Back in the Spring of '95, I was performing in front of Starbucks at the Pike Place Market in Seattle when David Dixon slipped a Manila envelope into my guitar case. Enclosed was a most wonderful photograph that he had shot a few months prior. Without a moment's hesitation, I asked his permission to use it on my new album, a favor which he was kind enough to grant. A cover photo and four songs...now all I had to do was come up with everything else. Scott Law is probably the most congenial guitar artist I have ever known, and talented beyond his years. He was kind enough to sit in on lead guitar for Sam The Alligator, slide guitar on Getting Fat In New York City, and mandolin on Mighty Sad Song, as well as that jazzbo arrangement of his on Upwardly Mobile Blues. Reggie Miles is an accomplished bottleneck blues guitarist in his own right, he set down the guitar and picked up everything else for the Freedom Road project. As a percussionist, Reggie knows what to hit and when to hit it. From the 'keening' harmonica on When Fathers Cry or the blues harp on Small Town News, to his vocal harmony arrangements, Miles manifests the musical Midas touch. The music always sounds better with Rod Backman. Maybe that's why he is one of the most sought after musicians at the Northwest Folklife Festival in Seattle every year. If I had had to pick just one other musician to help me with Freedom Road, it would have been Rod. So now I only had to come up with six more songs in six weeks. Janet, my Goddess, was instrumental in getting this task accomplished. She leg-ironed me to the desk, turned on the coffee pot (oh, I'm sorry, this is the Seattle area) fired up the espresso machine, and acted as my sounding board for the next month and a half. Much midnight oil was burned during this time, and I don't know if it was the fumes from the oil or sleep deprivation, but the words appeared. The last song, Commencement, was finished three days before the first studio date. Thank you, Katie, for your input on that song. And that was about it, we all just went into David's studio and got it done, thanks to a lot of hard work from a few good friends. I dedicate this album to my family. First and always is Janet, my lover, best friend, and sounding board for the songs. Nate and Kate, for living with me when I'm home, and without me when I'm not. I love you guys. And then there's Kristin for believing in me, Page for the encouragement, and Rooney for always being there when I had something caught in the wringer. Thanks. A special thank you to Reggie, Rod, and Scott for playing the music, not just the notes; David Lange for so much sound in so little time; Melody Bostad for the graphics and layout work; Katie, Jen, and Toan for your respective efforts on this project; and David Dixon for sharing a magic moment on film. Finally, thanks to you all at the Pike Place Market, and beyond, who have kept me going over the years. You know who you are. See you on . . . Freedom Road.
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