MOUNT VERNON — Sarah Goslee Reed will be releasing her new album, “Plenty,” at a special concert Saturday at 7 p.m. at ThePlace@TheWoodward, 111 S. Main St., in Mount Vernon. The album, the songwriter’s fifth, is being met with acclaim calling it her best yet.
According to Reed, the title comes from the idea of the traditional cornucopia, which is known as a “horn of plenty.” Her idea was to create an album overflowing with a harvest of life, memories, and stories drawn from her life and community, featuring a rich cast of supporting musicians, including her new band, Firefly.
The song “All Living Things” was originally written as part of “Songs of Science,” a songwriting project Reed undertook with students from Dan Emmett Elementary School in Mount Vernon, but Reed says it came back into her thoughts as the album took shape, addressing the difference between wants and needs. Other songs finding meaning in growth include “Potpourri” and “Garden of Plenty.”
The latter was inspired by a farmer Reed met on a mission trip to West Virginia.
“When planting potatoes, he said that for every pound you plant, you’ll get twenty pounds to harvest,” Reed said. “That idea gave me the song’s chorus: “We will plant our garden/Turn the ground into plenty/We will plant our garden/And from one there will be twenty.”
“We Planted Trees Today” is a setting of a poem by Danville resident Frank Goulde celebrating the planting of trees at Ramser Arboretum for the enjoyment of future generations.
The song that has touched a nerve with more listeners than any other, though, is “The Hole in His Heart,” written about the suicide of the grandson of a dear friend of Reed’s. The thirteen-year old boy, Wesley Garrett, of Sullivan, Ohio, seemed to be weathering a problem with school bullying as well as could be expected, but his situation was far more desperate than he let on. Overcome by despair, the boy ended his life in his grandparents’ barn.
“There was an emptiness in Wes that no one knew was there until it was too late to fill it,” Reed said. The song was written not just in memory of the boy, but also to help his family heal and to draw everyone’s attention to the issue. Reed said that she hopes it reminds everyone to get close to each other, to talk, to love, to distinguish wants from needs and to recognize the plenty that we all have. A portion of each sale goes to the Wesley Garrett Memorial Fund at Black River Middle School in Sullivan, to support children’s mental health programs.
“Everyone knows someone touched by a situation like this,” Reed said, and the spontaneous feedback she has been receiving from all over the country is demonstrating it. Reed and her musicians are currently shooting a video of “The Hole in His Heart” at The Woodward Opera House in Mount Vernon.
Reed is supported on the album by her band, Firefly, consisting of Tom Martin on bass and Skip Trask on drums. Additional contributions were made by Mount Vernon’s Darell Sanson (mandolin, banjo, guitar), Mount Vernon high school student Candace Jaymes (backing vocals), Reed’s daughter and son-in-law, Meredith and Travis Irwin (backing vocals), Kenyon College students Gian Garduque (French horn) and Claire Matlak (bassoon), Columbus instrumentalist, teacher and conductor Luis Biava (cello), and Native American flute, lute and keyboard percussion by co-producer and engineer Celeste Friedman of Newark. The solo instrumental production was by Tom Martin.
Tickets and copies of the album will be available at the door during the live show at 7 p.m. on May 19 at ThePlace@TheWoodward. The album is also available at TheShoppe@TheWoodward, as well as at the web sites cdbaby.com and iTunes.
Visit www.sarahgosleereed.com for more information and to hear a selection of the new songs.
Published on May 14, 2012