Reece Sullivan | Wordsmith

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Folk: Modern Folk Country: Americana Moods: Type: Lyrical
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by Reece Sullivan

Tragicomic Modern Folk
Genre: Folk: Modern Folk
Release Date: 

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  Song Share Time Download
1. You Found Me
5:08 $1.29
2. Beautiful Day
3:07 $1.29
3. Black Mistress Mine
3:59 $1.29
4. A Girl with Red Hair
5:09 $1.29
5. Yonder, Stranger
4:57 $1.29
6. Call It Off, Wave the Flag, Blow the Horn
4:38 $1.29
7. Coming off My Meds, Again
5:48 $1.29
8. The Knob on the Door
5:59 $1.29
9. If You Travel Far Enough
4:50 $1.29
Downloads are available as MP3-320 files.


Album Notes
In 2013 when I first started playing solo acoustic shows, I heard a stranger say, “Wordsmith," from the audience (despite the fact that I was in the middle of a song). It stuck in my mind and I adopted it as a moniker of sorts, also deciding then that my next full length album would be named that.

Fast forward to March of 2016 when I went to hear two friends of mine, Clay Parker & Jodi James, play a house show in Jennings, LA. My friend who was hosting the show had a beautiful home in the country with open field and a barn out back with two horses. My wife was there taking pictures. One of the pictures she took was of me with one of the horses, which became the cover for a live EP of mine, titled, "Lake Charles.”

After the show, another photo was taken of Clay and I outside. It was already late afternoon; the sun was still up and the moon was already out. Thousands of small yellow flowers bloomed across the field. One of the pictures had Clay pointing in the distance, as though he were pointing out directions to a traveling wayfarer, (me). In reality, he was likely pointing to the barn or the horses. Because of my fictional narrative and the fact that we were somewhat laughing in the photo, I found it humorous.

In June, three months later, I was writing a song and while in the process of writing lyrics, I fumbled across this photo. The song developed into “Yonder, Stranger,” which is about a lone wayfarer who receives help in the form of a meal and practical instruction on a difficult passing from a local. The local informs the traveler of how best to reach his destination, the harshness of the weather, and of the reality of bandits on the road.

In September of 2016, I decided to record that song and ask Clay to play on it because of the picture that had inspired the song, and also because I knew his style of playing would be fantastic for it. Since we were already going to do that one, I threw in several other songs as possibilities, and that ended up becoming the songs on the album. All tracks were recorded live in the studio with Clay (with two exceptions: “Coming Off My Meds, Again” and “If You Travel Far Enough,”) and most were first takes. Some of the tracks I hadn't even shown Clay, which is to say that what you hear on the album was his first time hearing the song altogether.

“If You Travel Far Enough” also uses travel as an allegorical device, which is a recurring theme for me, but was written in 2005 in Belle Meade, TN. This was the first song I had Deni Bonet add strings to, and I was so impressed, I ended up having her play on four others as well. She recorded the strings remotely in New York City. Nick Zala-Webb recorded the pedal steel remotely from England. Lyle Begnaud recorded electric for it around the block from my house in Lafayette, LA.

“A Girl With Red Hair” came to me in it’s present form in Dallas, TX, July 2016, but the melody and chord changes for the chorus seemed to have already existed in me for several years. Though it's rare, certain melodies come, are forgotten, then later resurface again. This was one of them. I was leaving a show and had everything packed up. As I was walking out the door, the melody came to me, and I had to stop everything I was doing, get my guitar back out, figure out exactly what I was hearing my head and record a scratch version. Richard Comeaux played pedal steel on this one, along with “Beautiful Day” and “Call It Off, Wave The Flag, Blow The Horn.”

The chord changes and melody for “Black Mistress Mine,” though somewhat standard, I started playing fourteen years prior to recording WORDSMITH when I first started serious fingerpicking. The lyrics to the song were reworked at least four times, and an earlier version that ended up being scratched was recorded in 2013. We played this song spontaneously, Clay never having heard it, and luckily he’d brought his banjo, which worked perfectly. I actually missed the third line in the version that you hear here, which should’ve been, “when the path is dark,” not “when the wine is dark.” Paul Buller, who has recorded and played with almost all great folk musicians and singer-songwriters in Southern Louisiana, played pedal steel on this one. He also played on “Yonder, Stranger,” “Coming Off My Meds, Again,” and “The Knob On The Door.”

My wife suggested having a tintype taken for the cover. I tried to find someone who took them, but such folk were almost nonexistent. I found one man, Bruce R. Schultz, doing them who had some photos on exhibit in New Orleans. I wrote him, not knowing where he lived, asking if I could line up a shoot. As it turned out, though, he lived in Lafayette, LA, just several minutes from my house.

The live tracks were recorded at Blue Velvet Studio in Baton Rouge, owned by Denton Hatcher, over the course of two sessions in late October and November 2016. The album was mixed and mastered by Kieran McIntosh. At the time of WORDSMITH’s release, I’m back at Blue Velvet Studio working through new tracks for another album.



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