Most of the songs on this album include those which directly, or indirectly, relate to the area in which I was raised - Grey County, Ontario. I was born in the city of Owen Sound which, just like it's name, is at the bottom of a "sound" of water, at the southern end of sparkling and beautiful Georgian Bay. Life was rich there, and despite its size, or maybe because of it, we were not immune to the errs of living, nor did we fail in finding its great beauty. It's all there: From the societal ill of hatred of "difference" which culminates in the death of a Grey County local ("Dan's Song"); my restless nature and dreams of a hometown youth ("We Believed"); the tale of the lone gander from the pond by my childhood home ("The Canada Gander's Lament"); to "Grey County Winter" one of my "Season Songs" in dropped D tuning. I really enjoyed recording this one mostly solo on 6 & 12-string guitar, mandolin, bass, dobro and banjo. On every recording I try to put a song written by one of my writer heroes...this one is by Richard Farina. His tune, "Pack Up Your Sorrows" I heard sung by Mimi Farina at Grey County's first Summerfolk Festival where I was founding artistic director. Guest musicians are Paul Mills on guitar, and the wonderful singing and bodhran playing of Beverly Kreller.
Wheatfield With Crows is a collection of some older material, which had not been released before, and some new. Wheatfield With Crows, reportedly Van Gogh's final painting, was the inspiration for the song of the same name as I was thinking of a group of friends, mostly actors, writers, and musicians, all of whom had gone their separate ways, and all of whom had contributed to my "canvas," my reminiscences of our time together. Permission was secured from the Van Gogh Museum in Amsterdam to use the painting as the CD cover. They sent me a slide of the entire painting sitting on two easels...it's quite a large painting, is rectangular, and therefore we had to crop for it to fit as a CD cover. Musicians include: Sarah Featherstone on Celtic Harp; Tom Leighton on Accordion; Liane de Lotbinere on Background Vocals; Paul Mills on Guitar; Lisa Weitz on Background Vocals; and Chris Whiteley on Harmonica. I was in DIY mode and sang and played Guitar, Mandolin, and Bass. Recorded in 2002.
Sara And The Sea is a collection of tunes written during an eventful and rich period. Some close friends and family had passed on lost and therefore reflection on the past, and where the next path would lead, was in the forefront. A grant from the Ontario Arts Council freed me up for some writing time and I was very grateful. This album is also my first attempt at both engineering and producing, and I believe it has a "unique" sound as a result. Zeke Mazurek was on fiddle; Lian de Lotbinere on background vocals; Paul Mills on mandolin; Dennis Pendrith on bass; and Chris Whiteley on harmonica. I played the guitars and sang. The album was mastered by Joao Carvalho and the cover painting was by Graham Fish.
I originally planned to re-release my two "pre-CD" albums, "Train Going East" (1979) and "In The Barroom Light" (1985) in CD format, but decided to choose the songs from those early days which seem to have endurance and are requested at gigs from time to time. The recording of the older material turned out to be a journey back to a mind-set of the past, a revisitation of a psychological and emotional place, which I did not expect. This caused some considerable inner turmoil, which, as we all know, ultimately leads to personal growth.
Of all the recording I have done, for public release or otherwise, this one has revealed the most to me and is a source of great pride. I wish to express my sincere gratitude to Hugh Carson who encouraged me to re-record the older tunes and to Jaoa Carvalho whose strength and encouragement helped tremendously to keep things on track. Working with the fine musicians who played on the CD was very exciting and I thank them all. I hope that you enjoy this journey from past to present.
For Helen, Glenn and Jimmie
"Bridges" is the CD that in so many ways kicked off a real performance career for me. It was reviewed in England and the U.S. in highly respected publications (see "reviews" at timharrison.ca) which led to airplay, which led to bookings, and so on. These songs show me finding my own voice in my writing, and, fresh off some some lit studies, show themselves to be chock-a-block with literary allusions. This CD was a struggle to make, was delayed in production twice, but that work has shown the CD to be in the words of one pundit, "a seminal songwriter's CD." "Bridges" also saw the beginning of a brief, but very rich, musical partnership with guitarist Nick Naffin, and cellist Alyssa Wright. They both feature prominently on the CD. Nick passed away a few years back, while Alyssa continues to make and produce fine music. The musicians included Dee Potter on Drums; Dennis Pendrith on Bass; Loretto Reid on Penny Whistle and Irish Flute; Ken Skinner on Keyboards; Rick Fielding on Banjo; and Beverly Kreller on Background Vocals, joined by Mose Scarlett and Glenn Maguire on "Ship To Come In." The cover painting "Bridges" is again by my friend, artist Diann Haist.
"The Stars Above" afforded me the opportunity to get serious about my writing, and became a kind of "dry run" for recording. I was never happy with production values or the over-all sound of the recording, and ultimately pulled it. The songs for the most part I thought were good, and so they got re-recorded on various later recordings.
This was a cassette-only release recorded for Ariel Rogers' Cole Harbour Music. It contains some of my early songs, but its importance to me was really the musical influences which began to emerge and blend to form my own style of expression. Influences like the right-hand rythymical guitar work of Ramblin' Jack Elliott heard on my cover of "Coal Tattoo" (recorded later on the "Tim Harrison" CD and Rhythm and Blues influences of Wilson Pickett and Van Morrison on songs like "Down To The River." By the time a CD release was considered, I felt I had moved on so far that the project remained cassette-only and became a little-heard-from, but never-the-less important piece in my development as an artist.
So this one started it all for me, though I had had the priviledge of recording demos at Eastern Sound in Toronto where all the "biggies" recorded prior to this. But this was really the start. Stan agreed to produce it at a an after-concert party when he had played for us in Owen Sound, and he recommended recording it at Grant Avenue Studios, owned by the Lanois brothers of Hamilton. So I gathered up some friends, rehearsed them, and away we went. This is all very early material, some of which does not stand, and some which wears a very rich patina for all that it is dated by being early work. Again some material was re-recorded, some I took just the melody and created new lyrics for later works. This was a real thrill to do and I feel truly blessed for the opportunity. I literally wept at the beauty of the sound in the studio. Didn't think music could sound that good. Later I learned to hear through the "bigness" to what the effect would really be in the outside world. Still it was a wondrous experience.
See "Sara and Sea" CD
See "Sara and Sea" CD for lyrics
"Song of Thanksgiving"
See "Wheatfield With Crows" CD
"Early Days" is a compilation of 14 re-mastered tracks from Tim Harrison's first vinyl album "Train Going East," (5 tracks) produced by Stan Rogers and engineered by Danial Lanois in 1978, and "In The Barroom Light," (9 tracks) initially released by Cole Harbour Music and produced by David Essig in 1985. Musicians on "Train Going East" cuts include Kim Deschamps on dobro; Danial Lanois on guitar; Stan Rogers on 12-string and background vocals; Garnet Rogers on fiddle and background vocals; Jude Johnson on background vocals; Bill Garrett on guitar; Ross Gibbons on drums; Kevin Dandeno on bass; and Ron Sellwood on piano and accordion. Musicians on "In The Barroom Light" include Willie P. Bennett on harp and background vocals; Scott Merritt, guitar and percussion; Gwen Swick on background vocals; Ron Dann, on pedal steel; Curly Boy Stubbs on acoustic guitar; David Essig on Mandolin; and the incredible rhythm section of David Woodhead on bass, and Al Cross on drums. Some of these songs have been re-recorded over the years. I hope you enjoy these early versions. All songs written by Tim Harrison except where noted.
With the exception of re-mastering some earlier material (see below), I have not recorded anything new for over a decade...until now. Today I am releasing "We Just Fall" which is the first song of a new collection appropriately entitled "Piece By Piece." I will be adding songs as I complete them. I like this new and immediate way that things can be done, not waiting for a whole CD to be finished. I hope you enjoy this tune as much as I enjoyed the process of making and recording it.