Bones of My Face
The songs for this album were written or at least started to be written in 1988. This was the year after we left the mountain. We moved to Spann Hill then down to Steubenville-a caretaking job and a cheap trailer. This was, I guess, a transitional period-a kind of decompression or maybe a compression squeezing us back into civilization. We had been on the mountain six years. 1. The first song on the album is Ain't Nothin' Happenin'. We had made a trip to Indianapolis and at an intersection there, I saw a young man sitting on a low wall in the hot sun. He reminded me of myself at that age. This is one of the songs I finished up for the recording. It didn't really work till I hit upon the crotch idea. At that point, it became a prayer. 2. The second track is Close to the Bone. Maybe this should have been the title of the album. Anyway, it's gone through some changes but was essentially done in the summer of '88. I've been singing it since then, alone and with various ensembles. It was on an earlier recording. The song takes a quick look at things that got to me and maybe hurt but seeing them as "steps of glory"-another biblical concept. 3. Coffee with Jesus is just what it is-a song about contemplation and the value of relating to the creator. This is another one started in 1988. I presented it to a couple of Scribbler's, who didn't like it so I put it away till I started working on this album in 2004. I'm fond of it especially with Gale's accordion in there. 4. Deborah is about my relationship with my wife-the part of it that took place in the 1980's. I think I began to get what writer's call my own voice while learning to sing this song. 5. I'd gone camping with my boys and one of their friends down by Lake Cumberland. A storm came up right at sunset with thunder and wind. I crawled into the tent while the boys fell around on the rocks and wrote the words to this song--Down to the River. 6. She Wants a Flush Toilet is of course my big number. It's been the most requested over the years. It's a love song and a protest song. And, next to farts,apparently there's not much funnier than toilets and the thought of pooping outdoors. 7. I Heard a Woman Holler was developed as a riff off of the hollering woman in a neighboring trailer there at Steubenville while I sat in the shed behind the poke plant out back of our trailer. It must have been getting on toward fall. I played it that year on stage at Big Hill. 8. I Know We're Gonna Make It was conceived as a big epic piece. When I finished it 16 years later, it came in at two verses and the shortest epic on record. 9. Mind Control is about the tendency of popular culture to crucify, hang or otherwise devour it's heroes. It's happened more than once. The people want blood. 10. Praise the Lord. Sometimes while we lived on the mountain, I would go around to the Teacup Cliffs where I could see down into Tennessee, the Smoky Mtns in the distance and the trees moving slowly up the holler. Even then I would often be focused on my own ambitions. 11. I first sang Red Bud Blues in an open D tuning. It was not the cheerful cosmic number you hear today. It's another song about the struggle between beauty and pain. 12. Walking with Jesus was the working title for the album-essentially a walk about the neighborhood at Spann Hill with a joyful noise chorus. I hope you enjoy it.