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Liner notes for Setting Out to Sea

  1. Grey Owl (trad. Métis) — 4:23
    Leo, Riley, Sami on fiddles; Mila Phelps-Friedl, cello.
    Leo learned this tune from a Bruce Molsky album and brought it to the band. The first time we played it together, we didn’t stop for about twenty minutes. Mila Phelps-Friedl adds her touch of beautiful and driving cello, recorded by Darol Anger in Boston.
  2. Far From Danger (The Onlies) with MacArthur Road (Dave Richardson, Gilderoy Music) — 3:04
    Leo, mandolin; Riley, guitar; Sami, fiddle; all three on vocals;  RuthMabel Boytz, bass.
    The first song that we ever sang together, written by Riley and Leo, and splashed with a wonderful fiddle tune mined by Sami. Lyrics here.
  3. The Four Winds (The Onlies) — 3:27
    Leo, guitar; Riley, mandolin; Sami, fiddle.
    Written by the whole crew together on Riley’s 14th birthday. Inspired in part by our string-genius friends, The Bee Eaters.
  4. Sisters’ Set: December March (Samantha Braman) / The Sisters Reel (trad. Cape Breton) / Traditional Pipe Tune (trad. Cape Breton) — 4:51
    Sami, fiddle; Leo, guitar; Riley, piano.
    Sami’s traditional Cape Breton (her specialty) offering to the album. She wrote the first tune, a beautiful march, in the twelfth month of the year.
  5. That Old Place (Leo Shannon) — 4:51
    Leo, guitar and lead vocals; Riley, fiddle and vocals; Sami, fiddle.
    A song written by Leo over two separate occasions: While floating down a stream on an inflatable bed, and while climbing to the top of a tree that has, over the past eight years, consistently remained an Onlies meeting place. It was arranged by the whole crew. Lyrics here.
  6. Roaring Barmaid (Tony Sullivan/Halshaw Music) — 2:19
    Leo, guitar; Riley and Sami, fiddles.
    A Tony “Sully” Sullivan tune we learned from Alasdair Fraser at the Valley of the Moon Scottish Fiddle School.
  7. I'm Not Fed Up With The Pacific Ocean (Ola Bäckström arr. The Onlies) — 3:56
    Riley and Sami, fiddles; Leo, guitar;  RuthMabel Boytz, bass.
    An ebbing, flowing tune composed by Swedish fiddler Ola Bäckström. We learned it from Sarah McFadyen and arranged it ourselves. Ola tells us that he was touring in California a while back, when his hosts asked whether he wanted to visit the beach again. “I’m not fed up with the Pacific Ocean,” he eagerly replied, and the tune’s name was born.
  8. Reel De La Broue (trad. Quebecois) / Rising Reel (Samantha Braman) — 3:05
    Riley and Sami, fiddles; Leo, guitar.
    The first tune is a French-Canadian version of "Cripple Creek," taught to us by Devon Léger. "Some say that (broue) means the foam on a glass of beer," reports Devon’s father, Louis, an Acadian accordéoniste. "I prefer the version that says it’s the mixture of saliva and spit coming out of the harmonica player’s mouth as he plays the tune." Sami composed the second reel on Easter, many years ago.
  9. Half Day Road (Liz Carroll/BMI) — 2:47
    Leo and Sami, fiddles; Riley, guitar;  RuthMabel Boytz, bass.
    A rumbling-then-soaring tune that Liz Carroll composed and taught to us at The Festival of American Fiddle Tunes in Port Townsend, Wash. The tune’s name comes from a relatively straight highway near Liz’s Illinois home. The road derives its name from a Native American chief, "Halfda." We put a bit of our own road-trip spin on it.
  10. Rakish Paddy (trad. Irish) / Rakish Paddy, (trad. Irish) — 4:23
    Leo and Sami, fiddles; Riley, guitar.
    Leo’s traditional Irish contribution to the album. Two different versions of the same tune, the first from Martin Hayes, the second from Paddy Glackin.
  11. Big Shoes (Samantha Braman) — 2:47
    Sami, fiddle; Leo, guitar; Riley, mandolin;  RuthMabel Boytz, bass.
    A tune composed by Sami after a visit to a Seattle thrift store where she spotted some very large shoes. Look out, Macklemore!
  12. Lord Gordon's Reel (trad. Irish) — 3:34
    Leo, fiddle; Riley, guitar; Sami, fiddle.
    A longtime Irish favorite of ours, first taught to Leo years ago by Dale Russ.
  13. Martha Campbell (trad. old-time) / Pushing the Broom (Riley Calcagno) / Tennessee Breakdown (trad. old-time) — 3:28
    Riley and Sami, fiddles; Leo, guitar;  RuthMabel Boytz, bass.
    Riley’s old-time contribution to the album. The first comes from the old fiddler Doc Roberts. The second is a tune in the old-time style composed by Riley. The third comes from Vance's Tennessee Breakdowners. A crowd favorite at our square-dance gigs.
  14. Setting Out to Sea (Riley Calcagno) — 5:48
    Riley, banjo, lead vocals; Leo, guitar, vocals; Sami, fiddle.
    A song written by Riley on the banjo and informed by great songcraft advice from Laurie Lewis. Lyrics here.

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