Recording the songs for my new album Call It Home has been a wonderful and rewarding experience. It started in 2015 and carried through to early 2016 at The Barn Studio on Hornby Island, BC. The studio is operated by Marc Atkinson who is an accomplished musician with his own group called the Marc Atkinson Trio and is a member of the folk-roots band, The Bills. Marc is the engineer and a multi-instrument musician as well as the co-producer on the recording.
The path to Home is like many things in life: a combination of intent and pure happenstance. The story began a little earlier when I was asked to sing a song at the 2014 Hornby Island Fall Fair that I’d written in 1993 about Albert Savoie who had brought the first car ferry service to Hornby Island in the 1950s. Even though I’d not sung the song on Hornby Island in 20 years it turns out it had been picked up by a school teacher and taught to students to sing as a choir piece, so a number of people knew of it. That was the only song I sang that day but it made something click in me.
During the fall of 2014 I started brushing up my rhythm guitar chops and decided to buy a lovely new guitar seeing as I’d sold my two good 6-string acoustics some years earlier (I’d never parted with my old 1968 Gibson 12-string). It was a treat to have a new guitar and a new interest in singing and writing. The first song I wrote that fall–“Your Day Is Done”–finds its way onto this recording as do a number of others that followed. It seems the writing bug also returned to me after an absence of over 20 years. Really, I was quite surprised by it.
Around this time, fellow Hornby Islander Marc Atkinson invited me over to his studio one night to record a song, just for fun. I think he may have first thought I was a newbie in the studio but I proved him wrong and we had a good evening laying down a simple arrangement with me on guitar and singing and him playing bass. The wheels starting turning and I began hatching the plan to record more.
My first idea was to record a straight-forward album of my older songs and then follow it with another album of ten new songs that I’d made a commitment to write by the end of 2015. But as the recording went along another path became clear. I realized that I had ten songs—six of which were brand new—that we’re all about or inspired by the place I live, Hornby Island. It meant putting some of the other songs I’d been recording on hold and focusing on these more “themed” selections. When I realized this, it made so much sense and it felt right. Call It Home it would be.