First, the ol' "standing on the shoulders of giants" is definitely in play here. Between all the hundreds of people over the years who crafted, cultivated, and preserved these old songs, to the countless musicians who have influenced me musically, I have a lot of folks to thank whom I've never met. That said, I thought I'd take a few kilobytes to tell you about a few people who played a big role in this album.
Thanks to my bro-steen Kyle for, among many other things (including being an all-around fantastic brother and friend), inspiring me to start playing solo in the first place. Though we shared a love of bluegrass for many years, his musical tastes began to shift away from mine some years ago. It began as an obsession with old-time music—I took a long time to really appreciate the rawness and emptiness of old-time, and I probably still don't the way he does.
Then he got into Japanese Tsugaru shamisen1 and Tuvan throat-singing2, just as I started branching out into old-time fiddle tunes and other, harder-to-categorize stuff3. With our tastes drifting apart—and with our one-on-one music sessions frequently devolving into bickering over arrangements—it was becoming harder and harder to find common musical ground together.
Unable to get his older brother to really participate in earnest, Kyle was forced to play on his own. It took me a long time to realize it, but he really got a lot out of playing alone—and most surprisingly to me, singing alone4. I never sang alone at home5, but after awhile, I got the feeling that I was missing out. And I discovered that, indeed, I was. The rest, as they say, is history.
I hope we have many days of fruitful musical collaboration ahead of us, and I look forward to hearing his album when it comes out. (You heard it here first…and for that matter, so did he.)
Thanks to Papa and Mama (Carl and Leslie), of course. I can't even begin to elucidate what amazing people they are or the kind of impact they've had on my life, so I won't even try. I will tell you that I'm grateful for the gift of music that they gave me (in an interesting, very effective way—you can read about it here), and for their patience as I obsessed over getting the recording just right, many months more than anticipated.
Thanks to Sharon Martinson, the closest thing this album has to a “producer.” We met in early 2009, just as I was beginning to put together this album. Through our shared passions of music, cooking, dancing, science, and more, we got to know each other very well. Again, elucidation would take too long, but suffice it to say, we matched each other unusually well, and grew quite fond of one another.
Sadly, she moved away from Santa Cruz in the spring of 2010, but not before giving lots of help with picking tracks to use, sequencing, lending me her fretless banjo, shooting photos for the album cover, and so on. I'm glad we got the opportunity to work on this album together before she left; having her around made the album easier to work on, and having the album to work on made it a little easier to cope with her leaving.
Finally, there are a bunch of other folks who played a smaller role in the album who I would also like to thank: Dan Mills for the use of his reference monitors, my group of elite “beta testers”, all the folks on Facebook who gave me production and mastering advice (especially Pete Hicks for reassuring me that I could do it just fine myself), Bruce Molsky for the inspiration to start singing with the fiddle (and Pamela Telford for the encouragement to record it), Kyle (again) for introducing me to (and letting me record) A Sailor Being Tired, and countless musician friends who have made learning music such a fun experience.