Two songs from "Flight Risk"

Fugitive Poets, CD cover
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The Fugitive Poets:

Kathryn Carlson, bass
Doc Chaney, fiddle
Heather Feierabend, tenor banjo
Gordon Graham, dobro
Donald Hood, guitar
Alan Morton, mandolin
Adrian Percy, guitar and banjo

On “Brother From Another Mother”

I've known him more than half my life
we've had our ups and downs
He's seen me through some tough times
when others weren't around
We went our separate ways
and had harsh words once or twice
I'd back him in the toughest storm
through rain as cold as ice

Alan: Don and Adrian have known each other for a really long time. They played in various bands together in high school and on into college. The Fugitive Poets grew from this relationship. Don hadn't touched his guitar in years, and Adrian and I had just been in a band that had dissolved. Adrian told me about this guy he knew that was a really good singer-songwriter and that he might be interested in playing some music. That became the nucleus of the Fugitive Poets. Don and Adrian clicked together like they had never stopped playing and new songs began to flow. “Brother from Another Mother” totally captures that relationship—two guys that would like to kill each other from time to time but still would never want to see the other hurt. These guys have seen a lot of water, women and whiskey pass under the bridge in their time knowing each other. I like to kid them about their “Bromance” song.

Doc: Everyone should have a friend that close.

Adrian: I was raised with five brothers. I met Don in the 9th grade and began playing music with him a year or so later. 40+ years now, I am closer to him than I am to my “biologicals.” Truly my “Brother From Another Mother!”

Don: The song came from my need to show my love and friendship for my bro Adrian. We have lived together; we've traveled together. We've had arguments but he's always been there through good and bad times. I love him. He's part of my family. He's someone who's true, real. He's a treasure to me . . . Now, he can also piss the hell out of me.

Heather: I asked my mother for a brother every Christmas for I don’t know how long. “Hell, no!” was the only answer I got from her. Now I have a whole band of brothers. They are everything I ever wanted and more. I love playing with these guys. They are each completely unique. Now, Don wears a heart with wings out on his sleeve. He’s so full of love of all kinds he can’t help but write love songs—even for Adrian. He also wrote one for our original bass player, Joel. I’m still waiting for mine.

On “Wild Mountain Honey”

Drinking that wild mountain honey
is the best thing I ever did

Alan: Heather was not playing any music or writing songs when I first met her. She was this lonely little girl with a headful of curls and a closet full of unread poems. But she really loved the mandolin and often asked me to play it for her. Once on a camping trip (on the very site of the house Adrian is building with his own two hands), I asked her why she had never played the mandolin if she loved it so much, and she said, “Ohhh, I could never do that!” I sat her down that day and she learned “Rollin’ in My Sweet Baby’s Arms”—not a terribly difficult tune but a lot for someone who never played in her life. After that, she was gone—learning new songs, writing songs, practicing every day, trying new stringed instruments, living, eating, breathing music every day. And she started writing some really good songs. “Wild Mountain Honey” is one of them. I would like to think I was a big source of inspiration, especially for this song but I must say, she had a well of songs waiting to burst from inside her and I was lucky enough to be there for the first drink.

Heather: In one sense all my songs are for Alan. I wouldn’t be in any band without Alan and now I am in two. I just never had the idea that I could play stringed instruments. I don’t know why. You’d think I would have picked something up in all those years I lived in Nashville, but for some reason it took Alan telling me I could do it back home in Louisiana to make me think so. He is kind of amazing like that. He is so encouraging of anyone playing music. I’ve seen him holding court at bluegrass festivals teaching a whole crowd of folks ranging in age from 10-60, giving them new tunes or new licks or getting someone started on a new instrument. His passion for music and creating something that wasn’t there before is infectious, and I have been pretty lucky to have him around. I told him in the beginning that my dream was to get good enough that one day he’d really enjoy playing music with me as a peer rather than as a student. I think I am slowly getting there—I hope.

Adrian: This is my favorite Heather song. I will never forget recording my guitar part from an adjoining sound booth watching her sing through the glass, the clarity of her voice filling my head between the headphones. Heaven? Playing with this band is so much fun!

Heather: Kat, I love having you in the band now to sing the high harmony that I recorded in layers on the cd. Plus, it’s nice to have another girl around! I will warn you though, it is still at its heart a boy’s club. I’m already one of the boys, and you’re next!

Kat: Having just joined the Poets, it's a real privilege to play with such a talented bunch of songwriters and I look forward to collaborating with the band on future compositions!

Don: Mountain Honey is just a beautiful song by a beautiful lady. Every time Heather sings it someone else falls for her; it's as sweet as watermelon wine. The lyrics are simple. Everyone wants that type of romance with a twist of “nasty.” Hell, it's a keeper and so is she!

Heather: Do you mind if we change the word “nasty” to “naughty?”

Don: Yes! That’s what I meant!! Sorry, I didn't mean it in a bad way. You could never be nasty!!!

Doc: What can one say about a song that combines such innocence with a subtle undergarment of double entendre?

Heather: Well, at least you didn’t call me “nasty.” Gordon, you haven’t said anything yet.

Gordon: As I sit here thinking back on the time I have spent with the Poets, I feel very lucky. I worked with the Poets helping them to produce and record their latest cd “Flight Risk.” It was a very interesting experience that turned into my playing dobro with them and becoming part of the band. They are a great bunch of people and songwriters that are second to none. The song “Brother from Another Mother” I thought was a very insightful song written about friendship and understanding for another human being. Don was pointing out the great things and the not so great that make us all human and there is a great lesson in this song we could all learn from. Heather's song “Wild Mountain Honey” some say is a thinly veiled story of mischief and love, but I prefer to think of the absolute angelic quality of her voice juxtaposed against the instruments and arrangement of the song. It is beautiful in its simplicity and heartwarming in its imagery of the mountain life style. That’s another aspect of these people called the Fugitive Poets—both simple and complex, refined at times and rowdy when needed, sultry and wonderfully open and human. It has been a wonderful experience and a privilege to get to work with them both as musicians and human beings and now to perform with them. I look forward to working and playing on many more projects like “Flight Risk” and consider myself very, very lucky to be here.


Posted September 2012

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