Dark Shadow Recording has released a pair of new singles today for bluegrass songwriter Rick Lang, both from his upcoming album, A Tale To Tell.
Lang has built a successful career, not so much by shopping his songs to various artists to cut on their recordings, but by functioning as an artist himself, releasing albums under his own name and calling in top pickers and singers to perform his new material in the studio. Largely retired now from the hardwood supply business he and his wife created, Rick spends his time these days focused on music, as well as philanthropy in the bluegrass world.
For today’s release, the label has two new tracks on offer. The first is called They Sawed Up A Storm, which Lang says is based on a true story of patriotic New England women who stepped in to staff a sawmill when all the men were called off to fight in WWII.
“A colleague of mine in the lumber industry, Sarah Shea Smith, uncovered the story of the Woman’s Sawmill at Turkey Pond, NH. After much research she wrote a book about the events that took place leading to the building of the mill and propelling this group of women to become heroes of their time. Sarah’s book inspired me to write this song. Thirteen patriotic women went to the New Hampshire State House offering to run the sawmill after the men operating it joined the WW2 effort. Although many doubted this would work, they were given permission, and the salvage operation continued. This group of brave, determined women in service to their country, saved the day and made history. This song was written to celebrate their historic accomplishment and share their story in song.”
Becky Buller sings this one, and plays fiddle and clawhammer banjo, supported by Stephen Mougin on guitar, James Kee on mandolin, and Todd Parks on bass. Harmony vocals are provided by Laura Orshaw and Jana Mougin.
Have a listen…
The other carries the whimsical title, Toodleoo, which Lang wrote with Stephen Mougin, who sings the lead vocal.
This one is also a “true song,” as Bill Monroe was wont to say, about Mougin’s father’s father, which Stephen says is based on his childhood memories.
“This song is the true story of my grandfather, who lived with us in the last years of his life. An electrician by trade, he ran the first wiring in the homes around his area, and he was notorious for whistling while he worked. He was my buddy and, as a six-year-old, it was a shock when we lost him. Hearing more stories about him as I grew up, I remembered him always saying “toodleoo” rather than “goodbye,” and my dad confirmed that that was his only departing message. When Rick and I sat down to write a number of years ago, we started talking about the old days, and I told him about “toodleoo.” I’m so glad to share this song with the world as a message of optimism, with a tuneful whistle, and a sly smile.”
Mougin again plays guitar, with Sam Bush on mandolin, Ned Luberecki on banjo, Becky Buller on fiddle, and Todd Parks on bass. The vocal harmonies give us a Mougin family blend, with Stephen’s wife, Jana, and their son, Samuel, singing the parts.
Check it out…
A Tale To Tell is scheduled for release in the spring, with all the tracks consisting of this sort of story songs, written or co-written by Rick Lang.
Both Toodleoo and They Sawed Up A Storm are available now from popular download and streaming sites online. Radio programmers will find them at AirPlay Direct.