Well, What can I say? It’s wonderful, quite possibly the best thing I’ve ever done.
I have been wanting to make this album for a while. I even went so far as to put down a deposit, however sometimes things in life don’t happen the way you intend. People let you down and so you’ve got to pick up the pieces and start over. I guess as long as you learn from your mistakes it’s not so bad making them! I guess I was just trusting the wrong people! Once I was back on the right path the pieces just fell into place and this album is truly blessed. Thanks must go especially to Tom T. Hall & Miss Dixie for their endless generosity, talk about Southern hospitality! We are very honoured to be ‘family’ now,.. being a ‘Daughter of Bluegrass’ & all! Special thanks to Annette, for all the help in organising it all & Becky & Chrissy for making us feel so welcome.
This was truly the best recording experience I have ever had and we are going to try our hardest to get back there in a few years and do it all again. Taking producer role this time was Jerry Salley who, even though he was snowed under with all the promotional stuff from his own new release, ‘Showing My Age’ (Buy it, it’s Fabulous!,… really!) he still found time to fit me in. I have never seen a producer work so hard, he gave 300%, did whatever it took, stayed as late as he needed to,.. And never once made me feel it was ‘good enough’ because he had ‘had enough’!! I lost count of how many times the harmony vocals were sung to ensure they were JUST perfect and to his credit, they are!
Due to our limited time in the USA, I left Jerry and Chris Latham to Mix & Master the tracks, and it was sheer joy receiving the final versions. Special mention also here to Rebekah Long, our studio engineer who soldiered on for a solid week often until the early hours of the morn,..never flustered, never faltered, never tiring! The musicians, WOW!, what can I say,.. and WOW! is indeed all you can say when you watch some of America’s best Bluegrass musicians at work. The players included Josh Williams (guitar), Randy Kohrs (resonator guitar), Tim Crouch (Fiddle & Mandolin), Mike Bub (Double Bass) & Aaron McDaris (Banjo) and because of these guys, musically, it is the best album I’ve ever made. Two of the recorded tracks are songs from the pen of Mr Tom T and Miss Dixie, and not only are they both great songs, but they feature my banjo playing whizz (& husband) Marty, on Banjo. He thought recording with all those World class session players might be a bit daunting so he picked two songs only to feature on, but they sound great.
Jerry worked incredibly hard to make this album great and along with his great singing we have Val Storey’s beautiful backing vocals and two special features. The first is a great duet with Bluegrass Gospel singer Daryl Mosley. I met Daryl years ago at the Cherokee Bluegrass Festival & asked him to do this duet at the time. Ok, so it took a few years to organise, but it was definitely worth the wait. Don’t forget to look him up on the net – as he has some lovely solo albums worth having in your collection.
Secondly, on this album I have recorded a version of the famous Dolly Parton song ‘Coat Of Many Colours’ as I thought it would work beautifully in a bluegrass setting. As a surprise for me, Miss Dixie arranged to have their good friend (Dolly’s younger sister & well known gospel singer) Stella Parton, to come in to feature on the song. The song sounds wonderful! Stella did a beautiful job and the connection of having her sing on that song which was written about her mother was just really special to me. It showed incredible generosity on her behalf towards someone she hardly knew. I can still hear Jerry saying ‘I know we didn’t tell you Karen, but I didn’t think you’d mind!’
Finally a couple of special mentions, firstly to Becky & Chrissy for keeping us comfortable and well fed (too well fed!,. those desserts were scrumptious and unfortunately my only weakness, ah well, back to the treadmill for me!), and secondly to ‘Miss Heather’ & ‘Mr Tim’ who allowed William to spend days with them at their home school during those weeks and do many more exciting things than sit in a boring old studio and listen to mummy sing (ho hum!). In closing I have got to say it really is a great album – far better than I could ever have imagined. I hope all of you who give it a chance, agree!