This is writing we just found in our ipad. It's DB fishing around for potential MM liner notes, it's kinda hilarious, enjoy...
In a "one traffic light" town you don't
just go around promising people loads of stuff and then not deliver it. Turn up
at the pub later that night and act like you don't know what the hell anybody
is even talking about. You don't just go around selling people dreams outta the
trunk of your car. Pull away in your big turnip truck honking at nice folks,
making wide turns with your fat arm hanging out the window.
A big fake watch.
That's not what you do. ...take it to the
bank...that's not what you do.
I've been hanging around a tiny little town out
in the mountains of Central Pennsylvania for a couple of years now and I’m
telling ya, folks would figure you out real fast...(in the big city you'd be
fine, you'd blend) in a "one traffic light town" you'd be LUCKY to
get “run out on a rail.”
So in 2012 when we asked a bunch of our
neighbors/musicians/friends to "stand in" as our backing band while
we ATTEMPTED to even SEE if it was even POSSIBLE to find a good
"album" hiding in a bunch of dusty, inaccurate, often clunky song
lyrics from god knows how long ago that we just happened upon in a book one
We didn't make a big deal of it.
Couldn't afford to.
Not out here.
We didn’t say that our album was gonna blow the
music world to bits.
It would not turn the academia world to dust.
We just asked ‘em if they liked the idea?
(Re-imagining some old "ghost world"
folk tunes and prop 'em up like skeletons just for a minute or two while we
took their picture...see what they're really made of.)
It just seemed like such a cool thing to do. No
But ya know what? They said "Hell yeah! It's
a great idea!"
Soon we noticed a lot of other people started
liking on our idea too...
"Holy cow! What a great idea" they'd
"Co-writing songs with dead people, ha ha
I'll be damned".
"Old forgotten Pennsylvania mountain music
"Hey honey, come here.... now tell her what
you just told me".... that kinda thing.
So TOGETHER we all agreed, we'd give it a go.
Just to see what happened.
That is all.
This is what happened next:
We rolled some tape recorders into a grand old
de-sanctified church and put coffee on in the basement then everything got
really quiet for a moment...
Then BLAM! A Star Wars man went whizzing past my
face followed by an epic explosion of fiddles and machine gun banjos, big brass
parade drums, amplifiers were being made out of tin pie plates, people were
painting pictures and walking around handing out business cards, "Dave,
Dave, Dave, Dave" some old folks began croaking along, barber shop
singers, young guys in Drive By Truckers tee shirts started showing up next
with giant plastic cups of beer, bats were flying in crazed circles, crayons were
flying around, someone got the BBQ going, people kept handing me jars of
moonshine and winking, everyone was playing everything so fast, the record was
either skipping or slowing down "Dave,Dave,Dave,Dave,Dave" wiffle balls
whizzing by, my mom came in, a guy showed up to give us a bunch of stage lights
and cables that he said he'd stolen for us from the Grateful Dead, a little
girl was running around with a homemade Ouija board, no one was even tuning
anything anymore, there were bells and Tubas and pogo sticks, cables were
running every where like black spaghetti, cameras were everywhere, people were
pulling the rope to the church bell, neighbors were shouting (cheering?)
pointing. I remember horses coming through. There was a woman nobody recognized
in the basement baking a pie. Soon other bands started turning up and asking if
we could record some of "their stuff "
Then BOOM again....then Nothing...
It was all over, it was just me sitting at the
fire pit listening to "The Old Riverman's Regret" on my big ass headphones
staring off at a hazy July mountain. It was soooo slow, it sounded like it was
melting, I was definitely melting.
" the romance is gone from the river
towns" ...Jesus.. a hundred years ago? What do you even write song lyrics
ON a hundred years ago? What the #*!$ would this person have to say about the
way everything is NOW…here, today. I had, and would never have the answers. The
music fading back into the very mountains it's "said" to have come
Making this "Mountain Minstrelsy" album
was an absolute joy. It was both chaotic and triumphant, it was uniquely
American...at times beautiful at times ramshackle, but the spirit always
remained very, very rock n roll. An education for sure, I learned a ton. I miss
Though we apologize for nothing, it must be said
that these are raw and unpolished recordings by today's standards. Good. That
was the whole idea. Play them loud. Enjoy them. They are perfect in their way.
They are every bit as perfect as this crazy new world they have returned to
inhabit once again (for however long this time.)
The best thing we did was recording everybody
playing together and all at once... one mic bleeding into the next, right down
the line. It made it harder to ruin it, you couldn't clean it up very much at all,
if you tried to pull it into the "middle of the road" it would just
slide back down into the hobo ditch.
We have chosen to call this Volume 1 as many more
songs were arranged and recorded then could be included (due to LP time
constraints) so should the opportunity present itself in the near future for a
second addition to be made, it would be great joy to do so. We all agree, it is
good and rewarding work.
At our best we were 7:
Kai & Jimmy, Myself & Christine, Chris
Rattie, Gus and Huck.
Good squad, solid team, covered all the bases,
together we could make a big freewheeling sound.
Looking back now, Mountain Minstrelsy feels more
like a place than a album.
It feels place me and Christine dreamed up and
kept blabbing on and on about.
Eventually we got everyone so damned worked up
about it that one night we just packed up our banjos and drums and fiddles in
the van and drove there,
just to check it out....
But guess what??
It was awesome there!
"SEE?" we said,
"Holy crap" they said..."it is
We were proud.
So we stayed there/played there a long
time...when it was over some of us didn't even wanna leave. I couldn't even
remember the way we'd come.
I guess somewhere along the way i personally got
a bit carried away and the whole process became something more like a lifestyle
then task, or a job at hand...it became this secret awesome time machine we
were given keys to for a time. Strong friendships were made while unearthing
these old relics. Always, I walked around with a book under my arm more like a
college student then a rock musician. There was a 6 year old kid INDISPENSABLY
involved in pulling it all off, also an 86 year old man. Much has happened. I
owe you all now.
MUST BE SAID: Christine is your
producer/engineer/mastermind here, she did everything, (everything good anyway)
learning on the fly, running around like a chicken with no head, taping X's on
the floor, notebooks exploding with lyrics and settings and #'s and patch bay
roadmaps, microphones, Decca trees, who knows what? I sure don't.
It was inspiring to watch however, so nice one
ALSO OF GREAT IMPORTANCE:
Whoever originally penned any single word of this
stuff...you are a friend of mine now. You've been gone from this place for a
long, long time now but I feel like I know you, and I get you...I like you, and
on some nights I think I might even love you....mostly I'd just want you to
know someone down here remembers and appreciates you. So thanks! I'll see you
up there/out there soon enough and then you can show me how all this stuff
Ok, good luck with your stupid album,
Sugar Valley 2013