All good things in all good time. This is a mantra that Dave Harding must have repeated to himself many times during the last 12 years.

During that time he has kept quite busy. As the bassist and one of the guiding lights of the band Richmond Fontaine, Harding has been part of the journey that has taken his band from Portland, Oregon to international success in Europe and Australia. Along the way, the band has recorded seven critically acclaimed studio albums, and toured many ports of call.

During that whole time, Harding had thought about recording a record of original material. During a break from Richmond Fontaine’s busy schedule, in the spring of 2007, he finally got a chance to make his long hoped for solo debut.

It took a friend from Harding’s past to give him the inspiration he needed to make the record.

Todd Scherer had played with Harding in the band Uncle Fester back in Michigan in the early 90’s. Scherer was a friend, and also very supportive of Harding’s songwriting. Tragically, Scherer died in a fire in 1995.

Harding had written several songs in honor of his friend, and continued to perform songs that the two of them used to play together back in Michigan. These songs formed the basis for “Across The Road”. The record assumed a form of tribute to his old friend, with a playful, fun loving approach that Scherer would have loved. He even makes an appearance in a snippet of an old recording from the early 90’s, recorded at Scherer’s home in Michigan.

The title track for the record, “Across The Road”, written by Scherer, was a song that Uncle Fester used to perform years ago. Rearranged for this record by Harding, this version features a duet with Harding and Richmond Fontaine vocalist Willy Vlautin.

Harding called upon Mike Coykendall (Old Joe Clarks) to produce the record at his Blue Rooms studio (M Ward, Richmond Fontaine, Fernando) in Portland. Besides Vlautin and Coykendall, the record also features performances from Richmond Fontaine’s Sean Oldham (drums), Scott Hampton (guitar), Michael Jodell (vocals), and Harding’s old Uncle Fester band mates Skip Von Kuske (cello) and Kirk VanDerveer (vocals).

The songs range from the spare acoustic setting of the opener “Western Wind”, to the funky zen of “Song for firehose”, to the wistful instrumental cello showpiece “The Gazebo”, to the galloping country rock of “Across The Road”, to the Michigan rawk of “Brand New Shotgun”. Harding clearly lets his love of Neil Young and The Band shine through on these songs of loss and hope. His bass playing, sturdy rhythm guitar, and plain sung vocals carry the tunes like an old familiar breeze on a late summer evening on the front porch.

Across The Road” is a fitting tribute to a friend who has passed on. The love and respect found on this record will touch everyone who hears it.

Track Listing:

  1. Western Wind

  2. Dusted

  3. Song for firehose

  4. Treefort

  5. The Gazebo

  6. Across The Road

  7. So Close

  8. Coriander

  9. Tecumseh Highway

  10. Brand New Shotgun

Purchase CD $10

C 2007 El Cortez Records