Barry & Holly Tashian – Long Story Short

Barry & Holly Tashian - Long Story ShortThere are several prominent CD releases scheduled for the end of March, and we will have profiles on 3 of them over the next few days. But first, we want to highlight an album that hit late last year.

Long Story Short is the seventh record from Barry & Holly Tashian, singers, songwriters and husband-and-wife. They have written and performed together since 1972, working the folk scene and penning songs for artists as varied as Kenny Rogers, Nashville Bluegrass Band, Jody Stecher and Roland White.

Barry even had a brush with fame during the days of Beatlemania as a member of The Remains, a pop/rock group that was hot in New England in the mid 1960s. They appeared several times on US television and even opened once for the Fab Four.

But that was long ago, and now Barry’s music is far more sedate. The new CD retains the duo’s simple acoustic sound, with a bluegrass edge provided by Mike Compton on mandolin, Matt Combs on fiddle, Mike Henderson on resonator guitar, Ross Sermons on bass and Kenny Malone on percussion.

Holly shared a few words about the songs they chose for this CD, and agreed to allow us to present a few audio samples for readers of Bluegrass Today.

Long Story Short was written with Niall Toner, an Irish bluegrasser who often comes to the US to write with others. He’s is so funny that we spend most of our ‘writing’ time laughing and telling stories. On one occasion he told us that a friend of his recently said to him, referring to his wife: ‘I won’t bore you with all the details, but to make a long story short, she’s gone.’

We thought, now there’s a good idea for a song and started to write it, but with all the joke telling, we didn’t get very far. So Barry and I worked on the song for a few months and sent various versions of it to Niall back in Ireland. We finally finished it and his band recorded it on their new album. It wasn’t until we recorded it that we realized that the tag line should be ‘to make a short story long, she’s gone,’ so our version of the song is a little different.

Long Story ShortListen now: []

We also wrote The Promise with Niall. He gave us the melody and asked if we could write the lyrics and make it sound like an old Carter Family song, since he wanted to enter it in a song contest for Carter Family sounding songs.

So we wrote the lyrics, he entered it in the contest, and it didn’t win…but again he recorded it with his Irish bluegrass band first, then we put it on this album.

We wrote two songs with Lisa Aschmann, who is a prolific writer, and such a pleasure to work with. I wanted to write about my experience enjoying hot tea, and soon we had Worry Doesn’t Worry Me which fits me to a “T” (pardon the pun).

The other song we wrote with Lisa, We Don’t Give Up On Love, was originally a slow ballad, and she wrote the bridge for us.  When it came time for recording, I suggested we speed up the song and make it a ‘groove’ number. Once we added Mike Henderson’s slide guitar, we were really excited about the song.

I played the rough mix for Lisa in the car, and she was very happy with the new version of the song.

We Don’t Give Up On LoveListen now: []

When we realized we had a very eclectic album on our hands, we decided to include a gospel song we’d written called Sail Away.

It was originally title Stow Away to Heaven about how Barry’s grand uncle came to America on a ship as a stowaway, and he considered America to be ‘heaven.’ We wanted to make the song a gospel number, but the idea of stowing away to heaven just didn’t hold water; no one has to stow away to heaven! Thus we changed it to Sail Away.

Sail AwayListen now: []

Honey, Where’s the Money Gone was written by Barry and Paul Kennerley (Emmylou’s former husband and hit songwriter). It’s a timely song right now, and quite humorous. Kenny Roger’s recorded it and so did Solomon Burke.

But as we like to say, we heard it first.

The two songs that we wrote with our friend Pamela Brown Hayes were primarily written for an Irish country singer we know who asked us to write some good dance tempo songs for his new album. We thought these would be good, but alas, he ended up recording Two Ways to Fall (song we wrote with Mark D Sanders) and Party Doll a Buddy Knox song we recorded in 1988.

Oh well, we love how Rockin’ Little Country Girl and Rock it Like it’s Saturday Night came out. They ROCK!

More audio samples from Long Story Short can be found on CD Baby, in YouTube and on Holly and Barry’s MySpace page.

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About the Author

John Lawless

John had served as primary author and editor for The Bluegrass Blog from its launch in 2006 until being folded into Bluegrass Today in September of 2011. He continues in that capacity here, managing a strong team of columnists and correspondents.