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 heroes, & it just so happened, Braveheart, with it’s breathtaking scenes o’er the bens of Scotland was released on my 33rd birthday! Thanks Mel! Couple that with my great grandfather x6, 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 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 at Tannenhof Resort in the Bayerischer Wald, Germany. The many castles, lovely villages, mountain hikes, forest walks and friendly people of Bavaria, along with dear friends, made it an enchanting visit that inspired, “A Man of Honor,” “How about a Fantasy?” and “Is it You?”
Meanwhile, one stormy day in June, curled up in the window seat at Cuil Na Sithe BnB (Gaelic for Corner of Heaven), I watched a storm making 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 remember every fiber of, Every Time it Rains! The song has been featured on major network shows like “One Life to Live” and “The Young and the Restless,” and debuted in Scotland at Celtic Connections 2019, 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’s playing on a major network show…then as it sunk in, I thought, “Oh dear, my song’s on a soap opera! I hope it’s a scene my Mom and Dad can watch!” By God’s grace, they have been!
If the opening track, “Forever” has a distinctly Journey-esque feel, early one morning, after waking from a vivid dream of jamming onstage with the band, I dashed to my 1912 Steger and Sons upright grand where Forever spilled out so quickly, I scarce could write it down. Yet every time I played it, I heard the extraordinary vocals of Steve Perry singing it! My good friend Jody Harris helped out, creating that epic guitar intro and solo, as well as those smooth, dreamy backing vocals! It would be a dream come true for Steve to record this song, but even nicer, was meeting him, thanks to the orchestration of an anonymous tweeter.
For all you Lord of the Rings Fans, you’ll find “Frodo, Fare Thee Well” written with my friend Ennis Pruitt an intriguing find. Both avid fans of the trilogy, we were inspired to share a bit of LOtR Lore, and with a bit of boldness, found our selection being considered for “Return of the King!”
Life is truly a journey, and to all my wonderful songwriter and musician friends I’ve met and had the privilege of creating music with, I’d like to say a humongous, Thank You! In particular to Tosh Ono for amazing guitar skills, to Susan Raugh & Tony Ward who remind me, “Not all Angels” come from Heaven, to Brian Finnerty for Bermuda and arranging the Clay House Inn debut, to Susan Duffy for the Kerrville adventure & Kevin Meaney jokes, to Linda Borden for stories of your Gran & music at the farm, Mark Elliott, Tim Johnson, Mickey Justice, Catesby Jones, Gordy Thomas, Mike Daly, Harry Warner, Raggedy Man, Carlos Mogollen, 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 expertise, patience, kindness and taking me to see puppies on days when life was just too hard. You are all so very dear and hold a treasured place in my heart!
Another humongous thank you to Cindy Badell-Slaughter and Barbara Jordan at Heavy Hitters Music! Thanks so much for letting my tunes get up to bat in your catalogue!
Ah, the human heart is an amazing creation. Within it lies the capacity to ascend the breathtaking heights or plunge the jagged depths of human emotions. The joy and pain combined 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, instead, rejoice in the truth. Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things and endures all things, for Love never ends.”
“Rough Cuts from the Castle” is a collection of heartfelt 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,
With love from the castle,
Connie (Stroedecke – Blackwood – MacLeod)