The Hills of Mandaree

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1 – Louie The Louse

This song began as a children’s song, or so I thought. It rapidly changed into an environmental song. One of the main characters, Ray, really existed in my past. He rode a beautiful Harley-Davidson motorcycle and sported a big blond ducktail and the biggest pompadour and forehead curl I ever saw. My last contact with Ray was during an unfortunate outbreak of lice, which had resulted in him shaving his head.

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2 – Down Among The Heroes

The September 11, 2011 edition of People Magazine was stunning. The cover featured a photo of  children whose Fathers had died at ground zero in the infamous and tragic attacks of 9/11. These children were still in their Mother’s wombs at the time and never got to meet their Fathers.  I wrote this song from the perspective of one of the children as the events of the attacks themselves have been discussed almost endlessly.

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3 – The Hills of Mandaree

Native Americans have long spoken of their ability to “shape shift” to evade would-be pursuers. I wrote this song about just such an event having possibly taken place as the US Government was trying to relocate and subdue all the “hostiles” in the Dakota Territory onto reservations, breaking yet another treaty it had sworn would last for ever.  It all happened above me as a red tailed hawk flew back and forth overhead in the badlands of North Dakota. It occurred to me that that hawk just might be a shape shifter who never quite made it to the reservation.

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4 – Someone to Love

This song is self-explanatory, I believe. Romance can be a touchy thing.

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5 – Ballymora Jig

The only instrumental piece on this album, “The Ballymara Jig” celebrates the removal of at least some of the barbed-wire gates that had for too long surrounded Northern Ireland and how it felt to be there.

6 – For Ireland To Be

Another Irish piece, I wrote this one while sitting on a bench in one of the Irish War Memorials in Dublin, Ireland, and feeling overwhelmed by the enormity of the sorrow from the senseless loss of so many young citizens in the cause of freedom.

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7 – Augustin

One of my favorite guitar players of all time was the man known as Sabicas. His real name was Augustin Castellon Campos. He was a Spanish Romano Gypsy and is considered by most to be the “Father of the Flamenco Guitar.” The song speaks of his early trips from his home in Pamplona, to his fascination with a fated relationship with the Lady in Red, his early concerts in Seville, Andalusia, and of the language of his people, Caló.

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8 – Wings of the Sky

“Wings of the Sky” came to me while driving home after the funeral of my Grandfather-in-Law. It was as if the sky had opened and I was allowed a little glimpse into the true nature of things. As I drove and composed, I was acutely aware that the song was intended as a gift to his daughter, Myrna.

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9. How the Wind Did Blow

Timing is truly everything. And landing in Baltimore Airport just as Hurricane Sandy was gathering steam and heading up the eastern seaboard was just that. What else can be said of landing smack dab in the middle of the Storm of the Century?

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10 – Little Eyes

I wrote this song for my two daughters while watching them play outside my window. I was struck by the vulnerability that they, and actually all of us, have in this life. And I wanted them to always remember to look to a higher power while in this world.

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