Lang has built a successful career, not so much by buying his songs from various artists to cut them onto their recordings, but by functioning as an artist himself, releasing albums under his own name and bringing in top selectors and singers to perform his new material in the studio. Largely now retired from the hardwood sourcing business he and his wife started, Rick spends his time these days focusing on music, as well as philanthropy in the world of bluegrass. .
For today’s release, the label is offering two new tracks. The first is called They saw through a storm, which Lang says is based on a true story of patriotic New England women who stepped in to staff a sawmill when all the men were called to fight in World War II.
“A colleague of mine in the lumber industry, Sarah Shea Smith, learned about the story of the woman’s sawmill in Turkey Pond, NH. After much research, she wrote a book on the events that led to the construction of the mill and propelled this group of women to become heroes of their time. Sarah’s book inspired me to write this song. Thirteen patriotic women came to New Hampshire State House to offer to run the sawmill after the men who operated it joined the WWII effort. Although many doubted it would work, they got permission and the rescue operation continued. This group of courageous and determined women in the service of their country saved the day and made history. This song was written to celebrate their historic achievement and share their story in song.
Becky Buller sings this one, and plays the violin and clawhammer banjo, supported by Stephen Mougin on guitar, James Kee on mandolin and Todd Parks on bass. The harmony voices are provided by Laura Orshaw and Jana Mougin.
The other has the fanciful title, Toodleoo, which Lang wrote with Stephen Mougin, who sings the lead vocals.
This one is also a “real song,” as Bill Monroe used to say, about Mougin’s dad’s dad, which Stephen says is based on his childhood memories.
“This song is the true story of my grandfather, who lived with us the last years of his life. An electrician by training, he ran the first wiring through homes in his area and was known to whistle while he worked. He was my boyfriend and at the age of six it was a shock when we lost him. Hearing more stories about him as I grew older, I remembered that he always said “toodleoo” rather than “goodbye”, and my dad confirmed that was his only leaving message. . When Rick and I sat down to write a few years ago, we started talking about the good old days, and I told him about “toodleoo”. I am so happy to share this song with the world as a message of optimism, with a melodious whistle and a smirk.
Mougin plays guitar again, with Sam Bush on mandolin, Ned Luberecki on banjo, Becky Buller on violin and Todd Parks on bass. The vocal harmonies give us a Mougin family mix, with Stephen’s wife Jana and their son Samuel singing the parts.
Check it out …
A story to tell is slated for spring, with all tracks composed of these genre of story songs, written or co-written by Rick Lang.