Fur Dixon & Steve Werner | Songs of the Open Road, Vol. One

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Songs of the Open Road, Vol. One

by Fur Dixon & Steve Werner

The third album from Fur and Steve celebrates the songwriting of Mary McCaslin, Jim Ringer, Woody Guthrie, Doc and Merle Watson, Blaze Foley, Randall Lamb and Dan Janisch.
Genre: Folk: Traditional Folk
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1. Southbound Fur Dixon & Steve Werner
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2:41 $0.99
2. I Like How I Feel Fur Dixon & Steve Werner
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4:30 $0.99
3. Do Re Me Fur Dixon & Steve Werner
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4. Dreary Black Hills Fur Dixon & Steve Werner
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5. Waitin' for the Hard Times to Go Fur Dixon & Steve Werner
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6. Clay Pigeons Fur Dixon & Steve Werner
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7. De Colores Fur Dixon & Steve Werner
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8. The Dealers Fur Dixon & Steve Werner
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9. Prairie in the Sky Fur Dixon & Steve Werner
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10. I Cannot Settle Down Fur Dixon & Steve Werner
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ABOUT THIS ALBUM


Album Notes
Why on Earth would a couple of prolific songwriters like Fur Dixon and Steve Werner suddenly release a CD of cover songs?

Fur and Steve recognize and appreciate that they are but a tiny link in the long, beautiful tradition of American folk music. It’s their love of folk music that fuels their own writing, so it’s only natural that they present this heartfelt tribute to some of the songs and songwriters that have inspired them.

Dixon and Werner have been musical partners now for eight years. They have combined their own unique songwriting visions of life, travel and the American West to create a landscape that is all their own. Upon meeting in 2003, Fur and Steve found out instantly that they could harmonize beautifully to each other's songs. Two-part cowboy-style yodeling followed naturally and makes their sound stand out in the Folk Music world.

Songs of the Open Road, Volume One is their third album. It celebrates the writing of Mary McCaslin, Jim Ringer, Doc and Merle Watson, Woody Guthrie, Blaze Foley, Dan Janisch and Randall Lamb. Toss in a couple of fine old traditionals and you have a rich blend of Western highway tunes all given the Fur and Steve treatment: great two-part harmonies, guitars, fiddles, banjos, accordions, pedal steel and of course a little yodeling.

Recorded, engineered and mastered by Ace producer Dennis Moody, Fur and Steve are honored to be joined in this endeavor by some of the finest musicians around Southern California: Paul Marshall, upright, acoustic and electric bass, (I See Hawks in L.A.) Brantley Kearns, fiddle, (Dwight Yoakum, David Bromberg) John McDuffie, pedal steel, (Rita Coolidge) Paul Cartwright, fiddle, (Nathan McCuen, Scott Gates) Otono Lujan, button accordion, (Conjunto Los Pochos) and Tony Zamora, guitarron and Vihuela (Tremolocos).

SONGS:

1. Southbound: by Merle and Doc Watson.
Steve Werner: Guitar/Vocal
Fur Dixon: Guitar/Vocal
Paul Marshall: Bass
Brantley Kearns: Fiddle
Especially in his early “dues-paying days” of the early 60s, Doc Watson would get terribly homesick for his hometown of Boone, North Carolina. His son Merle started joining him on these tours, which made all the difference. As well as being father and son, they were also best friends. Merle wrote this song in 1966. He was an awesome guitar picker in his own right. Merle died tragically in October of 1985. The world lost a truly great musician that day. Fur and Steve wanted to pay tribute to both Merle and Doc and all the Watsons for all the joy that they’ve contributed to the world.

2. I Like How I Feel: by Randall Lamb
Fur Dixon: Guitar/Vocal
Steve Werner: Guitar/Vocal
Paul Marshall: Bass
John McDuffie: Pedal Steel
Randall Lamb is one of the greatest songwriters working today. There’s a Woody Guthrie/Ramblin’ Jack wind blowing through all of Randall’s songs. Fur and Steve met him at the Far-West Folk Alliance conference in 2008 and instantly became thick as thieves. This song rolled around in Fur’s consciousness until she figured she had to give it a go. I Like How I Feel is truly the “feel good” song on the album. Expect to hear more of Randall’s songs performed by Fur and Steve in the future.

3. Do Re Me: by Woody Guthrie
Steve Werner: Guitar/Vocal
Fur Dixon: Guitar/Vocal
Paul Marshall: Bass
Otono Luhan: Button accordion
In 1936 there was a flood of Okies and Arkies coming over the California border desperately looking for work. These Dust-bowlers were vilified, discriminated against and thought to be less than human. They were beat up, beat on and beat down. Everything was blamed on them from crime to the state budget, (Sound familiar?). The LAPD, illegally and totally out of their jurisdiction set up a roadblock at the Arizona border turning back anyone back who wasn’t carrying a hundred dollars cash. Woody saw it with his own eyes when He made his way out west himself. Woody wrote this song because he didn’t like to see people beat down. Neither do Fur and Steve.

4. Dreary Black Hills: Traditional
Fur Dixon: Guitar/Vocal
Steve Werner: Guitar/Vocal/Banjo
Brantley Kearns: Fiddle
Paul Marshall: Bass
The Dreary Black Hills Singers: Susie Glaze, Steve Rankin, Paul Marshall, Dos Tres, Rick Taylor, John McDuffie, Brantley Kearns.
This is an old song from the great Black Hills gold rush of 1874, (which was mostly a total fraud). Some did find gold, but most went bust. The Dakota Territory in those days was a wild and dangerous place. The Indians of the region, namely the Crow, Cheyenne and Sioux nations were none too pleased about the hordes of fortune seekers over-running their sacred Black Hills and many a scalp was taken. These hostilities led to the great Sioux war of 1876-88 when Chief Sitting Bull and Chief Crazy Horse united the disparate native nations against the powerful US Cavalry and almost won. Fur and Steve learned this song off of an old Mary McCaslin-Jim Ringer record, and they dedicate it with love to Dangerous Indians like Russell Means and Leonard Peltier.

5. Waitin’ For the Hard Times To Go: by Jim Ringer
Steve Werner: Guitar/Vocal
Fur Dixon: Guitar/Vocal
Otoño Lujan: Button Accordion
Paul Marshall: Bass
If you want to see the real prototype for what Fur and Steve do, you needn’t look much further than the folk duo of Mary McCaslin and Jim Ringer. The music that they laid down in the 70’s was the epitome of the California country folk sound. The late Jim Ringer is maybe the greatest lost folk hero that California ever produced. He died on St Patrick’s Day, 1992, believing that success had somehow slipped his grasp. We should all be much more aware of Jim Ringer. Jim put out this song in 1972 on an album of the same name, which you can find online. There is also a great “Best Of” album from Rounder Records.
Goest thou now and seek out Jim Ringer.

6. Clay Pigeons: by Blaze Foley
Fur Dixon: Guitar/Vocal
Steve Werner: Guitar/Vocal
Paul Marshall: Bass
Otoño Lujan: Button Accordion
The late Blaze Foley was an acclaimed Texas songwriter who, like his friend Townes Van Zandt, found most of that acclaim coming after his death. His songs have been covered by the likes of Merle Haggard and John Prine. Lucinda Williams wrote a beautiful song about him called Drunken Angel. Clay Pigeons is just one of the great songs he left behind. He was a true Austin, Texas original, who happened to write some of the most beautiful songs ever. We should never forget this man.

7. De Colores: Traditional
Steve Werner: Guitar/Vocal
Fur Dixon: Guitar/Vocal
Otoño Lujan: Button Accordion
Tony Zamora: Guitarron, Vihuela
The Barnyard Singers: Susie Glaze, Steve Rankin, Paul Marshall, Dos Tres, Rick Taylor, John McDuffie.
Steve learned this song back in 1980 when he walked from San Luis Obispo to Los Angeles with a bunch of Chicano Activists from San Jose who were marching to commemorate the 10th anniversary of the Chicano Moratorium, a peaceful anti-Vietnam War protest in East L.A. in 1970, that turned into an ugly police riot leaving many wounded and some killed, including Ruben Salazar; a prominent Hispanic journalist. The marchers asked Steve to come along and he did. Every night of the journey they were put up in a community center or farm labor camp. It was a powerful, formative experience in his life. They taught him this song, which was the theme song of the migrant farm workers union. De Colores is kind of a kid’s song but it has a very deep meaning for Steve. The Song itself came to the Americas from Spain in the 16th century. The English translation is:

In colors, in colors

The fields are dressed in the spring.

In colors, in colors

Are the little birds that come from outside.

In colors, in colors

Is the rainbow that we see shining.



And that is why I love

The great loves of many colors

And that is why I love

The great loves of many colors.



The rooster sings, the rooster sings

With a cock-a-doodle, cock-a-doodle-doo.

The hen, the hen

With a cluck, cluck, cluck, cluck, cluck.

The chicks, the chicks

With a cheep, cheep, cheep, cheep, cheep.



And that is why I love

The great loves of many colors.

And that is why I love

The great loves of many colors.


8. The Dealers: by Mary McCaslin
Fur Dixon: Guitar/Vocal
Steve Werner: Guitar/Vocal
Paul Marshall: Bass
Paul Cartwright: fiddle
Fur and Steve met Mary McCaslin in 2008 and they’ve been fortunate to get to play shows with Mary and get to be friends. She continues to be a great lyrical voice in California folk music as well as an influential guitar player. Mary grew up on the Southern California Coast, probably within eyeshot of one of the power plants there and saw her share of sunsets colored by the brown haze of smog. At the root of it then, as now, is the politics of big money and greed. In 1975 when this song came out on the “Prairie in the Sky” album, environmental awareness was becoming environmental activism. We could sure use a little more of that today.


9. Prairie in the Sky: by Mary McCaslin
Steve Werner: Guitar/Vocal
Fur Dixon: Guitar/Vocal
Paul Marshall: Bass
John McDuffie: Pedal Steel
This is probably Mary’s best-known song and has been covered by many musical artists. It’s so beautiful Fur and Steve couldn’t resist doing it too. It paints an iconic vision of the vanishing west, full of setting suns and horses and tall grass, a pure dream of love for the land. This song really established Mary as a force in Western music. Her solo work, as well as her work with Jim Ringer, remain an important legacy in the history of folk music in California. Her albums are available online, and she still tours around the country. See her if you get a chance. Mary is a genuine California folk treasure.

10. I Cannot Settle Down: by Dan Janisch
Fur Dixon: Guitar/Vocal/Bells
Steve Werner: Guitar/Vocal/Banjo
Paul Marshall: Bass
Dan Janisch is a truly gifted songwriter. Fur, Steve and Dan met as they were all hoofing it around the edges of L.A.’s booming Alt-Country scene. Fur heard this song for the first time around the campfire of one of Fur and Steve’s famous barbecues in 2009. When Dan sang his song even the crackling fire was hushed. It is a stunning and timeless piece you could have heard the Carter Family perform. It should be sung around campfires for a thousand years.

Thank you for your support!

For more information:
www.furandsteve.com
http://www.reverbnation.com/furdixonandstevewerner


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