In the 80's I was introduced to John Stewart, the same John Stewart whose face I stared at on the Kingston Trio album covers– a man who's considered one of the fathers of Americana Music. Our early conversations were as much about history and politics as music.
John was beginning work on recording demos of some of his new songs and invited me to Larrabee Studios in West LA. It was just John and an engineer. For me, it was a masterclass in recording and mixing technique. John was working on a tune called All the Desperate Men, he turned to me and said, “Do you hear a harmony?” I said I did, they threw up a mic, I slapped on some headphones and started singing along. I continued doing just that on almost everything John recorded over the next four years or so. I got to spend years playing, collaborating, and touring alongside one of the best songwriters of his generation and observe his creative process. Along the way, we became close friends, bound by much more than music.
It was important to me to include a song of John’s on Gin & Rosewater. I felt this song fits our circumstances today as clearly as the moment he wrote it. The vibe is serious, purposeful, passionate.
Chuck McDermott: Vocals, Acoustic Guitar
Marco Giovino: Drums
Richard Gates: Bass
Kevin Barry: Lap Steel
Duke Levine: Electric Guitar, Mandola
Lorne Entress: Hammond Organ
Mark Erelli: Electric Guitar, High Strung Guitar, and Lap Steel Solo
Chuck does a service to us all by keeping the John Stewart flame alive. Irresistible Targets made me miss John so much. Chuck has so much of his vocal…. ‘Intent’ is the right word, I think. Truthfulness. It was a pleasure to hear that song again, rendered so true and with such integrity.
My late husband John Stewart was one of the greatest songwriters of his era, and he knew great music when he heard it. John made Chuck his partner; he loved him as a friend and respected his writing and musicianship. I can hear Johnny shouting from the stars “BRAVO”. This record is a treasure, beautiful in every way – vocally, lyrically and musically. It’s a breath of fresh in this digital age, a true and honest accomplishment.
–Buffy Ford Stewart