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by Richard Laviolette

Grey Rain 04:33
Hear Mom singing in the kitchen My ears stuck to her like glue Probably some old gospel that her Momma knew I would sit at the piano On a long slow after-noon Press down seven keys To see what happens when they move Grey rain is a falling This weather is appalling The streets of a small town Are dirty and common The house that I grew up in Has long been forgotten But these memories will carry me home There were bats in the attic Their day was slow and static They’d plan their escape In a cloud they’d leave fast and frantic They’d fly down by the river The soggy Saugeen River While a full moon’s light From way up high makes the dew shine silver CHORUS On the edge of a small town Where the wild thistle grow Seen the tracks pulled up But that death happened long ago We made plans to travel Not much else to us seemed good Like a weed pulled up A storm cloud rolling through the neighbourhood CHORUS
Two Guitars 03:37
I’m growing tired and a little roughed up By the hands that deal and the hands that hold us up With where I’m going and where I’ve been Hard times have been my compan-y So I said this is what we’ll do While you’re waiting for your handout to come You can write a song and sing it through Something we’ll both listen to And in the end when the record’s done You’ll wonder where it all came from One dark night as the rain appeared I pulled up a chair and sat here with you Two guitars and some rusty strings Tell us what to do and we’ll do any-thing We sang each song as they fell off the tree The nectar of each one would leave us A little drunk, it was hard to quit After we got into it Though it was good and it was fun Of the songs we played, we had wrote none Just saying the words doesn’t make it come true You gotta leave this house and write a few tunes Just singing the song doesn’t make it new You gotta leave this house and write a few tunes What I saw took me by surprise We started meeting up in the evening time Getting together to work things through My time with you was good and true And in the as the reckoning came We didn’t win but we learned to play the game
Though I try to organize Things still take me by surprise Dust flies up into my eyes And leaves me hanging on My childhood’s a blur somehow One day I’ll forget me now I might need someone to tell My story when I’m gone I spend time with all my friends I like to hang out with them They cluck around like old hens And tell me when I’m wrong They call me when I’m all cooped up Bring me soup and help me up I might need someone to tell My story when I’m gone Pieces of me disappear, I lose something every year They say one day I won’t be here to tell the road I’m on Whether it takes guts or glory, I won’t die here feeling sorry I might need someone to tell my story when I’m gone My folks have been around the bend They’ve been there and back again Been to hell and made some friends That they’d bet their life on No when we sit and play our music I write it down so I don’t lose it They might need someone to tell Their story when they’re gone When I’m old and no one knows me Flicker out like those before me Winter’s come and we walk slowly To the land beyond Think of what I’ve left behind Who is still around to find it CHORUS
Sunday morn, half asleep As I woke to the shuffle of a good country beat Let it wander, let it roll through the house Let it rattle the windows, bring a new day about My old man loves his old country music Oh any old way you choose it When he wakes up at dawn Puts that old record on It don’t stop 'til the needle plays through it All the noise, all the dust on the needle A day’s worth of dirt fills the hearts of good people All the fights, all the carrying on There’s no time for scrappin' when the good music’s on CHORUS Pedal steel and her echoing heart The roll of the banjo and his famous false starts The upright piano in the low dusty light Shoots a crooked tooth smile to the fiddle to-night CHORUS
Taking the long way Taking the long way home Taking the long way Taking the long way home My body runs like my parents van Back to the shop for a tune up again Taking the long way Taking the long way home Taking the long way Taking the long way home Sometimes I wake up, eyes sealed with rust Fight through the covers and shake off the dust Taking the long way Taking the long way home Taking the long way Taking the long way home I find I get to be inse-cure with age I just get better at knowing what to say
Red-winged Blackbird, when you landed here The wind was uncertain, the weather unclear You came by the mountains, you came by the lakes You had no place yet to unpack your bags You brought a partner, you brought a friend Someone to help you harness the wind These trips can be lonesome, like one long night The sky moves across you to show you your size Suddenly, we did meet I first learned your name on Derry Street Midnight hair, a heart on fire And in your back pocket a jackknife and pliers You brought the John Hurt and you brought the Welch Music so old it might die on the shelf You brought your high-heals and you brought your books You’d say the suits and their dogs are the crooks I brought the Do Make and Julie Doiron Stay up ‘til day brake singing this song I brought the quilt stained with cat hair and wine Embroidered with names of those we cast aside A cold, cold night, in late, late fall The cards and the whiskey were warming us all Everyone left and our hearts lurched We still debate who disclosed their crush first Red-winged Blackbird, when you landed here The wind was uncertain, the weather unclear You came by the mountains, you came by the lakes You didn’t know then how long you would stay
The rock and the moss The dove in the pine You give what’s yours And I’ll give you mine Sailed the Great Lakes Through darkness and storm Through wind and rain To the Halifax port And on his day off Just before dusk He’d bring his guitar And meet up with his love CHORUS She worked as a nurse For a many years Enough love and guts To ease the blood and tears She’d meet with her love Down Golf Course Road He’d play the guitar And her the piano CHORUS It’s so good to notice When you roll out of bed How the quiet of the country Clears the noise in your head They sit here together The rock and the moss Sometimes a love is so big Our little hearts get crossed CHORUS
My Grandma’s more punk than most punks I know You might not believe it by the look of her clothes If you asked her directly she’d politely say no My Grandma’s more punk than you know Money’s never grown on the trees in her yard Gets by with what she has and she’s had to work hard Waste not, want not and cook your own food If you keep your hands busy, you won’t get the blues When you’re busy, you don’t get the blues CHORUS Old coats and jackets in brown garbage bags Stored in the attic and out of the way Ripped up and fed through a sewing machine The quota’s a quilt for each loved one in need A quilt for each loved one in need CHORUS Many o’ times she’s been almost knocked down Fools and fast talkers try to push her around She stands steady like the trunk of a tree Her roots they are many, her roots they are deep Her roots they are many and deep CHORUS
Whenever Mom sings Golden Rings, Dad takes harmony And all the parts where he sings along helps her find the key If ever Dad forgets a verse, Mom’ll take the lead Whenever Mom sings Golden Rings, Dad takes harmony Each song to her’s a simple verse that curls up in her heart A pretty flower whose dirty roots are worth more than its parts Each song to her some bottled words, fermenting poetry Whose foaming grace will one day make a living memory There are times when all I sing is yesterday’s gospel I have found them to be both dark and thoughtful A song that’s full of grief and praise, a story we all know A storm that lies deep inside, you get caught in the throws Country flair, sweet and bare, your voice is old and good The rattle of the rusty strings and the timbre of the wood When you sing out with all your heart so passionately You can land flat or sharp, it doesn’t bother me CHORUS
Loneliness is my dog’s leash It helps him from wandering astray Through the fields to the end of the earth Where it ain’t worth counting the days You’ve really got me on the run lord, lord You’ve really got me on the run I’ve worn out my new pair of shoes You’ve really got me on the run Pat my knee and I pat my head They say there’s weather in my bones I feel the rain before it comes So I know when to stay and when to go CHORUS Death comes waltzing across this floor To lead you off by the arm One dance with you he’s offering So try not to look so alarmed CHORUS A hoot and a holler all the songs we know This might just take us through the night Those few of us still awake at dawn Will hold a new day’s light CHORUS


Released by You've Changed Records on March 10, 2017.

To order Vinyl/CD, please go to: youvechangedrecords.com/product/richard-laviolette-taking-the-long-way-home/.

For a Digital Download, please go to: youvechangedrecords.bandcamp.com/album/taking-the-long-way-home

Taking the Long Way Home, Guelph ON singer-songwriter Richard Laviolette’s fourth full-length album, is a record to warm the heart as well as the dance floor. Combining all the grace and grit of the classic country music of his childhood with a masterful lyricism, Laviolette explores resiliency in the face of change, illness and death. Weaving together humour and despair, these songs are, as he sings, “full of grief and praise; stories we all know.”

Produced with Andy Magoffin (who recorded Richard Laviolette and The Oil Spills’ All of Your Raw Materials in 2009), Taking The Long Way Home owes its warmth, rhythm, and country flair to a rough and ready ensemble of musicians, including Lisa Bozikovic on piano, Matthew Reeves on lead guitar, Jessy Bell Smith (Skydiggers) on vocal harmonies, Julia Narveson (Ever Lovin’ Jug Band, Lake of Stew) on fiddle and double bass, Aaron Goldstein (Cowboy Junkies, Bry Webb, Daniel Romano) on pedal steel, Heather Kirby (Ohbijou, Vag Halen) on electric bass, and Aaron Curtis (Two-minute Miracles) on drums.

When Richard started writing songs for the album it was intended to be a collaboration with his father, Darrell Laviolette. Ultimately, Darrell was unable to participate in the recording due to his responsibilities as a caretaker for Richard’s mother, Marie (who had Huntington’s Disease), but this initial concept set the tone for the rest of the album. The opening track ‘Grey Rain’ takes a nostalgic trip through Richard’s childhood home, small-town life, and the longing to move away. ‘Old Country Music’ acknowledges the early impact of country music in Richard’s life, recalling in detail those weekend mornings being woken early by his father’s record player blaring George Jones, Patsy Cline and Hank Snow. The title track ‘Taking the Long Way Home’, written while recovering from a major surgery, was originally a document of Richard’s health, chronic pain and long surgical history, but in the context of the album it has come to represent the roads we all end up on in our lives.

Each song here is a different way home. It is an album about exploring old memories through the lens of the present day. It’s about family, relationships and home. It’s about remembering what the motivating forces are in your life and thinking about how they have changed over time. It’s about honoring the music you were raised on and making an honest attempt to capture a piece of that in your own words. And it’s about creating connections that pass the music and the stories on through generations.


released March 10, 2017

Richard Laviolette, guitar, vocals
Jessy Bell Smith, vocals
Lisa Bozikovic, piano, vocals
Aaron Goldstein, pedal steel
Julia Narveson, fiddle, double bass
Aaron Curtis, drums
Matthew Reeves, guitar
Heather Kirby, electric bass
Nathan Coles, vocals
Cid V. Brunet, vocals

Recorded, Mixed, and Mastered by Andy Magoffin at the House Of Miracles, Cambridge, Turtle Island

Layout by Colin Medley
Cover photo by Erin E. Warner
Illustration by Justin Gordon
All songs by Richard Laviolette (SOCAN 2017)


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Richard Laviolette Guelph, Ontario

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