It’s storytime!… for all ages… and families are, by definition, all ages. 

James DunneJames Dunne’s album, Family Songs, Volume One, is literally a lifetime of family-related songs. He says, “Although these songs were inspired by, or inspirations for, our family… there may be crossovers for those people who value family moments, history, events, and reunions.  Musical inspirations from family-related experience are the source of a range of emotions for me… half, represented in humor … as is my family life.”

The album includes songs that people of all ages will be able to relate to:  

  •       Age 3: A young father’s song to his daughter about his hopes for her and their relationship.  (In My Heart, Forever)
  •       Age 8: Fast Sunday, from a child’s perspective.  (Fast Sunday, Slow Blues)
  •       Age 12: A Tenderfoot’s tune… (Boy Scout Blues)
  •       Teens: A boy band boogie… later enhanced by a Dad.  (Dad’s Boogie)
  •       20’s: A Pony Express rider longs for the girl of his dreams, as the miles close in on her.  (Wolf Creek Waltz)
  •       30’s: Some good-natured sarcasm from a beleaguered father of four.  (Family Blues)
  •       40’s: Family reunion nostalgia sets in.  (Spirit at the Lake)
  •       50’s: Literally laid back at the lake… all day and into the night.  (Blue Waltz)
  •       60’s: A new level of flying sarcastic observation… (Ode to a Fly)
  •       70”s: Conveying a farewell… without words.  (Ashokan Farewell)
  •       80’s: Life gets tedious… at a ‘curmudgeonly’ codger’s cabin.  (Life Gets Tee-Jus Don’t It)
  •       90’s: Generational history at its most fun…  passing it along in song. (Mr. Dunne)

The album is comprised of songs with origins that span three centuries – from the 19th to the 21st. For example, “Ode to Fly” was penned (circa 1880) by a highly literate and articulate “Mormon Pioneer” as a break from his usual impressive lofty spiritual poetry. James happened upon this poetic gem while doing family history research, and was inspired to honor this ancestor by setting it to music to preserve it for future generations.

The songs on the album were mostly recorded as a break from James’ intense focus on his Words of the Prophets project. That project required a lot of lofty symphonic orchestration and a high degree of detailed nuance per second. He commented, “In contrast to scripture songs work… If I had an open weekend and needed a break, I was excited to pull out a bunch of folk instruments to have some recording fun with.”

Woodmansee Park Trees AxisFamily Songs, Volume One is far from symphonic.  Its range of styles spans folk, blues, country, boogie-woogie, pop, and country-rock. James describes the compilation as follows: “The glue that holds it together is the fact that family is all over the board, too… like looking at a family photo album…  somehow there’s a consistency in the diversity.” 

Something of interest to Michael Dowdle guitar fans will be hearing him as they may not have heard him before in these various styles.  Michael masterfully joins in on half the songs, including rockin’ “Dad’s Boogie” with classic Gibson Les Paul blues tone. 

James created a five-minute audio trailer for Family Songs, Volume One. If you would like to hear it, click on the link and scroll down past the scripture albums Words of the Prophets (Vol. 1 & 2) and you will come to Family Songs, Volume One, with a list of the tracks and descriptions to help you follow along with the sampler.

The album art is just as symbolic to James as his Gospel-related albums are symbolic in their art. His photographs all represent family trees with a literal twist. He commented about this: “I grew up with the image of a family tree looking two dimensional and rising evenly and well-rounded toward the sky, while the root system looked like a mirror image below ground. However, now I see my family tree coming and going in all different directions, in various colors and tones, intertwined, going sideways, and with some dark spots as well. That’s the photo-symbolism I used for the album art.

Hidden behind the CD art, is another photo just showing the outer edges of a fine family moment when James took all his children and grandchildren on a trek to look up at an eagle’s nest he spent 8 years trying to locate. He said, “Behind the scenes and the twists in our family tree growth… are our memories of good times, together.” He hopes “those memories mean the most in our hearts. Families can be forever.”

Eagle's NestJames Lee Dunne, a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (often referred to as “the Mormon Church”), is a man who has a cornucopia of talent. Those remarkable talents include composer, multi-instrument musician, marathoner, mountain climber, lover of ancient text, backpacker, storyteller, Olympic torchbearer, audio engineer, music producer, writer, scouter, and photographer. 

James is the founder of Treble Clef Music, with a website that features uplifting songs that bring positive music to positive-thinking people. His songs range from humorous and sentimental, like his latest release, Family Songs, Volume One, to deeply spiritual, like his two-volume set entitled Words of the Prophets, which is a soundtrack of 24 songs with lyrics taken directly from the Book of Mormon. Song samples, downloads, and CD’s from these amazing creations can be found at CDBaby. You can also find James Dunne’s music on Spotify, YouTube, and other music platforms.



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