'The High Road Home' is a collection of seven relatively new songs, seven older songs - recorded previously and unrecorded, and one song by our friend, Dayna Kurtz. For the first time on a recording, I gave other musicians the freedom to shape my songs. I asked several musician friends for help on various songs, suggesting they take the basic vocal and guitar tracks and add any number of accompaniment parts - vocal or instrumental - which they felt would enhance the songs. These musicians include my regular musical partners, Susan Taylor, Cary Taylor, and Danny Harlow from SC; Steve Gillette and Cindy Mangsen from VT; Lon and Lis Williamson and Jason Thomas from FL; Kelly Mulhollan and Donna Stjerna of 'Still On the Hill', our neighbors in AR; and Wayne Manning of Auburn CA, whose deep bass voice will be recognizable from the CDs 'Laughing In the Face of the Blues' and 'Don't Let Go'.
The older songs include four which were written during my rock band days and which are the only songs I've found among hundreds I wrote from '70 to '88 which survived the transition from a band setting to solo acoustic performance. These include "Bad Feeling", "When You're Gone", "Cave-Woman Betty" (formerly "As the Rain Begins to Fall"), and "Road Dog Blues #1. I'm happy to have them back in the repertoire. One solo piece included among these older songs is "Hand Me Down", which was written for a play on homelessness and was previously recorded on an early album 'Highway From Back Home'.
Of the newer songs, "Sailing Away" reflects the 2 years of trying to help my Dad and his wife through the ordeal of Alzheimer's. "O Chain Lightnin' - previously released as a single - is one of two songs, along with "Atlantis Goin' Down", which relate directly to the catastrophe of hurricane Katrina. Indirectly connected to this theme is a song written to celebrate what remains of the wilds of Florida: "Song of the 'Glades". "No Longer Headed Nowhere" was written in 1993 and is a song of forgiveness, self-discovery, and recovery. "Invocation", according to Dayna Kurtz, wasn't actually written for her mother, but is an invocation to her creative Muse - whom she feels she abandoned - to let her "come home" and try again.
"Pumphouse Blues", "A Dangerous Thing", and "While the Sun Goes Down" are typical of my right-brain explorations of spontaneous and varied ideas encompassing love, life and religion, and are not easily pigeonholed. The title song, "The High Road Home", was written while contemplating the simplicity and clarity of the music of Tom Paxton, whom I occasionally accompany on guitar, but which, nevertheless, was also born in an attempt to keep my right-brain "rambling boy" on a short leash.