Album Release: May 19th
This record began with an organizing principle. The idea was to write a “concept album”, telling a story through a series of songs. Of course, I’m not the first to have tried this. Prior concept records that I most connected with, typically glamorized some form of lovable outlaw. But here I wanted to paint a picture of a guy who's tried to be a good man, has had his ups and downs, is heading into his last few laps in life, and is trying to do that with some dignity, humor, and peace. In other words, you don't have to be a bank robber or a loner cowpoke or some raggedy-ass sage mystic to have lived a life worth writing about. Just getting to the end while still being relatively happy and having people in your life whom you love and who love you is heroism enough. By the time we wrapped this album up, I really liked this guy.
To produce the album, I turned to my partner, drummer, and friend Marco Giovino. Though a Massachusetts native, Marco spent a dozen or so years in Nashville working with personal heroes of mine like Buddy Miller, Jim Lauderdale, Rodney Crowell, Emmylou Harris, Dolly Parton – the list goes on. Given the story we hoped to tell, it made sense to head down to Nashville, rope in several of Marco’s talented buddies, and cut the basic tracks there.
I can’t say enough about how professional, intuitive, expressive and fun this crew was. By way of a quick intro, the core unit was Doug Lancio on guitar (Bob Dylan, John Hiatt, Patty Griffin, Steve Earle), Russ Pahl on pedal steel and guitar (Vince Gill, Miranda Lambert, Taylor Swift, Carrie Underwood), Ron Eoff on bass (Levon Helm, Tracy Nelson, Cate Brothers Jo-El Sonnier) and John Deaderick on keyboards (Buddy Miller, James Taylor, Emmylou Harris, Michael McDonald). We also got some special performances out of Big Al Anderson (former founder of NRBQ) on guitar and great duet vocals from Jim Lauderdale and Elizabeth Cook.
And now that all is said and done, I feel like I’m one lucky guy.