Jim Page – A Hand Full Of Songs

National Release Date: Oct. 5th, 2017


 Topical folk musician Jim Page’s lyrical social commentary has spanned the course of five decades, through multiple presidencies, social justice, environmental, and worldwide movements. Coming of age in the 1960’s in the San Francisco Bay Area, the music and artistic experimentation of those days left a lasting impression on him.  The politics and social awareness was a part of everything that was going on and it has stayed that way in Jim’s music ever since. In the spirit of Woody Guthrie, Jim Page is a stalwart storyteller of our times, causing the late great Utah Phillips to remark, “If you’re ever going to get the message, this is the messenger to get it from.”

His latest CD A Hand Full Of Songs (Release date: Oct. 5th, 2017) is a poignant collection of songs, which continues Page’s keen observation of the world around him. As Page tells it, “I had a handful of songs that I wanted to record and all the musicians and the studio time was booked. Then Trump was elected and the world shifted and I wrote a few songs in response to that. I believe that artists have an obligation to speak out, to not be silent. I put the political pieces in the middle so that the listener could walk into a room full of music, get into the stories, and then have the reality get real, then emerge slowly back into the daylight. In that sense it’s like a journey through our times.”

Recorded at Studio Litho, Seattle WA, and engineered by Floyd Reitsma (Dave Matthews Band, Pearl Jam, Noah Gundersen), Page (acoustic guitar, vocal), assembled longtime friends and collaborators, Orville Johnson  (acoustic guitar, dobro), Mark Ettinger  (acoustic bass), Jon Parry (fiddle), Grant Dermody (harmonica), and Barry Sless (acoustic guitar).

The spirited lead off track “Questions and Answers” reflects on the universal dilemma of how everything constantly changes, and coming up with answers inevitability invites more questions of it’s own. Intertwining harmonica, dobro, and guitar, form the bedrock of “Put It Down,” a melancholic plea to stop fighting among ourselves over trivial things, in favor of spending one’s time more wisely. On “Landlord,” Page starts getting into the grit of the album, with a funky bluesy take on the inequitable power dynamics between renter and landlord. “Nothing Rhymes With Orange,” wryly surveys the election of Donald Trump, and the disconnect that he represents. The familiar ring of the chorus on “Collateral Damage,” was inspired by the Woody Guthrie song “Deportees,” with Page utilizing the form of Guthrie’s chorus to underscore his song about how America treats the civilian casualties of it’s far away wars. The airy fingerpicked sweetness of “My Old Home” transports us back to a personal sense of place, and how time moves along, but how we are anchored by our earliest memories. A lovely rendition of the traditional folk song “Shady Grove,” concludes the album, with Orville Johnson adeptly playing the second guitar part.

Jim Page has been addressing our national societal predicament for years. The collection of tunes on A Hand Full Of Songs are engaged and of the moment, while pondering the big questions, that lie ahead and await our future. As he says in the liner notes, “We will give a name to the Shadow In The Room, and we will sing the songs worth singing.”

Home Website: Jim Page
Soundcloud: A Hand Full Of Songs
Facebook: Seattle Jim Page