San Juan Chickens
TIM: Mom got me singing when I was two, sitting beside her on the piano bench. Dad improvised vocal bass lines in church and whistled old standards while driving, elbow out the window. They made a professional recording of me when I was three, nursery rhymes and Christmas carols. Started piano at eight, cello at eleven; playing cello in high school with the same energy other guys threw into chasing Boise, Idaho girls. Orchestra years, colleges, side tracks, and back into music, but this time electric and driven by the beat. Providence hailed from Boise. Bob, Barth, Andy, Jim [violin], Tom [viola], and I, spent 1971-1973 in an intensive school-of-life: songwriting, arranging, learning new instruments, recording, touring, stumbling and forgiving. There must have been 100 songs written during that time with interesting original elements. My own songwriting was born. We recorded the album 'Ever Sense The Dawn' in 1972, released on the Moody Blues' Threshold Records label, produced by Tony Clarke. The Moody's connection took on new life, 1974-1976, when Justin Hayward and John Lodge undertook recording and touring projects that involved the Providence string trio. The albums 'Songwriter' and 'Blue Jays' appeared. Prince Gabriel's Fleet was an intermittent band of collaborations (Suzanne Janes and I, augmented by others) in Eugene, Oregon, 1977-1978, while I was a music major at U of O. My songwriting advanced in fits and starts, with many good ideas crouching for later leaps in refinement. Vigorous rewriting eventually followed the critiques of Frances, a wicked editor with a trained ear for poetry, rhythm, and (as novelist John Gardener wrote) "a vivid continuous dream." FRANCES: My grandfather was a violin playing saddle maker. My father was a yodeling cowboy; I still have his spurs and the old banjo uke. My mother wanted a daughter who played the violin. I picked out tunes on my aunt's piano when I was three and started violin lessons when I was five, practicing in the orchard next to our house. Music laid the foundation for my ear as a poet, composer, lyricist, playwright, and personal historian. I was brought up on old cowboy songs, show tunes, community concerts and Fritz Kreisler, the beloved violinist. Tim and I were raised on much of the same music. We both played in school and symphony orchestras. As an adult I studied violin and piano with several wonderful teachers privately and in college as a music major. I started improvising on stage in 1970 when I met and became good friends with the late great jazz trumpeter, Chet Baker. I enjoy the challenge of making up parts to Tim's beautiful tunes and twisted rhythms. He helps me with form; I help him with heart line and believable dialogue. It all begins with improvisation: a poetic line, a haunting melody, a wiggly rhythm that grabs you by the throat.