TAKING THE LONG WAY HOME

by Richard Laviolette

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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.

credits

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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Track Name: Grey Rain
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
Track Name: Two Guitars
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
Track Name: Someone to Tell My Story When I'm Gone
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
Track Name: Old Country Music
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
Track Name: Taking the Long Way Home
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
Track Name: Red-winged Blackbird
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
Track Name: The Rock and the Moss
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
Track Name: My Grandma's More Punk (than most punks I know)
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
Track Name: Yesterday's Gospel
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
Track Name: You've Really Got Me on the Run
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