I Know Stories (2008)

 

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The first recording by Bread and Bones, I Know Stories, was released in the summer of 2008. It was named Vermont's Best Traditional Album of the Year by the Times Argus newspaper. Some excerpts from reviews include:

 

"Straight away, the album’s strengths are clear. Ruane’s superlative guitar work drives the song. Barron’s nuanced bass line adds depth. Duquette’s and Ruane’s voices weave delightfully through each other and the music. Their words are strong with a wealth of quotable lines. I Know Stories is a solid album made by musicians who know and love traditional American music. Check it out." Herb van der Poll – Seven Days

“The project’s clean, cohesive sound and the group’s sincere delivery of vocalist Richard Ruane’s songs mark them as “an act to watch” on the New England acoustic scene and beyond. Their playing and singing are crisp and confident: Ruane’s work on guitar is full of finesse and creativity. Ms. Duquette’s harmony and lead vocals are clear and to the point but not overly adorned. And – to my ear at least – Barron’s sparse, deep backing on both upright bass and fretless electric puts the real stamp on this music as original, from-the-shoulder, and very much alive. Ruane possesses the three critical tools necessary to any writer in any genre – narrative sensibility, a poet’s ear, and a sense of humor. There are substantial rewards here for the listener.” Jeff Trippe MaineFolkMusic.Com

“The music is delivered tastefully. Ruane's guitar work is crisp and emphatic. Barron is every Vermont folk group's bassist of choice. Duquette's singing is a fine clear alto in perfect step with Ruane. Together the two can sing with the best on record. Finely crafted songs. A sound that is very confident and mature. This trio is headed for the bright lights of folkdom. This CD is highly recommended.” Art Edelstein – Times Argus

 

About the CD:

Musicians:

Bread and Bones: Richard Ruane – vocals, guitar, mandolin and ukulele; Beth Duquette – vocals; Mitch Barron – fretless, fretted and upright basses and vocals.

We had additional help from Jeff Pratt – mandolin on Walking Cane, Matthew Witten – accordion on Fair and Tender Ladies, and Adam Frehm – Dobro on Bread and Bones.

 

All songs written by Richard Ruane, except You Call to Me written by Richard Ruane and Beth Duquette, Walking Cane, traditional with additional words and music by Richard Ruane and Fair and Tender Ladies, traditional. All original music published by Okey Dokey Folkie Music (BMI).

 

Recorded from April 2006 to April 2008 at Resting Lion Studio in Huntington, Vermont, and Toast Pirate Studios in Ripton, Vermont. We also recorded at a number of homes of friends who graciously allowed us to take advantage of their good acoustics and generous hearts. Our thanks to Cindy and Michael Seligmann (and Kathy Clarke), Jim Lienau and Brenda Myrick, Su White and Eric Warren, as well as to the Lincoln Community School and Centerpoint School. Thanks to Gertrude A. Ruane and Tom Ruane for generous encouragement and support and to Mark Mulqueen, Andrea Chesman, Susan Abell and Max. Mixed and mastered by Lane Gibson at Charles Eller Studios in Charlotte, Vermont.

 

Art design and band photo by Win Colwell (www.wcolwell.com).

 

 

About the Songs Click on a song title to read the lyrics (you'll need Acrobat Reader):

 

Song notes by Richard Ruane.

 

Bread and Bones 3:09

Richard: guitar and vocals; Beth: vocals; Mitch: bass and vocals; Adam Frehm: Dobro

I did a solo song-writing retreat a few years ago at Ron Rost’s family cabin in the Berkshires (thanks Ron!) where I set out all my instruments and a tape recorder and I just spent a few days playing and writing. It was pure heaven. Three of the songs on this CD were started there. This song kind of veered off from its beginnings, however, and turned into a song about someone who kills a person in self defense, and runs when he shouldn’t.

 

My Father Is Gone 3:36

Richard: guitar and vocals; Beth: vocals; Mitch: bass

This is another song I started at that same song-writing retreat. My great-grandfather and grandfather emigrated from Ireland to work in the coal mines of Pennsylvania. My grandfather spent the last half of his short life working as a breaker at the Number Nine pit in Pittston. This song takes place at my great-grandmother’s Lambert Street house there.

 

Time Is Passing 3:06

Richard: guitar and vocals; Beth: vocals; Mitch: bass and vocals

A composite of several dear people I’ve known who have dealt with serious illness.

 

You Call to Me 4:27

Beth: vocals; Richard: guitar; Mitch: bass

This is a co-written song sung by Beth that’s best left to people’s own interpretation.

 

I Was Not Born Here 2:42

Richard: guitar and vocals; Beth: vocals; Mitch: bass and vocals

Which defines you more — where you were born or where you choose to live? People take pride in how many generations of their family lived where they live, and that can be a fine thing. However, this song speaks to a different situation, an immigrant’s.

 

Let Me Know 4:10

Richard: guitar and vocals; Beth: vocals; Mitch: bass

This is a love song of sorts, finger-picked on guitar.

 

Fair and Tender Ladies 4:08

Beth: vocals; Richard: guitar, mandolin and vocals; Mitch: bass; Matthew Witten: accordion

This traditional ballad from the British Isles by way of Appalachia features Beth on lead vocals.

 

Blue Coyote 3:22

Richard: guitar and vocals; Beth: vocals; Mitch: bass

When I lived in New Haven, Vermont, there was a long field that sloped down to a boggy stream about a quarter-mile below my house. Coyotes would come through there at night, calling out to each other with their howls. One February night I had to go out to get more wood from our woodpile at about four-thirty in the morning. It was one of those beautifully clear and cold winter nights we get in Vermont, when each star sparkles brilliantly and the snow has a special crunch you only hear when it’s dropped below zero. I filled my arms with wood and heard the coyotes starting up down the hill. I stopped and looked up at all those stars with the wonderful melancholy musical sounds from the coyotes in my ears. I was reflecting on what a wonderful world it really is when I heard a coyote answer the pack from about fifteen yards behind me. I decided to head back in, but I do love that sound.

 

The Wolf Is at the Door 2:41

Richard: guitar and vocals; Beth: vocals; Mitch: bass

From coyotes to wolves — this dreamlike song takes place at my house which is complete with pictures on the walls of ancestors and ghosts.

 

Slipping on Your Way 1:53

Richard: ukulele and vocals; Beth: vocals; Mitch: bass

Everybody loves the ukulele, don’t they? It is an instrument largely lacking in pretensions, as is this song.

 

I Know Stories 5:32

Richard: guitar and vocals; Beth: vocals; Mitch: bass

Sometimes this song seems to be an allegory and sometimes it doesn’t. The story line comes from the “Jack” tales, but told from the giant’s fatalistic perspective. It’s one of those songs that leapt straight from my subconscious without much intervention by me.

 

Walking Cane 2:15

Richard: guitar and vocals; Beth: vocals; Mitch: bass and vocals; Jeff Pratt: mandolin

I’ve always loved this song and have sung it in a few different bands over the years, but one day I started tweaking the lyrics to lose the repeated lines. Then I ended up adding a bridge. It’s all part of the “folk process.”

 

I Dreamed I Rose 2:32

Richard: guitar and vocals; Mitch: bass

Many of the songs I write are based on something that really happened, either to me or someone I’ve met. This is a song literally based on a dream. It is about fundamental understandings, faith and flying (as I said, a dream).

 

 

About the Photographs

 

 

The photographs used on the CD, other than the band photo and the 1933 picture of Joseph John Ruane (Richard’s father) on the cart are from the Library of Congress American Memory Panoramic Photographs Collection (http://memory.loc.gov/ammem/collections/panoramic_photo/).

 

The front cover photograph (and the strips along the sides of the CD tray) are details from a photograph of the Los Angeles Motorcycle Club at Venice, California, taken in 1911.

 

The back cover photograph (and the inside one of a girl with a beach ball) are details from a photograph of the Venice Bathing Beauty Pageant of 1926.

 

The inside photograph of a brass band is of The Cowboy Band, Inc. of Simmons University, Abilene, Texas. It was taken in 1929 and it says on the photograph, “The famous cowboy band - official band of the Texas Hoover delegation. The best known university band in the world. Leaving Texas June first and playing eighteen weeks on Broadway, New York."

 

Clicking on any of the bottom four photographs will bring up a larger image.