Magic Crow Records MCR - 1002R

Interstates cover

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Interstates (1986) is a collection of nine songs written by Geoff Bartley. Production treatments range from voice & acoustic guitar to full band. Reissued on CD in 1998, this is Geoff's second album.

Most of the songs presented here are explorations of the "inner terrain" coupled with observations of the natural world. New England Towns is a darkly humorous look at junked cars, stray cats, and sleepy villages being pulled reluctantly into the twenty-first century. Sanderlings is a spoken word piece about migration & human will. Mediocrities is a wacky, blues-drenched reiteration of street-level ethics, and July remembers the joys of boyhood and deep summer nights. Interstates recalls the lost Franklin Expedition and tells of life on the road, and Ever Green is a love song, pure & simple. Right to Ecstasy and Death is the Robber address the human longing for transcendence & offer the perennial blossoming of hope.

The Songs...

Lyrics for songs marked with *asterisks* can be found at Selected Song Lyrics

  1. Right to Ecstasy
  2. *Death is the Robber*
  3. *Sanderlings*
  4. Interstates
  5. Ever Green
  6. *New England Towns*
  7. Mediocrities
  8. *July*
  9. When the Bow is Pulled

all songs by Geoff Bartley 1986 & 1998
Published by Joshua Omar's Music BMI
All Rights Reserved

The Players

Ardys Flavelle: piano
Steve Adams: alto flute
Tom Hall: tenor sax
Tom Carr: fretted & fretless Rickenbacker bass guitars
Tom Lewis: drums & percussion
Anne Weiss, Patty Larkin, Shawn Colvin, Tom Lewis, & Geoff: backing vocals
Robert Rutman: bow chime (Sanderlings)
Geoff: vocals, acoustic guitars, & clay ocarina (Death is the Robber)
Produced, recorded, & mixed by Tom Carr

1985 photo of Geoff by Ren Norton

When we began production in the fall of 1985 at a warehouse rehearsal & recording space in downtown Boston, Interstates was by far the most ambitious recording project I'd undertaken. I was still pretty green when it came to studio recording, so the quality of the project owes much to the production skills & musical expertise, not to mention the patience & forbearance, of producer, Tom Carr, from whom I learned many invaluable lessons.

Recording Sanderlings alone was a major undertaking. For example, to record the drums & percussion for this piece, Tom put two kick drums on stands facing up and arranged all toms, snares, cymbals, & percussion in a circle with drummer Tom Lewis in the center. To mike this elaborate, customized kit, Tom flew a pair of Neumann condenser mikes from high above. Robert Rutman's bow chime was also a "challenge" to mike, and we did a lot of experimenting before we were finally able to capture all the color, texture, & nuance of this complex, unorthodox, hand-made instrument. A description of the bow chime is on the Sanderlings lyrics page.
~ Geoff

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Geoff & cat's cradle
Cat's Cradle               photo by Chris Yeager