As cliché as it sounds, I woke up from a dream and had a great idea…an idea for a new album.
Having spent the last two years collecting and performing new songs that I had written, I knew that the time was ripe to make another CD. Only one problem. Raising money. It’s that nasty gut wrenching task that nags every artist attempting to produce or promote a new project. My first two records had had budgets of 5 digits and I dreaded the task of raising that sum once again.
Then, one chilly morning in early January, I woke up with music still reverberating in my head…my music. In my sleep I had been listening to my new album. The sound reminded me of albums that I had loved as a kid then later as a young musician. Simple acoustic music. There was no band to speak of, just my voice and guitar. When I was fully awake, I realized that a weight had been lifted in my spirit and I could move forward with making a CD that I could afford to make and one that I would enjoy hearing.
With the help of my good friend, Thomm Jutz, we’ve started recording ISLE OF HOPE and it sounds great! Thomm accompanies me beautifully on acoustic guitar and provides some harmonies here and there but, other than that, he just placed a microphone in front of my mouth and one in front of my guitar and rolled tape. The effect is the songs are crystal clear. You can hear every nuance of the guitar work, something that I felt was lacking on the first two CDs. If you remember the first Gordon Lightfoot album, that’s what we were shooting for and I think that we achieved that spirit.
As usual, there is quite a cast of characters in the songs…murderers, shoplifters, car thieves, hypochondriacs, a voodoo witch doctor, a legendary blind blues singer, winos, a dustbowl farmer, Noah, a pothead Tupperware selling mom and a pair of Siamese twins. We also deal with lost love, existential self-discovery, surviving the death of my brother and two unabashed gospel numbers. Needless to say, we balance lighthearted laughs with the weighty ballast of heartbreak. There’s a lonesome quality to the record, lonesome with a wry smile.
ISLE OF HOPE is certainly my most personal album and the stripped down production adds to that direct, immediate contact….no wall between the artist and listener. I’m not sorry that I made the first two records like I did but this time around I made it as honest and vulnerable as I possibly could. And, it really did start from a dream on a southern winter’s night.