Right of Passage ~ Liner Notes and More

An exquisite new CD! To buy your own copy go to orders

Right of Passage is an intimate recording of thirteen original David Francey songs, backed by a stellar cast of musicians. Craig Werth, Geoff Somers, Shane Simpson and Julia Davie joined David at Signal Path Studio in the beautiful town of Almonte, Ontario. The time spent in the studio was joyful. The sessions were filled with excitement as the new songs were captured one by one.

Right of Passage reflects the passion and emotion with which David views his world - a world where he and his pal "laughed [their] words in steady streams", where he dreamt of his wife while sitting "under a sky of hodden grey" and where a smile "filled the emptiness".

We are very proud that Right of Passage is truly home-made. The songs and music are by David. Many of the practices took place in our home. The recording was done less than an hour from our home. Our daughter Julia is singing harmony on two songs. Our daughter Amy did a beautiful job on the artwork for the CD. Our son Colin was extremely patient through the whole process. Many of the photos are by David or myself (Beth)...and the CD is on our label, Laker Music, run out of our home! How's that for an indie label! Made in Canada!

Liner notes for Right of Passage below

Photos from the studio by David Francey, Craig Werth, Beth Girdler and Ken Friesen

Craig Werth on dulcimer and guitar. David noodling on the mandolin.

Julia Davie and Geoff Somers smile for a photo. Geoff on mandolin

Julia and David at home going over "Under the Portland Weather"


Shane Simpson on the Woodskin. Ken Friesen on "the board"


David Geoff and Craig recording the harmonies for "All Lights". David listening to the final cuts.

Liner Notes

Right of Passage


The songs on this album address the different paths my life has taken, both good and bad. Some were written from experience gained aboard an Algoma Central ore carrier. Some were written about people I met out on the road or the places I ended up. Some are memories recalled and described. All deal with transitional moments in life, mileposts on the hopefully long march where we all earn our 'right' of passage. David Francey

All Songs, Words and Music: David Francey

Leaving Edmonton

A song from the road. A reflection on what gets found and what gets left behind.

(October 31, 2003. Portland, Oregon)


It was Edmonton, late in the fall
When I was done for good and all
My heart was stolen from me then
Never to return again
That lonesome heart it had no chance
I lost it to her in a glance
Now I think of her out on this road
Where the highway sign reads
Heavy load

I was killing time 'til the fall of night
Looked in all the windows, took a walk down Whyte
Then I'd return and listen hard
For the gate to open in the yard
In hopes that we might talk again
Her voice as soft as summer rain
Now I think of her out on this road
Where the highway sign reads
Heavy load

Now I'm in a park in Portland town
Lonesome as the sun goes down
And I'm thinking of a time before
When she waved goodbye from her front door
I can see her face behind the glass
A smile that filled the emptiness
Now I think of her out on this road
Where the highway sign reads
Heavy load

Lead and backing vocals: David Francey
Shruti box: Craig Werth
Fiddle: Geoff Somers


Ballad of Bowser MacRae

One of the most interesting people I have met on my travels, Greg (Bowser) MacRae was the third mate on the MV Algoville.

(June 4, 2005. MV Algoville, Lake Superior)


I was born in Cape Breton
Born by the sea
By the Seal Island bridge
In sweet Boularderie
But by age seventeen
There was nothing for me
So I headed for Thorold
Washed up on the beach

I slept in the Jungle
Lived hard, took a fall
'Til I found myself standing
At the SIU hall
And with nothing to stay for
No kids and no wife
I signed on that morning
For the rest of my life

My back it was strong
And that strength never failed
Up the Detroit River
On the Ferndale I sailed

And now I am married
To the woman I love
She's a gift I was given
From Heaven above
And I call every morning
And I call every night
She's all I ever wanted
The love of my life

Tonight down the line
I heard my boy say
Daddy I miss you
More every day
But when I hear your voice
Then I feel alright
I love you Daddy
Good luck and good night

And now in the evening
When we talk on the phone
He says I love you Daddy
When you coming back home

I was born in Cape Breton
Born by the sea
By the Seal Island bridge
In sweet Boularderie

Lead and backing vocals: David Francey
Guitar: Craig Werth
Bouzouki: Craig Werth
Fiddle: Geoff Somers
Percussion: Shane Simpson



Kansas

I was in Palmer, Alaska, when I met the woman this song is about. I thought about her missing Kansas and someone in Kansas missing her.

(June 15, 2006. Homer, Alaska)

In the land of the midnight sun
Snow and stone to kingdom come
Ragged clouds, a sky of blue
Kansas I dream of you

I met her there so far from home
Both of us ourselves alone
The old world left behind for new
Kansas I dream of you

Oh, Kansas I dream of you, Kansas I dream of you
Tell me what am I to do, Kansas I dream of you
Kansas I dream of you, Kansas I dream of you
Tell me what am I to do, Kansas I dream of you

Left behind the great Midwest
Here is where she came to rest
We may never meet again, it's true
Kansas I dream of you

And once again night fails to fall
On the broken towers of the mountain wall
No promised dark to veil the view
Kansas I dream of you

Oh, Kansas I dream of you, Kansas I dream of you
Tell me what am I to do, Kansas I dream of you
Kansas I dream of you, Kansas I dream of you
Tell me what am I to do, Kansas I dream of you

Lead vocal: David Francey
Guitar: Craig Werth
Backing vocal: Craig Werth


A Conversation

A song about past meeting present and the gracious hand of time.

(June 29, 2005. Toronto, Ontario)

In a quiet house on a quiet street
The past recalled and the shadows meet
A conversation long past due
Hasn't time been kind to you

You've a daughter now and a son as well
A life well lived and a tale to tell
The sky it was not always blue
Hasn't time been kind to you

So many years apart
A long abandoned heart
And time, well, time rolls on
What's left behind is gone

That girl I knew, a woman's face
Both bestow the gift of grace
That a blessing of the few
Hasn't time been kind to you

And so we passed a pleasant day
And so we went our separate ways
To do what life gave us to do
Hasn't time been kind to you

So many years apart
A long abandoned heart
And time, well, time rolls on
What's left behind is gone

In a quiet house on a quiet street
The past recalled, the shadows meet
A conversation long past due
Hasn't time been kind to you

Lead vocal: David Francey
Guitars: Craig Werth
Backing vocals: Julia Davie, David Francey


Waves

Time and eternity, wave upon wave.

(October 2003. Cannon Beach, Oregon)


And the waves
They remind me of the past
A love that didn't last
They come and then they're gone

And the waves
Come from halfway 'round the world
Just like that other girl
Who sang her siren song

And the waves
They are dying where I stand
On an empty stretch of sand
On the coast of Oregon

And the waves
They've come from far away
To wash up here today
To sing their final song

And the waves
They are breaking endlessly
Returning to the sea
Forever on and on

And the waves
They return upon the tide
From across the ocean wide
To the coast of Oregon

Lead and backing vocals: David Francey
Guitar: Craig Werth



Ferry to Cortez

I like to travel by ferry. You are allowed to enjoy the ride, because you'll get there when you get there.

(December 29, 2006. Elphin, Ontario)


Guitar: Craig Werth
Bouzouki: Craig Werth
Fiddle: Geoff Somers
Mandolin: Geoff Somers
Percussion: Shane Simpson
Shruti box: David Francey


New Jerusalem

A song gleaned from TV news footage of the Middle East. All is not well in the Holy Land, by anyone's standard.

(September 2005. Elphin, Ontario)


One came from West Jerusalem
And one came from the East
And they both came together
In the belly of the Beast
One went to meet his Maker
Sent by the tank across the street
Another morning in the New Jerusalem
Another morning in the New Jerusalem

You could ride the bus tomorrow
Sit beside your destiny
You'd be sitting in the same seat
You'd be sitting knee to knee
You'd be gone before you knew it
The only blessing there can be
Another morning in the New Jerusalem
Another morning in the New Jerusalem

In the New Jerusalem
In the New Jerusalem
You can look to heaven
Up above
For the God of mercy
Or Allah's love
In the New Jerusalem

On the nightly news at seven
There's a wringing of the hands
At the complementary carnage
Over blood and soil and land
But that's what drives the passerby
With his firing pin in hand
Another morning in the New Jerusalem
Another morning in the New Jerusalem

In the New Jerusalem
In the New Jerusalem
You can look to heaven
Up above
For the God of mercy
Or Allah's love
In the New Jerusalem

Vocal: David Francey
Guitar: Craig Werth


The Gate

My mother and father knew each other over eighty years. The gate in the song is where my father first told my mother he loved her.

(November 7, 2005. Glasgow, Scotland)

By the gate he said he loved her
By the gate up on the hill
There was a sky of stars above her
A moment she remembers still

More than eighty winters past
Eighty summers come and gone
Now there's one heart left here waiting
Time a river flowing on

I stood there with my heart breaking
Breaking just to hear the words
Still she hears him talking to her
In the singing of the birds

And they tell her he still loves her
And they say he always will
And they say he's waiting for her
By the gate up on the hill

By the gate he said he loved her
By the gate up on the hill
There was a sky of stars above her
A moment she remembers still

Vocal: David Francey
Dulcimer: Craig Werth


Stone Town

It was a rainy day in Quebec City. As the rain fell, the city aged before my eyes.

(June 6, 1999. Quebec City, Quebec)

Clouds shrouding the steeple's cross
And the street boys stand around, wet and lost
On the hard pavement of the stone town
Watching the rain come down

Kids smoking in the liquid air
Small circle in the empty square
I'm leaning on a window sill
High above Place d'Youville

And the wind gusting with a hissing sound
And the water running on the cobbled ground
And the ancient walls of this ancient town
Watching the rain come down

Rain drifting through the buses' noise
Rain falling on the skateboard boys
And the distant hills, and the weeping town
Watching the rain come down

And the wind gusting with a hissing sound
And the water running on the cobbled ground
And the ancient walls of this ancient town
Watching the rain come down

The sky's lower than my heart today
And the cold, cowering streets of grey
And the hard pavement of the stone town
Watching the rain come down

Lead and backing vocals: David Francey
Guitar: David Francey
High guitar: Craig Werth
Mandolin: Craig Werth


Promised Land

The idea of this song lives in both the past and the future. I think the "promised land" exists wherever we wish to keep it, behind us or in front of us.

(August 30, 2002. Ayer's Cliff, Quebec)

A bright September day in fall
We sailed away from Montreal
I hung upon the railing high
And waved the world I knew goodbye
Sailed for the home across the sea
The other side, the heart of me
But I just stood and waved my hand
And I waited for the promised land

We ran like hares, ran through the close
Doon tae the burn, in spate it rose
We stood on the bridge by the bowling green
And laughed our words in steady streams
The arch of stone across the river
And a moment hung in time forever
The sun shone on us, every man
In my world in the promised land

Night came black, with death adorning
Grampa's dead and Granny's mourning
The brithers and sisters all came doon
And sat there greetin' in the living room
In the emptiness of what was left
We sat there in that house of death
And we hung our heads and wrung our hands
In my world in the promised land

I never saw him lying there
I never climbed the scaffold stairs
My father left it up to me
To choose to see or not to see
But death's a road we walk alone
And I've read the words upon the stone
But he's sitting still, his pipe in hand
In my world in the promised land

Lead and backing vocals: David Francey
Bouzouki: Craig Werth
Guitar: Craig Werth
Fiddle: Geoff Somers
Percussion: Shane Simpson


Their Wedding Day

I miss a lot of weddings when I'm on tour. I do get to see the pictures though, and wrote this song for my friends Ben and Sarah. Their photo put me in mind of a picture I have of my own parents' wedding day.

(January 6, 2005. Elphin, Ontario)


I could tell when I met them
Their hearts were entwined
When she gave me her words
And I gave her mine
On that day in September
I was miles away
But I was thinking about them
On their wedding day

The man that she loves
He's the luckiest man
From the moment he saw her
And reached for her hand
And she, she was lucky
Herself, you could say
Now he's standing beside her
On their wedding day

All I saw was a picture
Of both of them there
She ever so lovely
With flowers in her hair
He ever so handsome
In his waistcoat of grey
They were standing together
On their wedding day

Love can be precious
And love can be kind
A light in the darkness
We're all hoping to find
I hope it shines on them
For now and always
Like the sun shone upon them
On their wedding day

Vocal: David Francey
Guitar: Craig Werth



Under the Portland Weather

This song is for my wife, Beth. I wrote it sitting beside a small stone statue of the Virgin Mary in my friends' backyard, under clouds heavy with rain.

(April 2003. Portland, Oregon)

Mary in the garden stands
Her arms are wide and open
Mary has a heart of stone
A heart that can't be broken

And I think of you so far away
And I think of our time together
Under a sky of hodden grey
Under the Portland weather

The traffic tumbles down the hill
No word has Mary spoken
I'm sitting in the garden still
And I'm thinking about my own land

And I think of you so far away
And I think of our time together
Under a sky of hodden grey
Under the Portland weather

Mary stands, her eyes cast down
Face turned away from Heaven
I see your face in hers somehow
All the love that I've been given

And I think of you so far away
And I think of our time together
Under a sky of hodden grey
Under the Portland weather

Lead vocal: David Francey
Guitar: Craig Werth
Backing vocal: Julia Davie



All Lights Burning Bright

On lake boats the last entry in the Watch Log Book at the end of each shift reads "All navigation lights burning brightly." I took this phrase as a metaphor for life. Keep your own light shining…brightly.

(September 28, 2005. Goderich, Ontario)

We were standing the last watch
At the close of the day
Three days on the water
Out from Thunder Bay

'Cross Superior, Huron
And into St. Clair
On a bright day in summer
I found myself there

Dead calm on the water
As blue as the sky
And we waved from the water
As we slowly passed by

We entered Lake Erie
It was late in the day
You could see that storm coming
From a mile away

We had all lights burning bright
All lights burning bright
We had all lights burning bright
All lights burning bright

That storm overtook us
And it fell like the night
And the Point and the Island
They passed out of sight

But we sailed on rock steady
Set course through the storm
As the sky fell upon us
And the wind drove us on

And I thought to myself
I'd be just like this ship
If I kept my light burning
On every trip

The watch it was ended
With the turn of the night
And I wrote in that log book
All lights burning bright

We had all lights burning bright
All lights burning bright
We had all lights burning bright
All lights burning bright

Lead vocal: David Francey
Guitar: Craig Werth
Bouzouki: Craig Werth
Fiddle: Geoff Somers
Percussion: Shane Simpson
Backing vocals: The Boys Brigade Irregulars


Credits:


Musicians

David Francey: lead vocals, guitar, shruti box

Craig Werth: guitar, bouzouki, mandolin, dulcimer, shruti box, backing vocals

Geoff Somers: fiddle, mandolin, backing vocals

Shane Simpson: percussion

Julia Davie: backing vocals

Instruments of note:

The shruti box appears courtesy of Cynthia Chatis. Many thanks.
Craig's dulcimer was lovingly crafted by his wife, Liz.
Shane plays a Woodskin drum.

Produced by David Francey, Craig Werth and Ken Friesen

Mixed by Ken Friesen, David Francey and Craig Werth

Recorded and mastered by Ken Friesen at Signal Path Studios in Almonte, Ontario

Arranged by David Francey and Craig Werth

Design by Amy Davie with technical support from Ben Wolfe

Cover photo: David Francey

Photo credits: David Francey, Beth Girdler, Craig Werth,
Terry Tufts, Shane Simpson, Francey family archives

Copy editing by Kate Murphy

All songs, words and music by David Francey
C & P 2007 Laker Music (SOCAN)

Thanks:

I would like to thank the musicians who played on this album. They gave me moments of genius during the recording sessions that I will never forget.

In particular, I would like to thank Craig Werth for taking this leap of faith and for his invaluable insight, kindness, effort and stellar talent. Thanks to Liz Werth for taking the leap with him.

I would also like to thank Ken Friesen for his mastery of the board and his timely and helpful guidance during the recordings.

Once again I owe a debt of gratitude to Ian MacGregor for unfailing friendship and strength.

I thank my mother and father for booking passage to Canada all those years ago, for sailing off to the new "promised land."

My family has been of immeasurable support to me and I am deeply grateful for their constant encouragement. Special thanks to Amy, Julia and Colin.

I would like to thank my wife, Beth Girdler, most of all. She is my muse and my strength, by far the better half of me.

I have friends around the world to thank, far too many to mention here. I thank you all now.

This album is dedicated to my Ma, Marion Francey.

We acknowledge the financial support of the Ontario Arts Council through the Popular Music Fund.
OAC logo


Song Times


1. Leaving Edmonton 2:22

2. Ballad of Bowser MacRae 3:06

3. Kansas 2:48

4. A Conversation 2:37

5. Waves 2:27

6. Ferry to Cortez 1:24

7. New Jerusalem 3:40

8. The Gate 3:10

9. Stone Town 2:34

10. Promised Land 2:45

11. Their Wedding Day 2:15

12. Under the Portland Weather 3:41

13. All Lights Burning Bright 2:48

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