American Portrait
Produced by Joe WeedBack to Recordings

1. Highway One (3:48)
2. Sliding down Mt Rushmore (3:47)
3. Missouri (4:04)
4. Walk along the Wabash (3:30)
5. Hymn to the Big Sky (4:20)
6. Pineapple Rag (2:47)
7. Prairie Waltz (3:10)
8. Appalachian Reel (3:28)
9. Everglades (4:22)
10. Oregon Trail (3:34)
11. Sante Fe (3:17)

Copyright © 1992 by Joe Weed, All Rights Reserved

What they're saying...

"From his guitar joyride down "Highway One" to the eccentric and beguiling "Sliding Down Mt. Rushmore" to a serene "Prairie Waltz," Joe Weed's new CD, American Portrait, showcases his canny musical travelog through a vast personal landscape of images and imagination. Covering eleven musical locales (even Hawaii gets a "Pineapple Rag,") each piece is a tapestry in its own right.

This musician's musician--known to cognescenti for years as a fiddle wizard--fronts his new collection of elegant, brainy originals as much on guitar as on is more customary instruments, the fiddle and mandolin. It's a rare bird that can even think of tunes like these, much less play them and produce and arrange the album as well.

Though a master of all string instruments and therefore quite capable of multitracking them all himself, he's again enlisted David Grisman's eminently capable mandolin and Todd Phillips' superb bass playing, both gentlemen having also graced his landmark 1987 release, Waltz of the Whippoorwill. Combining the languid dobro of Nashville studio ace Rob Ickes, a remarkably ... melodious Norton Buffalo on harmonica, augmented at times by cello, recorder, flute, accordion, dulcimer and some very graceful touches of percussion, each tune's chromatic and compositional appeal stands fresh and distinct. Under his own adroit arrangements, Weed's clever and fanciful compositions become at times almost orchestral. Though the tunes always beam through, this suite is no superpicker's jam session--it's certainly lively, but a little more, shall we say, civilized than that.

Acknowledging obvious inspiration from his longtime pals Grisman and especially Tiny Moore (in whose band he played for many years)--not to mention '30's Cuban rhumba bands, vivid mariachi, Southern old time fiddle, touches of Aaron Copland, Tex-czech polka, cowboy campfire songs and, once again, the simple sounds of the natural environment, Joe Weed's album couldn't be more varied or lush. It sounds like an old familiar friend, yet no one ever put things together quite like this to make such a sound."
- Paul Hostetter, for Acoustic Guitar magazine

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Liner Notes
  1. Highway One (3:48)
    On the west coast, US Highway 1 winds down to Mexico. On the east coast, it heads down to Miami, Florida and Little Havana. This is a traveling tune which works anywhere but which always brings me back to the beautiful California coast and my wonderful trips to Mexico
  2. Sliding Down Mt. Rushmore (3:47)
    Great massive faces carved from stone, like Easter Island... As a youngster, I wanted to slide down a nose on greased burlap. While touring throughout the West, I had occasion to drive by Mt. Rushmore and eventually gave up the idea. Indulge me.
  3. Missouri (4:04)
    This great river has intrigued me ever since I heard "Shenandoah" in fourth grade. The harmonica is for the broad, winding, powerful river I gazed at in wonder from 35,000 feet on a cross country flight. The guitar is for all the little ripples and swells which sparkle in the light.
  4. Walk Along the Wabash (3:30)
    As a little boy, I lived by the Kishwaukee River in Illinois. I walked barefoot along its muddy banks, caught tadpoles in summer and ice skated in winter. The Wabash must have delighted other little boys similarly, and that's how this tune pictures it.
  5. Hymn to the Big Sky (for Joanna Wade) (4:20)
    While touring in Wyoming and Montana, I finally came to know what "Big Sky" means. Here is a hymn to the unspoiled natural majesty which first unveiled itself to me after a night of driving from Jackson Hole, Wyoming.
  6. Pineapple Rag (2:47)
    I couldn't think of a good title for this little tune for Hawaii, so at the dinner table one night in May my son Jeff suggested "Pineapple Rag". Rob Ickes' dobro (the slide guitar) and Norton Buffalo's low harmonica are the icing on this pineapple cake.
  7. Prairie Waltz (3:10)
    I don't think I've ever seen anything as starkly beautiful as the northwestern prairie in winter. Harmonica seems to be the natural choice to end this reflective piece.
  8. Appalachian Reel (3:28)
    Folk musicians in this country kept alive the wonderful fiddling traditions of their ancestors from England, Scotland, and Ireland. At the same time, they forged something different and American from their roots. This new folk music continues to evolve and grow and tantalize fiddlers (like me) and challenges us each to add our own contributions.
  9. Everglades (4:22)
    When my wife and her father were walking along a trail in the Everglades, some visitors across the pond yelled unintelligibly and waved wildly to them. Eventually, they met on an adjacent trail and discovered that they had been resting two feet from a 12 foot bull alligator. These modern day dinosaurs are recovering from threatened extinction and thumping around under murky waters waiting to get us if we're not careful!
  10. Oregon Trail (3:34)
    At the High Desert Museum outside Bend, Oregon, are some wonderful mementos and letters from the original settlers who travelled this long and difficult trail. Stop by sometime and immerse yourself. Bring a handkerchief.
  11. Santa Fe (3:17)
    When the fiddles come in I can see a dusty street under a full moon and little white buildings with red tile roofs. Inside the taverna Marty Atkinson is playing his guitarron and Barbara Barnett is playing her accordion. After this tune it's time for me to go to bed.

Special thanks to Marti Kendall and Jeffrey and Katie Kendall-Weed for all they give; to Frederic and Ruth Weed, Mary and Freddy Weed and Katherine and Kevin McQuillin, Thom and Myra Jones, all the musicians, Virg Evans, Dale and Marilyn Barcellos, Bruce Bowers, Neal Hellman.

American Portrait
Purchase CD

Original pieces by Joe Weed played on acoustic instruments; each reflects the mood of a different region, city, or river in North America.

Joe Weed: guitars, mandolins, fiddle, viola, harmonica
Marty Atkinson: guitarrón
Barbara Ann Barnett: accordion
Norton Buffalo: harmonica
Joe Caploe, Sid Knee: percussion
David Grisman: mandolin
Neal Hellman: dulcimer
Rob Ickes: dobro
Marti Kendall: cello
Shelley Phillips: recorders, flutes
Todd Phillips: bass

For additional copies or information on obtaining other recordings by Joe Weed, please contact
Highland Records PO Box 554
Los Gatos, CA 95031-0554

Cover Art: Dale Barcellos

Published by Jozone Music, BMI - a division of Highland Publishing Group
Recorded analog and Mixed to Digital at Highland Studio, Los Gatos, CA