Martin writing out a chart at Seven Pines
In the fall of 2014, I was in a picking circle with a group of friends sharing music. After the evening had wrapped up Martin Parker, approached me and said, “Man, we need to record your songs”. Well, I was flattered and my response was simple: “That sounds great!” For several weeks this scene played out four or five more times until one day I swallowed my pride and told him that money around my house was in short supply. (In February I had lost my day Job and by July I had been diagnosed with metastatic melanoma in my pancreas –what cash I had was going to hospital bills.) Well to that my dear friend Martin replied, “Who said anything about money? I have a studio and you have songs. Let’s make a record!”
In January I rolled up to Seven Pines Studio in Yeopim, NC. Martin introduced me to his engineer Adam Nixon and we started laying the foundation for this album. In the meantime Martin put the word out to my friends that we were working on a recording project to capture some of my songs. By the time the rhythm tracks were in the can we had a long list of friends waiting to add their love and talent to this little record.
Adam & Tommy on the porch at Seven Pines
I owe a huge debt of gratitude to the art farmers, hippies and sea gypsies who helped create this record. The Snake Oil Cowboy himself, Chuck “Coyote” Larson, welcomed us in to his Swampworks studio in Kitty Hawk, N.C. It was in the Swamp that we captured the fretless magic of Bobby “Muskrat” Reames and Charlie Austin. It was also here that we recorded the “Spaghetti Western Guitar” of my dear friend and all-time guitar hero Tommy Desanto and the “Velvet” Tele of the notorious Joe Mapp.
Coyote holding court in the Swamp
"Funky Bloodworm” Buzz Bessette lent his unmatched skill at the Hammond B-3 and piano to our rhythm section. While across the Atlantic Ocean Joe McGlohon, popped in to Randal Elliot’s Studio in London England on a Saturday morning and added his funky, phat, greasiest, groovinist, ten-times-tenor saxophone to the mix.
Buzz works the Hammond B-3 like a rented mule
Charlie playing my Great, Great Grandfathers fiddle
Muskrat at the bar
Scott Franson, of The Ranch Recording Studio in Kill Devil Hills, NC spent hours mixing and mastering this project and for this I am beyond grateful. He also recorded Carson Huggins as he laid down his signature “fat back pocket” on Two Tears and Too Old to Fight: he recorded the haunting guitar work of my dear friend A.C. Wescott, who taught me how to play bluegrass; and added Joe Mapp’s mystical blues on Koda Color Eyes. Furthermore he captured the New Orleans sound of the Dough’s Creek Rhythm Kings, the rowdy bar-room harmony of The Green Dolphin Pub Crawlers, the transcendent string harmonies of Club Violin, and fixed my mistakes everywhere else.
Joe & the Velvet Tele
"Mix-Master" Scott has it all dialed in
Carson at the Groove desk
To Adam Nixon who, kept his ears in the cans and his nose to the console, recording my ideas while I was in a prednisone induced work binge, I owe a heart-felt thanks and a couple of good night’s sleep (but not much for you are young and there is a lot of work left to do). To this list of beautiful people, I am forever grateful to Martin Parker. Had it not been for his great big heart, generosity, vision, encouragement, talent and persistence this project would still be a dream buried deep in my bucket-list. Thank you Drumbellina!
My dream-moment during this project was singing with my daughters Katelyn, Anna Lee & Willow. They are not only great singers with a professional approach to the craft; they are also the coolest people that I know. To my wife Becki, whose support keeps me going every day, who is my muse, inspiration, partner, the mother of my children, my best friend and the absolute love of my life I owe it all.
Becki, Sue & Leslie class up the joint
Willow, Katelyn & Anna Lee get studio tips from Martin the "Reducer"
A.C. tunes up for his turn
I am proud of this record, and at the same time humbled by the talents shared to create it. The energy, laughter, and spirit of my friends & family have filled my life with joy, & love – and I hope that listening to these songs will do the same for you!
Peace, Bill Rea
Produced by Martin Parker
All Songs were recorded at Seven Pines Studio in Yeopim, NC engineered by Adam Nixon.
Mixed and mastered by Scott Franson at The Ranch Recording Studio Kill Devil Hills, NC
Joe McGlohon and his Saxophones were recorded at ELZ Music & Multimedia in London, England engineered by Elliott Randall.
Buzz Bessette’s Hammond B-3 was recorded at Funky Blood Worm Music in Spot, NC
Charlie Austin playing my Great Great Grandfather’s fiddle, Tommy Desanto’s guitar, Joe Mapp’s guitar on Mama’s Door & Bobby “Muskrat” Reames’ resophonic guitar and pedal steel were recorded at Swampworks Recording Studio in Kitty Hawk, NC
A.C. Wescott’s guitar on Daddy’s Lullaby, Bill Rea’s banjo and mandolin on Pleasant Valley & Gut String Guitar on Koda Color Eyes, Joe Mapp’s guitar on Koda Color Eyes, Carson Huggins drums, The Dough’s Creek Rhythm Kings, The Green Dolphin Pub Crawlers & Shanty Singers and Club Violin were all recorded at The Ranch Recording Studio in Kill Devil Hills, NC engineered by Scott Franson.
All songs written by Bill Rea except;
Daddy’s Lullaby, co-written by Bill Rea & Becki Rea;
Savannah Bound, co-written by Bill Rea & Charles Redmond
All songs published by Cracker Soul Man Publishing (BMI)
With all of my love I dedicate this record to my dad and mom Bill & Nancy Rea who never once said “you can’t do that”.