Sunday, September 25, 2011

Mark Twain: Words & Music - The Release

Everything happened so fast, it was almost blurry.  Think of it.  Carl Jackson and I first spoke in 2007 about doing this project.  (And remember, this was after having not seen or spoken to each other since the early 1970s.)  After our reunion phone call when he agreed this all sounded like a splendid idea, we kept in touch by phone and email, and then I stopped in Nashville and had dinner with him on my way to Florida in December of, let's see... 2009?  Must've been.  Well, the hours we have logged on our iPhones, the emails that've flown across the World Wide Web, the hundreds of songs and words considered, the devilish details, the serendipitous surprises... it has all culminated in the actual release of Mark Twain: Words & Music.

We had a release party.  That is to say, Carl and Val Storey came to Hannibal to be on hand when the first CDs were sold at the stroke of midnight (Tom and Huck's famous hour), so we led up to the appointed time with a first rate party followed by Carl and Val singing songs from the CD.  You're familiar with the line-up: Jimmy Buffett as Huck Finn, Garrison Keillor as the narrator, Clint Eastwood as Sam Clemens, & Angela Lovell as Susy Clemens.  Then there are the singers... Emmylou Harris, Doyle Lawson & Quicksilver, Rhonda Vincent, Bradley Walker, Carl Jackson, The Church Sisters, Sheryl Crow, Brad Paisley, Marty Raybon, Val Storey, Vince Gill, Joe Diffie, and Ricky Skaggs.  The CD is released on the Mailboat Records label.  It is produced, of course, by the one and only Carl Jackson.

Now, let's go to the party...

The Museum Gallery was decorated "just so"
In hopes that all of our best friends would show

Megan and Beau brought wine from the Cave
I sampled them all, now which is my fave?

Chocolaterie Stam donated mouthwatering chocolate
I'll have to confess to stashing some in my pocket

The downstairs was ready for what would come later
Upstairs there was food that LulaBelle's catered
The Rockwell Gallery was full of folks
Sharing good time, laughter, and lots of good jokes
With LulaBelle's catering, the food was superb
Most everyone made it, but we sure missed you, Herb!

Journalism students and prof spoke with Michael
Their blog is the best, glad we got into their cycle
Danny and Emily co-wrote "Huck Finn Blues"
Brad Paisley recorded, now THAT is good news!
There's Micki and Michael and Carl and Ryan
I can't remember all names - I swear I am tryin'!

Val and Nancy catching up with a chat
Mixing and mingling, you just can't beat that!

Gregg and Vikki check out the exhibit
That describes the CD and tells how we did it

Everyone's laughing and giggling and grinning
I guess you could say we were all just "Huck Finning"

While the party continued the stars sneaked downstairs
To warm up their voices for a few empty chairs
We've heard of air guitar, but never wine
Henry's tuned and he's ready to have a great time

Finally it's time for music and more
Of our beloved Sam Clemens, there's so much in store
Kristy is mesmerized, Dena is smiling
This musical evening is truly beguiling

The fans were nestled all snug in their seats
While Carl and Val did not miss a beat
Carl played lead, he and Val took turns singing
That sweet Martin guitar, like a bell it was ringing

After the show folks waited in line
To buy their CDs, then have Val and Carl sign

Okay, so the captions aren't award-winners, but you get the idea.  I mainly wanted to share pictures for those who couldn't be here.  Now, aren't you sorry you didn't come?  A highlight of the evening came when Carl got ready to sing "Indian Crow," a song he co-wrote with Jerry Salley.  The song calls for a respectable dobro, and boy, did we get lucky.  Rusty Young (of Poco fame) and his lovely wife, Mary, had come to the party, and with no warning, planning, or rehearsing, Carl called upon Randy to come up and help play the song.  Breathtaking.  (Rusty, we gotta book you for Music Under the Stars somehow!)

We really did have an amazing time, and now the fun will be watching how it sells and hearing how folks like it.  We've already had many letters, emails, and phone calls with lots of folks re-ordering after they've played theirs.  Looks like Santa Claus might need to stock up.  Remember, this is a benefit for the Museum, and the artists donated their time and talent to this project to help our cause - caring for 9 historic properties.  Please help us get the word out.  The Associated Press ran a great article yesterday that seems to have generated a lot of interest.  I peeked at the Amazon rankings earlier this evening, and the CD was ranked #46 in Country Music and #2 in Bluegrass.  Kind of amazing considering we've done no advertising.  But then, the whole thing's been kind of amazing.

Thank you to all who believed in this project.


  1. Thank you for the wonderful pictures and words. So sorry I wasn't there for this incredible night.
    Was wonderful seeing all the excitement and enjoyment. - Thank you Carl & Cindy for making this come to life. :)

  2. I really wish I could have been there! It looks like it was a blast!

  3. Ditto! Thank you for sharing the pictures & words. Now I can't wait until our 'Words and Music' arrives in the post!