What defines a special bond...and band? Check out the "Then & Now" photos, over there on the album cover. From the left: De Stewart, Jim Gaines, moi, Ron Baumgartner, and Ron Sachs. Two pictures, five friends, separated by four decades...but still friends, even after all these years.
The "core four" of Heather (Jimmy, Ron, Ron, and moi) played together from 1971 to 1976. Over the years, a number of other folks (including De, who can be heard on several songs in this collection) rotated in and out as the fifth member of what was, in essence, a five-member country-rock band.
The operative word in the previous paragraph is "together".
For those five years - between practice, live gigs, touring and the recording studio - we were almost inseparable. We were also very fortunate in that Heather spent a lot of time in the aforementioned recording studio...primarily backing other artists but, occasionally, recording our own, original material.
I recently set about restoring some of these vintage Heather recordings. Working off old albums, singles, acetates and demo tapes, I was able to compile a pretty representative audio "scrapbook" of our musical journey.
This Heather "Chronography" includes material from our first trek into the recording studio to cut a three-song demo tape (1973), through our 2013 "reunion" to record two new Heather songs ("Distant Light" and "You Can Fly"), four decades later.
Sandwiched in-between are both sides of our 1974 country single ("Monday Morning Truckstop" and "Country Rain, Kentucky Farm")...nine tracks from our 1975 LP ("Ride on the Music")...and a 1976 single ("Baby Blue"), which charted top-10 in several Midwest radio markets.
I even managed to dig up and restore three live "bonus tracks" -- one from a 1974 Heather "bar gig" and two others from a 1993 benefit "reunion" concert at the historic Hoosier Theater in Vevay, Indiana. Check out that acapello introduction to "Jesus Is Just Alright"...or those five-part harmonies on "Find the Cost of Freedom". Yeah. That's what Heather was all about, folks.
Given the age and condition of the original recordings, some of these restorations are slightly less-than-perfect. The music, however, still holds up pretty darn well, even after all these years...well, decades.
So, sit back, slip on your headphones or earbuds, crank up the ol' volume control...and enjoy...
released August 15, 2013
Heather (the "core four"):
Jim Gaines - guitar, pedal steel, vocals
Ron Sachs - guitar, harmonica, vocals
Jack Nimersheim - guitar, bass, keyboards, vocals
Ron Baumgartner - drums, vocals
And our fifth members, at various times, through the years:
Dale Miller - guitar, vocals (tracks 1-4)
Timothy Hawkins - guitar, vocals (tracks 4-14, 18, 19)
De Stewart - guitar, bass, saxophone, vocals (tracks 10, 13, 18-20)
John Vester - guitar, vocals (track 15)
Ron Norton (1973)
Sherry Baumgartner (2013)
That's how much time has passed since I first stepped on stage, picked up a
guitar, and started playing music for the folks "out there".
Lucky for you, I don't have any recordings of those "teenage" performances. The albums on this page, however, provide a pretty good retrospective of the music I've been fortunate enough to help create, between the early '70s and now.