There was a mile of dirt road leading to a five room shack in the backwoods of Redmond. Five kids all spaced one year apart. The first year was without electricity or running water. It was 1958 when we moved to Redmond from Duval. A fire station next to a main highway now stands where our house was. The place where that old dirt road ended is now the city of Sammamish. As kids we would to walk down the centerline of the highway four miles to Pine Lake to keep our bare feet cool from the pavement. It's four lanes now. Each time I go back to look it's changed into a different place. Much of my growing up happened in this house in the woods.
. . . H E R E N O W . . .
The music is about things I see that don't seem to change much, a moment taken from time and frozen in a song. Mostly my view of the world around me, put into words that I hope will touch others.
F A C I N G F O R W A R D . . .
I try not to force what is in store for me. Life run solely on self-will can hardly be a success. I trust my inspirations as direction. What used to be an occasional inspiration has become a working part of life.*
Review As written in "Victory Music Review"
Michael Merrifield: Butterfly Keep
Many months ago, Michael sent off a CD he'd recorded of his songs to reviewers. His life had a few triumphs in it after some very difficult years, and there was a certain sense of celebration in pursuing his desire to be a singer-songwriter. The CD, though, was a diamond in the rough. It needed the distance and objectivity a producer can provide, and the support of one or two accomplished musicians. That, in fact, is what this reviewer had to say about it and Michael, responding to the review, laid low for a time, healing a few wounds. Then he went about creating his CD once again, this time calling on none other than Orville Johnson to provide various instrumental textures and, crucially, to produce the project. (Talk about getting it right!) Orville played all guitars, bass, mandolin, banjo, percussion and omnichord (hey, I don't know either); and called on Jee Wong for a few piano parts and the legendary Jami Sieber for a few cello parts.
Orville and Michael-with Matthew Gephart recording and mixing and Ross Nyberg mastering-fashioned a gentle, whimsical, inventive, highly poetic gem of a recording. There is something undeniably childlike about Merrifield's near-whisper of a voice; it is as if Donovan had finally mastered the art of conveying a hard-won, lasting sense of innocence. The melodies are simple and pleasing, yet the lyrics are often profoundly moving. "The time of life has come to pass,/ This sinking ship is sinking fast./ If I may, I'd like to ask./ My God, am I forsaken?/ Am I forsaken?" Merrifield has been to difficult places in his life, and has climbed back out of despair with a sense of acceptance that isn't sullied by some simplistic therapeutic or religious "answer." He concludes instead (in "Yet Tomorrow"), "The mystery of time will show me what tomorrow brings,/ tomorrow brings, tomorrow brings." This CD richly rewards repeated listenings, both with the inventiveness of Orville Johnson and (above all) with the unique vision and voice of Michael Merrifield. [Bill Fisher]
Check out the artist's website:
1. Ghost Town
2. I'll Give You the Sun
5. Rose Moon
6. A Morning Born
7. White Horse
8. Yet Tomorrow
9. I Can't Sleep
10. Looking Through