My musical roots go back decades. It’s interesting when I take a long view of them. Like a huge tree with broad limbs, you can never predict what the crown will look like from the time that the roots are embedded in the soil. Music takes unpredictable paths -- like the many directions that Southern California punk has taken over the years -- but the roots are always there, providing nourishment and foundation to the ever spreading branches.
This album represents three distinct historical trends that came together in the span of only 10 days during recording at Studios 606 and Big Bad Sound in April of 2016. The most obvious one is the musicians themselves. The rhythm section is composed of players from Social Distortion. 36 years ago, Bad Religion and Social Distortion shared a stage in Santa Ana, California. Well, it wasn’t really a stage, it was an abandoned warehouse made into a punk concert/party place. That was my first concert, as the singer/songwriter in Bad Religion. Our styles over the years diverged, but one consistent element remained – our love of American Folk Rock and Old-Time music continued to grow.
The second root apparent on this album is that of the sound and musicianship itself. No mere hacks, these musicians are masters. Vintage wood, having been crafted into musical instruments, produces the sound of history when played by virtuosos such as those collected here. An old guitar, a vintage fiddle, drums and bass, clawhammer banjo, and a combo of electric guitar and tubed amplifier, create a sound that can only be described as classic. When you add the beautiful harmonies of these most excellent background singers, there is no doubt that this music comes from a deep-rooted expression of American experience.
The final historical root is a personal one. The people who introduced me to Old-Time music are now old-timers themselves. My family roots go back to Indiana and Wisconsin. The Indiana folks sang a-Capella in the old country chapel at my Grandma’s funeral. Her children taught me to sing and the songs they chose came from the 30s, 40s, 50s, and of course the folk revival tunes of the 1960s. This was the sound I brought forth to my own band starting in the 1980s. It’s the only kind of lyrical style I know. And hopefully this album will add another strong branch to my music. Thank you all for continuing to water the tree.
released March 10, 2017
Greg Graffin - lead vocal, piano, acoustic guitar
Jonny Wickersham - electric and acoustic guitars
David Bragger - fiddle, banjo, mandolin, acoustic guitar
David Hidalgo Jr. - drums
Brent Harding - electric and acoustic bass
David Kalish - acoustic guitar, slide guitar, hammond B3 organ,
Steven Carroll - electric guitar
Valerie Pinkston - background vocals
Arnold McCuller - background vocals
Written by Greg Graffin, Polypterus Music administered by Warner/Chappell
except Lincoln’s Funeral Train written by Norman Blake & Published by Nannor Music (BMI).
Produced by Brett Gurewitz
Mixed by Brett Gurewitz
Except "Time Of Need" Mixed by David Kalish
Engineers: David Kalish, Jeff Halbert, & John Lousteau
Assistant Engineers Steve Olmon, Zack Fisher, & Samon Rajabnik
Studio 606, Northridge, CA
Big Bad Sound, Silverlake, CA
Mixed at Paramount Recording Studios Hollywood, CA
Mastered by Pete Lyman at Infrasonic
I would like to thank all the great people involved in this project from its inception, including all those musicians and engineers and others listed above who dedicated themselves to learning and loving these songs. This album is a testament to their dedication. At home Allison's constant enthusiasm made me want to write more songs. David Bragger inspired me to write anything at all, because he can play everything. Brett had a vision from the get go, and encouraged me endlessly. The people at Epitaph and ANTI, my Bad Religion colleagues, and those crew members who have been there all along have allowed me the freedom to "do what you want." Finally, and perhaps most importantly, all those people who have come to shows to hear me sing, I couldn't have done this without you. Thank you so much!
The following professionals deserve all my thanks for years of unending assistance and advice:
Business Management: Steven Barlevi, Frank Nuti
Legal representation: Eric Greenspan
And my new manager is also a part of the team now: Peter Katsis
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