The idea for, The Town That Music Saved, was inspired by a book by Cabot author, Ben Hewitt who wrote a book entitled,

The Town That Food Saved, about how local farmers, restaurateurs, seed growers and other food-related businesses had transformed the economy of the neighboring town of Harwick, Vermont in the 2000's.

As a touring musician, I've always been impressed by how the very best concert series were run by people who understood how important music is to the well-being of their communities and were committed to a vision of creating wonderful musical experiences for their neighbors. Sue and I, having newly relocated to Vermont, wanted very much to create something like that here in our own town.

The lyric in the title song asks, "Could this be the town the music saved?" Meaning, in essence, that in order to help our communities thrive we all must show up and participate. With this album, I do my level best to celebrate our neighbors, community, the landscape we live in, and that this music can be a vehicle for us to celebrate and grow together. 

Thanks to the Vermont Arts Council for helping launch this project, and "supporting a creative state." Additional Thanks to each individual who supported our fundraising campaign to bring this project to its completion. 

To purchase your copy (download or physical CD) of The Town That Music Saved, click here to visit our CD Baby Page.

The Town That Music Saved is a snapshot of Vermont’s vibrant rural life, and is a testament to how much social activity continually occurs - music, art, theater, wellness, education, the list goes on. Just check out a billboard at your local village store.

 

The Flying Farmer is an homage to our neighbor farmer Will Ameden. It’s inconceivable to imagine being a farmer without having a multiplicity of skills and the capacity to conjure solutions for any problem that might arise on a daily basis on the average farm. This particular farmer was once a commercial pilot, and upon moving to Cabot built an airstrip and a hanger for his Cessna on the hill above his farm. 

 

No Billboards draws attention to that special something one notices as soon as you cross over state lines. Among the many other ineffable things, it likely has to do with Vermont’s No Billboard law.

 

Shine - For 14 years (1776-1790) Vermont was an independent republic. During those formative years Vermonters developed an attitude of, “we can take care of ourselves” which continues to this day. This trait serves Vermonters well in times of crisis (both economic and existential) whereby people tend to come together, help each other out, and exhibit a deep community spirit. 

 

Alibi Bag Rag - Harry’s Hardware in Cabot is home to The Den, our neighborhood pub, music venue and community meeting space. If one has, perhaps, lingered too long, there are small paper bags filled with nuts, bolts and screws that for a dollar you can take home to be your “alibi.” 

 

Ripton Country Store Inspired by Bill McKibben’s March 30th 2018, Op-Ed in the New York Times. Bill’s lovely article illustrates how essential Vermont’s village stores are to the social fabric and economic well-being of our rural communities.

 

Mud Boot Road - With over 8,000 miles of dirt (“improved”) roads in Vermont, mud season is a force to be reckoned with. Mud season heralds the transition between the long and dark winter and the promise of spring. 

 

Bayley Hazen Blues - Construction of the the Bayley Hazen military road was initiated in 1776 by General George Washington, to support the Continental Army's 1775 invasion of Quebec. Work was abandoned when British forces took advantage of the road to launch raids upon small communities along the route. To this day the road is part and parcel of the landscape in the north-east corner of Vermont. 

 

Forest of My Heart - Our home is situated between a forested hill and the Winooski River. Wildlife abounds in this slim corridor. From ermine, fox, hare, coyote, bear, deer and moose, to all the indigenous and migratory birds - the flora and fauna are innumerable. Vermonters feel an innate connection to nature and take deep pride in being stewards of it. Amid these turbulent times especially, there is solace in this connection. 

 

On November 30th 2018, nearly 3000 people came out to witness the newly-carved statue of Ceres, goddess of agriculture, being lifted and placed upon the Vermont Statehouse dome. They say, for the next 100 years, this Ceres will watch over Vermont, the city of Montpelier and the Winooski River as it flows by.  The feeling I had coming away from that ceremony inspired this song. I can’t help but think that this new Ceres will, in a way, bear witness to our state as it transforms with the times - perennial and enduring. 

The Town That Music Saved

I was coming into town on the Danville road 

Saw a dozen little turkeys and a big old hen

Strutting neath Old Glory and taking their time

When you come into the village well you gotta slow down

Driving past the towers of the creamery

Gotta have respect for that hallowed ground

I work three jobs like most of you

Anything to pay the bills when they come due

More than anything I like to play some tunes

You can tell by the board at the village store

There’s more going on than any sane person could ever do

Everybody’s got a gig to go to

We’re going out to Harry’s it’s a Saturday night

The Limes are tuning up in the Willey Hall

Gonna raise some money for a trip this fall

There’s an old time session at The Den on Sundays

And Dunham’s Backline will be out on the Walden Road

We’re gonna get together and have a good time

Chorus

It’s just a little town that loves a song

Could it be the town that the music saved?

That blackbird yonder sings every day

 

Chorus

No Billboards

It was one day not so long ago

Traveling up from the flatlands low

Crossing over to Vernon town

Something shifted all around

 

Return I did and then again  

For another hit of that mystery

And then one day it came to me

Behold my eyes could finally see

 

There are no billboards, no billboards,

No billboards on these roads

 

It could have been the balsam wood 

It could have been the birch and maple tress

How the air picks up their scent

As it’s drifting through the leaves

Could be the way the light moves slow

Across the vast and verdant hills

And the endless waves of green

Oh my dear heart please be still

 

There are no billboards, no billboards,

No billboards on these roads

I heard tell of fairy dust

I've heard tell of lost and older ways

I guess things just change more slowly here

I just like watching the cows graze

From Equinox up to Jay Peak 

Connecticut River across to Lake Champlain

There’s nothing to take my gaze away  

From this brave little state

There are no billboards, no billboards,

No billboards on these roads

Ripton Country Store   

 

There’s a place up a Green Mountain road

At its heart there’s an old potbellied stove

The story in the paper read, “town seeks heart and soul”

It’ll be your world - never more to roam

 

A weathered porch rises to my feet

Coffee beckons, now come and take a seat

Hear the music of the river and the jingle of the door

You can find most anything at the Ripton Country Store

 

Dick and Sue‘ve been here more than 40 years

7 to 7 every day with love and sweat and tears

They put it up for sale now ‘cause it’s time to move along  

And I hear, you can have it for a song

 

Business is good, reliable and steady

The place is solid,  if not exactly shiny

There’s a two-bedroom apartment upstairs and a barn out back / The town’s hard work but in the best kind of way. 

 

You can get online but there’s no cell phone reception

They’re not quite up to the 21st century

But if you don’t care for big box stores, look no further

They got all that and everything else you been looking for

 

There’s penny candy and eggs from local hens

Pickled beets put up by neighbor friends

Rock salt and clothespins, starch and cupcake papers

Kitty litter, animal crackers

 

So if you’re ready to step out of the mainstream

I know they will be happy to oblige

Cause the place is up for sale now, it’s time to move along  

And I hear, you can have it for a song

 

Without a store, you don’t have a town

Without a town, you ain’t gonna find a home

Hear the MIddlebury River and the jingle of the door

You can find most anything at the Ripton Country Store

Big Mystery

Who ever said, “You can’t get there from here”

Couldn’t have known the palm of their hand

Excepting the weather the pot holes and pitfalls

Springtime in the northland is with us again

Thoughts turn to love ‘cause we’re warm enough now

And all of the animals are showing us how

 

It’s under our noses all eyes to see

The fuse of creation the big mystery

 

Debris of the winter lay still on the ground

And a neighbor’s old hound is asleep in the sun

Down from the hill towns come boys on their Harleys

They’re grizzled and knarly but they’re just looking for fun

It’s an elaborate ritual of folks in their spring wear

Tie dye and green hair make good company

 

It’s under our noses all eyes to see

The fuse of creation the big mystery

 

It’s a massive migration of warm blooded mammals

You’ve got hippies with sandals driving their bugs

Winnebagos and U-hauls head north on the interstate

Conquering real estate that’s been vacant since fall

And down on the floodplain ferns are unfurling

Tulips are twirling their petals toward sky

 

It’s under our noses all eyes to see

The fuse of creation the big mystery

 

Before the corn ripens before the beans burst

Before the meadow wants rain for its thirst

 

It’s under our noses all eyes to see

The fuse of creation the big mystery

The Flying Farmer

 

Up on top of Ducharme Hill, there’s a farmer that I know

With big grin at the ready, he’s always on the go 

 

Underneath Orion, beneath a coat of stars

There's a pilot on his ATV, flying cross the farm

 

High upon a hayfield, there’s a grassy airstrip where

A Cessna’s in the hanger, waiting to take the air

 

My feet are planted on the ground

But my heart is high above the clouds

Roots so deep you couldn’t pull me out

The endless blue is all around

 

He says, I sugar in the springtime, press cider in the Fall

Summers I'm on the hillside with the brush hog

 

Wintertime’s for shop work / hitch up the snow plow  

Spend time with friends and family

We make it happen somehow

He says, all I really want to do is get up in the sky

Set my bearings by the Camels Hump 

That’s where I’m gonna fly

Shine 

 

I say Hey Now what’s going on 

Listen up to this here song

I’ll tell you 'bout people in this old town  

Trying to find a way to turn things around 

 

And make it shine, shine, shine, shine 

Make it shine, shine, shine, shine

 

Won’t you tell me all about that promised land

That we can taste and touch and understand 

Tell me 'bout a country that don’t tear us apart

Some place near and close to our hearts

 

Where we can shine, shine, shine, shine 

We can shine, shine, shine, shine

 

I’ve had enough of the likes of you

With your golden crown and your emperor's shoes

They say the harder they come the harder they fall

We won’t build your border wall

 

We’re gonna shine, shine, shine, shine  

We’re gonna shine, shine, shine, shine 

 

So listen up people and hear my song

We’re gonna find a way to carry on 

It’s not about me and it’s not about you

It’s about all of us getting the message through

 

About how to shine, shine, shine, shine 

Yea we got to shine, shine, shine, shine 

 

When I finally leave this world

I’ll come back as something beautiful

Song of a bird or strong like a stone

Or something never ever shown

 

I’m gonna shine, shine, shine, shine 

We’re gonna shine, shine, shine, shine

Mud Boot Road

I live up an old logging road

It used to be a milk wagon road

But now it is just a mud boot road

 

Season come and seasons go

All I know is mud and snow

On that mud boot road

 

If you got holes in your shoes

You can go and sing the blues

Bout that mud boot road

 

I know when I got friends

They’ll come and see me end

Of that mud boot road

 

Go on down to your general store

They’ll know what you’re looking for

For that mud boot road

 

Close the schools close the town

Everybody’s slipping around

On that mud boot road

 

When the summer’s warm and dry

Squish your toes in a fresh cow pie

On that mud boot road

 

I know when I’ve found my honey

She’ll walk up that road that’s muddy

On that mud boot road

 

I get lost upon the trail

Just by telling you this tale

About that mud boot road

 

With a big crow bar and a comealong

You can help me sing this song

About that mud boot road

Forest of my Heart

 

Thanksgiving day we went tromping through woods

The green man had just shed his clothes

A bounty of leaves made a blanket of gold

O’er a footing of ancient grey stones

This is the land where storms come to die

Here’s where they run out of steam

There’s nothing round here for to brighten their eye

Nothing to sustain their greed

It was here where our forebears said the land was good

Here we can build a new life

We’ll harness the waters to mill our own wood

We’ll sew then we’ll reap with a scythe

Though the winters are dark and winters are long

This place we’ll make all our own

And just like a lover who knows all your songs

For this place we gladly atone

Come bring your ponies on down from the hill

Bring them up from the floodplain

Forest of my heart and soil of my soul

Hold fast to your true secret name

 

Ceres come stand for a hundred years more

Ceres come watch us transform

We’re frightened and anxious like wee little babies

We’ll sleep and we’ll wait in your corm

The wild green onions will sprout in the Spring

And rise from the banks of the river

Let’s do something now, our children be proud

It’s time for us now to deliver

It was Thanksgiving day we went tromping through woods

Where the tamaracks beamed in their glory

If we count ourselves lucky to live in this place

Come let us continue the story