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Birds of Passage - George Stephens, Kathy Westra :

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CD146 -

Birds of Passage - George Stephens, Kathy Westra

Ballad of Many Crows

Last Winter Was a Hard One

Waltz Into Winter

1. Flying High, Flying Free
2. Ballad of Many Crows
3. The Collier Laddie
4. Old Port
5. The Boats of Peter's River
6. The Four-loom Weaver
7. Glenmary
8. Last Winter Was a Hard One
9. The Pinery Boy
10. Song for the Mira
11. Wedding Dress
12. The Fisherman's Song
13. This Old Earth
14. Of Trees and Humankind
15. Waltz Into Winter

My good friends Kathy and George have created a patchwork collection of favorite songs, nurtured over the years by a rich community of folk friends as well as their own great love for the roots and branches of traditional music. "Birds of Passage" presents a potpourri of old and new in both story and chorus songs, performed with the simple elegance of sparkling guitar accompaniment or pure a cappella, expressed through distinctive vocal solos and dynamic two-part harmonies. The songs are about time and change in our world, its environment and its people--past, present, and future; they make us want to know the folk who made them, and from where and when they came--and in so doing, to know ourselves. This is an album filled with the cycles of life, patterns of renewal and migration, new beginnings, the hope for better times, and the joy of celebrating our singing together and sharing these songs.

Bob Zentz, Norfolk, VA
March 2015

No single influence has been greater than that of Folk-Legacy Records, the company founded more than 50 years ago by Sandy and Caroline Paton and Lee Haggerty. We are profoundly grateful to them for all they have given us and so many others. You'll see their influence in the songs we've chosen for this, our first CD. We're so honored that Caroline invited us to release this recording on Folk-Legacy (we're still pinching ourselves!).

And finally, we'd be remiss if we didn't thank "all the good people who've touched up our lives" through the years. This CD never would have seen the light of day without the encouragement and assistance 0f Bob Zentz and Jeanne MacDougall, Christina and Ann Mayo Muir, Larry Kaplan, Sara Grey, Lois Lyman and Jennifer Cutting. And, of course, recording engineer and spiritual guide extaordinaire Charlie Pilzer of Airshow Mastering.

For each of us as individuals, the folk-singing community has been an inspiration and an anchor for many years. The songs we sing--and the extended family of people from all over the world who love to sing and share music as we do--have provided us with a wonderful circle of friends and a sense of community that spans time and distance. We sing because these songs, and the people from whom we learned them, continue to bring meaning and joy to our lives. Truly, we live to sing, and we sing to live.

Each of us has had other lives, other loves, and other singing partners. We come to our partnership grateful not only for those experiences, but also for the opportunity to expand our musical and personal horizons together as partners in singing and life.

One of the reasons we decided to migrate north to Maine in 2014 was to feel more connected to the natural world. The title and the first and last songs of this CD reflect not only our love of all things avian, but our own situation as "Birds of Passage". And how many albums do you know that have not just one, but two references to caffinches?

George Stephens and Kathy Westra
Rockland, Maine
March 2015


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