© 2022 St. Louis Public Radio
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
Available On Air Stations

Javier Mendoza's 'If You Dare' shows belief in possibilities

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon, Sept. 7,  2011 - Javier Mendoza's latest CD, "If You Dare," wasn't planned to be thematic. In fact, many of the songs that made it onto the CD were written as part of Mendoza's online music subscription series created this past March. It enables fans to download a new song written by Mendoza every other week over a year.

Mendoza's plan was to then to take some of the best material written for the subscription series and release it as a CD this fall. In a way, it was Mendoza's variation on the "greatest hits" concept: taking what he considered the best songs he'd written to date for the subscription series and compiling them onto a single CD.

But somehow, "If You Dare" may end up being one of his most thematic recordings since he first began releasing music back in 1999.

"It was like decoding a secret message," says Mendoza in a recent conversation. "I discovered that many of the subscription songs just found their way together. These songs had a message declaring the Divine within us, in our society and on this earth."

A listen to the new CD underscores Mendoza's comments about these songs. The chorus of the opening cut, "Free to Walk," ("I'm free to walk again. It's dark but I see light. I'm free to fall again. But I'm standing up tonight") are built on a foundation of guitar-fueled, energetic rock. "Don't Let Go" follows the emotional roller coaster of the birth of a child, ending with the single word, "Hallelujah."

And that thread of belief in the possibility of achieving happiness in a broken world of pain, loneliness and confusion beats strongly throughout the rest of the songs on ""If You Dare." The chorus of the title song captures Mendoza's message: "If you want to change, Then you have to rearrange. If you need the signs, then you obligate your mind. Get out of your car, get up from your chair - and walk a lifetime if you dare."

"I believe we don't have to wait to die to find Heaven," states Mendoza. "Heaven is within us. It just takes courage and a leap of faith to dare to see beyond the surface."

You can hear Javier Mendoza playing his new music live this Friday night at the Old Rock House. Joining him at the CD release concert of "If You Dare" will be many of the musicians who were part of the recording: drummer Grover Stewart, bassist Marc Torlina, keyboard player Dave Aholt, R. Scott Bryan on percussion, Rob Endicott on trumpet and other special guests.

Terry Perkins is a freelance writer who often covers music. 

Terry Perkins is a freelance writer based in St. Louis. He has written for the St. Louis Beacon since 2009. Terry's other writing credits in St. Louis include: the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, the St. Louis American, the Riverfront Times, and St. Louis magazine. Nationally, Terry writes for DownBeat magazine, OxfordAmerican.org and RollingStone.com, among others.

Send questions and comments about this story to feedback@stlpublicradio.org.