After battling Parkinson’s for more than 15 years, Grace was determined to record one more album.
It was then that her friends stepped forward to help in any way they could. During the last two years, Chris Biondo has spent countless hours in his Kensington, Maryland studio whenever Grace could find the energy to lay down a track. Grace’s husband (Patrick), longtime producer and friend, Marcy Marxer, and others drove Grace to and from Chris’s studio (2 hours one way) to take advantage of the closing window of opportunity. Musicians who offered their services for the new recordings include: Lenny Williams (piano), Al Petteway (guitar), Sue Richards (Celtic Harp), Biondo (bass/percussion), Marxer (guitar, flute, percussion), Larry Melton (upright bass) with background vocals by Cary Creed, Lynn Hollyfield and Jody Marshall on “The Woodthrush’s Song.” Jody Marshall spent many hours in the studio with Chris Biondo, helping to maximize the potential of the new recordings. Susan Graham White, who lives on her horse farm in southern Maryland, took time out from her second career (as an international judge and competitor in the equestrian sports of Evening and Dressage) to add her voice and instrumental ideas to Grace’s new recording of Susan’s Brigid’s Shield. For one more song, Hazlewood rides again! The cover photograph was taken by Patrick during a trip West in the Spring of 2103. Irene Young pitched in on the album package, while mastering engineer Billy Wolf volunteered his services to “master” the album. The generally sparse instruments added to Grace’s a cappella performances underscore rather than distract from Grace’s amazing voice. “Nature Boy” includes only the guitar accompaniment of Richard Miller, while Grace’s a cappella recording of “The Leaves Of Autumn” remains unadorned.
Along the way it was decided that “Cup Of Kindness,” “The Way Of the World” and “Deep In the Darkest Night,” three previously recorded tracks that did not quite fit on their intended albums, had at long last found a proper home. Finally, we added bonus track “Water, Fire and Smoke” to close the album. This lead track from the Grace album was always a favorite, which we regretted not being able to fit on the Sailing retrospective album. Here, it serves as the perfect reprise of what Grace and our label have shared during the past nineteen years.
—Bill Straw, Blix Street Records