Produced at Studio C - 30 Music Square West, Nashville, TN 37203
Happy Levon - Drums
Harvey Benschvice - Bass
Zuma Mubasa - Percussion
Digitally Mastered at Masterfonics, Nashville, TN 37203
Thanks to Sandy, Zachary and Helly, Merl and Merl Jr., Mariana, Jorma and Vanessa, Jack Casady, Hot Tuna, Michael Falzarano, Bob and Wendy Welch, Dennis Robbins, Joe Louis Walker, Henry and Dave and everyone at Gibson Guitar Corp. the gang at Mix Magazine and Electronic Musician, Susana Millman, Dennis McNally, 310 Chapel (you know who you are), Eugene Chadbourne, Todd Davis, Joel Williams, Stan Rawls, Neal Cappelino, Steve Moore, Stanley Mouse, Les and Toni at Relix, Rod, Cheryl and Jimmy at CRT, Bets and Mike and the folks on Rocknet, Big Jose da Blues Animal, Hillel and everyone at N.A.R.A.S., Steve Ramirez, Stu Ziff, Michael Holmes, Glenn Meadows, Jeannie at Sweetwater, Miss Bliss, and of course, Dreamland in T-Town for some mighty fine ribs.
Special thanks to my wonderful friend and producer Fred Bogert, for believing in the music and sharing the stick.
Mike Lawson plays Gibson Guitars damn near exclusively!
I had the privilege of growing up in what are often referred to as the "psychedelic 60s". It was a magical time fueled by many factors. The most lasting legacy is the great music it inspired and produced, what is today often called "hippie music".
All of today's interest in that era and people trying to keep its spirit alive does my heart nothing but good. That's what drew my attention to songwriter/guitarist Mike Lawson. Though in his late 20's, here's a guy writing songs which are fresh yet capture the flavor of that whole, very definite style and feel of music. Even better, his first major recorded offering 'Ticket to Fly - Lawson and Friends Vol. 1" actually has some heavy-duty names from that period joining him.
Rock & Roll Hall of Fame member Jorma Kaukonen of Hot Tuna and Jefferson Airplane fame adds some of his great guitar work to four tracks. In addition to the opening "Songs Are Fine", which has a Byrds and Bob Dylan (who wrote a number of the Byrds top songs) flavor to it, his smooth licks are also heard on the very Dead-like "Old Jack" in which Lawson shows his influence and hero worship for the late, great Jerry Garcia.
For "Every Single Minute", another obvious Dead-influenced arrangement, Kaukonen is joined on guitar by the song's co-writer, platinum solo artist and former Fleetwood Mac member Bob Welch. On "Now I Got You" Kaukonen is joined by keyboardist extraordinaire Merl Saunders, whose work over the last 30 years has graced a long list of names including Jerry Garcia and the Grateful Dead, Mike Bloomfield, Vassar Clements, Tom Fogerty and John Kahn. Through the magic of modern ADAT technology, Kaukonen, Welch, and Saunders, though appearing on a recording together for the very first time, never actually sat down together in the same Nashville studio (Saunders actually added his tracks in his favorite studio in San Francisco).
"Following The Moon", another Dylan-like number, features the guitar soloing of NY guitarist-songwriter Stuart Ziff. The mellow "What Did That Bring?" reminds me of The Band and some of the eclectic work of the Marshall Tucker Band.
"Georgiana Starlington" very much shows the influence of the years Lawson lived in Nashville. Like many a song before by travelling bands, this one was written in the back of a van during Lawson's days of travelling the college circuits. The name came from an I-65 exit sign that caught his imagination. The smoking slide guitar solo on this one is from his friend Dennis Robbins, formerly of the Detroit rock band The Rockets, who has since become one of Nashville's most prolific country songwriters (most notably penning multi-platinum hits for Garth Brooks, Highway 101, and others).
Dr. John will love the "Judgment Day Rag" which is right out of New Orleans, home to anything musically good like that. And the "blues animal" in me is right at home with "War You Choose", kind of like Buffalo Springfield meets the Blues. My skin crawls to its chilling slide work by Joe Louis Walker who, playing a unique "Fan-Electro by Novax" guitar with its two "lipstick" pickups and slanted or "fanned" frets, graphically shows why he's right now on top of the Blues world.
The spiritual closer "And We Bid You Goodnight" became like an epitaph for Lawson's spiritual mentor Jerry Garcia who passed away a few days before it was recorded. He's backed on this traditional styling by Nashville singer/songwriter Catherine Craig.
Perhaps most spiritual of all, the four year odyssey this recording project became took place on Nashville's historic Music Row in Studio C, located in the same building once owned by RCA, where many a legendary recording was made. Mike Lawson has definitely kept that legacy alive with some marvelous original songs that will be a favorite addition to my "CD your way to bankruptcy" collection for a long time. Listening to it brought back a lot of fond memones of a magic time I don't think we'll ever see again.
Joe "Blues Animal" Stephan
California Central Coast Bikers & Blues Magazine Oct. '97
Cover art "Flying People" All rights resereved. Used by Permission
(C) (P) 1998 Psychotronic Records
Distributed by Sumertone Records, San Francisco, CA
Made in USA
Unauthorized duplication is a violation of applicable laws.
Psychotronic Logo is a Trademark of Psychotronic Music, Sumertone Logo is a Trademark of Merl Saunders and Sumertone Productions
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