Susan Talbot Reid | Bridges to Home

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Folk: Folk-Jazz World: World Beat Moods: Type: Vocal
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Bridges to Home

by Susan Talbot Reid

Susan is a vocalist, banjoist and guitarist known widely for her compelling alto voice, original frailing style on banjo, and unexpected interpretations of traditional music that traverse time and genres. She makes her international debut with a collection of songs borrowed from American and World traditions and current songwriters chosen for their messages of “hope” and “home”. Susan’s evocative vocals, banjo, and guitar are accompanied by a band of award-winning, master musicians, including Jeff Haynes on percussion, Marvin Sewell on guitar, Michael Manring on fretless bass and e-bow, Matt Turk on mandolin, Dwayne Kerr on flute, Rob Scheps on soprano saxophone, Jim Hickey on pedal steel, and Mark Peterson and Doug Weiss on upright bass. Together, they create an alluring tapestry of music that moves and transports the listener.
Genre: Folk: Folk-Jazz
Release Date: 

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  Song Share Time Download
1. Black Is the Color
4:54 $0.99
2. Fear A' Bhàta (The Boatman)
6:15 $0.99
3. V'la L'bon Vent (Go, Good Wind)
2:19 $0.99
4. Neria
5:51 $0.99
5. Wayfaring Stranger / Hold On
5:05 $0.99
6. Motherless Child
5:33 $0.99
7. Waterbound
4:03 $0.99
8. The Water Is Wide
6:16 $0.99
9. Nine Hundred Miles
3:30 $0.99
Downloads are available as MP3-320 files.


Album Notes
"What a wonderful album this is. Susan reminds me of the purity of early Joan Baez. Her voice captures all the human emotions, and in these strange, unsettling times, when bad news fills the newspapers, television, and social media, and we witness the struggling and suffering of family members and old friends, Susan's voice is a calming balm. She reassures us that ~Yes, there are problems that need addressing, but all is not lost; these times, too, will pass. The songs that Susan has chosen show us that the past and present co-exist with the future, and she sings, plays and interprets seamlessly about all three. She is an international treasure, and I hope this beautiful album - her first - finds its way to the huge audience that it deserves."
~ Tom Pacheco, singer-songwriter

FEATURED ARTISTS (listed alphabetically) ~
Clare Reid Bozsó - Vocal Harmony (Fear a' Bhàta)
Casey Erdmann ~ Vocal Harmony (Neria)
Jeff Haynes ~ Percussion
Jim Hickey ~ Pedal Steel Guitar
Dwayne Kerr ~ Flute
Michael Manring ~ Fretless Bass, E-bow
Mark E. Peterson ~ Upright Bass
Rob Scheps ~ Soprano Saxophone
Marvin Sewell ~ Guitars (Acoustic and Electric)
John Smith ~ Guitars (Acoustic and Electric)
Matt Turk ~ Mandolin
Doug Weiss ~ Upright Bass

Jeff Haynes, Komunyaka Music Inc. ~ Recording, Initial Mixing and Engineering
Ferenc Bozsó ~ Final Editing and Engineering
Mike Kalajian, Rogue Planet Mastering ~ Digital and Vinyl Mastering
Cover Photography by Ferenc Bozsó
Graphic Design by Kenny Schneidman
CD Packaging by Oasis CD

Bridges CONNECT people and cultures, structures and landforms, stories and songs,
and the past, present, and future;
Bridges ARC over the body of a musical instrument, over bodies of water, valleys, the sky,
and time and space;
Bridges SYMBOLIZE transition ~ from the place of departure to the place of arrival;
The leaving can be fraught with fear and sadness ~ or with hope;
The arrival can lead to the discovery of something new and unexpected ~ or a return home to where we belong;
Bridges are CREATED by nature and time,
and they are BUILT through the JOINING of many different ideas,
many hands, and sweaty toil,
person by person, stone by stone, and arch by arch,
~ not one without the other ~
until the keystone, the heart, the central element

THE BRIDGE OF SONGS ~ By Susan Talbot Reid
Black is the Color ~
Originating in Scotland in the early 19th century, Black is the Color of My True Love’s Hair was carried across the Atlantic by immigrant settlers to the highlands of North Carolina and Southern Appalachia. For nearly 200 years this ballad has paid tribute to the ideal of love, embodied in the physical attributes of a lover who has gone away. I believe it is this song's alluring beauty that gives it the power to span centuries and connect viscerally with us today, and I wanted my interpretation to kindle that connection with its timeless passion.

Fear a' Bhàta (The Boatman) ~
Written by Sine Nic Fhionnlaoich on the Isle of Lewis, Scotland in the 18th century, a young woman awaits the unknown return of her beloved from a fishing expedition at sea. The ancient Scots Gaelic language is an integral part of the texture of this ballad, giving imagery to the woman’s anxious longing amidst the hostile setting of unforgiving waves and high cliffs that threaten the safe return of her fear a' bhàta (man of the boat). However, it is the steady, pulse-like rhythm of the tide that is the constant, connecting the two lovers and giving hope of the young man’s return. It was my desire to evoke that pulse, like a heartbeat, in the underpinning of this new arrangement.

V’la l’Bon Vent (Go, Good Wind) ~
Brought to Acadia by French voyageurs in the 17th century, this song has been passed down through Canada’s history for more than three hundred years. In the French language, it is a story rich with symbols (three ducks, a king, death, and the loss of silver and gold…) that illustrates the struggle of the common people of the time, uniting in social revolt against a divine-right monarchy, famine, poverty, and the oppressive power of the wealthy. In each refrain, the symbolism of l’bon vent ~ the coming “good wind” ~ reminds the people that change is near, and to persevere. The song was later adopted as a work song by emigrant pioneers paddling their canoes through the uncharted waterways of the New World. As history repeats itself and common people continue to struggle, songs to bolster hope and perseverance also live on.

Neria ~
In 1993, the Zimbabwean musician and social justice activist, Oliver Mtukudzi, wrote this song to tell the story of Neria, a young widow in the Shona culture who fights victimization by her husband’s brother and overcomes overwhelming adversity to win back her human rights, her children, and her life. The song expresses a gentle yet powerful urgency not to give up and to always have hope: Neria, Neria, usaore moyo ka Neria, Mwari anewe (Neria, Neria, don’t be disheartened, God is with you.)

Wayfaring Stranger / Hold On ~
I linked these two spirituals with a rising, instrumental “bridge” on banjo to interpret my inspiration for this piece: From the time we are born, we are all wayfaring travelers; all human beings struggling alongside each other on this rough journey through life, all seeking our way home. Though at times we might feel orphaned, abandoned, and utterly alone - we are not. Bridging the two songs transitions the listener from being the lonely Wayfaring Stranger to joining up with our sisters and brothers. With the call to Hold On, we are urged to not give up and to believe that together we are stronger and better able to build a world of peace and justice.

Motherless Child ~
Sometimes I feel like a motherless child, a long way from home… This spiritual dates back to the mid-1800's and was born from the depths of human souls who knew unfathomable suffering as enslaved people. Despite that suffering, there is no bitterness nor call for retribution found in its verses - only magnificent courage and hopeful vision, symbolized by a bird’s flight, together with the unwavering trust that freedom is near. As I was arranging Motherless Child a verse from W. C. Dix's Christmas carol, What Child Is This? came to me and found its place within. I sing this song on behalf of all those throughout history who have experienced forced removal or displacement from their homes and homelands, removal of their human rights, and family separation because of sale, human trafficking, war, or other political agenda.

Waterbound ~
Written by Dirk Powell following Hurricane Katrina in 2005, the voice of this song sounds older than its years; It could have emerged from other floods throughout history where people have suffered loss and displacement. The chilling reality is that massive flooding is on the rise as climate change is increasingly manifested in extreme weather and climate events. Although Dirk Powell's solemn narrative presents a waterbound victim who has lost everything, Powell gives his character grit and the resolve to survive.

The Water is Wide ~
This ballad originated in Scotland in the 1600’s as Waly, Waly and went through numerous adaptations before becoming the ballad that we know today. Over the centuries it has most often been considered a tribute to love. However, the words speak, more accurately, to the challenges of human love, and water not only becomes a metaphor for what can separate us, but also for what connects us. I have sung The Water is Wide in a traditional way for several decades. However, while exploring the song for this album, a new interpretation began to flow out of me that erased the boundaries of time.

Nine Hundred Miles ~
Written by Cisco Houston, this song reaches out from “the lonesome track” where a railroader, far from home and separated from those he loves will do whatever it takes to get back. Though a modern ballad, it is written in the folk tradition and honors music's history of strengthening the spirits of those laboring or on assignment far from their homes and families. Songs have the power to assuage yearning and give us hope that a day of release will soon come, together with a return to that place we call "home".



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