I am amazed to announce that my CD is done. It took almost 2 years and several mini-identity crises, but it is done!

The album title is “EP” because it turned out to be 4 songs instead of the original 10. There is music laid down for the other 6 songs, but it was just saner to turn this big solo project into a snack-sized EP for now. There are reasons to do with mercy – does the world really need another recording of an obscure murder ballad that clocks in at over 5 minutes? I think no. The unreleased “Bonny Farday” will show up on Ebay one day, and that’s when I’ll know I’ve hit the big time.

My engineer James Boblak said sometime along the 2-year road that he was considering a career as a therapist since he already practically did the job, and boy, did that come true the day I “woke up” after another sleepless night to ask him to remix 2 wrong notes in one song even though I had already signed off on the master. I drove to Half Moon Bay that Sunday to drop off my newly remastered master with the lovely Rainier and Naomi of Sienna Digital on a fine foggy morning, listening to A Prairie Home Companion and driving out of radio reach the very second Karan Casey came on the show with Lúnasa, which has to be significant timing on some universe level. I spent a long night renewing my relationship with carpal tunnel as I put together my DIY packaging while I watched Twenty Feet From Stardom, which will, even if you’re not in the act of rubber-stamping your name in glitter ink on your own CD, make you cry.

The songs on the EP are with Douglas Closson on that guitar part that sounds so nice, Stacey Pelinka on flute, Elizabeth Vandervennet on cello, James Boblak on bass and Nora Martin on harmony vocals. And me on the other guitar part, which was a major accomplishment for lowly guitar hack me. They all know, but I’ll just tell you guys how awed I am that those great musicians were willing to become indelible on my project.

And because I didn’t do liner notes (the world moves too fast for liner notes now), I should say that each of my songs has a mountain of meaning. I learned “Harvest Gypsies” from Kris Drever’s album Black Water, which Nadja and I bought in a record store in Skye (the real Skye) on our honeymoon; 7 years later I’m still listening to it at least once a week. “Pretty Saro” was the song that inspired Julee Glaub Weems and Mark Weems’ band name, Little Windows, and when I spent a week with them at the Swannanoa Gathering in North Carolina 2 years ago I knew I had to honor the way that place and that music just reached down into my soul and changed me. My friend David West gave me a book of songs collected in the Appalachian region by John Jacob Niles, mostly Child ballads that crossed the water and became uniquely American over generations, and that’s where I found this version of “The Mermaid.” And the wonderful singer and traditional music expert Muireann Nic Amhlaoibh taught me “I Once Loved A Lass” when she came here on tour in 2007 and I got to take a lesson with her. Mostly, folk musicians learn repertoire from recordings (I’m seriously considering that YouTube upgrade where you can skip the ads), so it’s pretty great to participate in the original tradition of singing a song that was given to me in person by another singer.

You can hear the songs on Bandcamp. Hand-stamped real CDs available!