Under the Big Sky
In June 2004 I went to Colorado to record this album with the fantastic Sally Van Meter. If you don't know who she is then shame on you! She is one of the finest dobro players around. The Queen of Taste, Tone and Timing!!! We met 3 years ago at the Sore Fingers Summer School, a week long bluegrass school held at easter every year in the Cotswolds. She was teaching me, and a motley crew of ne'er-do-wells, to play dobro. During the course of the week she discovered that I was a fair-to-middling guitar player, and I ended up backing her on a couple of beautiful tunes at the staff concert. Somehow while all that was happening I let her hear one of my songs, and the rest is kind of history... That summer I went out to Colorado for the Rockygrass festival and some more of the finest dobro teaching you can get. One night sitting out on the porch, I got into that weird place that music takes you sometimes and I played songs from the heart, my songs, other peoples songs, songs I couldn't remember, songs I hadn't played for 20 years. That was when Sally said that I had to record an album. Well it took a while to summon the courage and the money, but when someone like Sally believes so much in the project, then darn it, it's going to happen. So then it's June 2004 and I'm in Colorado. I arrived a couple of days early to acclimatise and work on arrangements before we went into the studio. The drummer Christian Theele came over to the house to help out and I had my first panic attack which lasted all of two minutes. He was such a good guy, and had really listened to the rough demo I did. So two days later we went into the Notably Fine Audio studio in Denver to record the album Gabe Witcher, a total genius fiddler, flew in from Telluride for 2 days en-route to Oregon with the Jerry Douglas Band, Eric Thorin just got back from Alaska where he had been on tour with Open Road, Christian Theele came in to play drums and keep us in time, Ross Martin came along to play guitar, I had heard him play two years ago when I first visited Colorado and loved his playing, Greg Scochet came in to play Mandolin, Sally managed to track down John Magnie from the subdudes who brought the funkiest accordion ever to the session. Sally played lap-steel, and boy did she play. We called her Sally Van Halen after hearing her play the baritone lap-steel on Big Sky, that thing just screamed! And the icing on the cake, I had my very own choir of heavenly angels, Sally Truitt and Sally Van Meter adding the most fantastic harmonies to finish off some of those songs. Awesome! So with this fantastic bunch we could hardly go wrong. We recorded most of it live, and I have to say the moment when the band all kicked in behind me on Big Sky has to be one of the greatest moments of my life. So check it out and if you like it tell you friends. In all modesty I think it's a great record and I hope you will too!!!