MP3 Daniel Jacobs - Notes From The Road
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12 MP3 Songs
FOLK: Modern Folk, POP: Folky Pop
In the early spring of 2001 I got a van, built a bed in the back and set out on the road performing at venues all over the United States. Everywhere I went I met people who invited me into their homes, fed me, shared their stories and brought me to their secret places. This CD is for them. Many of the songs are inspired by them and their stories.
I wrote "Cup of Coffee" with Eddie Parshall in his home studio one morning after a 3 day party on his land next to the Withlacoochee River. He titled the track "Cup of Coffee and a Banjo" so those are the words I sang. It had the same chord structure as "Quarter Cup Moon," so I put them together. "Quarter Cup Moon" came to me one night on Highway One in California along the Pacific coast. I had stopped to sleep at a roadside pull-off and went for a walk with my guitar and a bottle of wine. The ocean was magnificent and I climbed over a lip in the cliff to sit on a ledge and write. Because these two songs were inspired by people and, or places on the Atlantic and Pacific coasts during a tour criss-crossing the U.S. I decided to end the medley with "This Land is Your Land," after which there is a Bob Dylan quote, before "American Dream."
"American Dream" is about a man I met randomly in Northern Alabama. The antique plows in a scrap steel lot bade me stop. J.C. was the 86 year old owner of the "junk." He kept asking me what I wanted to buy. I asked him where I'd put it, living in my van. He asked me what I did for a living. I told him. He sang me a song his mother sang when he was a kid and told me his life story. He'd been a trucker, brought everything everywhere: steel to California, produce to New England, etc. It turned out that he remembered trucking product to my grandfather's store in Brookline Massachusetts. What a trip!
The Shenandoah songs sprang from the shock I got when I arrived at the little museum at the top of the Skyline drive to find that the people of the area had been kicked off their land to make the park. "The Rhyme of the Ancient Mariner" by Samuel Taylor Coleridge and "Tell Your Story Walking" by Deb Talan inspired me to set the story of "Shenandoah 1" in the voice of a man who comes to me in a dream. "Shenandoah 2" is him reminiscing about the beauty of his life growing up in the mountains.
When I started touring with my van, I thought I'd be able to park anywhere and sleep. I was sadly mistaken. It seemed that everywhere I went the police woke me up and sent me on my way. Finally, someone told me I could always sleep in Walmart parking lots. I started to feel like I was arriving home every time I passed a Walmart; thus, "The Closest Thing to Home was born.
For four years I have felt that George Bush has led us in the wrong direction on practically every issue involving our existence as a nation. "The Jester" is my reaction to our president.
One day I was improvising on the guitar, singing to my newborn niece. I was telling her it was her world now: passing the torch, so to speak. When my other niece and nephew came to visit I added there names to the song. Later I realized it was not just their world, but our world also. I want to give special thanks here to the people who sang in the chorus of this song. They made an extraordinary effort and overcame serious obstacles to come out on very short notice. They brought the song to the next level.
One autumn morning at about 10 AM after crashing at a new friend's home outside Chapel Hill, North Carolina I went to a park and walked to a river to sit on a rock and practice guitar. To my surprise (it was a weekday) a man was fishing. "Painting Houses" is his story.
Sitting on a stone at the top of the Skyline-Drive in the Shenandoah National Park, a soaring hawk reminded me of Liam Rector, my high-school poetry teacher. Liam is the first true poet I ever met. Our opening exercise was to fill out a job application twice. The first time it was straight-ahead. The second time it was all metaphor. I was the wind. This song is for Liam. Thanks.
I was meeting a lot of gardeners. The professional decisions they made in their lives brought them out of our mainstream money society onto passion's path. From them I created an itinerant wanderer and gave him a home in "The Gardener."
Josh Cole gave me a copy of his CD "Photosyntheses." The first time I listened to it, I was driving through The Upper Peninsula in Michigan on my way to the Rainbow Gathering. "Let It Go" almost knocked me out of my seat. I couldn't stop listening to it. By the time I got to the gathering I had memorized all the words.
My first time touring in Florida I hooked up with some friends I'd met in Arizona. They brought me to my first party at Eddie Parshal's. After the party we went on a 3 day canoe trip in the Gulf of Mexico. It was like being Gilligan. There were no people. We caught or collected all our food and cooked it over an open fire. I camped under a tree which was a standing piece of driftwood. All the roots were exposed. It was an osprey perch. That trip remains one of the most amazing experiences of my life.
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