James Higgins | Driftwood

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official web site James Higgins and the Muddy Boots

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United States - Washington

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Folk: British Folk Blues: Folk-Blues Moods: Type: Acoustic
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Driftwood

by James Higgins

Rustic rock with washtub bass and instruments found along the roadway. If you can't afford this CD, it's the CD for you. But don't be fooled by the simplicity of its nature, this is a wonderful piece of living art.
Genre: Folk: British Folk
Release Date: 

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Tracks

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1. Shannon's Come Home
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4:04 $0.99
2. Tool Box Geier
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2:04 $0.99
3. Holy Smoke
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2:52 $0.99
4. Small Step On Broadway
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4:09 $0.99
5. La Ville D'annecy
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3:08 $0.99
6. Thylacine Crossing
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4:08 $0.99
7. Play for Free
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3:59 $0.99
8. Guernica
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5:19 $0.99
9. Salt in the Sugar Bowl
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3:46 $0.99
10. Over a Barrel
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4:46 $0.99
11. Traveling Bag
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3:18 $0.99
12. Chocolate Girls
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2:06 $0.99
13. Break Off From the Vee
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5:06 $0.99
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ABOUT THIS ALBUM


Album Notes
Short Interview with James Higgins.

INTERVIEWER: Well, tell us about this new CD Driftwood.

JAMES: Driftwood is a warm CD. It's like a friendly ghost.

INTERVIEWER: Care to elaborate on that?

JAMES: It's not a loud chain clanking album. No, this is a haunted house with a nice fire and a sleepy old dog. Not one with broken windows, flashing lightening, and some nut in the attic.
Driftwood has points of view and opinions but doesn't ram them down your throat. I think it can be enjoyed for the music or the lyrics. Or both.

INTERVIEWER: Tell us about the music.

JAMES: Most of the bass on this CD was done with my washtub bass. People tend to think on jug band music when they hear me say that, but it's not like that at all. You'd be surprised how versatile a wash tub bass can be. Lyrically, the CD talks about various themes. Play for Free, is about musicians never getting paid but getting "a great opportunity to showcase your music."
Thylacine: There is a famous piece of footage from the 1930s of a captive thylacine. It was taken just before they went extinct. I've always found this short silent film, fascinating and extremely sad to watch. I think the Government of Australia issued a reward in the 1960s for anyone who could prove the continued existence of the thylacine. There have been many rumours and shaky movies but never anything official. But don't quote me on that exactly. Recently I heard that approximately 36% of mammals were on the Red List of endangered species. You could practically count the amount of bullets it would take to destroy one third of the mammalian species' left on Earth. It's come down to that.
Guernica: I've always been amazed at the price of art. The thought that the cost of one painting could feed a third world country is mind blowing. Picasso, apparently could sign a table cloth after a restaurant meal and say keep the change.

Luckily this CD is not all doom and gloom. Songs like Chocolate Girl, Annecy, and, Traveling Bag are much happier and less lofty.

The actual music is unquestionably acoustic. It's very organic: sort of bluesy, sort of folksy. Yet I would say that there isn't a blues song or a folk song on this CD. Perhaps it's time to redefine the folk song image.

INTERVIEWER: Care to have a crack at it?

JAMES: (…..2 minute silence.) No. (…Another pause). Well I guess folk music redefines itself with every generation. It tells the stories of the common man. In order to survive, it adapts but rarely strays from its earthy roots. Folk music has outlived all other genres of music. So I guess folk music can only ever be redefined on a temporary basis. It is the eternal bank for all music. Musicians come to take out loans and borrow tunes and lyrics to invest in new musical plantations which in the end all returns to the bank with renewed interest.

INTERVIEWER: I'll take your word for it.

JAMES; Something like that anyway.

INTERVIEWER: Are you working on a new CD yet?

JAMES: I'm always working on something but there was quite a sense of relief when this CD was finished. I took a conscious break from my guitar for a few days. I had a lot of songs left over. Enough for another CD. I toyed with the idea of a double CD but in the end decided it would be overkill.
I never really plan to do another CD. These things always start with a collection of unrelated songs till a stray spark fuses a few of them together. At that point the idea suddenly takes off in a spontaneous direction with a solid destination in mind. So in answer to the question, yes, I am working on a new CD, but I await in Limbo for instructions.

INTERVIEWER: So, what do you think of this CD? How does it compare with the others?

JAMES: There's nothing on this CD that annoys me. That is the highest praise I can give one of my CDs. My CDs are all different but similar. Often they have themes. Neilston was all about Neilston. Summair was all traditional Scottish and Irish music. Crawling Out the Woodwork was all about being rustic and experimental.
Driftwood was born of a curiosity to see if I could make a whole CD using a wash tub bass on every song. In the end two thirds was wash tub bass. I think that was enough.
Most of the instruments were found in junk shops or, I built them from bits and pieces. They all have their own stories. Like I said before somewhere, they have been driftwood as much as I have been. We are all strangers on a road. It's been fun getting to know them.

Lastly, I'd like to apologise to the people of France for my butchering of their wonderful language on, La Ville D'Annecy.


Reviews


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sarah marie Hamilton

Driftwood
Really loving this cd! Your best yet! Particularly love La Ville D'Annecy makes me smile and want to dance around.

mary cooper

driftwood
Well done James, you've done it again with knobs on! Your best so far. Travelin bag is great but I think my favourite is chocolate girls very clear and dynamic, lots of energy.
A very together kind of cd

Nicole Kimberling

New Old Rustic Sounds
When I first started listening to Driftwood all I knew was that it was mostly done with a washtub bass and an assortment of other homemade instruments. And as I listened to the cd I thought that this must be what kind of music I would have heard coming out of a cabin in the woods back before radio and amplifiers were invented--back when people entertained each other playing music on whatever instruments they could build.

The songs are folksy and bluesy but don't adhere too strictly to either tradition. Higgins' rough, but true voice fits perfectly into the imperfect sounds of the instruments creating a sound that is both authentic and unique.

(Would make a great soundtrack to a road movie--especially one that was set circa 1930.)

J.W. McClure of Victory Music Review, Seattle WA

James Higgins, Driftwood
This has to be my favorite discovery this year. Higgins explains that he retreated from the world of heavy music production for “…simple and sparse…” including use of washtub bass. “It’s underdog music, Organic and rustic; growing haphazardly like ivy clinging to crumbling farm house walls.” That sentence alone should tell you to expect some interesting lyrics. James does all the instruments and harmony voices. ‘Shannon’s Come Home’ is an eerie dance with a compelling beat. ‘Tool Box Geier’ continues the strangeness with the rhythm of the first track and it’s all about a tool box. My favorite is ‘Holy Smoke.’ If you like a bit of mystery in the songs you sing, this is a good collection. ‘Small Step on Broadway’ is a bit more introspective “…from my care she’s headed off to Rome.” ‘La Ville D’Annecy’ is delightfully in French with punctuation from a wood block. You’ll have to do your own search for the meaning of ‘Thylacine,’ Higgins isn’t too wordy on the CD covers. This is a great collection of songs with arrangements proving that less is more. Instrumentation is quite simple with guitar, banjo, bass and a few hand held percussion objects. “Twinkle, Twinkle chocolate girl…” and the poetry doesn’t get any better. [J.W.McClure]