Ray Bierl
Any Place I Hang My Hat

Any place Ray Bierl hangs his hat is home, to go by the baker’s dozen of traveling songs he’s chose here. The thing is, the California based songwriter tells these tales as though both the road and the places are his home, and you believe he’s ridden the rails to the south land with the Guitar Man, spent some time in Heartbreak Hotel, lived on the Banks of the Ponchartrain down in Louisiana and along Tin Pan Alley with the title track. Bierl has a relaxed tenor that is just rough edged enough to suit the back roads songs he offers and smooth enough to handle the pop tunes too. It’s his voice which anchors things, but Bierl plays guitar and fiddle on most tracks. Laurie Lewis, who has won more than a few accolades for her bluegrass and country work, adds fiddle on the song about the Ponchartrain. Lewis also produced the project, knows how to leave plenty of space for Bierl’s view of this heartfelt music. Tom Rozum on mandolin, Penelope Critchlow on vocals, and Markie Sanders on bass are among others who sit to support Bierl. Though it’s been a while between recordings for Bierl, he’s been a vital part of the San Francisco Bay area music scene for some time. Singer and songwriter Tom Waits explains in the liner notes: “I was nineteen in Mission Beach a nd barely old enough to shave. It was the, beneath flood light in a coffee can, on a stage no bigger than a kitchen table, I used to hear Guy Clark, Rosalie Sorrels, Guy Carawan, Utah Phillips, and many nights I was lucky enough to hear the voice of the great Ray Bierl. No one knows how to weave you into a song quite like Ray Bierl…You can hear the highway in his voice.”

Kerry Dexter is a contributing writer at the folk and world music magazine Dirty Linen. and the.former folk music editor at VH1.com. She also writes about music, the arts, and creative practice at the award winning blogMusic Road

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