In the early years of the United States, the personification of a typical American revolutionary (or of the nation as a whole) was a cartoon character named Brother Jonathan. He was eventually overtaken in popularity by the Uncle Sam character, who surfaced during the war of 1812. Still, Brother Jonathan kept an American legacy. During the Civil War (1861-1865), "Johnny" became common slang for a typical soldier who had gone off to fight. One of the most popular folk songs of the Civil War was "When Johnny Comes Marching Home."
On July 30, 1865, shortly after the Lincoln assassination and the end of the Civil War, a paddle steamer named Brother Jonathan took to the sea off the coast of northern California. It had been overloaded with gold and was precariously weighed down, so it was especially vulnerable to the large storm it soon faced. The ship went under after striking an uncharted rock, and took with it 225 lives and its huge cargo of gold.
That is what Bells Will Ring is about: loss, tightly-knotted irony, the consequences of passion, and the surreal conversations that are always taking place between past and future. But it is also about the cracks between these things, through which we find joy and relief and love.
"Let love and friendship on that day, Hurrah, Hurrah!
Their choicest treasures then display, Hurrah, Hurrah!"
Thanks for listening,
Bells Will Ring was recorded, engineered, and released by John Donovan in September of 2010. The album has now been remastered by TW Walsh (twwalsh.tumblr.com/discography
released September 29, 2010
Artwork by Katie Lochhead (firstname.lastname@example.org
Drums on track 6 by Ryan Soles
Trumpet on track 7 by Andrew Utz
Alto Sax on track 7 by James Buchanan
All else by John Donovan
Mastered by TW Walsh