There Are No Secrets in This Town
Released November, 2013
Some years ago, I happened upon an oral history interview of a madam who had worked in Terre Haute, just across the Wabash from my native Clark County, Illinois. The woman, who was in business from before Prohibition to the '60s, it appeared, told great stories and talked about one colorful character after another. She talked about politics, culture, her line of work, fashion and anything else that came into her head. She even talked about James Jones, the author, who she said was a good friend. She lived in a city busy living up -- or down -- to its bad reputation.
I filed the transcript away, thinking it would be good fodder for a song sometime. When fellow singer-songwriter Fred Grittner approached me about recording a record, I originally said I didn't have much to record. But I pulled out the transcript and started writing. The 11 songs of There Are No Secrets in This Town are the result.
The characters the madam spoke about are ones I felt I knew: sad-sack men, vets on barstools telling war stories, men and women with secrets to keep.
Fred, who runs Black Crow Studio in St. Paul, recorded everything with a single stereo ribbon mike, giving the album a “live”-in-the-room feel that puts the listener in the center of a group of musicians.
I'm happy with the way There Are No Secrets in This Town turned out. The madam’s characters were everyday people, and I think listeners will recognize a few people they know. I know I did.