From 2006! Sixteen tracks of high definition audio made in the Third
Floor Studio in Richmond. Eight years in the making. Definitely some new songs,
and some improved.
Complete CD Notes:
Every artist must have a very personal experience of the act of creation. I
say that because it would be hard for me to believe that anyone else experiences
their creativity the way I do mine. It is a bumpy ride. Take this latest CD, for
example. I have had this as a goal since 1998. Really. That’s when I finally put
the many tracks I had mastered on cassette tapes since 1990 on a CD, called
“Home Cookin’.” At about a tape every two years, and six to seven tracks per
tape, I had more than a CD’s worth. So I took the ones I had done the best job
at executing and sixteen went on the disk. Burned ‘em myself (hence the title).
Thought I’d get right on the job of remastering the rest. Then came job change
and more job change and life and so on. During this time, I was getting more and
more involved in the St. James’s West Gallery Choir and my Choirmaster Virginia
Whitmire was encouraging me to write for church. Prayerfully, I was inspired to
try a few songs, usually based on some tune from my long ago writings.
Surprisingly, Virginia celebrated these gifts and into the program they went!
Meanwhile, I had started playing folk, country and bluegrass with a number of
friends, such as Liz Nance and Richard Rumble. Plus the great partners from
younger days such as Dave Berry and Josh Jones were still part of my performing
circle. And new friends like Karen Trump, Knox Hubbard of rockfish willie, Chris
Edwards of Ring’s End and more.
And, among all these influences, melodies and fragments of lyrics started to
appear in my consciousness. Some, given the appropriate attention, grew into
songs. So the CD, that I knew in 1998 would be called “New and Improved” started
In 2005, I knew that I was going to have a shoulder repair operation. This came
after two years of physical therapy and other “holding actions” like cutting
down the amount of guitar I played, even selling my big dreadnought Martins in
favor of a smaller “Grand Concert” sized Taylor. Each step was aimed at avoiding
the inevitable operation, unsuccessfully. So early in 2005, I started the tracks
that are on this CD, with a few exceptions. I had wonderful help on some of the
songs from my friends, and constant encouragement from my dear wife, Katherine.
Before my doctor had me in surgery, I had most of the tracks done in MIDI and
the guitar parts, as well. Over the next 12 months I added parts from other
musicians and the vocals, with much of the work under the review and production
of Josh Jones, my immensely talented friend in Fincastle, Virginia. The final
mastering was done in July and August of 2006. Happily, even in the midst of all
the production of completed tunes, new ones kept showing up.
I have learned over the years of my spiritual journey, that I hear my God most
clearly in music. This is where my Peace comes from. This is where my
relationship with Christ and the world is most humble and plain. This is where I
Since I started writing the highly specialized poetry that is the popular song
form, I have discovered that my voice and stories are most powerful when I am in
them. It is difficult, nearly impossible, for me to craft a song that reaches
outside of my personal experience. I am awed by Neil Young, Bob Dylan, Steve
Earle, Bruce Springsteen, Harry Chapin, Jim Croce, James Taylor and so many
others who can look outside themselves and create a moving message. But my way
is my way and I am grateful for it. I hope when you listen, you will be, too.
Russell Lawson 9/2006
This CD is dedicated to the Glory of God.
I am indebted to Katherine for 34 years of love and support, to Virginia
Whitmire for inspiration and musical enlightenment, and to Josh Jones for his
patient improvement of rough drafts.
All songs copyright 2006.
Words and music by Russell Lawson, except where noted #, words and music by
Josh Jones and Russell Lawson.
Russell: vocals, acoustic guitar, electric guitar, harmonica
MIDI programming by Russell Lawson and Josh Jones
Grateful thanks to:
Chris Edwards, mandolin (e)
Knox Hubbard, acoustic and electric guitars (h)
Josh Jones, acoustic guitar, electric guitar, vocals (j)
Katherine Lawson, vocals (l)
Liz Nance, vocals (n)
Andy Smith, vocals (s)
I play a Taylor 712ce, a Bourgeois Vintage D, a Fender Stratocaster and a Ibanez
AFS75. Harmonicas are Hohner, as is my banjo. Amps are Fender Champion 100 and
My main MIDI system is by Creative Labs with an Emu chip, simple system really.
Recording is done on both a Yamaha MD-8 and the 80 GB hard drives in the PC Josh
and I built. I use Beta Monkey drum
A note on the songs:
U R the 1 – This was written for St. James’s Church and is my paraphrase of the
“Glory be to the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit, as it was in the
beginning is now and will be forever.”
Intruder – my response to the beginning of the war in Iraq, as I tried to put
myself in the mind of our leaders.
Moments – this is a favorite of mine from long ago, 1978, I think, written while
in the Shenandoah Mountains, in a moment of longing.
Wheatland – memorializes the death of a good friend’s 21-year old son, who was
buried in the family plot at Wheatland on the Potomac River.
Penguin Blues – written with our children in the early 90’s, as a homework
assignment for Ben’s second grade study of Antarctica.
Movin’ On – written at the graduation of our daughter, Sarah, from high school.
Your Place – written at the graduation of our son, Ben, from high school.
Light – Crafted based on the Lectionary for the 2006-2007 church year,
specifically Mark 9:2-3 and Ephesians 4:8-9.
Dark Threshold – Dave’s wife Brenda succumbed to pulmonary disease in 2004 and
it was an agonizing and profoundly moving event. As she passed over to the other
side, the melody to this song came straight to me, complete. That had never
Cy’s Shuffle – written for Cy Taggart, a terrific musician whom I met when he
moved to Virginia from Chicago. The man can play almost any instrument, based on
his sixteen years as a music teacher in Des Plaines, IL, plus he sings, arranges and
Favorites – written with Richard Rumble in mind, a man whose immense joy in
making music and intuitive playing have inspired many nights of singing “a few
old favorites” together over the years.
Grandma and Me – written after hearing a visitor’s comments at a meeting of the
Virginia Organization of Composers and Lyricists (VOCAL). I based the details on
the lives of my maternal grandparents, Harry and Rosy Salmons.
Friend – I started this for Dave Berry in 1977, and I was fortunate to have Josh
Jones co-write it because all of the wonderful open chords and most of the best
lines are his. This version was completed in 1997 in Josh’s studio.
Rock Creek Blues --- this is a true story, in fact, a couple of true stories
rolled together. Katherine helped out with a couple of amazing suggestions when
I was writing it, so thanks, baby!
Heaven – I started this song with only the line “Think about Heaven” and sent
the completed lyric to Josh Jones. Back to me came this incredible song. I wrote
an alternate melody and arrangement, called “Heaven 2”, which I put on another
Christmastime – I was going to sing a few songs at a December VOCAL Showcase
some years back, and I had just heard the week before three or four wonderful
Christmas tunes by other members during a regular meeting. I put this one
together so I would have something seasonal in my set and ended up really liking