More Songs From Living on the Earth CD

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I wrote these songs in the 1960s and ‘70s, when I lived and created my books in rural communes in Northern California, Vermont and Hawaii – except for Paisley Days, which I wrote in 1986, looking back on those times. Miraculously, the cassette home recordings I made of them survived into 2013, when I digitized them, relearned the songs, and began producing this recording, with the help of a host of super-talented collaborators.

It's not my first dip into the well of songs I composed during that time. My first CD, Music from Living on the Earth, released in 2000 during my national tour for the 30th anniversary edition of my book Living on the Earth, is another collection of 17 of these songs. It's mostly a solo vocal/guitar recording (the last track is a capella choir), and is also available here.

Also, the CD Songs from Being of the Sun, released in 2013, is a re-mastered recording of music I wrote or co-wrote during the late 60s and early 70s, recorded with and by composer/musician Ramon Sender Barayon, just before our book Being of the Sun (Harper & Row, 1973) was published. It, too, is available here.

The musicians on More Songs From Living on the Earth (including me) were recorded by Chris McNeil (at his studio in La Herradura, Spain), Mark DeCozio (at his studio in Scottsdale, Arizona) and Ron Grant (at his studio in Los Angeles CA).

The synth orchestration, programming, editing, mixing and mastering are all by Ron Grant, an Emmy and Oscar-winning film composer. He created the orchestral/choral arrangement for Devotional for a Spirit Guide, plus sound effects on New Years Eve Party, and additional synthesizer sound tracks on Butterfly Farewell and Yabyum. This is the 4th CD on which we have collaborated. He also creates animated stories for children.

I created all of the music, lyrics, and arrangements, the packaging design, liner notes and illustrations (most of which are from my book Living on the Earth.) I sang all of the lead vocals, played guitar on every track (melody guitar on all execept tracks 5, 9, 14 and 17, on which I played rhythm guitar), sang harmonies on tracks 4, 6, 11 and 15, and produced the CD on behalf of Indigo With Stars, Inc.

About the musicians:

Some of Mark Hewins' guitar solos are played on a guitar synthezier, and sound like pan pipes (Piper of the Woods), bells (Yabyum) and ethereal harmonics (Butterfly Farewell). He's from the UK and recorded for me in Spain. Besides playing guitar, he does research and development of electronic musical instruments.

Gwendolyn Sanford is a psych folk luminary who has made many beautiful CDs of her own. Her soprano harmonies are on Beautiful, Beautiful, Have a Good Time, and New Years Eve Party. She's based in LA, where she and her husband Brandon Jay create soundtracks for TV series including Weeds and Orange is the New Black, as well as perform in bands they lead, separately and together.

Brian Brigham is a professional vocalist based in Los Angeles, currently singing back-up in '60s pop legend Franki Vallee's band, and doing studio vocal work in between tours.

Gonzalo Palacios is a wonderful young guitar player from Madrid who we recorded on mandolin in Los Angeles, where he lives and works. I love that his mandolin style is more southern European than bluegrass; it works perfectly on Have a Good Time and New Years Eve Party.

Tom McNalley is a great young guitarist based in Los Angeles. I totally under-used his talents, requesting only a couple of rhythm guitar tracks (Surviving in Style and Song of You and Me) and a lead solo (Song of You and Me).

Louis Hanshaw is a pop guitarist/vocalist/arranger from the UK, based in Torrox, Spain, whose genius for middle harmonies shows up on Have a Good Time and New Years Eve Party.

Benn Clatworthy is a multi-reed player from the UK, based in Los Angeles. He played a swinging tenor saxophone on Paisley Days (1986), as well as a lovely classical flute duet that Ron Grant wrote for Devotional for a Spiritual Guide.

Doug Webb is a renowned live and session player in Los Angeles. He played soprano, alto and tenor saxophones as well as clarinet on my 2006 CD What Living's All About. So, I called him to play clarinet in the 1920s style again, on Hang Around and Boogie.

Dwight Kilian is based in Phoenix, and used to be Adjunct Professor of Jazz Bass at Arizona State University, but he now works as the musical director of a big church. He's a very busy man, but, in an astonishing marathon, he managed to record all 17 of the bass tracks in one epic day at Mark DeCozio's studio in Scottsdale, and kept his usual positive attitude through it all. I especially love his bowed drone on Onward Onward Ever Flow.