The sound is Lewis' own brand of folk that rocks, while the songs reflect the universal changes that surround us all, awash in confessional spirituality with some help from the IChing, Chuang Tzu and the rear axle of a '53 Dodge Pick-Up.
From Now To Now ~ Producer's Notes
Every Precious Day was the cornerstone of the Folk Rock Project - a band I formed in 2014. My electric guitar chunks it ways through; Jeremy Kendall overdubs his first drum session with headphones, and Scott Paulson’s signature bass lines are prolific - like his great run right after the first line of the chorus. Chas Eller runs his river of Hammond B-3 through the song - as he does throughout the album. The last two verses owe a nod to the I Ching.
The Messenger was originally written for Seeds & Stones - a play produced at Randolph, Vermont's famous Chandler Music Hall with a cast of young people folk ages 8-18; I wrote the music and script. The song was about a son who hadn’t seen his father in 10 years. At the end of the songs the son asks:
“Do you need an invitation, can I send you a broken map?”
The father replies:
“I see the road so clearly, but I cannot make it back.”
I wrote High Flyer on my outside deck one evening in late spring, proceeded upstairs, turned the recording machines on and laid it down, all overdubs notwithstanding. It features a finger-picking intro that switches over to a hard rhythm - pardon the noise in the transition. Jay Ekis, who played a host of gigs with the Folk Rock Project, adds his fluid electric guitar chops to finalize the groove.
When Jeff Berlin came over to do the drums, I gave him a choice of a studio version with a click track or this off-the cuff version done live and he chose the latter. I used to think his drumming was ‘inventive’ but on this song, it’s purely a work of art; he just finds the essence of the song in his grooves.
I also gave him a choice of two versions of Leave A Trace; when he heard them both he asked: “are those peepers I hear at the beginning”? Opting for living, breathing music, he chose that one.
While visiting my friend Rosemary in Toronto, I got a series of texts from her as I was leaving the country and some of these lines made it into Shamans. I also used some passages from her emails. She was a singer-songwriter and poet and even her 'every day' remarks were poignant. I am an observant writer and I steal as much as I can; in this case it was with her blessings.
Crescent Wrench doesn’t need much explanation: we all handle grief and loss differently - be it for friend, lover, or family and this is my take on it. Chas Eller hits another gear on the tail of a song, while Eric Graham plays his usual melodic bass lines when he’s not holding down the bottom end. My violin is ‘the bird that flew’…
Celebration was started at a wedding I was playing, then crafted over an entire winter. It features my friend and colleague from Seeds & Stones, Patty Akley-Warlick on vocals. As she and I were rehearsing the song for a concert, we came up with the chorus that helped to keep the song focused and moving forward as I opted to lop off two other verses that drained the song of its momentum.
To A Friend (Eulogy) was written after a friend died.
In Our Time is for Rosemary; she and I were partners in the 70’s and remained friends ever since. I sang this to her before she passed away a spring ago. Another nod to the Tao and the writings of Chuang Tzu. She wrote a most incredible book called Every Little Thing about the preciousness of life as her death was on the doorstep. Hence the last line…
I wrote Round Song in the 70’s in Waterville, Vermont, while putting a rear end into a ’53 Dodge pick-up. Hillary Leicher is the femme-fatale as we sing live in the studio.