I am very proud of this latest effort, 'Erleichda'. Many of the tracks were conceived or developed while watching miles of beautiful southern scenery roll by from the passenger seat of the tour van; perhaps why it seems to make a great driving disc, something to pop on for a road trip or the daily commute.
Stellar support lineup includes Nashville multi-instrumentalist and harmonica legend Charlie McCoy, who has performed and/or recorded with the likes of Elvis Presley, Bob Dylan, Roy Orbison, Simon & Garfunkel, Willie Nelson, Johnny Cash, Leonard Cohen and a host of others. David C. Johnson, who often tours with Aaron Neville and plays in countless other arrangements, possesses the crazy fingers behind the bass on this project. Keven Aland, who has played with Leftover Salmon, Widespread Panic, Peter Yarrow, The Kind, Gypsy Wind, Sampa Jazz and (ahem) the Roy Schneider Trio drives the fiddle, while Kim Mayfield massages the piano keys and sings sweet harmonies. I do all the guitars, lead vocals, some bg vocals, banjo, mandolin, flutes, drums and percussion. I play bass on two songs that I didn't think I'd have bass on originally, or I would've put David on those while I had him captive in the studio. All songs are original except the final track, a cover of one of my favorite Grateful Dead songs, "Brokedown Palace".
The word 'Erleichda' comes from a Tom Robbins novel, Jitterbug Perfume [Mr. Robbins: I thanked you at the top of the album credits - hopefully this will prevent you wanting to sue me. I don't have any money anyway, as I am singing and hawking CDs for a living]. Loosely translated, it means "lighten up". I thought it a good descriptive for this particular collection of songs, as most of them are pretty upbeat and light (not to be confused with shallow or frivolous). "Strange Wind" is perhaps the exception to the rule, as it directly addresses the slump in our economy and the sad results therefrom... But I still have to end it on an optimistic note because I never want to leave anyone feeling depressed or that things are hopeless. Once you take an attitude like that, you've lost... You know?
I look very forward to our extended West/Northwest/Midwest tour this summer and our trip to the UK in the fall to promote this album (I will be traveling as a duo with Kim). I hope you'll listen and pick up a copy - all proceeds benefit the Keep Roy and Kim from Starving foundation. Thank you in advance for your support of original handmade music.