A few months ago I said, "Ya know, a body ought to cut a record every thirty years or so!" Actually, I recorded a song in 1981 which I had written titled The Ballad of Old Fort Mountain. It featured banjo legend Raymond Fairchild, mountain fiddle legend Arvil Freeman, and the now-prominent bluegrass greats, the Crowe Brothers. Back then music - not talk - was the prevalent format on AM radio stations and WWNC gave it a lot of air play. Luckily, it caught on and I sold a few thousand 45 rpm's. This song is included as a bonus track on our project to depict "then and now".
This spring I decided it was time to dig into my files and record some more songs I had written. The earliest one was penned when I was on active duty in the Navy in 1970. About 20 songs were left on the cutting room floor so to speak - but I'll save them for the next thirty years' recording project!
I don't refer to this as a Bucket List project, but I felt it was time to record the songs I have written about my experiences as a mountain native. I grew up in Canton, but have resided in Asheville for years. Each song was influenced by an event I had experienced or heard about growing up here in the Western North Carolina mountains. My Haywood County roots are the Dutch Cove area of Canton a few miles past Morning Star Church - a well-known venue for shape note singers in the past.
Special thanks go to my long-time friend, David Holt, who recommended I ask Josh Goforth to produce my project. Josh is a gifted musician from Madison County whose music creativity complemented what I wanted my lyrics and tunes to say. I owe much gratitude to Eddie Swann who was the technical expert in the control room, and to Josh since they both tutored me on how to record vocals in a studio. It's a whole lot different than live performing which I did at the Pisgah View Ranch for many years, or what we did with The Ballad of Old Fort Mountain in 1981 where we gathered around a couple of microphones, recorded a few cuts, kept the best one and went home. Also, special thanks go to Steven Heller who was the engineer then and who has been an encouraging friend for over thirty years.
Josh, Eddie and I began our studio work in May and I owe them a lot for their creative genius and support. Eddie and I were talking about the genre of my material, since it's not bluegrass or folk or country exactly. I like his description - he calls it "Americoustic"™. I know you will be amazed by Josh Goforth's versatile musical talents and his arrangements of my tunes.
Grammy Award winning graphic designer, Mark Wilson, deserves special credit for the cover design and liner notes format which included using an old 1970's photo of me with Lester Flatt, Bill Monroe and Jimmy Haynie - a Canton ballad singer. They were all influences on me throughout the years.
Thanks to all who helped out with My Mountains, My Songs. If you like it, please direct your friends to my website - www.richardhurleymusic.com. I truly appreciate your giving my CD a listen!