Two Roads Home:
The Tracks

Track One
Some Journey
An imaginative and mystical exploration of what might have been… A precious gem from the pen of Suzanne Vega. Simple yet haunting, this tune came together for us when we gave it the rolling rhythm in Bry’s backyard on Harding Street.
Abby: Vocals Bryan: Acoustic Guitar Duncan Cameron: Violin Rick Roy: Snare

Track Two
I Am Stretched On Your Grave
A lover’s wild lamentation in the irish death ballad tradition. Had a crazy time figuring out who wrote this. Despite the O’Connor/King writing credit, we still believe it’s a true folk song. If it’s not, it’s sure got us fooled.

Track Three
John Peel (listen)

A study of the hunt and a well known English folk tune. A lucky find while internet searching. Bry had the basic melody in his head by the time he showed it to Abby. Together we fleshed out the meat of the tune (pun intended) and the harmonies. Since recording John Peel, many friends from the U.K. have told us that they had to learn this song in school (different melody, slightly different words). Folk scholars differ on whether Peel’s coat is supposed to be grey (traditional colour for the leader of the hunt) or gay (brightly coloured). Whatever the case, we had a blast working on this song.

Track Four
Loch Lomond
Another Scottish classic, simply arranged to heighten the poignancy of the theme. Between the two of us, we thought we had heard every recorded rendition of this song, from the very simple and beautiful, to the very maudlin and overworked. On this recording, we feel that we bring back some of its original simplicity, subtly coloured by Susan and Jeff on cello and guitar (respectively).

Track Five
The Selkie of Sule Skerrie
Epic love ballad about the mysterious seal-man creature of Nordic and Celtic folklore. Pound for pound, the most unusual song on the record. It’s also the best-produced, IOHO. In this strange and ancient tale, the Selkie (half-man, half seal) returns to claim his son, the product of an earlier tryst with a human woman. Will the woman give up her son? Will the Selkie’s prophecy come true? And what about the evil twins and that whole dream sequence? Stay tuned!

Track Six
When You Are Old
The only spoken-word track on the recording, this poem paints a picture of reflection upon love lost. Abby has recited this poem as part of The MadriGALS’ Renaissance Love Safari concert program (our audiences graciously forgive the leap forward in centuries), and thought it would make a gorgeous companion piece to Sally Gardens.

Track Seven
Down By The Sally Gardens (listen)

Classic ballad from Ireland’s beloved poet and resident expert on unrequited love. Also by Yeats, we never really found out where the melody came from. The sheet music we used cited Yeats as the only author, yet the tune sounds very familiar, like an old traditional melody. Perhaps some wise folkiphile will set us straight some day on the origin of this tune. Due to Bryan’s self-proclaimed erratic sense of rhythm, we had to ditch our original bed track for this song. What we have instead is a live-off-the-floor take featuring Abby, Bryan, and the amazing Duncan Cameron on violin. Among our favourite moments on this CD.

Track Eight
The Farmer’s Curst Wife
A saucy ballad of the sexes. With tongue planted firmly in cheek, we recorded this tune at the risk of offending women everywhere. This old misogynistic song is about a woman who was too bad to live on earth, and hell wouldn’t take her. Or, as Abby sees it, it’s a study of hell as the seminal boy’s club. We had a ball recording this song with all of its various bits. Highlights include the Jerry/Heather/Abby singalong chorus. Voted best on the CD by Bryan’s son James and Abby’s young friend Ben. We think the refrain might have something to do with it…hmm…

Track Nine
Bonny Portmore
Traditional tune mourning the destruction of natural beauty at the hands of man. It’s sad how relevant this message remains, hundreds of years after it was first written. Whether we’re dealing with clear-cuts in British Columbia, or the burning of the tropical rainforest, trees are a symbol of life and a benefit to all living things. We were inspired by Loreena McKennit’s beautiful reading of this song, and we feel we’ve done it justice.

Track Ten
Black Jack Davey
Devoted wife leaves hearth and home for the love of the proverbial gypsy rover. When Bry was fifteen, his sister returned from a year of living in Europe with a lifetime of stories and a stack of record albums under her arm. One of those records was "All Around My Hat" by Steeleye Span. Bryan became a convert to the rockin’ traditional tunes of the Steeleyes, in particular, this song. When Abby brought this song up for possible inclusion on our recording, he was initially hesitant, concerned that the Span had put too much of their mark on it, and that anything we tried would pale by comparison. He is happily eating his words now. Our version fairly rocks, and we’ve added some interesting vocal twists. So feel free to groove on this track, please.

Track Eleven
(What’s So Funny ‘Bout) Peace, Love and Understanding
Vocals and guitar and the most vital message of all. We first played this song together on the afternoon of September 11, 2001; it was so tragically relevant. For the CD, we thought we’d save this little gem ‘til the end — sort of the listener’s prize for hearing the whole recording! Like the rest of the world, we first heard this Nick Lowe song played by Elvis Costello and the Attractions in 1978. Not content to let it remain a thrashing rock’n’roll song, we gave it the Abby and Bryan treatment, and are proud to present it in its current incarnation. Thanks Nick!
Sweet Shadows : Contributors - Tracks
Dovetailing : Contributors - Tracks

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