Been Through So Much Together....

As I write this, its four years to the day that a group of songwriters and musicians got together at the Beachland Ballroom in Cleveland to stage a concert. Our friend, John Bassette, needed our help, had some hard times, some medical bills.... that kinda thing. So we sang, which is what we always do. SRO, so we raised a few bucks too, helped out some. But as we gathered between sets in the green room, I looked around at the coming together of talent there that night and made an offhand comment that wouldn’t it be cool to make a record of us, and others too, singing John’s songs? I mean, he wrote so many. So Alex looks at me with that skinny little grin and sez, why don’t you produce it? Not knowing what I was getting into, I sez sure, ok.

Well now, here we are four years later ( try coralling a couple dozen right brained sociopaths for something like this... its like trying to herd butterflies, so four years is good) finishing this up. There are 17 of John’s songs on this disc, only because that’s all that would fit. There woulda been more. I wanted this to be Northeast Ohio artists, and they all are except for Tom Paxton, who was a mentor and great friend and influence for John when he was getting started. They are all songwriters in their own right, a great tribute to John. I wanted them to be John’s contemporaries as well as artists who were too young to have seen John perform. I wanted the artists to be men and women, black and white, young and....  well... our age.

I wanted this to not be limited to the ‘folk’ idiom because, as John would say, what is that anyway? So there’s folk singers and reggae, rock, gospel, r & b, zydeco and alt. I asked each artist to interpret John’s song “as if you’d co-written it with him.” And they did.

For me, it put me back in touch with lots of old friends I haven’t hung with in a long time. It was a great trip. We need to keep in touch, and maybe this will help us do that. I enjoyed the creative energies that John always encouraged in us. I enjoyed revisiting John’s songs. I loved the making of the music. I hope you enjoy hearing it too. That’s how it should be.

                        -Jim Ballard  19 May 2006