I’ve been lucky enough to write songs and sing them for a long time now, and to make records with a community of amazingly talented producers and musicians. In the spring of 2018 I landed back in NYC after a tour with no new songs. The 2016 USA election had left myself and many of my artist friends unable to respond creatively. Then came news and more news of the deplorable treatment of asylum seekers at the US Mexican border and around the world. I'm known for writing story songs about people from the past who didn't have a voice at the time they lived. In an attempt to make sense of what was happening last summer I began to write the stories I was hearing about people living in the present day -- one voice at a time. My own need to “re-humanize” the people who were being dehumanized by our government and the press resulted in a flood of songs. By September I had twelve new songs and I decided to make a record.
The new album came together as easily as the songs had flowed. Grammy Award winning producer and musician David Mansfield’s film scores and music (Songcatcher, Heaven's Gate, The Apostle, Bob Dylan, Joan Baez etc…) had inspired me for years and I was thrilled to work with him. David produced and played multiple instruments on the tracks. My old friend Richard Thompson, who happened to be nearby the studio, added harmony and played guitar on two of the songs. I had recently met and performed with the wonderful Chapin Sisters who joined me on a song, and the other amazing players - Jason Sypher on bass, Glenn Patscha on piano and Will Holshouser on accordion, added their talents to create Song To A Refugee; a song cycle based on the stories of asylum seekers around the world.
Song To A Refugee speaks to the challenging issues of our current time. I’m excited, grateful and humbled to be able to tell these stories to audiences - stories about people who are simply trying to survive as we all would. Recently I played The Bluebird Cafe in Nashville, Tennessee. After the show a man came up to me and said, "Thank you for not being angry about politics and for telling the stories. I needed to hear them." I look forward to travelling with these story songs, to begin and continue the conversation.