If you’re anything like me, you savor the stories behind the songs…
Sir Paul McCartney had about his Mum?
Rough Cuts from the Castle…
after all, it’s been nearly 18 years since my last album of love songs was released.
and although they’ve been a long time in the making,
I hope you’ll find these songs timeless
and that they become as much a part of your life,
as they’ve become a part of mine.
Ever since I was a little girl, first watching Errol Flynn in the classic “Robin Hood,” I’ve had a fascination with the chivalrous era, castles, flowing medieval gowns and virtuous swashbuckling Bravehearts! And it just so happened, the film Braveheart, with it’s breathtaking opening scene o’er the bens of Scotland was released on my 33rd birthday! Thanks Mel!
Couple that with my great grandfather x7, Magnus Redlon being press ganged away from his beautiful home on the shores of Orkney, and you have an adventuresome saga in the making, one that’s been tugging at my heart for decades. This restlessness beckoned me out upon an amazing journey, which I believe you’ll find reflected in the songs you’re about to venture through.
Not long after 911, I was invited to perform in Germany, at Tannenhof Resort in the Bayerischer Wald. The many castles, lovely villages, mountain hikes, forest walks and friendly people of Bavaria, along with dear friends, The Georgmaier’s made it an enchanting visit that inspired, “A Man of Honor,” “How about a Fantasy?” and “Is it You?”
Meanwhile, “Every Time It Rains,” also featured on “The Plan” was penned in my beloved Scotland. One stormy day in June, curled up in the window seat at Cuil Na Sithe BnB (Gaelic for Corner of Heaven, and you couldn’t have picked a better name for the place!) I watched as a storm made it’s way over the peak of Ben Nevis. The approaching clouds and patter of rain upon the window, hastened by the blustery wind inspired me to put words to melody, reflecting how deeply this glorious country had touched my heart. It was a journey I truly would remember every fiber of, every time it rained! The song has been featured on major network shows like “One Life to Live” and “The Young and the Restless,” but I have to admit, the day my publisher called to say, “Your song’s on a soap opera!,” initially, I was thrilled! Wow, my song was playing on a major network show…then as it sunk in I thought, “Oh dear, my song is on a soap opera! I hope it’s a scene my Mom and Dad can watch!” By God’s grace, they have been!
Now then, if the opening track, “Forever” has a distinctly Journey-esque feel, there’s an interesting tale that might explain. After waking from a vivid dream that I was jamming with the band, I dashed to my 1912 Steger and Sons upright grand where the song literally, spilled out so quickly, I scarce could write it down fast enough. The more I played it, the more I imagined the extraordinary vocals of Steve Perry singing it, and I’ve endeavored to make that happen! I had a good friend in Nashville, who once I explained what I was hoping for, got right to work. In his Nashville studio, Jody Harris created that epic guitar intro and solo, as well as those smooth, dreamy backing vocals to my absolute joy! Thanks Jody. Though it would truly be a dream come true for Steve to record this song, even nicer, was meeting him at a cafe in LA in 2016, thanks to the orchestration of an anonymous tweeter. For a few rare moments, I was able to tell him how much I admire his music, gift him with a Samburu bracelet, in the colors of his San Francisco 49-er’s and let him know I’d been praying for him.
For all you Lord of the Rings Fans, you’ll find “Frodo, Fare Thee Well” written with my friend Ennis Pruitt, of the world famous “WyndBreakers” an intriguing find. Both avid fans of the trilogy, we were inspired to share a bit of LOtR Lore in song, and with a bit of boldness, found our selection being considered for inclusion in “Return of the King!” It was exciting, as Dickey Lee pitched it to the folks at New Line Cinema, but alas, the very talented in-house team of Howard Shore and Annie Lennox produced the winning combination. Even so we received a lovely nod of thanks from Peter Jackson and the Wing Nut team!
Since this is a bit of a retro album, there’s someone I’d like to mention from the I Wish You Well project. Working to a deadline, the liner notes had been edited several times, from 12 pages, to 6, then down to 4, and in that, my dear friend Carlos Mogollen was never given credit for co-writing the emotionally charged, reminiscent of Selina, “You’re the One.” It was entirely his melody, and a privilege to craft lyrics together, so though it’s a few years overdue, I wanted to give a nod of thanks to a very talented writer, performer and friend who was my musical partner for many adventures in NYC & WPC! Thank you Carlos!
Life is truly a journey, and to all my wonderful songwriter and musician friends I’ve met along the way, and had the privilege of creating music with, I’d like to say a humongous, Thank You! In particular to Tosh Ono for the amazing guitar skills and encouragement! To Susan Raugh & Tony Ward who remind me often that “Not all Angels come from Heaven,” some are right here on Earth! To Brian Finnerty for Bermuda and arranging the Clay House Inn debut. To Susan Duffy for sharing the Kerrville adventure and Kevin Meaney jokes! To Linda Borden for the stories about your Gran, her roadmap and your sweet countenance. Mark Elliott, Tim Johnson, Mickey Justice, Catesby Jones, Gordy Thomas, Mike Daly, Harry Warner, Raggedy Man, Pam Tillis, Kathy McGovern, Troy McConnel, Vick Willis, Ree Van Vleck, Dickey Lee and the Carroll family for your friendship and making Nashville such a wonderful place to be a songwriter! To Mike Kohler, for recording my very first songs at Trion, you are missed! And especially to John Blanche for the years of your expertise, patience, kindness and taking me to see puppies on the days when it was too hard to get through the songs. You guys are all so very dear and hold an especially treasured place in my heart!
Also, another humongous thank you to Cindy Badell-Slaughter and Barbara Jordan at Heavy Hitters Music! You ladies rock the world and make film and television a much better place because of your music savvy! Thanks so much for letting my tunes get up to bat !
Ah, the human heart is an exquisite creation. Within it lies the capacity to ascend the heights or plunge the jagged depths of human emotions, driving souls throughout the ages to rapture, to regret, to abide, to endure, to forgive and to simply live. The joy and the pain combined are what make us human, so cling to those innocent, first blooms that whisper, “Oh fragile heart, take courage, be patient and kind, do not envy or boast, be not arrogant, nor rude, and do not insist on your own way. Be not resentful or irritable, or tempted by wrongdoing, instead…
Rejoice in the truth.
Love bears all things,
Believes all things,
Hopes all things
Endures all things…
Love never ends.”
“Rough Cuts from the Castle” is my collection of beloved songs, created over the last decade, to transform an ordinary day, into multi faceted sparkling jewels. May each radiant offering inspire you to great deeds of kindness, chivalrous adventures and a spirit that bids you to fearlessly pursue your dreams!
I wish you Peace,
God’s richest Blessings
and Wonderful Adventures,
(Stroedecke – Blackwood – MacLeod)
Mastered (mostly) by John Blanche at his studios in Longwood, FLIf something here has made your day a little brighter, please share it!