The CD features ten new songs and an array of stellar musicians, some familiar to Little Flock listeners and some new faces, plus a few tracks from three amazing student musicians at The CharterTech School for The Performing Arts in Somers Point, New Jersey, where the CD was recorded.
Kirby wrote the words and music for most of the songs for SOL SEARCHING over the past two years in a series of writing sessions in a couple of old cottages perched on the rocky shores of Maine and New Hampshire, so it's little wonder his latest work has a bit more taste of his native New England coast than some of the Key West resident's previous recordings. In fact, the title track, Sol Searching, was inspired by a northern friend's desperate mid winter desire to finally feel some sol, the Spanish word for sun.
The majority of the recording was engineered and produced by Lew London, a Grammy nominated producer and multi-instrumentalist with nearly four decades of performing and recording his own music, as well as backing such iconic artists as Steve Goodman and David Bromberg. After recording at the CharterTech Studio, where he teaches music and recording, London went on to mix the CD at Butcher Boy Studios in Chicago with long time friend and musical colleague Jim Tullio; a composer, musician and producer who has worked with many illustrious artist's such as Mavis Staples, Levon Helm, Los Lonely Boys, Bonnie Rait, John Prine Richie Havens and John Martyn. He won two Grammys for his work with Steve Goodman and founded Blue Phantom Records with the Rolling Stones Keith Richards.
The most familiar voice on the CD –other than Kirby's- is that of friend and fellow Little Flock artist and occasional songwriting collaborator Peter Mayer, who arranged and sang most of the backing vocals with the help of his son Brendan, who recently joined the two on tour. Mayer also contributed lead and rhythm guitar tracks on one song. In addition to releasing over a dozen of his own albums, Mayer has recorded and toured with Jimmy Buffett's Coral Reefer Band since 1989.
The remainder of the lead guitar work was done by Nashville veteran Mike McAdam. An incredibly versatile musician and phenomenal slide player, Mike has toured and recorded with artists such as Mary Chapin Carpenter, Radney Foster, Steve Earle and many others.
Irishman Gabriel Donohue, another superb multi-instrumentalist, producer and veteran of multiple Chieftains' tours and longstanding collaborator of Kirby's played piano, Bill McGrady added Keyboards, and Howard Issacson played flute and saxophone and Kirby's fellow New Hampshire native Gary Green played harmonica.
In addition to engineering and producing, Lew London also contributed tracks on fiddle, mandolin and guitar and veteran Atlantic City session players Jim McConnell, Andy Lalasis and Jason Carol held down the rhythm section on drums, bass and percussion. In addition, CharterTech students Johnny Zappas and Brandon Ireland graced the project with some great guitar tracks and Hein Kim, a phenomenal young musician rounded out the project with some amazing work on cello.
One cut on the CD, Guys Like Us, was produced and recorded in Los Angeles by legendary drummer Russ Kunkel and mixed by his son Nathaniel. Russ also performed on the song along with bassist Leland Sklar, guitarist Dean Parks and keyboardist Jay Oliver with backing vocals provided Sweet Pea Atchinson and Harry Bowen.
"I'm obviously thankful beyond words to all the incredibly talented people who lent their skills and decades of experience to SOL SEARCHING, " said Kirby. "As a pretty simple self- taught guitarist and musical story teller, I honestly feel like I simply sketched out some ideas in pencil on a canvas and everyone else filled in the colors! It was a warm and wonderful experience to work with Lew London and some of the students at The Charter Tech School and I'm indebted beyond words to he and Jim Tullio for all their work. I am truly lucky enough!"
- Turning Of The Tide
- Sol Searching
- Any Old Town In New England
- You Better Believe Her!
- Living Lost And Loving It
- Just Another Place We'll Never Go
- Guys Like Us
- Old Beach House