In my musical life I have lived in only a few places but looking back, it seems that I have had many homes. With "Journey Home," my twenty-fourth recording. I wanted to put together a collection of songs that would, in a way. take me back to some of those homes.
I grew up in the Boston-Cambridge folk music scene in the nineteen-sixties. It was home to coffeehouses like The Club 47 and The Unicorn. In Boston, on Charles Street alone, there were three or four clubs that presented live folk music almost every night of the week. It was a wonderful time for the music and for the musicians who performed at these places. These coffeehouses were home to me, both as a listener and as a performer. I sat and listened to players like Lisa Kindred, The Lilly Brothers, Mississippi John Hurt. and Jackie Washington. Much of the music was based on traditional songs and so my earliest influences came from those beautiful old ballads and stories. Songs like "Pretty Saro" and "Stewball", "Shenandoah" and "Tell 0l Bill" became the foundations my musical life.
As the years passed, I found another home with the songwriters of my generation, so many of which sang at those same coffeehouses. The songs of Tom Paxton and Buffy Saintc Marie, Tim Ilardin and others, found their way onto my set lists. There were the local writers as well; Paul MacNeil who wrote. "Love Was Easy," Canadian Bruce Murdoch who wrote "Rompin' Rovin' Days," Bill Madison, and Leonda. Out of these times, places, and people came my own songs. Still, those musical roots remain important to me.
I found another home with friends along the road. fellow writers and musicians, and with the songs that they wrote about the things that matter. 1 always loved Mary McCaslin's song "Prairie in the Sky." She claims that it is her own view of Heaven. Not a bad one at that. "Journey Home," I guess, is my own effort to put into music what might be my last passage to that final place. But there is, after all. a home in all of us where we are at the greatest peace. It is where the heart dwells and it is a song in itself. It is a song made up of all songs and to this home, at the end of the day, I will return. Bill Staines New Hampshire June, 2004
Produced by Bill Staines
Recorded at Straight Up Studios, Arlington, Massachusetts
To all of the musicians who played on this recording, for their energy, talent, and especially for their friendship, I offer my profound thanks.
"A Rancher Turns 80 / The Years" was written for John Bishop, Oregon rancher, lover of the land, and civic leader, on the occasion of his eightieth birthday.
Also by Bill Staines on Red House Records:
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© p 2004 Red House Records, Inc., P. O. Box 4044, St. Paul, MN 55104 USA All rights reserves RHR CD 176