The CD showcases John's engaging and distinctive style on violin, viola, mandolin and tenor banjo (his first instrument), with tracks by Joan and Sunny. All of the other musicians are long-time friends who were selected for their unique abilities to suit the songs on which they've played.
There are seven original tunes, and five covers. Each tune takes you on it's own little musical adventure, and all the songs and the styles are near and dear to John's heart.
1. Tumbling Tumbleweeds ,written by Bob Nolan (newly inducted into The Candian Songwriters' Hall of Fame) is a lush pop instrumental of the kind that used to grace the radio waves in the '50's and early 60's. It features our pal, guitar virtuoso Richard Bennett, who produced Oyster's "Everbody Knows" album, is the Guitar in Steve Earle's "Guitar Town", and who has been recording and touring with Mark Knopfler for many years. The beautiful whistling is by Sunny.
2. "Makin' Whoopee" is light and jazzy, but a little bit country.
3. "The Golden Way" is pure bluegrass, featuring members of "The Dixie Flyers", with whom John played for many years.
4. "The First of June" is a romantic waltz for a warm summer day.
5. "Autumn Ride" is a French-influenced reel recalling a caleche ride through the Gatineau hills in fall.
6. "Jameson's Jig" is an old-world style jig and counter-melody, with true Cape Breton jig guitar played by Stuart Cameron. Stuart and Sunny knew each other as young kids, and both he and his dad (the other John Allan!) are great personal and musical friends.
7. "Summer Wages"--a Canadian Classic. John used to play with Ian, I used to play with Sylvia, we both still play with both of them from time to time. In fact, everyone on this track is an ex-Speckled Bird except Keith Glass--but we let him play anyhow. Ed "Pee Wee" Charles, who played pedal steel on Ian and Sylvia's original recording, reprises his role...
8. "St. Anne's Reel" is everybody's favourite fiddle tune. Here, the Noble Street Little Theatre presents it as an old-time radio broadcast of the kind John and I used to listen to on the CBC when we were growing up.
9. "Beausejour Lament" is an Acadian waltz recalling the tragic story of the expulsion. John's daughter Bev and her friends open the tune singing "Un Acadien Errant", and Richard Bennett appears again.
10. "Hugo Brotter's Polka" is both authentic and wacky--kind of like John.
11. "Side by Side" is a bunch of old friends having a lot of fun together. Sunny's main instrument is turntables, and he plays them here.
12. "Lace and Pretty Flowers"--Willie P. Bennett and John first played this lovely song of Willie's when they were 19 years old. Here they are again, all these years later with this sweet and touching version.
Check out the artist's website:
1. Tumbling Tumbleweeds
2. Makin' Whoopee
3. The Golden Way
4. The First of June
5. Autumn Ride
6. Jameson's Jig
7. Summer Wages
8. St. Anne's Reel (The Downhome Hoedown)
9. Beausejour Lament
10. Hugo Brotter's Polka
11. Side by Side
12. Lace and Pretty Flowers