About Bill P Lynch
Would you speak on my behalf
I have always thought of myself as a Blues musician. I’ve enjoyed 26 years of Blues music here in Nelson in the Lazy Poker Band with some of the finest musicians and vocalists in our community: hot music and world-class fun. From time to time, I also get to play an acoustic duo with Jon Burden, that exceptional blues guitarist and singer-songwriter from the Slocan Valley.
I remember when the Blues came to Ireland – I was young and it was startling, the notes that bent and twisted the old familiar scales, the lyrics without euphemism or innuendo that spoke of the stuff of real life, love and loss and sex and joy, and all of it performed with an attitude – an attitude stripped of sentimentality. It seemed to me that all I would need to head down that high road to real emotional expression was my Harmony Meteor and the few notes that I had learned. The guitar and the Blues had arrived at a good time for me; my Dad had died when I was 12 and the house was filled with that tragedy and my Mother’s grief and ours for a long time. Music helped. Music always helps.
So I have always thought of myself as a Blues musician – that is until I wrote the songs in this collection, Would You Speak on My Behalf. I guess these songs took me by surprise, but maybe they shouldn’t have; I have spent years travelling in the Middle East and Central Asia, India, the Balkans, and Cuba, and growing up in Ireland, the melodies of ceilidh weren’t far from the back door. I played a lot of music in some of these places too – in bars in Germany, Ireland and Turkey, but I must have been listening too; I hear some of those parts of the world in this collection, a Cuban rhythm, a Balkan harmony, a Mariachi trumpet. But I did not expect to find myself recording with a cello, an accordion or a Classical soprano.
As these songs developed from bed tracks in Ric Lingard’s studio it became increasingly obvious that each song needed individual treatment, its own tailored arrangement of instruments and vocalists from a variety of genres. And it dawned on me that this would be possible; we have all of those artists here. For some reason, this corner of British Columbia has attracted, or raised from scratch, great tribes of musicians and vocalists, many of them experts in widely different genres and some of them famed in places far from these valleys. I think there is something rare and precious about this: many great cities have a wide range of talents across different genres, but here, we pretty much all know each other, the Classical soprano, the Jazz trumpeter, the Blues band and the Balkan choir.
These local artists, eighteen of them – along with one Irish jazz singer and one Australian surf-rock drummer – all contributed generously to the project. And the songs blossomed with their help. I can hear that: I think you will too.
I want to thank all of the musicians and vocalists who contributed to these songs, Tom Thomson, Tim Bullen, Steve Wilson, Ruth Beck, Rob van der Laan, Ric Lingard, Noemi Kiss, Mark Spielman, Krista Lynch, Keith Todd, Jon Burden, Jeff Faragher, Ian Chater, Donnie Clark, Don MacDonald, Clinton Swanson, Bessie Wapp, Aryn Sheriff, Aran McMahon and Allison Girvan. Many of these musicians have their music available on iTunes and other platforms.
I am very fortunate for the great years playing with my friends in Lazy Poker, the marvellous musicians that make for a really cool band, Jack Olson, Rob van der Laan, Steve Wilson and Clinton Swanson – (Clinton, who is always working to make music better) – and the outstanding vocals of Aryn Sheriff. This has been a huge source of inspiration – and endless fun. Some of these songs came about with their help and encouragement. Lazy Poker has an album of its own heading into the studio soon. I think it is going to be great.
Jon Burden is all about Blues, but he can play just about anything on his guitar, and that is a guitar with one big vocabulary. Jon is enthusiastic about trying all kinds of odd-sounding pieces of music. I know this; I have introduced him to more than a few. Playing our acoustic duo in quieter venues, and with Jon’s constant encouragement, I took out many of the songs in this collection for their first test drive. Jon’s influence is all over this album. Jon and his bass-player vocalist daughter Holly, have three great blues albums of their own; all are available on iTunes.
Ric Lingard’s studio is not just a place to go and record some music, not just a room with all the right equipment with all of its still-puzzling array of knobs and dials and drop-down menus, it also comes with Ric’s endless enthusiasm and his own very considerable musical nous. The way I see it, Ric Lingard inhabits music; his knowledge is insider’s knowledge.
I want to thank a few of the people who helped produce this album, especially Ian Chater, Hadji Bakara and Molly Lynch. A lot of great ideas and a lot of careful listening came about with those three; there were also many other great suggestions from other musicians and friends along the way.
Above all I want to thank Ruth Beck, my partner, my encouragement in music and in life, my good muse.