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Two Nights in Myrtletown

Two Nights in Myrtletown

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Price: £11.30

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Lyrics and song insights are listed below, but first... When it comes to songwriting, my focus is clearly on people. I'm fascinated by human nature, how lives cross, personalities interact, what motivates the characters in my imagination, and how the world feels to them. My songs sometimes consist of stories will full-blown plot lines, or may simply be impressions or first-person observations, but in all cases are based on characters with something to say. I was born in 1959, the fourth of five sisters, in the hallway of a hospital in North Carolina (my mother claims that this was my first impatient act, that I would not wait until she made it to the delivery room). I lived in various southern states until age 15, and am grateful for that experience, but in my heart I am a westerner and have resided the greater part of my life in Oregon and northern California. When I was a kid, the consciousness of America was in a state of rapid change, with the rise of civil rights, women's rights, the environmental movement, and unprecedented civil disobedience and anti-war activism during the Viet Nam years. I grew up in a military family, and for me those were intense years indeed. I spent a fair amount of time in my youth listening to songwriters from the 70s and 80s, which flavors my own writing to this day, although my musical influences are truly eclectic. I've been playing the guitar since I was 10, so have a few licks under my belt, and write mainly in alternate tunings. I have years of experience as a performing artist, but songwriting is my true love, and I consider myself a writer first and foremost. Issues like the bonds of love and friendship, parenthood, work, maintaining one's identity, and surviving the best you can in a god-awful busy world -- these are the kinds of recurrent themes that pepper my writing. As a wife and mother, family issues are very important to me. Also, I like to rock out, which my family fully supports (it's good for you, after all). I hope you will enjoy my work. I certainly put a lot of care into my craft, and try my best to keep the b.s. out and the honesty in. I thank you for listening. E's INSIGHTS Track 1: JAGGED LINE What to do with someone you love who can't stop ruining his own life -- and yours? This is a story about two people who obviously have a long history, but for one of them that history has become unbearable. When at last she understands that he is not going to let her help him, she realizes it is time to help herself, and get away while she can. She says, "Jared, I'm shot right through with the agony of loving you, but in my heart I forgive you, too, for walking that jagged line." Track 2: OUTWIT A COWARD This is roughly based on a true story, about a person who figures out a non-violent way to thwart a very dangerous bully. She figures that if she can just trick him into believing that the tables have turned, and that he's not the one in power anymore, he'll slither off like the little weenie he really is, and leave her in peace. She's counting on the fact that he's as dumb as he is mean, and she's right. Track 3: HIGH TIME FOR THE BLUES Sometimes, when things suck, it just because it's their turn to do so. I mean, if you have no trials, how are you going to recognize triumphs? Well, OK, in truth this song isn't all that deep. It's just that I wrote it when I was a teenager, and the Queen of Angst. That was a million years ago, and I'm almost over it. Track 4: HEAR ME Every now and then I travel by bus. It's not that I really like traveling that way, but living on a rural part of the California coast, sometimes it's the best way to get in and out of here. The travel is really slow, but at least it's smoke-free these days (something I appreciate now that I'm no longer a smoker), and there's lots of time to think. Every person I see on the bus sets my mind to wondering, because I'm convinced that no one gets on the bus without a story to tell. In this song, I imagine someone arriving at her chosen destination: some small, worn-out town on the bus route. She's got a connection to the town, although it's not clear if she's actually from there, or just returning to a place she lived before. She's starting over, which is a recurring theme in a lot of my songs. She's got a pile of cash in her bag, which she acquired by some kind of fluke, but all the money in the world can't help her at this particular moment, stuck without a ride in the middle of the night in a cold, creepy, windswept town. She had figured she was through making mistakes, but the receding taillights of the bus remind her that there's always one more. Track 5: OUR KIND OF STORY Anybody who's been involved in real-life love knows it's no fairy tale, but that doesn't mean it isn't great. Of course, real-life relationships aren't always easy. There's a reason for that "for better or worse" clause, after all. But as long as you find yourself in a situation where you're happy more often than not, and with someone who looks good to you in any given situation, you can bask in the joys of the real deal, and scoff at all those tabloid personalities who wouldn't know real love if it bit them on the ass. As for Cinderella, she would have caused a whole lot less trouble if she had just taken a moment to stop, pick up her shoe, and say "look baby, this is the real me. Wanna make a go of it?" If the prince had said no, it wasn't going to work out anyway, now was it? Track 6: LIFE IS A ROAD The idea for this song took shape during a day trip in northern California. I traveled that day with my husband, our young son, and a good friend from back east, on his first visit to the area. From our home we headed out first to Petrolia and the beautiful "Lost Coast," on a road so winding that we never knew what we'd see around each bend. It got me thinking about the unknown, about how even when you don't know what lies ahead, you have no choice but to move forward and meet it anyway. On that day we were pleasantly surprised with one gorgeous view after another; if only life was always like that. We then traveled inland from the coast into a forest of towering, ancient redwood trees. When you see the redwoods, it's impossible not to think about time, since they are so noble and so incredibly old. As we drove through the trees I found myself becoming more and more pensive, thinking about each of the people I was riding with. There was my husband, Mark, whom I've known for so long; our son, a cute little kid with his whole life ahead of him; our friend, a cancer survivor, basically embarking on a rare second chance at life. It occurred to me that life is a journey, and a timeline, and you can go anywhere you like except back. And the way to make it all work out is to remember that your destination isn't somewhere you'll eventually get to, but everything you do and every life you touch along the way. Track 7: WHERE'S CHARLENE? The conflicted feelings of someone who is absolutely wild about someone who is, well, absolutely wild! He is certain she would be his if he could just find the right way to tell her. But when she comes near, his eloquence instantly vanishes, and he can find none of the words to make her stay. This beautiful, gutsy, desirable character is based on two different friends of mine, both named Charlene, and both awesome women. Track 8: TALK TO ME This is a heart-felt request to someone who doesn't care to talk about his feelings, even though it's the one thing that might heal his world. For some people the prospect of talking things out seems too daunting, too risky. It's a pervasive and frustrating situation for a lot of couples and families. Track 9: SAY SO I love telling stories about sweet people falling in love. This song is all about that, while simultaneously serving as a stark warning about the dangers of junk mail. Beyond being incredibly annoying, junk mail is also hazardous because among all the piles of mail you never wanted to receive there might actually be something really important, say for example, a love letter. Track 10: WHEN LOVE IS LIKE THE RAIN This song looks at love as a force of nature. But as we all know, nature isn't always kind. For example, rain can be a blessing or a curse, depending on the amount of chaos in the storm delivering it. When love is like the rain, but it's rain that's not even close to being a good thing, it's time to find some dryer weather quick. Track 11: DURANGO Here's a story about two people, both out wandering around the West, too focused on their own lives to realize that in fact they are each actually quite lost. They happen to meet by way of an automotive breakdown, followed by becoming trapped by a storm. By the time the weather clears, well, everything is different. This is the one and only song of mine with a geologist as the protagonist. I love geologists! They're so... earthy (heh, heh). LYRICS Track 1: JAGGED LINE © 2000 E. Hemphill-Haley / H2 Tunes (ASCAP) E's insights: What to do with someone you love who can't stop ruining his own life -- and yours? This is a story about two people who obviously have a long history, but for one of them that history has become unbearable. When at last she understands that he is not going to let her help him, she realizes it is time to help herself, and get away while she can. She says, "Jared, I'm shot right through with the agony of loving you, but in my heart I forgive you, too, for walking that jagged line." Verse 1 Never met a soul so full of need for the things out of his reach For the things he could not have It was a hard and troubled youth What a miserable excuse for the choices of a man Chorus 1 Jared, what can I do? I feel the years are passing two by two And whenever I remember you I see you walking on a jagged line Verse 2 The laws are written in this land to give the rich the upper hand And treat the poor like so much dust Cement wall and iron doors, who do they build those prisons for If not for us? Chorus 2a Jared, what can I say? But there had to be another way Than to throw your whole life away Walking on a jagged line Verse 3 I think about the way things might have been The way that they are now The things that you have done But there was no persuading you Just like a bullet can't be turned once it's left the gun Chorus 3a Jared, I'm shot right through With the agony of loving you But in my heart I forgive you, too For walking on that jagged line Chorus 3b Jared, what can I say? But there had to be some other way Than to throw your life away Walking on a jagged line Than to throw your sweet life away Walking on a jagged line Track 2: OUTWIT A COWARD © 2002 Eileen Hemphill-Haley / H2 Tunes (ASCAP) Tuning: EAEAAE CAPO: IV E's insights: This is roughly based on a true story, about a person who figures out a non-violent way to thwart a very dangerous bully. She figures that if she can just trick him into believing that the tables have turned, and that he's not the one in power anymore, he'll slither off like the little weenie he really is, and leave her in peace. She's counting on the fact that he's as dumb as he is mean, and she's right. Verse 1 Felix had a ring, crusted 'round with diamonds And a big fat fake ruby He liked the way it felt on what he called his fighting hand That he was rather fond of using Verse 2 Jasmine stayed home, she had a nasty shiner And a deep cut under her eye She could not reconcile her humiliation With a real fear for her life Verse 3 Jasmine called a friend, a boy she knew in high school Who had since become a man of the faith She told him everything, when he came to see her He could see the truth of it etched in her face Chorus Brother, take your collar off Brother, come and stand by me All I'm trying to do is outwit a coward How hard can that be? Verse 4 James towered high above his congregation And his voice boomed out when he spoke For such a gentle man to have such a mighty stature Was like God's own personal joke (Chorus) Verse 5 Felix couldn't breathe Standing next to Jasmine was the biggest man he'd ever seen He looked like he could kill, rip his frickin' head off And it made him feel helpless and weak Verse 3 So Felix made a vow, to Jasmine's satisfaction That he'd never see her again Jasmine said to James, "Thank God it's finally over" And Brother James said "Sister, amen" (Chorus) Track 3: HIGH TIME FOR THE BLUES © 2000 E. Hemphill-Haley / H2 Tunes (ASCAP) E's insights: Sometimes, when things suck, it just because it's their turn to do so. I mean, if you have no trials, how are you going to recognize triumphs? Well, OK, in truth this song isn't all that deep. It's just that I wrote it when I was a teenager, and the Queen of Angst. That was a million years ago, and I'm almost over it. Verse 1 Some days your life just don't pay The right words cannot be found Keep on till the feeling is gone It's just high time for the blues Verse 2 So you saw your baby but she did not see you Now you feel like you're losing control It's not the end, you'll love again It's just high time for the blues Chorus What you gonna do about it? How you gonna fight what you can't win What you gonna do about it? When you know it's bound to come again Verse 3 Just once you wish you could trust All those good friends who don't understand Walk away, call it a day It's just high time for the blues Track 4: Hear Me © 2005 Eileen Hemphill-Haley / H2 Tunes (ASCAP) Tuning: EADGAE E's insights: Every now and then I travel by bus. It's not that I really like traveling that way, but living on a rural part of the California coast, sometimes it's the best way to get in and out of here. The travel is really slow, but at least it's smoke-free these days (something I appreciate now that I'm no longer a smoker), and there's lots of time to think. Every person I see on the bus sets my mind to wondering, because I'm convinced that no one gets on the bus without a story to tell. In this song, I imagine someone arriving at her chosen destination: some small, worn-out town on the bus route. She's got a connection to the town, although it's not clear if she's actually from there, or just returning to a place she lived before. She's starting over, which is a recurring theme in a lot of my songs. She's got a pile of cash in her bag, which she acquired by some kind of fluke, but all the money in the world can't help her at this particular moment, stuck without a ride in the middle of the night in a cold, creepy, windswept town. She had figured she was through making mistakes, but the receding taillights of the bus remind her that there's always one more. Verse 1 Step down in a mill town in the middle of the night Just a couple of storefronts closed up tight The bus pulls out and then it's quiet No one around Verse 2 Good thing there's a pay phone So you pick up the phone When you dial the number, nobody home Why must things be complicated? All you want to say Chorus Hear me I'm ready for it now I'm ready for the day I'm living quiet with somebody Write this down I'm ready for the time when everything that's mine won't fit inside a suitcase Verse 3 Forty-eight thousand dollars in a bundle in your bag Oh no you didn't steal it, what if you had? There's no one left to even wonder what became of you Verse 4 You should have made arrangements Should have called ahead Bought a car with your money Gone somewhere else instead Why must things be complicated All you want to say Verse 5 It's the middle of nowhere in the middle of the night Where's a cop when you need one to give you a ride Drive you home in the squad car, lend a little advice You can say what you're thinking, it's all right Quite all right It's all right Chorus Hear me I'm ready for it now I'm ready for the day I'm living quiet with somebody Hear Me I'm ready for the time When everything that's mine won't fit inside a suitcase Hear me Hear Me Track 5: OUR KIND OF STORY © 2004 E. Hemphill-Haley / H2 Tunes Music (ASCAP) Tuning: DADGAD, Capo V E's insights: Anybody who's been involved in real-life love knows it's no fairy tale, but that doesn't mean it isn't great. Of course, real-life relationships aren't always easy. There's a reason for that "for better or worse" clause, after all. But as long as you find yourself in a situation where you're happy more often than not, and with someone who looks good to you in any given situation, you can bask in the joys of the real deal, and scoff at all those tabloid personalities who wouldn't know real love if it bit them on the ass. As for Cinderella, she would have caused a whole lot less trouble if she had just taken a moment to stop, pick up her shoe, and say "look baby, this is the real me. Wanna make a go of it?" If the prince had said no, it wasn't going to work out anyway, now was it? Verse 1 Cinderella was a poor girl in a house full of wealth With nobody there to raise her Left to fend for herself Sometimes the hardest thing about needing love is letting it show You and me, baby we should know (Chorus) Fairy tale love is all pageant and glory Flying banners of crimson and blue But I don't really think that it's our kind of story, do you? Verse 2 Cinderella should not have faltered, she should have picked up her shoe And let the rags fall from her body What did she think he would do? Sometimes the hardest thing about being me is believing in you Not knowing what you'll say, or what I'll do (Chorus) Verse 3 Sometimes the hardest thing about loving you is believing in me Knowing what I've got is what you need (Last chorus) We know love isn't pageant and glory Got no banners of crimson and blue But I'm happy I'm living our kind of story Our kind of story with you Cinderella should not have faltered, she should have picked up that shoe... Track 6: LIFE IS A ROAD © 2004 E. Hemphill-Haley / H2 Tunes Music (ASCAP) Tuning: EADF#AE E's insights: The idea for this song took shape during a day trip in northern California. I traveled that day with my husband, our young son, and a good friend from back east, on his first visit to the area. From our home we headed out first to Petrolia and the beautiful "Lost Coast," on a road so winding that we never knew what we'd see around each bend. It got me thinking about the unknown, about how even when you don't know what lies ahead, you have no choice but to move forward and meet it anyway. On that day we were pleasantly surprised with one gorgeous view after another; if only life was always like that. We then traveled inland from the coast into a forest of towering, ancient redwood trees. When you see the redwoods, it's impossible not to think about time, since they are so noble and so incredibly old. As we drove through the trees I found myself becoming more and more pensive, thinking about each of the people I was riding with. There was my husband, Mark, whom I've known for so long; our son, a cute little kid with his whole life ahead of him; our friend, a cancer survivor, basically embarking on a rare second chance at life. It occurred to me that life is a journey, and a timeline, and you can go anywhere you like except back. And the way to make it all work out is to remember that your destination isn't somewhere you'll eventually get to, but everything you do and every life you touch along the way. Verse 1 If life was a road, which one would you choose? Which one would you travel? One that's wide and worn One that's barely used Paved or dirt or gravel? It's all about the journey And how you get to where you want to go Verse 2 Everyone I know is always on the move The dust flies up behind them When all the things you want are out in front of you It's up to you to find them But you have to love the journey And the ones who make it easier for you Chorus Because life is a road, and you don't get a map Just a rearview mirror Once those miles are gone you don't get them back Make life your destination Verse 3 My life is a road winding through big trees and scenery that moves me Full of twists and turns Potholes and blind curves opening to beauty It's all about the journey And preparing your arrival Chorus Because life is a road, and you don't get a map Just a rearview mirror Once those miles are gone you don't get them back Make life your destination Last Chorus Because life is a road, and you don't get a map Just a rearview mirror Once those miles are gone you don't need them back When life's your destination Track 7: WHERE'S CHARLENE? © 2001 Eileen Hemphill-Haley / H2 Tunes (ASCAP) Tuning: DADGAD E's insights: The conflicted feelings of someone who is absolutely wild about someone who is, well, absolutely wild! He is certain she would be his if he could just find the right way to tell her. But when she comes near, his eloquence instantly vanishes, and he can find none of the words to make her stay. This beautiful, gutsy, desirable character is based on two different friends of mine, both named Charlene, and both awesome women. Verse 1 She stops by for a minute You feel the words pull at your mouth It's her world and you'd be in it If the right words would just come out Chorus Where's Charlene? On the run again Have your fun and then darling bring it home Where's Charlene? What an awful mess Darling can't you guess the things that you don't know? Verse 2 You have no great love for money Anything she wants you would buy She tries to tell you that you cannot buy her love That doesn't mean that you can't try (chorus) Verse 3 So many things you want to tell her And it pains you to the bone You're a man who truly can wax eloquent Every time she's gone and you're alone (chorus) Chorus Where's Charlene? On the run again Have your fun and then darling bring it home Where's Charlene? What an awful mess Darling can't you guess the things that you don't know? Where's Charlene? On the run again Have your fun and then darling bring it home Where's Charlene? What an awful mess Darling can't you guess someone loves you so? Track 8: TALK TO ME © 2001 Eileen Hemphill-Haley / H2 Tunes (ASCAP) Tuning: EADF#AE E's insights: This is a heart-felt request to someone who doesn't care to talk about his feelings, even though it's the one thing that might heal his world. For some people the prospect of talking things out seems too daunting, too risky. It's a pervasive and frustrating situation for a lot of couples and families. Verse 1 It may be you know the reasons for the things that you are feeling But you don't ever try to explain If you feel it you don't show it, don't let nobody know it You just take it hard and watch what you say Verse 2 How can silent resolution make much of a solution buried in a secretive man? The one who wished that he knew better so they might have stayed together Now he sees the kids whenever he can Chorus Talk to me Talk to me Know my heart's with you Let me hear your point of view Verse 3 There may be doubts from time to time that lay there heavy on your mind Nothing's really different these days It's still so easy to be hurting, so soothing to be talking But instead you're only walking away (chorus) Track 9: SAY SO © 2001 Eileen Hemphill-Haley / H2 Tunes (ASCAP) Tuning: DADGAD E's insights: I love telling stories about sweet people falling in love. This song is all about that, while simultaneously serving as a stark warning about the dangers of junk mail. Beyond being incredibly annoying, junk mail is also hazardous because among all the piles of mail you never wanted to receive there might actually be something really important, say for example, a love letter. Verse 1 A young man sits down one night Puts his pen to paper Street ights on the hill in town look like stars tumbling down He let's his emotions fly across a sweet and simple letter They say God's in the details So he puts his faith in the U.S. Mail Chorus It says, Baby, little games are not my style But if you want someone to cherish you I promise you all you have to do is say so I can't read your mind But if you want my love it's here for you Just make your move All you have to do is say so Verse 2 His letter comes a few days on Tucked inside all the junk mail Credit cards, discount stores She drops them on a table by the door Amidst the junk his words of love will go unnoticed Like a kiss she never feels Like a gift she never opens (Chorus) Verse 3 Ten days and nights go by And every time he sees her she smiles and she says hello But that's as far as it ever goes Finally to her door, no choice but to confront her He's amazed at her surprise At the amusement in her eyes When she says soft and low There's something you should know Baby, little games are not my style But if you want someone to cherish you I promise you all you have to do is say so I can't read your mind But if you want my love it's here for you Just make your move All you have to do is say so Just say so Track 10: WHEN LOVE IS LIKE THE RAIN © 2006 Eileen Hemphill-Haley / H2 Tunes (ASCAP) Tuning: DADGAD E's insights: This song looks at love as a force of nature. But as we all know, nature isn't always kind. For example, rain can be a blessing or a curse, depending on the amount of chaos in the storm delivering it. When love is like the rain, but it's rain that's not even close to being a good thing, it's time to find some dryer weather quick. Verse 1 Sure was cold and cruel He was walking down the road His face was wet with tears His face was wet with raindrops He did not have a prayer or the right kind of clothes To save him from this kind of weather Verse 2 Now, a man may want the rain falling gently on his fields Putting food up on his table But when it turns relentless And the river crests and floods That's the way it is when love Makes you sorry for the things you wished for Chorus When love is like the rain Give up, give up When love is like the rain Verse 3 At first she gave him spring Showered him with things That grew up all around him But then one day she changed And now her love was falling on everything but him There was nothing he could do but watch it rain Verse 4 Sometimes it's hard to know when to cut your losses Turn and run for cover, find another lover Keep hoping for the best But it turns out to be less Than what it really takes to keep you going Chorus When love is like the rain Give up, give up When love is like the rain Bridge First all the predictions Said she was the one But everything's gone cloudy And you cannot see the sun You want to turn off all those feelings You want to make them stop You can't take another minute No no not another drop Chorus When love is like the rain When love is like the rain Verse 5 Sure was cold and cruel He was walking down the road The raindrops felt like tears When at last he'd had enough H e turned and headed home He was ready for a change of weather Track 11: DURANGO © 2001 Eileen Hemphill-Haley / H2 Tunes (ASCAP) Tuning: DADGAD E's insights: Here's a story about two people, both out wandering around the West, too focused on their own lives to realize that in fact they are each actually quite lost. They happen to meet by way of an automotive breakdown, followed by becoming trapped by a storm. By the time the weather clears, well, everything is different. This is the one and only song of mine with a geologist as the protagonist. I love geologists! They're so... earthy (heh, heh). Verse 1 Out of Four Corners Down a two-lane road with a one-track mind Eyes ever forward Not a thought askew, not a glance behind Cool wind blowing, pushing me hard in the direction of Durango Verse 2 Now me, I know these highways I know the lay of the land that they're drawn across I am a mapmaker I'm not capable of getting lost But there I was stranded just a few short miles from Durango Chorus Durango... Durango... Verse 3 I met him on the roadside Apparently I'd run out of gas One of life's little metaphors I see that now, thinking back Would he take me to the next town? He said, what is the next town? I said, Durango Verse 4 The snow started blowing before we'd made it even two more miles The roads were getting treacherous and it was clear we'd have to stop for a while He said, let's find a cup of coffee See what we can learn about the weather in Durango Durango... Durango... Bridge He was working on a novel about love gone right in a world gone wrong Satellite positioning That's what I was working on He said, this storm is getting vicious Maybe we should find a place to sleep A satellite wouldn't get a fix on us again for seven weeks Verse 5 If love wants to find you it doesn't need a compass or a map Don't have to draw me a picture Believe me, I know all about that I am a mapmaker And every map I make now leads to Durango Verse 6 And me, I known these highways I know the rocks and the hills and the canyon lands If anyone can find you Darlin' you know I surely can I know where to find you, yeah I know that I will find you in Durango And now, meet the band... The "Eileen Hemphill-Haley Band" is: EH-H: vocal & guitar Ron Sharp: bass Brandon Schwab: drums Michael Proctor, dobro To give you a bit of background of who we are as a group, I interviewed Ron Sharp, Brandon Schwab, and Michael Proctor, and provide you with the following insights: On bass: Ron Sharp Ron Sharp knows the secret to playing bass, and to locking in with drums in a rhythm section, is to blend in so naturally with the music that people totally take it for granted. It doesn't seem fair, but that's the way it is with bass. People only really notice it when it's played badly, or missing altogether. He's philosophical about it all, and explains it like this: "When I listen to music, every song is a story. How do you support the story and bring out the texture and color? The best bass and drums are so good together that you almost can't tell which is which; the bass is like an extension of he drums. If you're not wedded to the drums you're just getting in the way." Ron exemplifies these comments when he plays, with his wonderfully solid and melodic style that adds just the right feel to every song, and gets him none of the attention he deserves. Ron was one of the first people I met when I moved from Oregon to northern California. We didn't meet because of music right off, but rather through an act of kindness (by him) toward a stranger (me) new in town and looking for a place for my family to live. He helped us find a house to rent, and as a thank you I dropped off a note and a CD at his door. He followed through with an email saying' " hey! I didn't realize you were a musician. I play bass and my best friend plays dobro." The next thing I knew we had a band, rehearsing at the house he helped us find. Ron Sharp is a native of southern California, born on New Year's Eve in 1950, and raised in Santa Ana. A witty and soft-spoken guy, he started playing guitar as a teenager, and in the early 70's decided to move to northern California to pursue music more full time. Over the years he played guitar -- and eventually bass -- with a number of different rock, country and bluegrass groups. He now focuses on the bass, and plays possibly the most beautiful bass guitar on the northcoast, a 2004 Moonstone Neptune bass hand-made by his close friend and master luthier Steve Helgeson. Ron credits numerous musical influences in rock and acoustic music, from Walter Becker to Alison Krauss, and likes listening to songwriters like James McMurtry and John Hyatt. He's not crazy about jazz, but loves a great ballad. Besides playing bass for the EH-H Band, Ron also handles a lot of the behind-the-scenes organizing for the group, including making song charts and handling publicity. Ron is married to Barbara Browning, the founder of OrderWithin.com, and is the father of Kelsey (22). He also has two grandkids, McKenzie (2) and a new baby, Ryan. Be sure to check out Ron's work on the "Dog Tracks" and "Two Nights in Myrtletown" CDs, and if by chance you catch the band live, tune in Ron's playing. You can't help but notice how good he sounds, and also how much fun he seems to have when he plays. It's really great. On drums: Brandon Schwab Born November 12, 1970, Brandon Schwab is that smart, wisecracking guy at the back of the band, holding all the sound together. He's a wonderfully subtle genius on the drums, a great friend, and my long-time collaborator. Brandon is also known as Dr. Brandon Schwab, Ph.D. in geology, and professor at Humboldt State University. He's married to Angie Schwab, an artist's rep and owner of Humboldt Artworks in northern California, and father of two sons, Avery (3) and Harper (1). Raised in rural Ohio, music was a mainstay in Brandon's life beginning in elementary school. He played in every school music group through his high school years, and continued in orchestra through his first year of college. His favorite thing was playing in pit orchestras, where he might single-handedly play all the percussion parts for different performances. But along with music he always had a right-brained love for science and nature, and ended up putting the drums away for a number of years while focusing his efforts on an education in earth science. But during graduate school at the University of Oregon, he was recruited back into drumming, first with an absolutely raucous surf band (The "Surf Chiefs") and starting in 1996, with a solo folk-rock artist (that would be me, y'all) looking for just the right drummer to expand her sound. As for musical influences? "Everything I listen to influences me," he says. "My playing style has definitely evolved over the years. I use to play straight rock-and-roll, but also had a lot of jazz influences. But as for my style, I always like to think about how the drums fit into the music. My goal is to be supporting, and not be in the way." "I guess my goal is to not be noticed," he laughs. The truth is, you can't help but notice Brandon's drumming because it works so well with whatever music he plays. For examples of his work, check out most of the tracks on "Porch Songs," all of the tracks on "Dog Tracks" and "Two Nights in Myrtletown," or catch him at a live show! On lap-slide (dobro) guitar: Michael Proctor "The first thing you need to know about me," confesses lap-slide guitarist Michael Proctor, "is that I'm a big liar. You can't believe anything I tell you." So, apparently there's a chance that much of what you'll read here about Michael Proctor is completely untrue. How would I know otherwise? I've worked with Michael for a couple of years now, playing with him in the EH-H band and as a duo, and collaborating on two CDs. I've met his family, so I know he's been with his wife Paula for 23 years, and that they have three kids, Mia (20), Gina (18) and Jackson (15). But how would I know if he was really born in Newmarket, Canada on April 9, 1953, and lived there only three months before his family moved to Orange County, California where he grew up? He claims he started playing piano as a kid, got into guitar as a teenager, and fell in love with slide guitar after being wowed by a friend's collection of blues records. But how do we know for sure? I have some verification of facts from Michael's best friend (and bassist for the EH-H band), Ron Sharp. Ron and Michael have been friends since high school in southern California, and Ron informed me that yes, as a teenager Michael was known for playing slide guitar, and then later played pedal steel as well. He recalled that Michael's first pedal steel had coat hangers for pedal rods. Somehow, knowing Michael, this sounds true. Michael says he was raised on rock and roll, loves jazz and bluegrass, but actually likes to play anything in the realm of acoustic music. In the early 70s he moved to northern California (verified by Ron, since they both moved there), where he played in a number of different country groups and string bands. This included "Buckshot," the house band at the biggest honky tonk on the northern California coast, the Ramada Inn in Arcata. Every weekend Buckshot played for a crowd of college students, hippies and loggers, and miraculously no one was ever killed. But after a while bluegrass music became the main interest for Michael. This led him to invest in his first dobro, the instrument for which he is best known today. A "dobro," of course, is a kind of wood-body lap-slide guitar that has a distinctive sound prevalent in bluegrass music. Michael's regular old Gibson acoustic guitar, which he had been using to play slide since high school, wasn't going to cut it for playing bluegrass. So, in 1976 he and Ron took a 300-mile trip to San Francisco in search of a new dobro (Ron verifies this, too). "Our mission," Michael recounts, "was not to return until we found one." Just one short weekend later they returned home with a 1975 Dobro D-60, the very guitar he plays today. OK, now we know he got the dobro, but how did he learn how to play it? Self-taught for the most part, claims Michael, but he also credits an all-night jam session with Vince Gill in the late 70s for giving him a huge dose of new ideas and an instantaneous boost in his playing. Um, Vince Gill? The country music star? Yes, Michael claims, he was just a kid at the time, a child prodigy if you will, playing in a touring band passing through town. Believe it or not... Michael's playing is well known in northern California, and he has appeared on I-don't-know-how-many recording projects over the years. This is true; I really don't know how many, but it is lots and lots. The guy makes everyone sound good, so the calls keep coming. I met him in 2003, and in November of that year we played our first gig together as a band. We have done a lot of work together since then. So, how much of Michael's story here is true? Who can say? But I can tell you this: Michael Proctor is great to work with, and it is a ton of fun collaborating with him. He makes playing that dobro -- a very complicated instrument -- sound like it's the easiest thing in the world. Check out his work on "Dog Tracks," "Two Nights in Myrtletown," and "Ordinary Life," or do yourself a favor and catch him at a live show. The ideas he comes up with for lead parts are so cool, and never cease to floor me. And that, my friends, is no lie.

Details

Artist: Eileen Hemphill-Haley
Title: Two Nights in Myrtletown
Genre: Folk
Release Date: 21/08/2007
Label: CD Baby
Media Format: CD
UPC: 700261222639
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