In 2005, I did a limited edition release of an album called Roll Away. Only 250 were made, and each one was hand assembled and packaged in a custom silver tin. (A few fans noted the CD was well-named, after it literally rolled away on them.)
Roll Away combined songs from five different live recording sessions, each with its own concept and theme: the Rectory Cafe on Ward’s Island, the Station Gallery in Parry Sound, Heliconian Hall in Yorkville, the Lunenburg Opera House, and an eastbound train out of Edmonton.
The first 50 Roll Away packages included a CD single, Riding on the Railway, which later became the theme song of the CTV feature, Canada’s Greatest Ride.
I learned a lot about music in Nova Scotia, where folks have always been really supportive of my work. I certainly honed my chops as a songwriter there, and this record channels a strong maritime flavour.
The album, recorded by Aengus Finnan on a simple digital recorder, is sparse: just vocals, guitar, and a little harmonica. A rare pre-release of 100 CDRs included selections of the evening’s stories and stage patter as well. In hindsight, that should have been the album. People tell me they like the stories.
In 1994 I sold a hundred copies of a ten-song tape with hand-made packaging called Of Moose and Men, which actually charted briefly on community radio in Halifax. The master has since been lost, but a few copies of the cassette are still in the hands of old friends and die-hard fans from way back then.
Prior to that, in the early 90s, I made home recordings, on cassette, duplicating them one-by-one from a master made around a woodstove in a cabin. The liner notes are all hand written. If you have one of those, let me know. I’d like to hear it.