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Rt 2, Stuart Virginia

First of all, Route 2 Stuart Virginia the address to my childhood home.   A little section called Elamsville.   Growing up, the term Elamsville to me was more of a joke because there we no signs anywhere, just an old name.   Around 1970, they finally put up two signs about 1/2 mile apart, not encompassing what we believed to be Elamsville.   On Halloween night, 1972, the night before I went into the Navy, we went and pulled one of the signed out of the ground and put it by the mailbox of my parents, so they could NOW live in Elamsville.   When the county brought in the 9-1-1 and all streets had names, the road by my house is called Elamsville Road and it runs 20 miles, and the signed have been moved to more accurately reflect Elamsville.

This CD is a compilation of songs I have written and recorded that are based up “Back Home”.   There are a few songs which were never released on CD and are indicted as such.

Crooked Road: (September 2007).  Title song from the CD, The Crooked Road.Virginia has a designated trail titled “The Crooked Road” to celebrate the musical heritage of Virginia Musicians (Carter Family, Ralph Stanley, etc).  The Crooked Road begins in Ferrum Virginia some 30 miles away and runs through Patrick Country.  We were visiting my hometown in January 2007 and we staying in the Virginian Motel directly in the town of Stuart.  I spent several hours looking out at Bull Mountain.  I also got the chance to play at one of the “Crooked Road” venues in Willis Gap on the North Caroline border.  I wrote most of the song while looking out the “Bull Mountain watching the Pickup trucks drive by”.  THINGS TO KNOW:  I have a picture video of the Crooked Road on You Tube and on My Space.

Mama's Biscuits and Gravy: (June 2010)  Ruby’s Cafe CD.  Every songwriter eventually writes a song about Mama!!  Biscuits and Gravy is a real southern breakfast standard.  Homemade biscuits made with flour, Crisco Shortening and Milk.  Gravy (sometimes referred to as Sopping Gravy or Milk Gravy) is made from leftover grease in the frying pan (after you've cooked up a batch of bacon or sausage), you add flour to the grease until it browns and add condensed milk, stirring it to it thickens.  My father (along with most southerners) ate this every morning for breakfast, along with some bacon and eggs.  He lived to be 84.  But take a minute to think about 1945, where you had to build a fire in the stove and get it hot enough to bake biscuits.  Mama says it wasn't until the mid 50's that we finally got an electric stove... THINGS TO KNOW:  I want to personally thank Willie Nelson for the rhyme of Navy and Gravy from his song Pick Up The Tempo!!  Also my Mama loves this song!!!!

Country Boy:
(March 2006).  The Crooked Road CD.  Another true story of my childhood!  Grew up in the simple life of a country boy and I’m damn proud of it.  I tell the joke that we were so wealthy, we had two TV’s...they were on top of each other, one for sound and the other for the picture….I’m sure there’s some families out there that can relate to that.  But looking back, it was rich childhood raised on solid principals of honesty and hard work.  I can clearly remember watching those great Sunday morning Gospel music programs on TV and waking up to the smell of Mama’s Fried Chicken and Sopping Gravy…YES, that was Sunday morning breakfast!!  THINGS TO KNOW:  For the benefit of some that didn’t grow up in the country, when you bought soft drinks you had to pay a 2-cent deposit on each bottle.  Lots of people would just throw the bottle out the window of the car in the ditches after they were empty.  We’d roam the ditches along the road between the house and country store looking for “pop bottles” and turn them in for that 2 cent return of deposit…which was a very common way to make a little money!

Mama's Front Yard: (2015)  On The Road With Merle EP.    From my childhood home in the Elamsville Community of Stuart Virginia, there is a spectacular view of the Blue Ridge Mountains.  I used a picture from that view on a lot of promotional material.  I went home in summer of 2015 and each night I would set out in the front yard and watch the sun go down over the mountains.  THINGS TO KNOW:  Country nights are not quiet..actually natures sounds are quite loud...which you hear at the end of the song.  Up the road a few hundred yards resides a lone donkey belonging to my cousin and each night between 9 & 9:15pm he would start braying that would go on for 5 minutes, just like clockwork.

The House I Call Home (July 2012) American Troubadour CD. Another song written on the road.  Just a small tribute to my father, who by the age of 32 with 4 kids built the house I grew up in and my mother still lives.  My father had cut timber and working in a sawmill right after WWII in North Carolina.  He returned to his hometown in Virginia in 1952 and start working 2nd shift in a textile factory.   Shortly after, he bought and began to run a small sawmill in the mornings from 7am. til 12pm.  Come home, wash up, eat dinner and catch his ride to the factory at 2pm.  THINGS TO KNOW:  I was just thinking of the sad day that I will not be able to walk freely into my childhood home.  Whether its owned by another family member or a stranger, it will never be the same again.  I'm one of the lucky ones that can still do that 56 years after we moved in, I can still call it home

Guardian Angel: (November 2008) American Troubadour CD.  The “Fernpass” in Austria is a very dangerous curvy mountain road, where motorcyclists try to set land speed records and end up being the next organ donor.  There is a sign showing a motorcyclist with a tiny angel up on his shoulder and the sign reads (translated) Give Your Guardian A Chance.  When I decided to write a song about two times when I was about 14 years old, my Guardian Angel stepped in.  THINGS TO KNOW:  You can’t put the gun in mouth and keep pulling trigger and expect the Guardian Angel to save you every time. Your Guardian Angel can’t do it all…

Country Boy Is Back Home Again:   (May 2017)   New song for this project.  My father passed away i 2011 and I started "coming home" from Germany every two years.  Normally each trip inspired a song, so this is my 2017 Back Home song.  THINGS TO KNOW:  On each Chorus, I have inserted a name of "back home" song that I've recorded.

Daddy Was A Factory Man:  (August 2003)  Title Song for the Daddy Was A Factory Man CD.   My Mama wrote that the textile factory (which my Daddy worked at for 44 years and my two brothers-in-law have worked there for 30 plus years) up and closed with only a couple of weeks notice.  I had written the title and idea several years ago, but the news of the factory closing inspired me to write the song.  I love the bass line that Jogi put on it. THINGS TO KNOW:  When my Daddy first heard it, he told my Mama, “he pretty much covered everything”.

 Jonathan’s Song  2003.  Never previously released.  This song was written as a tribute to Cpl Jonathan Bowling, USMC .  I’m kin on his mother’s side and I’ve know his Daddy since the first grade in school.  Jonathan was in the USMC Reserves and got called up for the Iraq war.   He got killed on one of the bloodiest days of Iraq.

Back When I Was A Cowboy:  (May 1997).  Daddy Was A Factory Man CD.   I had promised a friend I would write a song for her future husband as a birthday gift, if she’s just jot down some ideas.  I worked on and off for several months trying to write it.  In the process this song was written.  THINGS TO KNOW:  Its’ the true story of my life!  Wish I could find all the words to A Cowboy Life’s!!

News From Back Home: (April 2000).   Daddy Was A Factory Man CD.  Written after several letters from my sister, Raena, I set down with the intention of just collecting a few ideas from things that had happened in the family, a half hour later, I had a whole song. THINGS TO KNOW: Its ALL true.  Someday, I’ll have write MORE News From Back Home!!

Grandpa and Charlie Poole
.   New song for this project. I wanted to write a tribute to my Grandpa Boss Foley (Mama's Daddy).  He died of cancer in 1961 when I was 7 years old.  I have a few faint memories of him.  But I remember stories about his "Moonshiner Days" and that the great Charlie Poole would visit and hang around for a few days at a time, before he became famous.  The statistics of Charlie Poole and Grandpa Boss are all true.  THINGS TO KNOW:  Mama used to say, if she woke up to the sound of Charlie Poole records, she knew if was gonna be a good day (meaning her Daddy wasn't too hung-over)

NAFTA Blues:
  (January 2000, AKA Y2K)  Daddy Was A Factory Man CD.   I wrote this on New Years Day.  I had read about several hometown factories had closed and I decided to write the song.  (3 years before my Daddy’s factory closed). THINGS TO KNOW:  The phase “pennies in my shoes” goes back to the penny loafter days.  This song was arranged to have a Dixieland Band on it, but they all backed out, leaving me to use a demo version I had worked up.  It supposed to have kinda a Jimmie Rodgers (1930) sound.  Oh, my Grandpa (on my Mama’s side) was a Moonshiner! That’s my good friend Mandy Strobel joining me on vocals.

Daddy’s Funeral (2011) American Troubadour CD  (Home Studio Version)  Very simple recap of the events surrounding my father funeral in 2011.  He was bed ridden for 4 years dying of nothing.  His refusal to go to a doctor for a full exam until he was unable to move his muscles, just kept him in bed.   There was just nothing left to say after four years.  THINGS TO KNOW:  At the gravesite, just as they started singing Amazing Grace, an old Log Truck came pulling loudly and slowly up the hill.  Although it aggravated most everybody, my Mama thought it was a great last tribute to an old sawmill man.

Grandpa Cleve’s Story (2019)  New for this project..  When my father’s father Cleve Foley died in 1989 at the age of 92 resulting from a car accident, I wrote a song about his life.   I’ve rewritten that song several times, but I was never happy with it, because there was so much I wanted to say.  So I decided to just simply Talk to you and tell you his life story

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