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Song By Song

  • So Far, So Good – One rainy night when he lived in Nashville, my good friend and Maine  legend Dave Mallett spent time talking about how lonely travel can be for a folk musician.  But you want so badly for people to hear your songs that you’ll leave family home and drive hundreds of miles to play for strangers, who will, hopefully, become friends. 

  • This Heart of Mine – I once had a routine for writing when I would turn off all the lights in the house except for one on my desk and write as late as it took to finish a song.  I lived in a nice little apartment that overlooked the city of Nashville, and one night, this song was born.

  • Little Johnny Pierce – Growing up in the Vietnam era a small town in Kentucky, I had a friend who was pretty creative with his lawnmower. That was the launching pad for this song.  Years later, as I flew out of Nashville, I looked out the window and saw that someone had mowed a peace sign in their front lawn.

  • For You – My good friend Mark Elliott and I wrote this laundry list song, and I’m pretty darned happy with this one.  The great Dan Dugmore produced this track, then Mark sweetened it up for me.  He took on the task – along with mastering the entire project - just weeks before he very sadly passed.

  • Lost & Found – This is one of the first songs I wrote with my friend Sam Gay. We wrote five songs together for this project.  It’s been on hold for other artists a few times, but still hasn’t been covered yet.  There’s still hope.

  • Currently Red – I knew a journalist several years ago from NYC.  I loved her name – Tanya Indiana.  Before anyone I knew colored their hair with the bright dyes now so common, Tanya had hair that was bright red.  She was a great person and a wonderful character.

  • The Letter – One of my oldest and dearest songwriting buddies, Terry Clayton, worked nights while his wife had a day job.  So that left Terry the responsibility of getting his kids off to school and getting the home safely every day.  One day as he watched his oldest come up the street with his schoolmates, it occurred to Terry that one day, the kids wouldn’t need him as much.  One of my very favorite singers, Julie Lee, takes on the job of singing lead on this track.

  • A Place For Everything – My dad was a packrat.  Seems he saved everything.  Of course, he seemed to know where everything was kept.  I’ve fallen into the same pattern of “saving” everything in case I need it later.  But, if you call yourself “a collector,” you can’t be accused of hoarding.  I’m a collector, thank you.

  • Blue Highway – You don’t see a lot of the world when you’re growing up in Calvert City, Kentucky. We lived near a popular tourist destination, though, and saw a bunch of different license plates.  Sam Gay came up with the line “I guess I’ve seen most all the 50 states / On vacationing station wagons’ license plates.”  Perfect.

  • Fields Of Freedom – I watched the Alan Arkin film Escape from Sobibor and was very moved by the plight of Jewish prisoners during World War II. I’d just heard John Prine’s new album, German Afternoons. I suppose it’s a tribute to John to admit that I used that phrase in this song.

  • Sound of My Home – Jerry Vandiver used to try and get me to acknowledge that I would like his vegetarian chili.  Carnivore that I am, I resisted, of course, but at the end of the evening, I had to fess up that Jerry makes some pretty good chili.  Plus, we got this song out of the evening, so clearly he was right about everything.

  • Ben McGhee – My grandfather’s name was not McGhee, and it was actually my grandmother who played guitar (along with every other instrument known to the acoustic world). But I love that every day the character in this song sang about the things that mattered most to him. 

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