Love & Highways
Heart and home are often elusive for those whose spirits are drawn to the open road.
Sit back, buckle up and ride along with String Bone down winding highways, around sharp turns, on great escapes and daring rescues with searching songs in pursuit of home for an unbound heart.
An unbreakable bone nut creates the essential contact point between a guitar's strings and the wooden body; String Bone draws the chaotic vibrations of the restless heart closer to its desire for gravity with songs of adventure bearing the weight left behind.
Southern Ontario songwriter Barry James Payne is the architect of String Bone, and brings listeners to a new collection of artfully designed songs and stories with "Love & Highways", his second full-length recording.
String Bone brings Payne's true life narratives close to the ear with tender arrangements supporting his gruff sincerity, well worn by the rumble of the road.
In concert, String Bone intertwines with bass, guitar, pedal steel and fiddle accompaniment in a variety of duo and trio combinations, or offers a richly bare solo performance exposing the songs at their core essentials.
Barry James Payne also performs and records with several other musical projects including Celtic powerhouse 'Rant Maggie Rant', 'Diamond Mine' homage to Blue Rodeo, and alongside bluesman Rick Taylor (Willie P. Bennett, Stan Rogers, Colleen Peterson). Payne's dedication to music sparked his concert series 'String Bone Presents!' bringing the best of Canadian folk-roots to the stage at Stratford's Revival House with 12 concerts in each season, concurrent with his "Winter Kitchen Party" series and "Late Night Cafe" series at Monforte on Wellington.
'Love & Highways' drives through darkness, betrayal and remorse towards love, light, escape and freedom on the road ahead with String Bone at the wheel. String Bone leaves a few loose threads untied to entice the imagination, on the follow-up to 2009's debut full-length recording, 'nadir'.
Payne shares struggles with relationships, and wrestles in the aftermath of lost wishes and broken dreams with an eye towards the next adventure.
Unraveling ten melodic originals and two well-chosen covers from Neil Young and Radiohead, 'Love & Highways' features String Bone's full complement of players including pedal steel by Steve Wood, electric guitar by the album's producer Shannon Lyon, cello by Ben Bolt-Martin and violins by Payne's 'Rant Maggie Rant' band-mate Lindsay Schindler.
In the passenger seat on "Love & Highways" is a stellar collection of guest vocalists including Sarah Jane Scouten, Mae Moore and longtime String Bone collaborator Ginger St. James, who also co-wrote 'Where Do You Go'. Violinist Lindsay Schindler also contributes to trio harmonies on a soaring cover of Neil Young's "Birds" with Trent Severn collaborators Dayna Manning and Emm Gryner. Roman Tome (New Country Rehab) contributes background vocals to "Somber Eyes", as well as percussion on five of the album's tracks.
"Love & Highways" was recorded by Shannon Lyon at Lyon's Lake Studio in Point Clark and Bayfield, Ontario at sessions through 2015 and 2016, with additional sessions at Stratford’s Knox Presbyterian Church by John Hazen (Loreena McKennitt, Rita Chiarelli, Harry Belafonte).
Resurrected following a lengthy creative blackout for Payne, this music project called String Bone sprung to life in 2006 as an outlet for his reflections on a wealth of life experiences as the foundation for his songwriting. Payne spent his early days hitch-hiking across the vast Canadian landscape to the west coast where he worked odd jobs to survive, eventually involving himself in Vancouver burgeoning indie scene and finally working behind the scenes at Cargo Records in the height of the 90's Seattle punk-grunge explosion. Eventually, the road brought him back to Southern Ontario and he found himself balancing budgets in the realm of corporate environs.
String Bone has toured extensively in Ontario, and was invited to perform at Festival Am See in Norderstedt (Hamburg), Germany and Payne’s song "Midnight Train" found regular rotation on Australia's national country radio station ABC Country. String Bone was also included in the "Linda's Playlist" exhibit at the Stratford Perth Museum in 2014 celebrating the region's music-makers along with Richard Manuel (The Band), John Till (Janis Joplin’s Fill Tilt Boogie Band), Loreena McKennitt, Emm Gryner & Dayna Manning among others. Payne and String Bone joined 3 time Juno award winner, Bill Bourne for an epic round of touring through 2011.