They Rode Like Wildfire Snaking Through Hills
I wrote all of the songs for this record in one week's worth of time in October of 2010. I became flooded with visions of the old west, primarily inspired by a movie I flipped to on television called, "Wild Bill," chronicling the life of Wild Bill Hickock. I started to research for myself. I began to construct stories of a lawman, gunfighter, and professional gambler whom I could never have known and a life I could not even begin to understand. Through exploring the days of Wild Bill I learned of Calamity Jane, a frontierswoman, professional scout, and wife and then widow of Wild Bill. From this, lines of fiction and non-fiction merged, and blurred, and co-existed as I erected accounts of love, loss, and finality. Characters like Wild Bill Hickock and Calamity Jane come alive (and pass away) in songs like, "Dead Man's Hand," a terse account of events, referencing a victorious gunfight, the night of his murder, and a grieving Jane's swirling emotions over the loss of her husband. Other non-fictional characters like, Annie Oakley inspire the song, "Little Sure Shot" and historical events such as, The Shootout at the O.K. Corral instigate the song, "October 26, 1881," a night where three men died in a conflict that is said to symbolize the struggle between legal authority and banditry. Although I reference an assortment of non-fictional accounts and characters, this is primarily a work of fiction. "Retribution Ain't Murder" is a first person narrative following the excursion of a revenge seeking young man after his father's killer, while the blues driven guitar rhythm of, "How'd They Know I Done it?" records the boastful, but anxious whereabouts of a murderer fleeing from the law in the late 1800's. "The Balled Of Pat Johnston" is about a man wrongfully accused for his lovers' murder and forced into the life of a fugitive on the run, while the last track, "Waiting For Evelyn," a duet with Eugene native singer, Erin Flood, is a solemn piano ballad about a young couples loss of their infant daughter after a smallpox outbreak in the winter of 1894. The songs that construct this record are raw and reside in the vein of 19th century fiction and contribute stories of revenge, compassion, death, and love. Stylistically, I recorded in lo-fi (meaning not up to par for quality standards). I chose to dust off an old 8-track digital recorder that has been tucked away under my bed, throw up a microphone, crank up the reverb, and hit the record button. This was fun for me. I focused time on different vocal tonalities and was cognizant in deciding how different characters would sound and flow, which all reveal themselves in my delivery. The songs are raw, emerging soft at times and harsh at others, yet all surviving thematically in a web of what I consider to be 19th century fiction.