House of Sky  
Friends & Dedications
So many of these beautiful songs would not exist if Patricia O’Driscoll and I hadn’t come into each other’s lives eleven years ago. In “A Good Life” it is she who is painting leaves on a tree. In “These Are Heaven” she is hiking up Telegraph Hill with me on a cold gray day in San Francisco. “Daddy O’ ” is her real-life daddy, Ed O’Driscoll, known by her childhood friends as “Daddy O’ “. Many of the songs on this album she played a part in or was a part of my inspiration. We live our lives in far distant cities and yet our friendship and love continues and I can gratefully say that the connection of heart and soul between us has inspired my life and my writing all these years. Three years ago I sent her just the bare melody of what would become “Since You Came” and she cried — as I did when it first came to me. When I finished recording the song I sent it to her and we counted to three, each of us with our headphones on, and hit play. We stayed on the phone and when it finished, her voice was almost lost in wonder and delight. “It’s the most beautiful song I’ve ever heard!” she whispered. It’s a rare gift when you find that you are more truly who you are because of a bond with another human being. That happened to me and my music and my life deepened. So many songs came through that felt as if they had been inside me all along. Many of them made it to this album. Listen closely to the lyrics; it is Patricia who squeezes the whole wide world through a tiny lens to reveal us standing in this House of Sky. Thank you, Patricia.

Throughout the recording of this album, Rick Grant was my frequent source of feedback on arrangements and instrumentation. Too many opinions can destroy the heart of music or any art. So I seldom ask more than one or two friends. Rick has been my dear friend since 1984 and loves music still today as much as you and I did when we were eighteen. Several of his novel ideas found their way into my songs and made them all more beautiful. Also, you can hear him making me laugh aloud a couple of times in my song, “My Wayward Friend.” Thank you for the laughter and the friendship, Rick.

There are always a handful of my close friends, with whom I share a new album when it’s nearly finished. My long time friend Michael Munniks was with me in my truck on a rainy winter day in Woodinville. Many of you would know him if you saw him, he’s been with me at concerts all over the U.S., taking care of me, selling my CDs and making sure the concerts go well. I was almost through recording before he’d heard a single song. “A Good Life” started to play its deep, mesmerizing introduction and he surprised me by suddenly reaching over and pausing it only a few measures in. “I’m sorry Michael, but I couldn’t help it. It’s already so good I have to hear that again.” I burst out laughing because we hadn’t even gotten to my singing yet. It’s just that this song mattered to him so much and he was so happy that I’d so beautifully made the transition from the solo acoustic version he’d already loved. I am so very fortunate that some of my songs mean as much to my friends as they do to me. Thank you for all the love and generosity and friendship over the years, Michael.

When my friend Jeff LaBow first listened we were sitting in my truck in an alley in Fremont. I watched his face as he closed his eyes and took it all in. When we were through, he turned to me and said, “Michael, I commend you for being so brave with this album. You have experimented and taken this places I’ve never heard you go before.” The next time Jeff listened, his sweetheart, my friend Joie Moring, was with us. I will never forget her face after “Thanks for the Wind” was over. She looked like a child seeing a lit Christmas tree for the first time, almost afraid to break the spell. She turned ever so slowly toward me and said, “Wow! Your range! That song! It’s so good!” Thank you Jeffrey and Joie, you have taken such good care of me over the years.

While my friend Barbi Ellen Springer lives in Evergreen, CO, too far away to listen in my truck, I could hear her practically dancing on the other end of the line after I sent her “Boulevard Rain” and she talked excitedly about it. “Let Us Dream” from my second album, was written as her birthday present. In fact, she was there back in the mid-80s when I came up with the name of my first album — Run This Way Forever — as we drove around the Rocky Mountains tossing out ridiculous contenders for album title. Luckily for me, she laughed until she was in hysterics when I too-seriously suggested the title, “Sentient Beings.” Having a friend who will openly laugh at your stupidity is invaluable. Knowing we’re still good friends and that she still loves my music is an extra gift. Thank you, Barbi.

Wyoming Wind I wrote in honor of my friend Randall Hall, who in the late 1980s played my music on his radio station in Casper, Wyoming, and who flew me in for several wonderful concerts. Many years later, I visited Casper again to sing for Randy’s wedding to his true love, Michele. It rekindled our friendship, as sometimes can happen later in life when the trials and losses we all experience evolve into a deepening and a rich soulfulness that you admire in each other. A few years after that, Michele asked me to perform as a surprise at an event being held in Randy’s honor. Earlier that day I had been hiking the dusty trail along the cool Platte River when these lyrics began to come to me. I sang most of this song that very evening — poorly and in a somewhat ragged form, but promised to finish it for him. Here it is, as I promised, Randy. Thank you for the inspiration.

Seeds of Love I wrote for President Jimmy Carter, to whom I am so grateful for his and Rosalynn’s decades of giving love and hard work and tireless dedication to the people of this world who need a kind hand and a strong advocate. I wrote this for a tribute which was being held in his honor in Atlanta. The writing of it was emotional and deeply compelling to me and I am so very pleased with the outcome. At concerts all over the country I have sang this in the last few years and told the story and been so moved by the reactions of people who appreciate him. To my great surprise, Jimmy wrote me a beautiful, personal letter of thanks after hearing it.

Prairie Dog Moon exists because through my Kickstarter campaign, David Lannes asked me to write a song dedicated to his lovely wife, Tisha, and their beloved little two-year-old grandson, Aiden. I had no idea that I’d place the song on my album, but once it was finished it seemed to fit perfectly. You can hear Grandma Tisha and little Aiden near the end of my song and in the moment you hear their voices, I can’t imagine any human heart not bursting wide open. I hope this is a song that Aiden will love throughout his life, one that will remind him of how much he blessed the lives of his family by just being here. Thank you David, for the honor and for being such a generous supporter of my crowd funding.
  Boulevard RainWyoming WindThanks for the WindDaddy O'All This WaterSince You Came
House of SkyA Good LifeThese Are HeavenYou Move MeOver the MoonPrairie Dog Moon
Seeds of Love (for Jimmy Carter)Winter RideMy Wayward FriendBreathe It In
Musicians and ProductionMy Crowd Funding FriendsSong & Album Inspirations
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Other Albums by Michael Tomlinson:

Run This Way Forever
Still Believe
Face Up in the Rain
Living Things
At Your House  (Solo Acoustic)
Calling Me Back to the Wild

 

Trace the Sky
Watching the Storm Roll In (Solo Acoustic)
Standing in Troublesome Creek (Solo Acoustic)
Friendship and Goodwill (a Compilation CD)
The Way Out West


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