My parents are both musicians and always filled our house with music. They were close friends with two other musicians named Bill and Leslie who lived in a small town near Mt Rainier called Ashford. Although our homes were more than 2 hours apart, they set an intention to bring our families together again and again throughout my younger years to share community and music. Bill and Leslie, along with my parents, would often play on the train that went from Elbe through the lower foothills of Mt. Rainier to make their wages in the summer. I often rode along and listened, pondering the experience of musical performers engaging with an audience. This was my first window into the performance world and traditional folk music. In the evening we would retire back to the house and just hang together, playing more tunes and singing our stories. It felt so special that we had this place where we could all be together. Growing up with people who trusted in pursuing their passion inspired me to do the same. That environment and the true joy these loving family members got from playing tunes together helped me discover my own musical voice and to believe in it. Ashford begins the album as a testament to these early roots.
I recently began searching for more information about my ancestors. In talking with my parents and grandparents I began to learn of my roots in Appalachia and further back in Ireland, and how many people in my family before me shared a love and creation of folk music. I found it fascinating that this love of making music was passed on through generations, and the ways these people who came before me live on through me. I wanted to tell their stories, because really they are my story, and everyone's story. The lyrics are taken from actual past events: my great grandfather played the fiddle; my grandmother was born in 1920 in the dust bowl in Oklahoma and was one of nine children, her mother made all of their clothes including beautiful dresses for her and her sisters; her father owned a watermelon farm and drove his tractor trailor filled with fruit to sell through their town; my grandmother on my mother’s side was very involved in youth church groups and spoke to a crowd of 1000 people when she was 14 years old about how to love one another.