Thunder's Mouth, CD by Scott Ainslie

Thunder’s Mouth: The Story

Ainslie’s original title song, Thunder’s Mouth, comes of split lineage. While the title phrase comes from Shakespeare, the setting and body of the song were inspired by slave narratives from the Nashville, TN area. As the Civil War was ending former slaves, frantic to re-assemble families sold off in different directions, flocked to the closest cities or towns hoping to find lost husbands, children, parents and grand parents. Reminding Ainslie of the days immediately following 9-11 in New York city when surviving family members searched for, hoped and prayed for members of their families to walk out of the dust in lower Manhattan.

Ainslie’s It’s Gonna Rain, is the kind of song you wish you had written: a song of lost love set in south Louisiana that saw its first performance around the 4th of July, 2005, just prior to Katrina’s arrival and the failure of the levees and our government in New Orleans. As Ainslie says, "Six weeks later, without changing a word, it became a song - not about losing somebody – but about losing a city. And for my money, one of the coolest cities in the world."

Ainslie’s two other originals on the collection have obvious African roots - a kora-inspired fretless gourd banjo tune, If Anybody Asks You About Me, and I Should Get Over This, a heartbreaker set to a danceable West African-inspired guitar part.

A transcriber of Mississippi Delta Blues legend Robert Johnson’s music, Ainslie cut Johnson’s Dust My Broom for the CD late one night after his wife had gone to bed. You can hear the softer delivery of this vocal; he was trying not to wake her.

Opening with J. B. Lenoir’s Down In Mississippi, and an accapella version of Delta Bluesman Son House’s wonderful Don’t You Mind People Grinnin’ In Your Face; Ainslie moves on to Oil In My Vessel, an old-time gospel tune from one of the oldest surviving Black old-time fiddlers, North Carolinian Joe Thompson.

Ainslie’s dark C-minor tuning version of Another Man Done Gone, learned from a 1938 John Lomax field recording of Alabama singer Vera Hall settles down beautifully in this body of work. As does Ainslie’s version of Tom Waits’ Little Trip To Heaven.

In addition to Ainslie’s muscular guitar playing, mandolin, and vocals, Thunder’s Mouth features Grammy award-winning cellist Eugene Friesen of Paul Winter Consort; Lafayette, Louisiana native Sam Broussard, who contributes mightily to the sound and emotional feel of the tracks; and T-Bone Wolk, a bassist and road warrior with Hall & Oates.  In addition to bass, Wolk contributes accordian, keyboard, guitar and hand percussion to the tracks.

Thunder’s Mouth was mixed and mastered with Grammy award-winning engineer Corin Nelsen at Will Ackerman’s Imaginary Road Studios in Windham County, Vermont in the winter and spring of 2008.