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Mysterious appearances brings new music to light

October 1, 2008

Sometimes things mysteriously appear on my desk. For instance, I’ve got this six inch metal statue made up of nuts and bolts, odd pieces of pipe and some pretty hefty wire. It’s shaped into kind of a “robot-meets-the tin-man dude” (I guess it’s a dude) with a three-stringed guitar. It’s been here for years. And I have absolutely no idea how it got here.

So a few weeks ago, I come in, and “wah-laaa” another item has appeared on my desk. But this time, at least I’ve got an inkling of what it’s for. People send CDs in to the paper all the time. But this one had no extra note, no press release, no link to a myspace page, no poster, nothing. It looked like any old random CD you would find in the bargain bin. And I had no idea who put it there.

So after making sure my headphone volume is not set on “11” , into the cd player it goes. The cover says it’s music by a guy named Don LaBarge, and he called the disc, “Silver Linings.” I like when people include lots of information about their music, and this disc does a pretty good job of that. I’m kind of a liner-note junkie. Please tell me exactly who is playing what on what track, tell me when and how it was recorded. I’ve seen references to what time of day things were recorded (ie. – four in the morning - halfway through our east coast tour - and then the bus broke down…..) The more details, the better, I always say.

So for these 8 original songs, there’s a list of 8 people, including Don, who have helped him out on the tracks. I recognize only one, Tobias (Toby) Ammon, who I know through the music scene. Toby used to play violin in a bluegrass band called Spring Creek, and he’s played music with guitarist Kevin Kingrey (the name of that band escapes me). I probably met Toby about 10 years ago – he was the instructor for a beginning violin class offered by Community Ed. Anyway, he’s a great player, and now and then you’ll see him playing with the band Swing Crew. And yes, I still get the violin out for a few song now and then.

The only other name on the cover that I recognize is Kris Kendall, who took the photos. I believe she’s a local realtor.

Don has included a paragraph write-up for each song, describing where and how each song came to be. You come away with the feeling of – here’s someone who has had these songs come to him over the years, and finally he’s arranged the bits and pieces together, and recorded them into a complete product. The songs take you through the bad times (periods of drug-addiction and loss of friends), to the good times (living on a horse ranch and learning to ride). Don seems to be really appreciative of all the folks who have helped him on drums, keyboards, bass, fiddle and background vocals. Musically, you’re in for hearing the singer-songwriter with a full band back-up, with an overall folk /folk-rock feel. There’s a few electric guitars in there, too. Recorded at Shiny Dirt Studios in Mt. Hood, Oregon.

Thanks, Don! Oh, and I solved the mystery of how your CD got here. You have Chris Stenberg to thank. And I’m glad you finally wrapped this project up. But don’t make it a big mystery next time – get the word out and let us know where you’re playing next!

Comments: jdrake@hoodrivernews.com

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