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The Source and the Servant

by Bow Thayer

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Cole Younger 03:32
Sugar Baby 04:51
Oh Death 06:38


Country Blues - Dock Boggs
Papa’s Little Angel Child - Fred McDowell
Cole Younger - Dock Boggs
Sugar Baby - Dock Boggs
Goin’ Down the River - Fred McDowell
Unveil Your Love - Bow Thayer
Shoe Glue Blues - Bow Thayer
Wild Bill Jones - Dock Boggs
Oh Death - Dock Boggs
Shake ‘em on Down - Fred McDowell
When The Train Comes Along - Fred McDowell
Wished I was in Heaven Sitting Down - Fred McDowell

There are so many great bluesmen and songsters in our musical history it is hard to fathom. And really most of them have gone unnoticed. So why the music of Dock Boggs and Fred McDowell is so relevant in my own musical journey is somewhat of a mystery. Whether it is fate or coincidence, the fact is, these guys struck a chord with me, a deep one, and one I did not even realize until recently. I was living in Boston going to art school just outside of Kenmore Sq. during the late eighties and nineties and fairly unimpressed with what was coming over the airwaves. This was a time when cassette tapes were on the way out and digital music was becoming the norm. I found myself perusing all the record stores in the area just searching for something real and cassettes were super cheap, like 2 bucks a pop. So I dug hard into all kinds of blues, bluegrass, old time, folk and jazz. The cassettes being used were so cheap they were almost disposable. I did not mind losing them, giving them away or not taking good care of them. Many disintegrated in the filth of cigarette butts, coffee and grime under the seat of my car, or the turpentine and cobalt dryer in my paint box, but there were survivors. It may have been subconscious that Alan Lomax’s field recordings of Dock and Fred got a bit more attention. Listening back to my catalogue of music I hear it now…. I didn’t then. As I write this I am staring down the barrel of a half century in this life of obscurity, and I am beginning to make sense of what I am doing and why. The only way to really relate it is through music , so here ya go….

I would like to make a disclaimer - I am not trying to mimic these guys in any way. After all I am a white, middle class kid from New England and my goods are not their goods. But I do want to give the utmost credit to what these two storytellers offered up in their lifetime. So many people have taken from them without giving them their due. What they offer is more than just folk music - it is a window into history, a way of life, and a taproot into the very essence of joy and sorrow within the human soul. In their time they were not rich or famous, but their significance transcended celebrity; they - along with others who fell beneath the cracks of fame and fortune - are conduits into the lowest and highest common denominators of who we are. I only hope I can do some justice.



released October 28, 2016

Bow Thayer- Vocals, Bojos, Banjos, Harmonica, Percussion , Beatbox, Synthesizer
Alex Abraham- Upright Bass, Upright Bass Banjo, Backing Vocals
JD Tolstoi - Hammond Organ
Jeff Berlin - Percussion
Danielle Miraglia - Duet Vocals (Oh Death / When The Train Comes Along)
Mark Van Burren - Marimba
Justine Calnan - Bow and Saw, Backing Vocals

Produced by Bow Thayer and Drew Townson
Additional engineering by Zach Bloomstein

Mixed by Benny Grotto at Mad Oak in Allston, MA
“Cole Younger” mixed by Scott Hommel at Black River Audio in Stockbridge, VT

Recorded at “The Woodshed” in Gaysville, VT
Marimba tracks recorded at the Artistree Barn in Pomfret, VT
Additional engineering Zach Bloomstein at 37 ft Productions in Rockland, MA

Mastered by Alex McCollough at True East Mastering in Nashville, TN

Artwork by Matt Manning
Layout by Chris Lillie


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Bow Thayer Vermont

Bow Thayer's music features his custom Bojotar and fuses experimental elements with Americana, rock, bluegrass, and folk, resulting in a singular, progressive sound that has earned descriptions ranging from “Green Mountain soul” to “modern backwoods music.” American Songwriter says this "onetime Levon Helm compatriot is the best artist to come from New England in recent years." ... more


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