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Horizons

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The long-awaited new studio CD by Bob Zentz featuring all-new material is now available!

Horizons is a collection of fourteen songs written, arranged, or set to music by Bob over the past forty years, some of which have been extensively covered by other artists yet have never appeared on one of his own albums.  The new CD marks Bob's return to Folk-Legacy Records, the legendary record label that released his first two albums in the 1970s.  Read more about the release of "Horizons!"

Click here to order

1. Horizons (Bob Zentz) demo lyrics   8. Trade Winds (aka A Nautical Extravagance) (Wallace Irwin/Bob Zentz) demo lead sheet
2. Ol' Virginia (Bob Zentz/James A. Bland) demo lyrics   9. Willoughby Sunrise (instrumental) (Bob Zentz) demo lead sheet
3. Ol' Sud Bell (Bob Zentz) demo lyrics   10. (Ode to the) "Schooner Virginia" (Bob Zentz) demo lyrics
4. Captain Charley Still Remembers (Bob Zentz) demo lyrics   11. Fret and File (Bob Zentz) demo lyrics
5. Few Days (Traditional) demo lyrics   12. Where Does It Go When It's Gone? (Bob Zentz) demo lyrics
6. Ironclads Suite (Bob Zentz/Stephen Foster) demo lyrics   13. The End Of Another Year (Bob Zentz) demo lyrics
7. A Lifeboat Song (A.A./Bob Zentz) demo lyrics 14. Time To Go Now (Bob Zentz) demo lyrics

Credits:

Bob Zentz: vocal 1-8, 10-14; guitar 1, 4, 5, 13, 14; banjo 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7; taropatch (8-string tenor uke) 2, 8; melodeon 3, 9, 10;  concertina 4, 6, 8, 9; autoharp 6, 9, 10, 12; hurdy-gurdy 7; cittern 7; bodhran 8; jaw harp 8; 12-string guitar 11; harmonica 14
Gordon Bok: celamba 1
Marcy Brenner: b/g vocal 13; mandolin 13
Lou Castro: dobro 2, 13; bass 2; b/g vocal 13
Ken Hicks: b/g vocals 7
Robbie Link: bass 3, 10
Jeanne McDougall: b/g vocal 2, 3, 7, 13; cittern 7; taropatch 9; mountain dulcimer 13
Gabriel Robinson: tabla 5; frame drum 12
David Tweedy: fiddle 3, 6
Skye Zentz: b/g vocals 5; vocal 12

Production and Mastering:
Tracks 1, 2, 3, 6, 10, 13: Gary Mitchell, Soundside Studios, Ocracoke NC – www.soundsiderecords.com
Tracks 4, 5, 7, 8, 9, 11, 12, 14: Todd Washburn, Washburn Mastering, Norfolk VA – www.washburnmastering.com

Design & Layout:  Bryan Zentz at Different Devices, Portland OR
Photography: Jerry W. Kelley, http://www.flickr.com/photos/jwkphoto/

All arrangements ©2010 Bob Zentz

Liner notes:

This album is a collection of memories in written, visual and musical form that tell a story – a work of synergy, in which the sum of the whole is greater than the sum of the individual parts.  “Horizons” is more than just a song inspired by my earliest childhood visits to the shores of Chesapeake Bay;  the sense of horizon inhabits my work, my life and this collection.  The songs on this album visit the different horizons I’ve explored over the years, from those that surround the heritage of my home state and the waters that touch its shores, to the people near and far who have expanded my horizons of music, and life.

I close this album with a song from the early days which has taken on new meaning, with the loss of too many dear friends and mentors, like Sandy Paton, Euclid Hanbury, Utah Phillips, and Mike Seeger, who inspired, listened and encouraged.  This is for all those evenings we wished there was time for “just one more song.”

My thanks to the many friends and family members who helped bring this project to life, especially my daughter Skye, recording with me for the first time since her preschool debut and now an extraordinary artist of great promise in her own right;  my son Bryan, an amazingly creative musician and graphic artist who visualized this album exactly as I had hoped;  my great friend of five decades, Ken, who has always been there, no matter what;  my fellow troubadours from the coast of Maine, Gordon and Nick, who taught me how to “fill the wood with song;”  friends and collaborators old and new – Fiddler Dave, Marcy, Lou, Robbie and Gabriel, whose musical vision gave wings to mine;  my long-time recording collaborators Gary and Todd, whose combined talents brought the music out of the studio and onto CD;  Jerry, whose photographic wizardry documented and illuminated the days;  and my partner in love and life, Jeanne, whose never-ending support and persistence made this project possible.

Thanks, too, to every Jimmy Bland, Sud Bell, Captain Charley, A.A., Wallace Irwin, Stephen Foster, and all the “sung and unsung” heroes who helped inspire these songs, and to the family members who went before, who nurtured my love for the music, especially my Grampa Charley Galumbeck, a travelin’ salesman from Wilson, North Carolina whose harmonica I still hear in the distance.

1. Horizons (Music and lyrics ©1999, 2010 Bob Zentz;  recorded at Soundside Studios)
The circles that are our lives expand ... with knowledge, with exploration and travel, with friendship, and with age.  A simple expression of a simple idea, for all of us who dreamers be.

2. Ol’ Virginia (Music by James Alan Bland, 1878;  lyrics ©2006, 2010 Bob Zentz;  recorded at Soundside Studios, January 7, 2007)
Born in New York, Jimmy Bland (1854-1911), known in his day as “the World’s Greatest Minstrel Man,” was a banjo player and a songwriter of great note who wrote such classics as “Golden Slippers,” and who came to Virginia to court a young lady on the banks of the James River.  Like many African-Americans of the time, he crafted his art around the constraints of the era, expressing his memories and dreams in the ways that were open to him.  I sometimes wonder what he would have felt about the way his song became Virginia’s state song ... and now has become “State Song Emeritus.”  I feel a kinship to him, as a traveling musician who is often far from home and longing for happier memories, even those connected to hard times.  His song is one that deserves to be heard, and played on the instrument he loved.  The words I have set to it draw heavily on his own, telling of a place we have both loved, and reminding us why people still love her today, as others will forever.  Times and lyrics may change, but the music lives on!

3. Ol’ Sud Bell (Music and lyrics ©1999, 2010 Bob Zentz;  recorded at Soundside Studios, July 24, 2009)
Sud Bell was a picker, a grinner and a legendary banjo player from the town of Wachapreague on Virginia’s Eastern Shore.  When I first began teaching ElderHostels there, I heard countless tales about ol’ Sud, told around the stove at Margaret Carpenter’s general store.  Eventually some of those stories – the ones I could repeat! – became this song, reminding us of a bygone time, with its music played by the last Hog Islander, who never finished a tune.

4. Captain Charley Still Remembers (Music and lyrics ©1972, 2010 Bob Zentz;  recorded at Washburn Mastering, August 11, 2009)
In 1971, TV host Jim Lehman invited me to write a new song each week, based on current news stories.  I interviewed Captain Charles Harrison of the Norfolk Fire Department upon the occasion of his retirement, and this is the song that resulted.  His reminiscences painted vivid pictures of life and times during his fifty years in this often-unsung public service.

5. Few Days (traditional;  recorded at Washburn Mastering, August 14, 2009)
Once a gospel song, a music hall tune, and a tale of the California goldfields, this became the packin’ up chant of the Ramblin’ Conrad’s crew during the load-out, when we were “goin’ home” following numerous festivals in the ‘70s and ‘80s.  It was a joy to record it with the daughter who grew up in that shop, along with the young man she brought home from her own sojourn to the Golden West.  Learned it from one of the first Folk-Legacy records in my collection – “Five Days Singin’.”

6. Ironclads Suite (Music: “The Glendy Burke” by Stephen Foster, 1860;  lyrics ©2005, 2010 Bob Zentz;  recorded at Soundside Studios, January 7, 2007)
Following the discovery of the sunken Union ironclad USS Monitor off Cape Hatteras NC, I began to speculate about the true outcome of the 1862 “Battle of Hampton Roads” – where the Monitor and the Confederate ironclad CSS Virginia fought to a draw, with technology as the winner.  This musical tribute soon followed!
Mariners Museum, Newport News, Virginia:  www.mariner.org

 7. A Lifeboat Song (Music ©2007, 2010 Bob Zentz;  lyrics by “A.A.,” 1892;  recorded at Washburn Mastering, August 17, 2009)
A treasure discovered in a book of old poetry while leading an ElderHostel on the Intracoastal Waterway aboard the ACCL Grande Mariner in April 2007.  My own experiences in the Coast Guard as well as performances at the Lightship Portsmouth and Old Coast Guard Station Museum in Virginia Beach inspired me to commit one of my favorite acts – setting poetry to music.  Thanks to A.A., whoever ye may be, and to Jeanne, my paper-trained musician, who often rescues my musical ramblin’s from oblivion!
www.portsnavalmuseums.com/about_lightship.html
www.oldcoastguardstation.com

8. Trade Winds (aka A Nautical Extravagance) (Music ©2004, 2010 Bob Zentz;  lyrics by Wallace Irwin, 1906;  recorded at Washburn Mastering, August 17, 2009)
This poem, by the great Wallace Irwin (“The Chivalrous Shark”) takes a light-hearted look at the often-deadly business of facing down the north wind, by “spinnin’ a yarn that wanders away from the truth!”

9. Willoughby Sunrise (instrumental) (Music ©2009, 2010 Bob Zentz;  recorded at Washburn Mastering, August 17, 2009)
Master photographer Jerry Kelley took the cover photo for this album at sunrise on August 9th, 2009.  I just couldn’t sit still with that autoharp in my hands ... and so I was at the right place at the right time to capture this tune as it winged its way down to Willoughby Spit.  Another one notated by Jeanne for posterity.

10. (Ode to the) “Schooner Virginia” (Music and lyrics ©2000, 2002, 2010 Bob Zentz;  recorded at Soundside Studios, July 24, 2009)
From the keel-laying ceremony in 2000 to her launching in the Elizabeth River in 2002, this song was a work in progress about the "Schooner Virginia," – Virginia’s Tall Ship, a replica of the last pilot schooner to sail the Chesapeake Bay more than 80 years ago.  There were several incarnations of this song as the building progressed.  Though the news has come just as this CD is being released that she's being mothballed – another victim to hard times! – those of us who love her are ever hopeful that she will sail again very soon, in better times.  Thanks to the Commonwealth, for naming her Virginia's Goodwill Ambassador, and to the Virginia Maritime Heritage Foundation, for keeping the dream alive.
www.schoonervirginia.org

11. Fret and File (Music and lyrics ©1992, 2010 Bob Zentz;  recorded at Washburn Mastering, August 17, 2009)
Years after my first (and last) effort at building a guitar, this song came along – an ode to the 12-string guitar I had always wanted to build.  Dedicated to my “Down East” guitar buildin’ guru, Nick, and to Elmer, who holds it all together!  I had never before thought of a guitar as a time machine.
Nick Apollonio:  guittern@gmail.com

12. Where Does It Go When It’s Gone? (Music and lyrics ©1974, 2010 Bob Zentz;  recorded at Washburn Mastering, August 14, 2009)
A question I’ve pondered all my born days.  Like all good questions, the answer is probably 42.

13. The End of Another Year (Music and lyrics ©1995, 2010 Bob Zentz;  recorded at Soundside Studios, January 7, 2007)
In 1995, the city of Norfolk held its first – and, as it turned out, its last – “First Night” celebration.  On that cold New Year’s Eve so long ago, at the end of a year that saw the closing of our beloved music shop, I thought about all of the many reasons I had to be thankful.  This song is about those reasons, of which we are reminded every time we are privileged to make “one more journey around the sun.”

14. Time To Go Now (Music and lyrics ©1974, 2010 Bob Zentz;  recorded at Washburn Mastering, August 11, 2009)
For all the folks who listened, for all those evenings I wished there was time for “one more song,” and for the music that is the key to who we really are.

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