Hi Friends and Music Family!
I’m writing this to you from high in Canadian airspace. Now some say that musicians are high all the time, but we don’t need to go there.
I’m making my way back from Calgary, AB where I was performing this weekend with my buds Greg Greenway and Joe Jencks. We played at the fabulous Calgary Folk Club. A true venue of delight if there ever was one. (And there are several!)
By now, many of you know that I’m making my first solo CD! If this is news to you, I’m happy to say that’s it’s a project that’s taking shape in a most remarkable way. After our gig in Calgary, Greg and I are hustling back to the US to push this CD project to the next phase. I’m excited to get this CD done and into your hands and ears. So, Monday it’s ON!
And OMG!!! I can’t believe who’s coming in this week to add tracks to two, maybe three songs. The astonishingly talented Gina Forsyth is staying in the East after NERFA just to do this for me. I’m beyond grateful! If you don’t know Gina’s music, you should check her out in action on YouTube.
Gina was THE person I heard in my head when I began writing the song “Ready to Go!” And she will also be playing on the song “Hickory Hill,” which will be one of the key moments on the CD. That track also features beautiful cello by Michael Ronstadt and ethereal guitar tracks by Pat Wictor.
That song recounts the day, about 6 years ago, when I visited the site of the Hickory Hill plantation in Ashand, VA, and walked the land with my cousin, Lisa Wickham Haskell. Here’s a picture of my extended family.
What a powerful, heart shifting experience it’s been for all of us. Here in the picture is Lisa, (on my left) her sister, Wallis Raemer, (on the right) their brother George, his wife Mary, and Lisa’s partner, William Espinosa.
Walking with Lisa on the land led to this final verse;
So now our stories come together, across these fields of broken dreams, and the blood that binds us all together is, indeed, much thicker than seems.
Hickory Hill, we’re on hallowed ground, walkin’ side by side, wonderin’ what we’ve found. Can you see the questions in my eyes now that we are home again?
Yes, they are White! And I am Black. But due to the twists and turns of history and slavery, we are connected to each other. I am a Harris and a Hewlett, but I am also a Wickham. And these are some of my Wickham cousins. We have been getting to know each other for the last 8 years after… well, that’s a long story. Suffice to say that we are embracing this journey of discovery with open hearts and arms.
This project has already opened my heart wider than I expected. I’m hoping that it will do the same for you.
Thanks for taking this journey with me. With your support, we are on our way, and I’m Ready to Go.