you know it too
What can we do
Who has a clue, a clue that just might help to see us through?

When I was young I fell in love and married my best friend
She was something special I thought it would never end
But now she says she’s leaving me ‘cos I can’t scratch her itch
How could once a sweet young thing become this whiny bitch!

Oh no…….. Now she wants everything
She takes the house, takes the car
She almost took my best guitar
Oh no, she can’t have everything
But her lawyers say today’s the day they’re takin’ it all away

Oh no, they’ve taken everything
They’d take the clothes right off my back
If I stood still and that’s a fact
Oh no, they’ve taken everything
Except this crowd that came today… 3xs
Hey, please don’t walk away….
Please don’t take everything
OH NO give me a chance to sing
Oh No, please don’t take everything.

John Batdorf, Bat Mac Music BMI /
Michael McLean, Shining Star Music ASCAP
©2017 All Rights Reserved

Unanswered Prayer

This song addresses the sadness and desperation of one sided love. It’s three stories in one and the last verse addresses the observer becoming one of the desperate ones, not only losing out at love but also questioning faith.

I’ve watched her wait, For him to say the word
Her heart will break, If they are never heard
How long will she keep waiting
How long until she finally sees

That he doesn’t love her
It’s an unanswered prayer
No he doesn’t love her
Barely knows she’s there

I’ve watched my friend, Completely change his life
He waits to hear, That she will be his wife
How long will he keep waiting
How long until he finally sees

That she doesn’t love him
It’s an unanswered prayer
No she doesn’t love him
Barely knows he’s there

It’s sad to see such misery with such a tragic ending
My greatest fear is finally here, now I’m the one pretending

‘cos She doesn’t love me
It’s my unanswered prayer
Guess He doesn’t hear me
Or simply doesn’t care, no
What if no one’s there

John Batdorf, Bat Mac Music BMI /
Michael McLean, Shining Star Music ASCAP
©2017 All Rights Reserved

Take A Look At You Now

You were full of hope so full of promise, gave a darker world a brighter day. This is a song about us and the US and what it’s becoming. There are times when we all need to re-evaluate where we are, where we’ve been and where we are headed. It’s time to take a look.

You were full of hope, so full of promise
Gave a darker world a brighter day
You were not perfect and to be completely honest
You stumbled on the path, you chose to lead the way

But take a look at you now, tell the truth, don’t pretend
Take a good look at you now, what’s ahead round the bend
Take a look at you now, could it be, it’s the end
Have you forgotten who you are? Have you drifted off too far?
Have you lost your guiding star? Take a look at you now

You can see it one way or another
You can fight to prove you know what’s best
We can’t move forward til we find a way together

Can’t we all agree that we won’t stand for something less

And the battle going on won’t move us forward
If the only victories are placing blame
Take a good look at US now

Have we forgotten who we are? Have we drifted off too far?
We cannot let our wounds be scars? We cannot lose our guiding star

Take a look at US now Take a good look at US now
Take a look at US now Take a look at US now

John Batdorf, Bat Mac Music BMI /
Michael McLean, Shining Star Music ASCAP
©2017 All Rights Reserved

I Remember You

Sometimes in life we get lost and need to go back and remember what kind of person we want to be. Many times in our past, someone or something was there to help show us the way. We can get back there if we really try and remember where we went astray and how we need to get back to being the very best we can be.

I forget the little things to do
That make me like the man that you once knew
Then I remember you…I remember you
I forget to go that extra mile
And how it feels to make somebody smile
Then I remember you…I remember you…

There’s a place inside my heart
I store all things forgotten
But the thought of you alone can take me there

I forget to give someone a break
Cause maybe he carries a greater ache
Then I remember you…I remember you…

There’s a place inside my heart
I store all things forgotten
But the thought of you alone can take me there

I forget the real meaning of
The gift of absolutely honest love
Then I remember you…I remember you

I keep stumbling through my life alone
Avoiding things I’ve always known
Pretending there’s no one who’s there to guide me

I forget the lesson I once learned
I forget my life could soon be turned
Then I remember you…yea I remember you…I remember you..
I remember you, I remember you, and only you
Oh I remember you

John Batdorf, Bat Mac Music BMI /
Michael McLean, Shining Star Music ASCAP
©2017 All Rights Reserved

The One That Got Away

The typical song with this subject matter is about regret in letting someone who may have been the one, get away. This is why I love co-writing. Michael McLean completely twisted the story line and took it to a darker place. It’s a story about someone who takes pleasure in gaining the confidence of someone in a relationship and then just for their own amusement, breaks their partner’s heart and crushes their spirit. But the twist at the end of the song is how that type of person is completely obsessed with the one that got away and found a way to move on. Very haunting and dark for sure. They can’t all be happy!

Haunted by some memories
Things I know are all on me
And I can’t undo the consequences
Seeing all the Iives I changed
Not for better I’m afraid
For the sorry ones who stayed it’s true, it’s true

Seeing …faces… once kept hidden from my view
Though I crushed the hearts of more than you
You were the lucky one that got away

Caught a glimpse of you today
In the park with kids at play
Looking like you never had been broken
Then your prince came running in
Looked like you were good with him
The melancholy came it’s true, it’s true

I did nothing to deserve your love
It’s a habit I became fond of
So long…too very very long

Haunted by some memories
Things I know are all on me
You were the one that got away

John Batdorf, Bat Mac Music BMI /
Michael McLean, Shining Star Music ASCAP
©2017 All Rights Reserved

I Was The One

I wanted to end the CD with a song that was so upbeat and positive that it made the listener want to hear the CD again. This story is about someone who doubted everything including themselves until they met someone that change all that.

I was the one who doubted everything
Most of all doubted myself
I was the one who always avoided things
Most of all asking for help
I was the one who lost all faith in the future
Cause I wasn’t sure
I was the one who found believing
Believing in you was the cure

And I ….was the one who
Woke up each morning so happy I’d cry
That I…..left the darkness behind me
And you were the reason why

I was the one, who picked apart everyone
All I could see were the flaws
I was the one you picked to turn around
And oh what a good turn that was

And now I realize what I found in your eyes
Would change my life forever to my surprise.

I was the one, who knew it couldn’t last
That’s how I protected my heart
I was the one who didn’t know how fast
Perfection could be torn apart

Yes I…..was the one who
Woke up each morning so happy I’d cry
And I…….never told you
That I was the one who shined like the son
Whatever I was I’m better because

John Batdorf, Bat Mac Music BMI /
Michael McLean, Shining Star Music ASCAP
©2017 All Rights Reserved

4 reviews for Next Stop, Willoughby

  1. Dennis Wasnich

    With his latest CD release, John Batdorf has offered us a kind of “re-invented” John Batdorf in a sense. Part of this was necessity as he chose to play all of the instruments this time around, but part also is undoubtedly a result of his fresh perspective brought by moving his home base. The result is a sparse, but musical and immediate, more introspective flavor of songs than usual, not that either of these is new, but rather they have been brought to the forefront of the effort.
    Let me explain.
    The strengths of John Batdorf’s music have always been a combination of his unique and talented acoustic guitar playing and his distinctive vocal abilities. In this respect, the newest CD falls completely within those parameters. But at the same time, his more recent works have included much more instrumentation and complexity than the much earlier (Batdorf & Rodney) works. This isn’t bad or wrong, and in fact, is a natural result of the decades of music making for many venues and a more sophisticated understanding of music itself. But it had put a layer of professionalism on top of the innocence and youthful exploration that was so inviting to the early works. In Next Stop, Willoughby, John has taken it upon himself to play all of the instruments and perform all of the vocal parts on the album. This in itself forces him to pare down the levels of complexity, to carefully consider each instrument or voice in the context of its immediate need to present the song at its best. There was no room for layers of extra sounds to the mix just because they were possible. Each note must be evaluated carefully and justified before it was added to the tracks of the song. Thus, the end result is one that is not just “sparse and immediate” as noted above, but represents a simpler, cleaner approach to the song arrangement, allowing us to focus our attention on the tune itself without any distractions. So a listening to this new CD gives you a more intimate sharing of the music than we’ve had for some time. The result is refreshing.
    The concept of the album itself is one of introspection and reflection. The very name references the Twilight Zone episode wherein an overwhelmed business man finds the simpler existence of his childhood so welcome he is willing to trade it for his wealth and community standing because he cannot resist it. On the cover of the CD, John steps off of the train surrounded by the ghostly images of his past like memories rising up from the mist to welcome him. The image is clear as are the subjects of the songs on the album, which are strong in the same “introspection and reflection” sentiments.
    The first song, Willoughby, feels personal and autobiographical as John tells us of how those Twilight Zone episodes filled his mind (and ours) with ideas both horrifying and inspiring, and how the concept of returning to our youth haunts us all.
    I’m In Love With You feels like a nod to a Lennon-McCartney composition with similar innocence allied to a charming beat and tune that I find very enjoyable. At least on first listen, this tune is the one I find the most enjoyable to hear.
    Don’t It Make You Wonder Why is very introspective (a word you will find me repeating many times here!), and amusingly, ends up being a song about a song! How original is that?
    Sure Could Use Some Love is charmingly poignant in finding that human purpose is always based on human interaction and affection. So true that we often forget it, and so we are reminded of its value.
    They Can’t Have Everything is a commentary on our frustration with the complex lives we live in today’s society. Somewhat tongue-in-cheek, it expresses our own frustrations with what we have as a motivation for the Willoughby desire. I think it should have had one more “you know what” to balance the song rather than the actual word being used, but that’s just me.
    In Unanswered Prayer we have the rather poignant insight into the frustrated yearnings of people in our world and in subject and flavor, reminds me a bit of the old Batdorf & Rodney tune, Between the Ages.
    Take a Look at You Now is a tune that encourages each of us to perform that same introspective view of our culture. (There’s that word again.)
    I Remember You is another tune that is reflective (I’m trying to find a word different from “introspective”) and thoughtfully presents us with the premise that remembering others who have been major influences on our lives is how we re-ground ourselves and is a healthy action.
    The One That Got Away has some smoothly beautiful guitar work underlying the song that might be easy to miss, so I suggest you pay attention to it when you listen. The subject is again filled with self-reflection and poignancy, as is much of this album.
    I Was the One seems to be about finding purpose and a positive attitude by making the connections to others in our lives. Again, not profound, but an idea we often forget in our daily struggles, and is one we need to be reminded of repeatedly.
    I’m sure when I listen to these tunes again, I’ll see even more layers of meaning and more connections to our hearts and minds, but those are the immediate thoughts I found in myself on the initial sessions. Your own experiences may vary.
    So we get ten songs that – dare I repeat it? – are introspective and thoughtful as well as melodious and well performed. John chose deliberately to play all of the instruments on this album, and as I mentioned above, I believe this has forced his focus on the songs themselves as much as it has a similar effect on our listening. While I can’t criticize the previous albums where more instrumental layers were added, I do appreciate the intimacy and immediacy that this more economical approach to song creating that resulted.
    As to the actual recording of the album, I have some additional thoughts. Most people will not recognize how difficult it is to sing your own backup and make it not sound like you singing your own backup. And the difficulty in playing all of the instruments is again something you have to try to understand completely. The fact that he has pulled this off without making it abundantly obvious is a complement to his abilities – I wonder how many people will realize the fact that all you hear is John on this album. My only negative is that I could have used ten more minutes or two more songs on the CD, but again, that’s just me.
    The bottom line is that it’s a nice album, one you can listen to on a quiet evening and find insights into your own life and relationships. I see it as more in that vein as opposed to “sing-along, driving music.” The thoughts within might not all be new or revelatory, but they are probably aspects you haven’t pondered often enough or recently enough, and this album can direct you there once more. So even if you can’t get off the train and stay there for a while, look out the window and enjoy the Willoughby whistle-stop at least!

  2. Brian McElhiney

    Musicians have been a huge part of Central Oregon’s rapid growth over the last decade or three, and we’ve got our fair share of “big names” in and around Bend (including one who just made his performing debut at Les Schwab Amphitheater this week).

    Enter John Batdorf, who moved to Eagle Crest in Redmond with his wife in August 2015. The ’70s folk-rock singer-songwriter, known for his work with the bands Batdorf & Rodney and Silver, has been experiencing a career renaissance in the last decade or so, releasing six solo albums and touring again after years of session and soundtrack work (including a stint composing for “Touched By an Angel”). Most recently, Silver was back in the spotlight when its hit “Wham Bam Shang-A-Lang” was featured on the soundtrack to Marvel’s “Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2.”

    Despite this, Batdorf has kept a low profile locally, but he said he’s looking to change that with his sixth studio album “Next Stop, Willoughby,” released in April. The album, recorded alone by Batdorf in his home studio in Eagle Crest, is in many ways a love letter to Central Oregon, beginning with the first number “Willoughby.” The song and album derive their titles from the idyllic train stop featured in the classic “Twilight Zone” episode “A Stop at Willoughby,” with Batdorf paying tribute to the show and his new home (the final lyrics: “We’ve found our Willoughby”).

    Batdorf has mentioned Paul McCartney (in particular his 1970 solo debut) as the inspiration for self-producing and playing all the instruments himself. But there’s plenty of the former Beatle in Batdorf’s intricate harmonies, welcoming hooks and lush arrangements. “I’m in Love With You” is an unabashed love song that continues in the comfortable, rooted vein of “Willoughby,” while “Take a Look at You Now” is yearning folk-rock, highlighted by Batdorf’s straining tenor.

    The overall feel on these songs is a musician taking stock of his life’s work, finding happiness in family and home. But Batdorf, who also performs at addiction recovery conferences around the country, isn’t getting too comfortable, either: “They Can’t Have Everything” is funny, pointed look at income inequality and politics that argues billionaires “don’t really give a flying you-know-what” about those less fortunate than them. Meanwhile, the gorgeous ballad “The One That Got Away” finds Batdorf grappling with regret in one of the most affecting songs on the record. Batdorf has a handful of solo Pacific Northwest dates this summer, and hits the road for a more extensive U.S. tour in September. Be on the lookout for more local shows from the songwriter, too: “Now’s the time to go out and sing about it, because I wrote about this place,” he said.

  3. John Batdorf

    Alternate Root Magazine Son Pick:

    09 Sure Could Use Some Love – John Batdorf (from the album Next Stop, Willoughby)

    The voice of John Batdorf is clear as a bell, and rings just a loudly with his message of love. John has used his voice to provide help over the past few years to those seeking a way out of addiction with his Soundtrax 2 Recovery. On his recent release, Next Stop, Willoughby, John Batdorf offers a universal message to his fellow humans on planet Earth with “Sure Could Use Some Love”.

  4. John Batdorf

    JOHN BATDORF: Next Stop, Willoughby
    By Frank Kocher, September 2017

    The latest album from John Batdorf is Next Stop, Willoughby. He has been in the music biz for 50 years, doing just about everything—as a hot new talent with a big label contract, a session musician with artists as varied as Jefferson Starship, Rod Stewart, Motley Crue, and Adele, and working as a staff writer for network television. He also has released many albums both as a solo artist and with others, including James Lee Stanley and Michael McLean. His songs are primarily acoustic pop and soft rock, which use his upper register vocals to anchor plenty of sharp, tight vocal harmonies. The ten tunes are written by Batdorf and McLean; Batdorf plays the instruments, produces, and mixes—and it is slick and solid throughout. While its upbeat nature might give the impression that Batdorf’s music is lightweight, it is probably fairer to say that he includes some introspective songs and even protests, he just doesn’t do them in a strident manner.

    “Willoughby” opens, about the Twilight Zone TV episodes from his youth, especially one that concerned a character’s idyllic home town: “We’re as happy as can be/ ‘Cause we’re here in Willoughby.” Batdorf keeps pushing the positive buttons on “I’m In Love With You” and “Don’t It Make You Wonder Why,” both of which are floating pop confections that sing love’s praises with heavenly backing vocal harmonies and catchy hooks.

    He is down on his luck for “Sure Could Use Some Love,” which makes more of an impression. He has had some bad breaks and is feeling sad, but the sun is still shining—he just wants it to shine on him. The spare instrumentation here and elsewhere keeps the focus squarely on Batdorf’s impressive voice. “They Can’t Have Everything” has a beat and an attitude, about the one percent robbing from society; Batdorf fudges the spots where a profanity would fit the rhymes—he will do protest, but not use four letter words. It still is a highlight here, grounded in the real world.

    The second half of the album is where it shines. On “Take a Good Look at You Now” Batdorf tells the listener to look within, “Have you forgotten who you are/ Have you drifted off too far?/ Have you lost your guiding star?” The song has some good up-tempo energy behind it, helping to push its message forward. Another tune late in the program that sinks in is “I Remember You,” which has the catchiest hook on the album and uses a full-band arrangement to drive it home. The best slow and quirky tune on this album is “The One That Got Away,” which has an interesting, haunting guitar figure, while unhurried fingerpicked guitars lay down verses that give Batdorf a chance to sing about regrets: “Things I know are all on me/ and I know I can’t undo the consequences.” It is a delicate and involving highlight.

    Next Stop, Willoughby is more good pop from John Batdorf, a polished master of the form.

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