Jump the Fence
JUMP THE FENCE is a collection of stories. Grady has worked on ranches in Colorado and as a whitewater boatman on western rivers in Idaho, Arizona, California, Alaska, and Oregon. Stories surround him. Stories happen. Some are happening right now. Others happened in the recent past and some are told and retold in the local histories of the Rocky Mountain west. All these kinds of stories, plus tales of emotion from inside the heart are offered on this collection of original folk, bluegrass, country and cowboy music. Grady doesn't sit well. He always wants to be outside, doing something, seeing something new and meeting the people and animals that populate his songs and fill his life. There are animals, ordinary and extraordinary, wild and tame, showing up in the lyrics. You could say the same for the people he sings about. And the places! Mountains, deserts, rivers, plains, ranches and oceans are the background for these tales. Some amazing musicians help in the telling of these stories. Banjo champion Tony Furtado, Dobro great, Sally Van Meter, award winning flat picker, Dennis Parker, mandolin wizard, Greg Schochet, veteran bass player, Rob Galloway and on vocal harmony, the golden voice of Maia Oden. Grady adds rhythm guitar and harmonica to the mix. This is original music with a traditional feel. Here are a few thoughts and notes that Grady wrote about each song on this album: DADDY IS A WRANGLER is the true story of a rodeo cowboy. The song tells of skill with horses and dysfunction with family. This song offers a glimpse of how the adults in our lives affect our childhood and help to shape us, and how acceptance and forgiveness can ultimately free us. Once when I was feeling low, Merle Haggard came on the radio singing "The Emptiest Arms in the World." I had my doubts...a big star like Merle? What about me? Mine must be emptier. Well I made up this song, I'LL BE BUSY. BEULAH was everything you could want in a dog. She was courageous, loyal, good natured, alert and she always seemed to be enjoying her life. She was a good worker too. She could keep the cattle in a herd and keep them moving. When I started working as a boatman on white water rivers, I discovered some amazing places. People who haven't been there often think of Idaho as some flatland state covered in potato fields. Those of us who know better, love the wilderness, canyons, mountains and abundance of wildlife, as well as the fast moving water and the slow moving pace you can experience in Idaho. This song is the true story of a hermit who lived out his life along the Salmon River. If you ever take a raft or kayak down this river, look for a name and some dates carved in the stone of the riverbank. The name is JOHNNY McKAY. One time on my way to Nashville I started to identify with everything that moved. This was right after I broke up with my woman and had just finished a two-week trip on the Colorado River through the Grand Canyon. The freedom of the river life and a woman I met in the canyon, made me glad to be alive, free and on the move. The title is JUMP THE FNECE. MINNIE was the only thing written on a grave in the Lone Tree Cemetery in Telluride Colorado. This was one of the first songs I ever wrote, inspired by what was not written on her gravestone. I made the whole thing up, but the story is based on real life in the early days of Telluride, a gold mining boomtown from the turn of the 20th century. The epitaphs in this graveyard are testament to lives filled with danger in the mountains and mines and in the streets. I wrote this song, by the way, several years before a new boom, and it's inherent dangers, came to town...ski lifts. DON'T BLOCK MY LOVE was written too late. The next letter I got from her indicated that she had, indeed blocked my love. BIG ENOUGH, named after the Will James novel, was one of the beings I have loved most in this life of mine. He was beautiful in every way and letting him gallop on mountain trails was a thrill that will never fade from my memory. Back in the old days, if you took a boat from Salmon City you would have to find another way back. The boats were often dismantled along the way and the lumber was used in the mines. It was sometimes known as the RIVER OF NO RETURN. I am not the first one to write a song with this name, but at the time I wrote it I hadn't heard the other one. Come on, it's a hard name to resist and just begging to be used as a simile or metaphor. A lot of things hold promise for us and one of those things comes along every year. We expect the Spring to bring about major changes. Most people I know expect love to change things too, and sometimes it does. PROMISE OF THE SPRING is about the possibility of change. There is a mountain near Fairplay, Colorado named Mount SILVERHEELS. This song tells the legend of how it got it's name. I won't spoil it. It's all in the song. I have visited the grave of LIZZIE KING. The history of Lizzie is a bit like the O. J. Simpson case but it occurred a century earlier. One similarity is that there was really only one suspect, but there was not enough evidence and therefore no conviction. That is not to say there was no punishment. SOMETIMES I CAN'T is in the tradition of singing about sadness, a longstanding theme in country music. Better to sing about it for four minutes than to live with it indefinitely wouldn't you say? I feel I have the right to mess with Texas. My parents were living there when they met in school so I am a second generation Texan. I made up this song while driving to visit someone. I actually wrote several songs on that trip. I had a lot of time. A LITTLE THING LIKE TEXAS is what I was feeling as the miles slowly slipped by on a long road under a lone star.