I had the privilege of being raised in a distinct place - a community that has looked much the same for the last 60 or 70 years. Nestled in the foothills of the Rocky Mountains of Colorado, my town has provided a rich source images and stories. The people of the town, the way my brother and my cousins grew up, the time and the place, have framed a kind of internal landscape for me that I have drawn on consistently as an adult. The town, Leyden, has 27 houses - coal company houses built exactly alike sometime at the turn of the last century - the early 1900's. After WWII the mines shut down and the town was almost a ghost town until WWII veterans started bringing their families to Leyden to take over the empty shells of houses and to build a new community. Twenty-seven houses surrounded by acres and acres of cattle ranches provided a definite sense of boundaries, of belonging, of knowing what our identity was. We came from Leyden. We all got on the school bus together to travel for more than an hour on a circuitous tour to get to school. We went to school with a mix of rural people and suburban people, but we were all crystal clear that we came from Leyden, a particular and distinct place in the universe. Leyden ran it's own water system, had it's own Sunday School, had it's own one gas pump general store, it's own women's auxiliary, and it's own set of intrigues, long term family feuds, fatalities, etc. It is simply amazing how much life experience can come out of 27 houses. Something has been indelibly etched in my brain and emotions from this experience - something about community, about loving one little valley, knowing it intimately - it's creek and the song of meadowlarks. Perhaps most of all I learned something about tolerance for other people's foibles. You have to learn tolerance in a town of 27 houses. You don't get to just walk away to find some place more interesting. You learn to live with it. I can still walk down the dirt street of my town and see the tin roof on the house I grew up in, the playground equipment I broke my arm on when I was 10, and the hillsides we sledded down in the winter. It is like looking at a picture that has multiple exposures on it. Each exposure is a snap shot of my own life layered over time - but all the pictures are of the same place. Like my life, the roots of the songs on this CD - Simple Man - grow out of the fertile soil of Leyden. Most are just invented stories - echoes of my past. My musical style draws on the gospel music I played on guitar as a teen and that classic 50's country music I could hear on cool spring nights playing on someone's radio down the street. I enjoyed trying to capture the essence of my little town. I hope you enjoy it, too.