The Wilderness Years
1995 Glitterhouse Records - Mailorder only
Booklet notes by Chris Eckman:
I met Terry Lee Hale more than ten years ago in a Seattle bar called the Five-O Tavern. Stuck in the terminally hip neighborhood of Capitol Hill, the Five-O was a working-class haven, a destination for fishermen, waitresses, auto mechanics, house painters, musicians and artists Who were attracted by its dark, leaning walls and cheap beer prices. Terry Lee worked the bar and also, through great effort and with constant problems from the gentrified neighborhood, booked "Indie' bands there on weekends (we didn't call them "alternative" back then).
We begged him to book The Walkabouts there, and he did, and at some point he asked us to come and see him play sometime. One Wednesday night, after band rehearsal, we took him up on his offer.
The Five-O certainly wasn't full the night we walked in, but the usual laggards didn't sit with their faces in their beers, either. People were fixed and listening.
And how could you not be? Hale slipped and slid and chewed and crooned and pounded his way through a seemingly bottomless well of songs. Every comer of America he had ever worked in and rifted through showed up somewhere: the dry plains of Texas, the migrant worker country of Eastern Washington the woods of Michigan, the road yards of Denver and the bleak cities of the Eastern seaboard. Everything about him seemed unpredictable and unaffected.
I had never met a real folk singer and here was a great one, with roughed-out stories of bitterness, exhaustion, defiance and wide-eyed optimism. It was not your typical barroom fare.
Within two years of that night, Terry Lee started recording as a solo artist and I was happy and proud to be part of those sessions. He went on to make three cassette albums: "Fools Like Me" ('87), "Little Wood Guitar" ('90) and "My Confession" (92), all of which showcased the same undeniable qualities we had all witnessed in the Five-O that night. All of the cassettes, however, were criminally ignored.
That is why this collection is called "The Wilderness Years", because that is, frankly, how Terry Lee's musical story felt In those days. He was ever on the outside, exiled on the edge of something he had every right to be part of. He lived in a town defined by overhyped grunge bands on one side and provincial folk-fascists on the other. No one, including himself, knew where to place what he did. However, despite these confusions, he could open solo for Soundgarden one night (which he did at the Central Tavern in 1988) and Lyle Lovett the next, and impress both audiences equally. To those who had the chance to hear his music, the power of it was never in question.
Thankfully, Terry Lee's story doesn't end in "The Wilderness". The past few years have been kinder and his music has continued to grow, as has his audience. And just as I can remember the first time I saw him play, I can also remember the last time, which was just a week ago. The gig was in a hip Seattle Club, and this time the place was packed. Terry was smiling, and I had never seen him play with as much commitment and generosity. At last, he's out of the woods, standing in the open, and it would be safe to bet that we'll never lose sight of him again.
Chris Eckman / Seattle / 1995
There was one more cassette album that was made during those years and that was "Oh What A World" (1991). Those sessions were also produced by Chris Eckman.
We did not include any of those songs here as they have already been documented on the 1993 Normal Records (Germany) release.
None of these songs and projects would have seen the light of day without the generosity and support of the people who worked and played on them. It has been an amazing journey for me and it was in that "wilderness" that I met and made some great and Year friends. The depth of my gratitude is beyond any words I possess to convey it so I will not try and do so here. This CD is a testament to all of their efforts and I can't think of a better way to say thank-you.
Terry Lee Hale
TERRY LEE HALE - guitar & vocals on all songs
FOOLS LIKE ME
Produced by Chris Eckman, Bruce Calder and TLH.
Engineered by Bruce Calder.
Recorded at Steve Lawson Studios, Seattle, WA.
March-October 1987. 1988.
1. Fools Like Me
2. Change First With Truth
The Ones feat. Chris Adams (drums), Jack Endino (bass),
TLH (electric guitar). Special guest: Diana Swisher (vocals).
3. A New Heart
The Mazeltones: Mike West (clarinet), Wendy Marcuss (violin),
Marc Smason (trombone), Rabbi James Mirel (bass).
Arranged by TLH and Marc Smason
4. Casting No Shadows
5. Ragged Caravan
6. Cruel World
Johnny Rubato (drums)
LITTLE WOOD GUITAR
Produced by Chris Eckman and TLH.
Recorded at Rubato Studios, January 1989.
Engineered by Johnny Rubato.
Mixed at Audio Design and Egg Studios by Ed Brooks 1989
7. If You Don't Love Her
Johnny Rubato (drums)
8. Some Girlfriend
9. Two Windows
Eric Ring (accordion), Andy Dee (bass)
Carla Torgerson (keyboards), Johnny Rubato (percussion)
11.Little Wood Guitar
Recorded at Word Of Mouth Studios, Seattle, October 1992.
Engineered and produced by Jack Endino. a 1992
12. Ride Hard
13. Ah Love
14. Hardly Ever Two
15. Life's The Time
16. My Confession
Chris Adams (drums)
All songs are written by Terry Lee Hale and published by
Tender Loving Hell Music (BMI).©1995
"Change First With Truth" is the only song recorded by "The Ones"
"Ride Hard" was re-recorded in "Frontier Model"
"Hardly Ever Two" was re-recorded years later with The Blind Doctors in "Old Hand"