It is good to have an end to journey toward;
but it is the journey that matters, in the end.
Ursula K Leguin
In many ways this whole album is about “The Journey”, the various paths we take in love and in life and even after-love / after-life.
At this point in my journey I have had my share of success and failure both on the stage and off, and slowly I am coming to the realization that what really matters is how you get to where you’re going. Now that the record is complete I can look at the songs as a whole and see that like much of my material before, these songs are road songs. The road as metaphor, the road as a physical thing that takes us away and delivers us more often than not, back to ourselves. It’s fitting that all these tunes were written after returning to The West Coast where I was born.
Musically, I have traveled consistently between the two poles of “solo” and “ensemble”. With this album I wanted to see if I could bring those two worlds together in the studio and then out on the road, touring with a trio. I deliberately set out to write the songs with an ensemble in mind and from the very start I tried to imagine how the tunes would sound played live by a trio. Most of this material was written or finished during a week-long trip into the mountains, where I holed up at a friend’s cabin in Wells BC. with a woodstove and a fine collection of eclectic roots music to listen to when I ran out of steam. I brought my Telecaster and my trusty Manzer acoustic, a small amplifier and a goodly supply of pencils and paper. Certainly the title song could not have been written anywhere else.
Once the songs were written, I brought them to master drummer Gary Craig and asked him to help me shape them into what you are listening to. We chopped the intros down, added a chorus here, a half verse there and generally tried to make sure that even the slower tempos had trajectory and momentum.
David Travers Smith and I have been friends since the mid 80’s when we worked side by side as bus drivers at Lake O’Hara, a remote mountain lodge near Lake Louise. Over the years we have collaborated on occasion, but it was always in my mind to make a record with him co-producing and engineering. David is articulate, meticulous and a fine brass player in his own right. Once again the songs were shaped and polished by him.
John Dymond has won numerous awards for his immense skills as a bass player. I love Johnny’s playing because he can “move air” in a way that many bass players cannot, and he always chooses the perfect moment to stray from the root chord and turn the song on its ear. John and Gary have worked together as a rhythm section for over 30 years and I have had the great good fortune to record with them on previous solo albums and touring/recording with them for 20 years as the engine behind Blackie and The Rodeo Kings, but this album marks the first time we have worked together in the studio before taking these songs on the road as a trio. I am excited and slightly terrified by the thought of how this will push me as a singer and guitarist, but evolve or die right? It’s all part of the journey. ♥