We have said our goodbyes to Kassius, who has been writing the blog for the last four months. He packed his things and said goodbye to his friends here in Victoria before he left. He’s got a long trip ahead of him, and I hope he arrives safely. It’s sorta quiet around the house these days….
But I am in final preparation for recording my next CD of quilting songs, so there’s lots to do! I must say, I was a bit worried before we got home from the tour, that I had too much work to do in this month we have home. But it turns out I have actually written quite a few of the songs already! What a relief.
Because this will be my 10th solo CD (I had 5 out before I started being the Singing Quilter), I am taking the opportunity to re-visit a couple of songs that I love from my “pre-quilting” days. One of them was sung at our wedding: “Dance Beneath the Moon“. Another was written for a charming fishing village near Halifax, Nova Scotia: “Duncan’s Cove“. I’m hoping that if people like my quilting songs, they’ll like these ones too.
I’ve also found two old songs that are little gems. One of them, “The Sewing Machine”, was in the movie “Perils of Pauline”, and sung with GREAT gusto by Betty Hutton. I hope I can give it HALF the energy she put into it! The other one is a lovely piece written by Hal David before he teamed up with Burt Bacharach, and sung by Patti Page in the 50’s – “Little Crazy Quilt“.
“Little Crazy Quilt” is currently in the running for Title Song for the CD – so I’m about to head off for a 3 day retreat with my quilting group to make a crazy quilt for the cover. I’m not sure I can actually spare the time to do this, but if I don’t, there won’t be an album cover! (And… if I make the quilt for the cover, we’ll be much more likely to name the album that…..)
There will be four history/story songs on this CD. One is a wonderful story about the Panguitch Quilt Walk in Utah (http://www.hmdb.org/marker.asp?marker=27046), where quilts saved the lives of a whole town! We premiered it at the Utah state quilt show last year, and it was met with rave reviews. It’s called “One Quilt at a Time“.
The second history song is about a quilt made by a freed American slave whose family moved to Liberia. Because Queen Victoria’s navy patrolled the waters off Liberia to guard against slave ships, Martha Ricks decided to make a quilt to thank the queen. She saved her pennies for 50 years and made a beautiful coffee tree designed applique quilt, which she presented to the Queen in 1892! True story, and quite amazing, don’t you think? The research for this was done by Kyra Hicks, and she published a children’s book called “Martha Ann’s Quilt for Queen Victoria” (http://www.black-threads.com/).
There’s another song written after I read a very old quilting book – “Old Patchwork Quilts and the Women Who Made Them” by Ruth Finley (1929). She told a story about an unfinished Oak Leaf applique block she found in her research that was 100 years old then. A young girl from Long Beach NY fell in love with a whaling captain, but her father disapproved of the marriage. He locked her up for two weeks until she agreed to marry a local fellow. Everyone was happy about that. But one day, when a group of friends were clamming, a dory was rowed across the bay and a young sailor stepped out. The young girl ran to him, got in the dory, and they rowed her back to their ship. “The setting sun made a path of gold straight from the beach to the waiting ship, and … the dory followed it.” They got married in Rhode Island, and history records that the ship was lost in a typhoon on the China Sea on their honeymoon voyage. Doesn’t this sound like a folk song to you? It’s called “The Oak Leaf”.
The final story song is about Canada’s Quilt of Belonging. I first saw it at the Kitchener/Waterloo quilt festival and then again a couple of years ago at Houston. It’s huge – 120 feet long, 10 feet tall – and has a 12″ block made by or designed by every nation represented in Canada. It is the dream and life-work of one woman – Esther Bryan – and many other helping hands. It is such a powerful quilt to see – I hope I can do it justice in song. (http://www.quiltofbelonging.ca/)
The other songs I’m planning to record are about quilting bees (Buzzing at the Bee), how you can tell you’re a quilter (You Just Might be a Quilter), and a knitting song “Midnight Knitters” – about Yarn Bombing. If you haven’t heard about it, here’s a link to a story in the Toronto Globe and Mail newspaper from 2009: http://www.theglobeandmail.com/life/article969098.ece
A couple of years ago Ami Simms asked me to write a song for her Alzheimer’s Art Quilts Initiative (http://www.alzquilts.org/) to be used in the background while pictures of the quilts and the makers are shown. It’s turned into a lovely song called “I Remember You“. I don’t mention quilts in the song, but you’ll know it has a connection to a huge endeavour which has raised thousands of dollars for Alzheimers research.
Of course John has to have something to sing too – so I’m still writing his. It might be called “Two Peas in a Pod“, or “So… your wife is a quilter“.
That’s 13 songs! There’s another one that might be in there, too, but I can’t tell you what it’ll be called. And I have to finish it first! So, that’s what I’m doing these last two weeks before I fly to Toronto. Final edits, coming up with ideas for arrangements, album artwork, and writing liner notes. I’ll keep you posted on how things are going. I’m very excited about this. It’s been four years since our last CD!
I love the process of recording, working with great musicians and with my friend Paul Mills as producer at the Millstream Studio (http://www.themillstream.com/) We’ve done the last three CDs there, and we’ve got it down to a science. Paul is very quick and his ideas are spot-on. I’m looking forward to hearing the songs evolve over the two and a half weeks we’re there.