Jill's Liner Notes
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Easy and Slow-
I first learned this wonderfully sexy song from a sampler cassette that was given to me by my Dublin-born friend Chris Sullivan whom I met when I lived in LA. The melody haunted my brain until I finally set out to learn the song for performance. Bernie Lowis’s expressive and fluid piano part adds a gloriously languid feel to this tale of randy youngsters in the heat of the moment.
Risin’ of the Moon-
I had heard this song done as a steady march sans dynamics many many times before. It’s so familiar, in fact, that I had ceased to really listen to the words, so when I decided to add it to my repertoire, I was determined to wring every bit of storytelling value out of this time-worn classic. In this frame of mind I discovered the amazing suspense, mystery, and adrenalin in this rousing account of preparation for battle. Pay special attention to Dave Marsh’s bodhran, the urgent heartbeat of the song.
When it had come down to the task of choosing the seventh song for this collection, I was stumped. I sat in the studio with Steve Horner listlessly thumbing through a dusty, dog-eared book of folk music published in 1946, purchased by a friend on a lark in some used book store. “How about this one?” I asked Steve, pointing to the title of the simple, homespun American spiritual. Thus began our “journey of discovery” of the song that continually fascinates me when I listen back over our recording. Only a week later, my bluegrass-obsessed brother showed me a documentary about the roots of “roots” music and sure enough, one of the songs in the soundtrack was…”Wayfaring Stranger” (done with a decidedly Appalachian twang, of course). American folk music, Civil War era music and traditional spirituals are holding an increasing fascination for me. Look to hear more.
I embarked on a project with Steve Horner about a year ago in a time of boundless optimism and ample free time. Our mission was to set some of William Blake’s best known poetry, Songs of Innocence and Experience, to music. Blake has long been one of my very favorite poets and his simple, striking works have had huge appeal for me ever since English class. Nurse’s Song was one of my first solo attempts to set anything to music. Steve liked the sound of it and decided to record it for me. That led to a discussion about a larger project. We got through one other Blake piece, “London,” before other pressing projects pulled us away from our little pipe dream. Don’t give up hope, though. We may finish our fabulous masterwork yet.
Queen Of Argyll-
When I lived in Chicago, there was many a drunken session with my dear friends Jim Fitzgerald and Mark Rector along with various and sundry others when each would take his turn after being implored (in the most offensive of Lucky Charms brogues) to “Give us a wee tyoo-un” by some member of the circle. Then, in impassioned tones, the singer would croon or bark to the accompaniment of pizza box bodhran and beer bottle whistle as the rest would clap, stomp, or melancholically wipe away a stray tear. In this very setting I first heard Andy Stewart's “Queen of Argyll” from the aforementioned Jimmy Fitz. It was always a rouser.
(You'll find the words and some great background information on it at a
Grateful Dead song lyrics web site, of all places. Here's the LINK.
Fans had long requested this beautiful and melodramatic song by Pete St. John. I first sang it when local Irish favorites, the Turfmen, were generous with the mic and invited me up at the Omaha Dubliner to sing one. I had coveted and admired this song for a long time. I found that it suited my voice well and decided to add it to my rep permanently.
(You'll find the words and some great background information on it at a Grateful Dead song lyrics web site, of all places. Here's the LINK. )
It seemed a suitable ending to an album. I like to close my live performances with this one. It has a great melody and it lends itself to being sung a cappella. Thanks for checking out the liner notes. Hope you enjoy the music and “joy be with you all.”