All songs written and produced by Larry Hucke. Production Assistant: Mary Noonan. Recorded and mixed in part at Miller Recording Studio in Newton, Ks. Engineered by Larry Funk. Recorded and mixed in part at Big Dog Studio in Wichita, Ks. Engineered by John Salem & Bo Reusch. Digital mastering by John Salem at Big Dog Studio. Remastered in 2003 by Ben Harvey in Wichita, Ks. 'Colorful Characters...' recorded live in 'the Dungeon' at home, with lots of peanut butter sandwiches and the help of Talent Directors, Chris Hucke and Linda Held. Larry Hucke: lead vocals, acoustic guitar, keyboards, synthesizers, and percussion programming. Randi Arbuckle: vocals/duet Fritz Davis: vocals, electric and acoustic guitar. Mark Billman: harmonica and vocals. Tim Raymond: synthesizer, vocals and vocal arranging. Steve Story: fiddle and dobro. Vince Mourning: electric heavy metal guitar. Bo Reusch: rhythm guitar. John Collison: DX7, synthesizer. Flynn Adams: bass. Mick Watts: classical lead guitar. Lynn Pillar: electric lead guitar. Paul Elwood: banjo. Kevin May: saxophone. Randy Grohs: DX7. Andrea Steven: vocals. Linda Carol Vargas and Sheila Loffland: choral vocals. Kansas kids: Matti Held, Matthew Noonan, Kelly Noonan, Matt Grattan, Debbie Cline, Leslie Cline and Stephanie Westerfield. SFX: John Salem (radio voice) and Barry Richwine (train). Graphic Design: Laser Wildcard of Wichita. Ks. Cover photos by Larry and Mary. Sunrise near Whitewater, Ks. on the Willard Wiebe farm. Kansans have always possessed a strong sense of character, commitment, resourcefulness, and tough-minded fairness; along with an easy-going, gentle strength that is reflected by the prairie landscape itself. As Kansas Facts, a State of Kansas publication, aptly points out, 'The soil and sky furnish Kansas' two best known exports - wheat and airplanes. But the state's greatest contribution, a product of it's rich pioneer heritage, is it's people. They are vigorous, hardworking, and outspoken.' So with that in mind, this modest effort is dedicated to Kansans everywhere, and especially to the following Kansas people: Doris Noonan - whose very existence is testimony to the triumph of the human spirit over the worst that life has to offer... Christine Hickman Hucke and Charles Hucke - who's parenting skills, if not perfect, were as close as it needs to be... Ray Connell - whose friendship, faith, and support through the years, remains remarkable... Mary Noonan - whose patient love and understanding continues to grow beyond the bond of spoken vows... Bob Dole - whose courage, conviction, and determination is an example of the Kansas spirit at it's finest... Special thanks for the help and encouragement of: Granny, Pat, Theresa, and Matt, Lori, Linda, Sara, Tim, Denise, and Jessica, Judy and Mike, Teri and Vernon, Velma, Vie and Jean, Marleena, Carleeta, Pat R., Bonnie B., R.J., Mark B., Fritz, Janie, Terry S., Howard W, Eric, the Waggoners (from the beginning), my Texas family, and my mother - for constantly reminding me that music is a gift to be shared . . . PERIOD. '...for the woods would be very silent if the only birds that sang there were those that sang the best...' Those who know me were a little surprised to find out that I would be doing most of the singing on this album! Mainly, I suppose, because they know I struggle incessantly with the insecurity of possessing something less than an impressive singing voice (an insecurity not uncommon among those of us who specialize in the song-writing aspect of making music). In fact, I was initially planning to have other more competent and gifted singers perform these songs. However, for better or worse, three considerations caused me to reconsider: a few hearty souls who actually wanted me to sing, the above anonymous quotation, and the appropriateness of my voice being somewhat reminiscent of Kansas itself--a little flat in places! Well, I may not be the most decisive person around, but when I discover three seemingly good reasons for doing something a particular way, I usually do it! So, for those of you who don't particularly care for my singing ... I commend your critical ear... For those of you who do ... bless your kind heart! I guess what I'm trying to say is that these songs represent some of my feelings and impressions of Kansas, so sharing them personally just seemed like the right thing to do. 1988 This CD is a 2003 re-release of my original 1988, album project, almost exactly 15 years later. Times change... People change... I've changed... We've all changed. The world has certainly changed. What hasn't changed is my deep and abiding love for this place called Kansas. Little did I know how appropriate our state motto, "To the stars through difficulty." would be to my life and endeavors since then. I haven't reached the stars...but I certainly have gotten the "difficulty" part down. In order to reissue this piece of work, I've had to become somewhat digitally oriented and that has been slow and tedious. I'm an analogue guy in a digital world...but I'm learning. Some well-meaning folks have been haranguing me to issue a CD of Kansas Heartland ever since it's origin. It would still be undone if not for my partner in life, love and music, Laurie Roush. It has been her combination of loving encouragement, inspiration and downright hard-headed persistence in getting stuff done that has made it happen. So, once again I can state, depending on your response to Kansas Heartland, you'll know who to bless or to blame. 2003 Here's what folks have said about Kansas Heartland: "Many thanks for Larry Hucke's, Kansas Heartland...it's wonderful!" Sen. Nancy Kassebaum, KS "It gave me goosebumps and made me cry... It made me proud to be a Kansan... I need 10 more copies for friends." Carleeta P., Wichita, KS "Kansas Heartland is uplifting and beautifully done...a tribute to the state I am proud to call my home." Sen. Bob Dole, KS "We are native Kansans, very proud of our heritage, and we really identified with the Kansas heart and soul so vividly portrayed through each song. I'm ordering three more copies for friends and relatives." Carol P., Berthoud, CO "Six of my co-workers at Boeing want one." Bruce F., Leon, KS "I think everyone from Kansas should have one... My kids really like it, especially the song, 'Tornado'." Carol L., Oklahoma City, OK "My six copies of Kansas Heartland have been worn out, borrowed, and given as gifts... I need six more!" Jane S., Dallas, TX "I'm originally from Connecticut... Now I feel like a real Kansan!" Bev G., Wichita, KS "Wonderful... Makes me proud to be a transplanted Kansan." M. B., Valley Center, KS "My beloved copy of Kansas Heartland is going in the mail tomorrow to an ex-Kansan in California..." Robyn P., Wichita, KS "I just love it, and so does my three year old son. He always wants me to play Kansas Heartland, and he even sings along. It is how I see Kansas, and how I would like everyone in the world to know Kansas this way." Tamera W., Bartlesville, OK.