“Across Time – The Album of the Years Project” features 29 original songs (3 of which are rewrites from my first CD) and a poem by Chief Tecumseh of the Shawnee (1768-1813) for which I wrote the music with help from Don Chapman (Mohegan) Côqayohômuwôk. Steve Bloch of Nashville, “the man with the honest ear”, also helped me polish up 7 of the songs on this CD. In their intro to “Strike by the Moon”, Loren Barrigar and Mark Mazengarb pay homage to Tommy Emmanuel’s great composition “Lewis and Clark”. The only instrumental on the cd is a piece I wrote entitled: “Mariachi Waltz” featuring Richard Smith and the Eichers, with Loren on bass.
Justin Pokrywka is a fabulous young singer/songwriter/performer based on Maryland’s “Eastern Shore”. Lately he has been turning heads in Nashville with his own songs. Several have been taken by publishers for big name artists. My wife and I visited historic Cambridge for a weekend retreat to enjoy their annual “Schooner Rendezvous”. We rode our bikes and enjoyed a ride on the “Mystic Whaler” and had a great dinner at “Jimmie and Sook’s”. After dinner feeling totally elated, we walked down Poplar Street and heard some fantastic music coming out of the open windows of RAR Brewery. We had to check it out. It was Justin. We became friends. He did some great demos for me, and then agreed to do this project. He arranged and recorded the vocals including all the harmonies. What a talent!
This project features a dream team of instrumentalists – all of whom I met through Art Wachter.
I first met Loren and Mark at the Wagon Shed. They blew me away. They met each other at a retreat taught by Tommy Emmanuel, and subsequently began performing together. Loren Barrigar was the youngest instrumentalist ever to play on the stages of the Grand Ole Opry (in 1968 when he was 6 years old) and he went on to study with Chet Atkins’ brother, Jimmy Atkins. Mark Mazengarb is an extremely versatile and brilliant guitarist from New Zealand, equally comfortable in classical, jazz, folk, and bluegrass styles. We became friends and I helped them with their tour for a while. Recently they toured with Tommy Emmanuel. They are regular headliners each year at the Chet Atkins Festival in Nashville, and they are building a growing fan base around the world. Loren also does double duty as bass player on this project.
Rob Ickes is the finest dobro player on the planet. He was a protégée of Mike Auldridge who went on to become a founding member of “Blue Highway”, one of the most successful and respected contemporary blue grass bands. Rob Ickes has been named as the IBMA’s “Dobro Player of the Year” for 15 consecutive years. ‘Nuff said. I first met Rob at the Wagon Shed where he performed with Trey Hensley.
Mike Munford tours with “Frank Solivan and Dirty Kitchen” and was named as IBMA’s 2013 “Banjo Player of the Year”. “FS&DK” swept the awards at the Wammies (Washington Area Music Awards) this year, and the band received 4 new IBMA nominations. I ran into Mike at the Wagonshed and also at the “Delfest”.
Shelby & Isaac Eicher (father and son) performed at the Django Gypsy Fest which Art Wachter organized a couple of years ago near York, PA. Their band, “Mischievous Swing” was fabulous. Shelby was Roy Clark’s fiddle player for 15 years, including 10 years on TV’s “Hee Haw”. Shelby is currently the Director of Education at the Fiddler’s Hall of Fame. Isaac was the Walnut Valley national mandolin champion at the age of 16 (in ’06). He also was also the Rockygrass Colorado mandolin champion. He is now touring with “Rebecca Frazier and Hit and Run”.
Richard Smith is a virtuoso and former national fingerpicking champion who also has had a long history of collaboration with Tommy Emmanuel going way back (check out the Youtubes!). Richard first performed with Chet Atkins at the age of 11. I first met Richard at my friend Hank Alinger’s home, and then soon after again at the Wagon Shed. He is a jaw dropping performer. We recorded his tracks at his home studio in Nashville.
Rickie Simpkins is one of the most respected fiddle players in Bluegrass. He performed with Flatt and Scruggs at the age of 9. A member of such great bands as “The Virginia Squires”, “The Tony Rice Unit”, “The Lonesome River Band”, “The Isaacs”, and “Emmylou Harris and Her Red Dirt Boys”. His CD “Dancing on the Fingerboard” was nominated for IBMA’s “Recording of the Year” award. I met Rickie at the Wagon Shed when he sat in with “Chesapeake” and he subsequently recorded some great tracks for my first CD. What a gentleman!