These days it seems no CD is complete without some sort of collaboration. For this CD Jim called upon longtime friends and newer friends.
For Lady of the Tor Jim contacted his old friends from Browne Jenkyn (AKA Cywn Annywn) the Merritts.
Dave Merritt is another great drummer, but more than the kit drums he is familiar with all manner of ethnic percussion from medieval European to old Middle Eastern. For Lady of the Tor and Long Ago he played and added in the hoop drum known as the Bodhran.
Del Merritt plays not just a few stringed instruments and for Lady of the Tor he plays mandolin and bouzouki.
Del's partner, Eileen Eggert plays the Irish Tin Whistle on Lady of the Tor to round out the Celtic mood of the song.
To complete the song, Jim called upon a newer friend Rachel Benoit, a graduate of Westminster Choir College, to sing the lyrics he had written.
The final results evoke images of the mists of oldtime mariner days of the 16th century and the windswept, wave crashing coasts of Ireland.
Long Ago was Jim's first song he wrote. Armed with a basic melody, words and a loose idea to have the Merritts and Rachel play and sing again, he gave the song to Chris and Art.
The song evolved and expanded to the epic proportions you hear now. A mix of old and modern sounds with old time and modern instruments has created a medieval fantasy song akin to a Swords and Sorcery soundtrack.
Rich and Dave's drums mix to create an old time drum beat. Jim's electric guitar combined with Chris' acoustic 12 string guitar and Del's mandolin carry the song. Art's keyboard strings, horns and choir set the atmosphere and Chris' bass and bass melody solidify the whole.
The solo sections feature a Jim and Chris duet, followed by a Del and Chris duet and finally Art's sorcerous synthesizers.
And last, but certainly not least, the vocals of Jim, Chris and Rachel narrate the song and build to an epic ending and essentially an epic closeout of the CD.
As a final note, Lady by The Tor is a reprise on the earlier song Lady of the Tor, but this time performed by the band. Pretty much all electric except for Chris' 12 string acoustic. Vocals by Jim and Chris. Flute sounds by Art on keyboards.
Dave Merritt and his partner Kim Leary own and run The Drum and Dance Learning Center.
4054 Quakerbridge Road, Lawrenceville, NJ 08648
They specialize in Belly Dancing and ethnic drum classes for all ages.
Also check out Dave and his student's CD
Alexia and Groove Merchants
Del and Eileen have their own Sea Shanty group, the Sea Dogs, that perform at various festivals and fairs.
Rachel Benoit is the instructor at The Music Studio of Rachel Benoit. She offers voice and piano lessons to all ages.