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Hummingbird ~ and other nearly true stories ~
ShoreGrass tells nearly true stories about friends, family and places close to their heart, using bluegrass instrumentation, traditional harmony, creative arrangements and their unique and original sound.
This 2014 release “Hummingbird ~ and Other Nearly True Stories” consists entirely of original songs, all written by Barbara Shaw except for one song written by a friend of the band, the late Bryant Woods of North Carolina. The styles include bluegrass, swing, early country, gospel, old-time, one that has a Cajun feel, one with a polka feel and even one that could be called blues!
Musicians on this recording include:
Frank Shaw banjo & vocals, bass on Cradle
Barbara Shaw guitar & vocals, songwriter (except If I’m Dreaming)
Scott Freemantle bass
Stacy Phillips Dobro & fiddle
Paul Pozzi mandolin & vocals
Dick Drake harmonica on Not Too Fast, mandolin on Cradle and Preacher Mike
Jonathan Shaw bass on Preacher Mike
Paul Opalach piano on Single Flower
Bryant Woods songwriter on If I’m Dreaming
Bluegrass Unlimited magazine reviewed our CD in their June 2014 issue and said:
…This project is a very nice effort featuring the original compositions of Barbara Shaw, along with “If I’m Dreaming” from Bryant Woods… The Shaws have a nice harmony blend and most of these songs are delivered in the traditional duo or trio approach. The band’s arrangements also add a comfortable feature to the tunes. The project has more of a folk/Americana sound rather than traditional bluegrass and is a nice effort from this Connecticut-based group.
Hummingbird Song Notes
♪ Almost a Full Moon
This was the first song Barbara ever wrote, 2/22/1992, shortly after taking up the guitar. It was a happy time and this is a happy song.
♪ Boys to Ramble
Some folks have traditional families where the children settle in the hometown they grew up in. Some have children who are scattered around the world. In this particular family (and many families) both grandfathers left home and country in their late teens and started a trend continued by their descendants. When the women remain at home, they often become the creators of music, art, literature, family roots and new boys to ramble.
♪ Never Will Forget
Life goes on even after bad news is delivered, and sometimes things get better than they were before. Moving on does not mean never looking back, and everyone has a day and a person they never will forget.
This song is a prayer and a song of praise (a psalm), written one day when the beauty of God's masterpiece made Barbara stop the car and write down these words and this melody. Stacy does some wonderful Dobro on this and Paul sings his strong tenor lead to harmonies by Frank and Barbara.
♪ Quiet Mountain
The long, silent mountain range is a traveling companion, guide and inspiration when driving through the beautiful Shenandoah Valley in Virginia.
♪ Not Too Fast
This song was inspired by living with a banjo, and anyone living with a banjo would understand. Regardless of what else people may read into the lyrics and what evolved from the original thought, and where your mind goes when you hear this, it's about banjo.... And that's my story! Got a touch of blues and some great harmonica on it by Dick Drake.
♪ Rest Easy Darlin'
Right after a beloved elder died, the comforting thought came to mind that she could now rest easy, all her work was done, there were no more promises to keep, and we would all greet God's good morning together in the bye and bye.
♪ Don't Send Me Postcards
The thought is nice, but sometimes all you really want is to see the sender. Nothing takes the place of being there in person.
♪ Preacher Mike
This song is about our bluegrass gospel missionary friends, Mike and Mary Robinson. They travel up and down the east coast from Maine to Florida leading gospel sings at various bluegrass festivals and church services. Wonderful couple from MA that we've known for years. Mary went through a health crisis a few years ago, inspiring Barbara to write this song about them. One word of caution: turns out there are a couple of other Preacher Mikes, and one of them is a reggae song that you might want to avoid (language, content)! Who knew? Our own Preacher Mike and Mary are ones you'll want to seek out!
♪ Single Flower
A certain couple broke up many years ago, and then the guy showed up at her door 10 years later with a single rose in his hand, making new history. It seems that this track is a favorite among several listeners, especially since it features a great piano cameo by the recording studio owner/engineer/wizard himself, Paul Opalach!
♪ If I'm Dreaming
This is the only song on the album not written by Barbara: it was written by Bryant Woods, our friend from Texas whom we met in NH (at Pemi Festival) while he was living in ME before he moved to NC, where he died in January of 2011. This man was a prolific songwriter and loved when we occasionally called for a "singer-songwriter hour" at our jams. He wrote some amazing songs, no doubt taken from his life as most good songs are, and this is one we all played with him many times sitting around a circle in some field or campground. It was also beautifully recorded by our friends in the ME band Evergreen (Joe and Nellie Kennedy and others) in 2007, although they called it "Is This A Dream." Bryant left a legacy of beautiful music which we hope to keep alive.
♪ Up to the Mountains
Going up to the mountains or down to the ocean are perfect ways to escape. For folks like us who love the ocean, we want both.
Grandpa built this cradle when the grandson was born, and shipped it across country for him to sleep in. The cradle was also used by his younger brother nine years later, and then used as a toy chest for many years. When the grandson had his own babies, they each took a turn sleeping in the cradle grandpa built and then also used it as a toy chest. Lots of memories and dreams contained in that beautiful little wooden cradle.
Some people believe that a departed loved one's spirit can visit in the form of a bird. The two hummingbirds in this story actually visited as told in the song, and actually interacted with us and each other exactly as sung. It all began to happen right after one parent died, and continued each summer for several years, until right after the other parent died. We don't see them very often anymore, but smile at the thought that they might very well visit again.
ShoreGrass is very proud of this recording of 14 originals and 2 classics. Song styles include bluegrass, old-timey, folk, swing, gospel, waltz, blues, foot-tapper, tear-jerker, etc. No two alike and some unusual ideas presented, all written and performed in a traditional style.
Musicians on this recording include:
Frank Shaw (banjo, vocals): former bass player and vocalist with Clean Living, which recorded 2 albums on the Vanguard label. Winner of the 1st place old-time banjo award at the 2001 Roxbury Contest.
Barbara Shaw (guitar, vocals): writes most of the original material performed by the band. Left corporate life behind to dabble in guitar, fiddle, bass, piano, things bluegrass.
Paul Pozzi (mandolin, vocals): incredible tenor range singer and Monroe-style mandolinist.
Jonathan Shaw (bass): multi-instrumentalist, multi-genre musician son of Frank and Barbara, taking time from his current tour with a rock band to return to his roots for this recording.
Stacy Phillips (Dobro and fiddle): talented grammy winning performer ("The Great Dobro Sessions"), author of many books and videos, instructor and internationally acclaimed artist.
Bud Morrisroe (fiddle on 1,7,8): former member of Apple Country and many other fine bands.