AND A MEADOW FULL OF MUSICIANS SINGING FOR ‘TIME AND CHARGES’
TIME AND CHARGES is all about going home. There’s a lot of nostalgia in the movie, from the 64 cop car to the mysterious clues leading Ernest’s character Jeremiah back to his roots, to his long lost compatriots, and to the daughter he never knew he had. There’s no amount of incisive dialogue or brilliant cinematography that can tell the story as effectively as music can and that’s where “Say Goodbye” came from. This time, Ernest had the vision before the song: a meadow full of musicians, representing a simpler path for Jeremiah to follow home.
“How about blue grass?” Ernest asked. Joe Deleault said, “I do blue grass.”
Say goodbye to broken promises, wave farewell to days of rage. Can you feel it in your stomach, it’s time for you to turn the page. There’s a reassuring simplicity to the scene, a gathering of players, seventeen of them spread across the field, as Jeremiah and his fellow survivors from the 60s come together once again. Because, as is often the case in making movies, there was no time, there was no time to contemplate the impossibility of what Joe and Ernest needed to pull off. Ernest wrote the lyric over a weekend in September; he sent it to Joe, who said what he usually says in response to Ernest’s words: “They sang to me.” By Monday they had a song and began inviting an amazing array of deeply gifted guitarists, fiddlers, flute and bass players. The late great Joe Droukas, of The Bombers fame, was there, alongside Lakes Region stalwarts Joel Cage, Louis Porrozzo, Ray Porcell and Peter Lawlor, the Crunchy Western Boys — Celtic fiddler Mark Johnson, Sparky Elbaum on piccolo, Mike Rossi on bass, Joe’s dad Art Deleault and his longtime bandmate Ron Boucher on guitar, local legend Art Harriman on kettle bass, Joe on accordion and New Hampshire recording star Liz Simmons singing vocals.
And a lot of rain. It poured all morning, meaning Ernest’s barn was starting to look good. “Emergency creativity,” Ernest called it, happy to have a 250-year-old, very photogenic building as a backup. But then the rain stopped, the musicians huddled on the deck and learned the song, the bonfire was lit, and the scene began. “All magic,” Ernest said. “The moment in the movie speaks for itself, the mood and the haunting melody, and the mysticism.” In the culminating scene in the film, the meadow morphs into a barn dance and the song plays on.
When Joe and Liz went into the studio a few weeks later, to lay down a clean vocal over the Crunchies instrumental tracks, the song took another turn, growing even more soulful. And that’s when Joe called Natalie MacMaster.
“You know what we need?” Joe said. ”The best fiddler in the world. “Might as well start at the top.”
When Natalie said yes, it not only lifted “Say Goodbye” to a whole nother stratosphere, it began a musical collaboration with Joe and Ernest and Natalie that’s gone on to yield four other songs and is just getting started. Kind of like the spirit of the song: Say goodbye to good enough, say so long to life alone. Let the stars lead you to love, say hello to coming home.
Lyrics by Ernest Thompson
Music by Joe Deleault
Vocals by Liz Simmons
Fiddle by Natalie MacMaster
Accordion by Joe Deleault
Dobro by Morris Manning
Bass by Steve McBrian
Mandolin by Jim McHugh
*Licensing rights must be obtained and are available through The Office of Ernest Thompson. Click here.
For more information about Thompson|Deleault, go to www.thompsondeleault.com.