Chequamegon Bay Lyrics MP3 (Full)
When I was young, my parents would take me, my two brothers and my sister up to my Grandparents house in Ashland, Wisconsin on Lake Superior for a few weeks every summer. Their house sat on about 10 acres on Lake Park road about 50 yards from the shore of Chequamegon Bay (pronounced She-wa-me-gen). I would often go across the street to look out over the bay and watch the sunset over the Apostle Islands. It was beautiful and peaceful there with the sun sparkling on the water and the waves lapping at the shoreline. My grandparents home with its fruit trees, cows, and many cats is the source of many wonderful memories for me. I wrote this song to try to capture the feeling I used to get wandering about in that magical place Up North.
George McClarnon was my great grandfather, a son of Scots-Irish immigrants. Originally of the McLaren clan in Scotland, his ancestors moved to Ulster, Northern Ireland in the 1600s and his grandfather, William McClarnon, and father James emigrated to the US in 1840. The McClarnons were farmers and homesteaders, living variously in Greenfield, Indiana, Kansas; Lineville, Missouri; Filmore, North Dakota; Iron River, Wisconsin and Tonowanda; New York. It seems that homesteading, then moving on whenever things got too civilized was a way of life for George. He was also a mechanic and had one of the first tractors in North Dakota. In 1912, he and his wife Ida and their five young children took an automobile trip in their Model "A" over 500 miles to visit her relatives, the Robert H. Moore clan of Northern Missouri. Considering the condition of the roads in those days, that must have been quite an intrepid journey. I honor the nomadic lifestyle of George and his family with the "Gypsy" feeling embodied in this tune.
Ida May's MP3 (Clip)
Ida May Moore was born into the large clan of the descendants of Robert Haynes Moore, her grandfather and one of the first white settlers in Marion County in Northern Missouri. She was a tough and hot tempered woman who wore whalebone corsets and washed her hair with Fels-Naptha Lye soap. Her intensity and determination is reflected in this tune written in her honor.
In the Clouds
Gazing up at the clouds drifting by on a summer day gave me the inspiration for this calming, meditiative piece.
The Breton Bog
In 1988 Sally and I were living in Caribou, Maine and one summer decided to make a trip to Nova Scotia. On Cape Breton Island we wandered in the pine forests and came upon a peat bog with a thick carpet of moss and pitcher plants everwhere. This wonderful ground quivered and shook when you walked on it as if it were alive, which in a way it was. This quiet and moody place was the inspiration for “The Breton Bog”.
The Filmore Homestead
My Great grandparents, Ida Mae and George McClarnon Homesteaded in North Central North Dakota in the early 1900's. This is a tribute to their pioneer spirit and determination to eke a living from a wild and unforgiving landscape.
Far, Far, Away Lyrics
This is a three part round with haunting harmonies reflecting a longing to return to our ancestral home in Scotland.
Aboard the Ship Augusta Lyrics MP3 (Clip)
In June of 1840 my great-great-great grandparents William and Esther McClarnon and their five children made the crossing from Liverpool to New York on the August along with 242 other immigrants. This song reflects my interpretation of what the toughts of those immigrants must have been.
The Silent Wood/The Ancient Oak MP3 (Clip)
This set or two meditative airs were inspired by a huge live Oak I saw in a wilderness park near my home in San Antonio. I used the Mixolydian mode to give the tunes a dreamy timeless quality.
Alaska Bound Lyrics MP3 (Clip)
This song has a old time Americana flavor and describes a man taking leave of his friends and relatives as he risks everything to seek his fortune during the Alaska Gold rush of the 1890s.
The Hermit Thrush MP3 (Clip)
An energetic tune with a bit of Galician (Northern Spain) Celtic flavor. The Hermit Thrush is a secretive bird with a beautiful ethereal voice that I remember well from our time living in Northern Michigan.
The Otter's Walk
We played our first paying gig for the Rennaissance Reenactor's Group Otter Chaos in February 2005. They are a really fun bunch and gave us a great show of support. I wrote this tune shortly thereafter which I think captures the fun loving spirit of the group.