The Ballad of Cappy John
& other songs of Coastal Maine
FRED GOSBE- Vocals, 12-string guitar, 6-string guitar, 5-string viola (yes, really), Fiddle, Bass , Mandolin, Tin Whistles, Dobro, Harmonica, Dijeridu, Bok Whistles, Bowed Psaltry
JULIA LANE - Background vocals, Celtic harp
MARK McNEIL - guitar, bass, percussion, chorus vocals
CLAIRE CURTIS - concertina, chorus vocals
GARY CLANCY - bass
All compositions copyright Fred Gosbee except "The Old Liars", and "The Fisherman's Life"; copyright Julia Lane
Produced By Fred Gosbee and Julia Lane
These songs are my sketches of some of the folks who have lived and worked on the Maine coast over the last 300 years. There's a love song of a captain for his ship, several tributes to people real and imaginary, songs of history and work, songs of longing.
The Maine character has always been shaped by our close connection with the land and the sea. It isn't always an easy relationship. A hard land with a hard climate means a lot of hard work, but beneath the tough hide that these folks wear is a heart that understands the value of community and of belonging to a place.
All the lyrics for this album can be seen on our web site http://www.castlebay.net/cjlyric.html
FRED GOSBEE is known especially for his finely crafted narrative ballads about Maine characters and history. He was born and grew up in rural central Maine and has collected and performed folk music for over thirty years. His grandparents moved to Maine from New Brunswick in the 1920's and as a child he heard his older relatives singing the old woodsmen's songs and playing fiddle and accordian. He dabbled in the viola as his arms were long enough to reach. During high school, he had training in standard band instruments becoming one of the best tuba players in the state. He has experience with a wide variety of performance groups including orchestras, marching bands,and church and school choirs. At the University of Maine he studied folklore under Sandy Ives as well as engineering. Inspired by the folk music he heard, Fred took up the banjo and guitar. His interest in woodworking led him to begin designing and building guitars and a lute.
After college, Fred Gosbee moved to the coast and became a shipfitter at Bath Ironworks. He had always been drawn to the music of sailors and seamen, and it was here that he began writing his own songs. He became involved with local theater and musical organizations. Adding to his versatility as a vocalist, he sang with madrigal groups, oratorio, musical theater, Gilbert and Sullivan and barbershop groups. Combining his theatrical experience with his knowledge of folk music, he arranged, composed, and performed incidental music for a production of "A Spoon River Anthology." The resulting sound tapestry included 56 pieces of music with songs, instrumentals and new works for voices, guitars, banjo and fiddle performed live for each show. This production led to the formation of a performing folk trio, and back to the traditional music of his childhood. He also began performing his own songs, two of which were used in the WTBS-Atlanta/Turner Broadcasting Corp. series "Portrait of America" segment about Maine.
His works have since been recorded by other artists and have garnered him invitations to international music festivals including three International Festivals of the Sea in England. With Castlebay, he has recorded seventeen albums and has toured the East coast of the US and the British Isles. He currently performs with vocalist /Celtic harpist Julia Lane singing and playing classic and 12-string guitar, viola, fiddle and woodwinds. Together, they have composed a suite for quintet of folk instruments inspired by a tour of the Scottish island of Skye. They were commissioned by the Galloway Scotland Arts council to compose a similar suite for that region. The duo also maintains a commitment to cultural education and provides folklore and music programs for schools, museum, libraries and Elderhostels. When he is not touring, Fred Gosbee engineers and produces recordings and designs and builds Celtic harps.