The album title "Waiting For Inspiration" came
from my wife Susan. I thought the cover photo
looked like I was
waiting for something -- The bus?
The mailman? A sunny day in the Northwest? Then, my wife took
a look at it and
said: "Hmmm...Looks like you're waiting for
1. Gander In The Pratie Hole / Morrison's Jig / Drowsy
heard this delightful Irish set (two jigs and a reel) performed by the Tacoma
group Slainte, who unfortunately are no longer together. I
loved their guitar arrangement so much I just had to
duplicate it here. I think
"Pratie Hole" is some kind of Irish word for a potato
patch. Morrison's Jig needs no explanation, although
I honestly have no idea who Maggie is or why she's drowsy.
Peter's Hot Rod
Sometimes I just like to let down my mullet and do some shredding. This song was inspired by
disciple of Jesus named Simon (whom Jesus called "Rock" or
Peter). After having denied Jesus three times, Peter is
confronted by Jesus (who had just come back to life after
3 days in a tomb) who says to him: "Simon,
son of John, do you love me?" To which Peter replies "Yes,
Lord, you know that I love you". Jesus said, "Take care of
careless reading of this passage almost sounds
like he's telling Peter: "Take care of my Jeep!"
I imagine that today, Jesus might well have driven a jeep
-- handing his keys to Peter in his final moments in the
3. Ashokan Farewell*
heard this Jay Ungar tune on the Ken Burns "Civil War"
documentary. While not a period tune, the feeling is very
much of the Civil War era. As I hear the haunting
fiddle, I can imagine the broken bodies of Union and
Confederate boys littering the field at Gettysburg. I have
a difficult time fighting back tears when I hear it. (Read
Ashokan Farewell in Jay Ungar's own words)
Denis Murphy / John Ryan's Polkas**
of Irish polka tunes often played together with another
Irish tune: "I'll Tell Me Ma" -- one of our
kids' favorite. Although I didn't include the latter tune in this
recording, I sometimes perform it live sets.
sometime in the late 1700's by the former slave trader
Amazing Grace has become one of the best-known hymns
-- loved by saints and sinners alike (of which I'm the worst).
While trying to navigate his ship through perilous waters in
1748, Newton first experienced what he called "a great
deliverance". Amazing Grace is a cry of his heart,
celebrating his conversion to Christianity.
6. Nothing I Desire
the same way about sappy love songs as I do about pickled
beets. But in this tune (my only vocal song on the
tried to describe a sort of spiritual kind of love. The song comes from two Bible verses:
Psalm 73:25 "Whom have I in heaven buy you? And earth
has nothing I desire besides you" and
Proverbs 3:13-15, which describes the importance of
wisdom: "Blessed is the man who finds wisdom, the
man who gains understanding ... she is more precious than
rubies; nothing you desire can compare with her."
Instrument of Peace
The title of the song comes from
a poem by
of Assisi in the 13th century: "Lord,
make me an instrument of Thy peace; where there is hatred,
let me sow love; where there is injury, pardon; where
there is doubt, faith; where there is despair, hope; where
there is darkness, light; and where there is sadness,
originally had words in mind when I wrote this song, but
decided I enjoyed it better as an instrumental.
In the Valley To Pray**
song was made popular by Alison Krauss' performance, which was re-titled "Down In the River To Prayer" in
the movie "Oh Brother, Where Art Thou?". It's
actually a traditional Appalachian spiritual, that has
been recorded by the likes of Doc Watson, Martin Simpson
and many others.
9. Soldier's Joy / The Wind That Shakes the Barley**
truly a "celtograss" combo.
"Soldier's Joy" is a popular American tune
from the 18th century, which I've heard played in both Irish
sessions and bluegrass jams. "The Wind That Shakes
the Barley" is a widely-recorded traditional Irish Reel.
needs "thinking time", to dig deeper and reflect
on life's great mysteries. One of my favorite activities is
going to Victors Coffee Company every Tuesday morning,
where I grab a warm cup of coffee, open a book, write down
some notes, or -- just sit and think. I wrote this
song as an ode to "thinking". (See
related article >>)
11. Waking Up / Voice of the Irish
of original tunes. "Waking Up" is sort of a sleepy, morning kind of tune -- right before
of The Irish" is based on a dream St. Patrick had
just before becoming a missionary to Ireland. In the
dream, Patrick saw a man carrying thousands of letters
containing the words "The Voice of The Irish". As
Patrick describes in his Confessions: "as
I read the beginning of the letter I thought that at the
same moment I heard their voice — they were those beside
the Wood of Voclut, which is near the Western Sea — and
thus did they cry out as with one mouth: `We ask thee,
boy, come and walk among us once more.'"
(See my related
St. Patrick here >> )
12. New Wine Reel***
a fiddle tune written by my friend Ted Yuen. It was
inspired by a metaphor Jesus used to
describe the Kingdom of God. Like freshly-made
wine, the ultimately Real cannot be contained in brittle,
airtight structures. In this tune, I [Ted] attempt
to convey the irrepressible nature of the "New Wine".
13. Ashokan Farewell (reprise)*
love this tune so much I had to do it again! This
one is a guitar-only arrangement.
music/lyrics by Dan Carollo unless otherwise noted...
Farewell by Jay Ungar ©1983
by Swinging Door Music-BMI (used by permission)
**Traditional (public domain)
Wine Reel by Ted Yuen ©2001