Sitting in my friend's backyard in Oakland, just having seen a gorgeous filly run a mile and 1/2 to win the Belmont Stakes...remembering sitting in a car with my friend Susan, up in the Big Horn Mountains over 30 years ago, listening to a horse race over the radio, the day a filly ran and fell...a filly named Ruffian. We just burst into tears on that long-ago day, and my girlfriend and I just burst into tears on this day, too. Today... she won; Rags To Riches in the winner's circle, and it set us thinking about the power of the Woman in this lonely race we human beings run.
One of the songs I'm presenting on this new cd is The Women Are Singing Tonight, written by my friend and colleague, Danny O"Keefe. It's about the Nez Perce and their run for freedom. Most of you are familiar with this powerful story, if only from listening to my song, Grandmother's Land. This song takes place the night before the Battle of the Big Hole. Gibbon comes at dawn, but on this night, "...no one owns tomorrow, the women are singing tonight..." I've stood there on that battleground. I remember the willows there along the water's edge. Seeing the filly win, seeing a woman running hard for the Presidency, seeing my friends gather round as I enter the studio yet once more, but always in a new way...all of this lends strength to me on this day.
This new cd came about because Judy, my dear-hearted partner, suggested I return to my Source, my roots, my ruts, the places which have nourished me always...the West I do love the Best...the prairies, the ranch people, the mountains, horses and dogs and little kids in cowboy boots...all of it under the biggest sky ever! This return trip -- some of it in pure memory, some of it in actuality, has been a trip to the Well where I drank deeply, so thirsty for Horizon and all that it can bring...sudden rain and wind, so much potential in every way. I learned that by Heart as a child, and I know I carry it still, everywhere I go. So, these new songs are evocative of all that and more, standing out on the Edge, the Fringe of things can teach you mighty big and important lessons.
I am producing this music with the incredible assistance of my engineer, co-producer, and long-time friend, Leslie Ann Jones. Producing is a difficult task, but this time I honestly felt I needed to re-learn how to do that. I haven't really done that since Changer...not in this way, at any rate. So,here I am, out on the Fringe, out on the Edge where things can get really, really interesting, and I am learning and watching and trying my best to pay attention to so many things and still sing and play when it's time for me to do that part of it. We've been at it all week and slowly and surely, these tunes are taking on a life of their own. Pretty much, they tell me what to do, what other instrumentation should be there, what colors from the palette one should choose to light up the central theme of each piece. It's all so interesting, and though doubt assails me from time to time, I am managing to work my way through it . And thanks to these amazing friends and musicians- Barbara Higbie, Teresa Trull, Vicki Randle, Julie Wolf, Nina Gerber, Woody Simmons, and some great players new to me, but soon familiar to us all as they have made such a beautiful musical footprint on each and every song.
As I go through these days and nights, creating a new collection of songs, I am learning to trust my Self, my intuition, the directions the Universe is sending through me. I truly believe this happens not just to artists, but to everyone. Maybe because artists work so damned hard to pay constant attention all the time, not wanting to miss any part of it, the messages come clearer to them. I sincerely desire to live in a world where everyone makes Beauty somehow, in some way, as much as possible. Songs, to me, are Spells, conjured up for a reason. The reason this time was all about Home...and , as I think about this, I reckon that's the whole thing right there! It's all about getting Home before supper, as Dorothy opined in the Wizard of Oz. Ah... Home... Home- Sweet- Home. What ever that means to you, it's so important for all of us to find our way there.