Rick has had an unusually prominent career as a tunesmith, producing a number of albums of his songs, performed by a who’s who of bluegrass vocalists. While most writers are happy to see their songs cut on records by popular artists, Lang goes the other way, bringing them in to sing his songs on his own projects. And there is nobody in our industry that isn’t pleased to work with him. Not only is Rick a gracious and self-effacing person, he is exceedingly generous to the bluegrass community, sharing the proceeds from his music by funding scholarships for young songwriters and other charitable efforts. He’s definitely one of the good guys.
But don’t forget the music! Lang is a tremendous writer whose personal expansion of the bluegrass catalog has added a wealth of songs to the genre, with dozens of artists recording his compositions in addition to his eight solo albums.
Another is revealed today, Lost Town, his first single for Dark Shadow, that tells of a the flooding of parts of Massachusetts in 1938 in order to put the Quabbin Dam and Reservoir into operation. The town of Dana was given over to the flooding, along with three others, when this area in the central part of the state was intentionally flooded to create a large, man-made lake. Anyone who saw the classic O Brother, Where Art Thou film by the Coen Brothers will recall that just such an eventuality was a central plot point in the story.
Rick says that he was inspired to write by seeing eyewitness accounts, preserved by the history, of the flooding in a town that simply disappeared.
“After reading transcripts of one of the town residents I was moved to write this song and tell the story based on recollections of this life changing event. My research has been fascinating, discovering the challenges of providing for the greater good (drinking water for Boston), versus the sacrifices of the many residents in those four towns who watched as their homesteads were burned, cleared, and then flooded. Graveyards were relocated, churches torn down, as well as mills and factories decimated, during a time when work was scarce.”
Jame Kee takes the lead vocal this one, and plays the mandolin, supported by producer Stephen Mougin on guitar, Becky Buller on fiddle, Ned Luberecki on banjo, and Todd Parks on banjo. Stephen and Jana Mougin provide harmony vocals.