This recording was made over a period of years and in a number of studios, which are noted below (these being the notes which accompany the album). Yet I feel it really did “come together” into a cohesive whole. Some songs were eliminated, perhaps to emerge elsewhere in the future. The recording is in some ways reflective of my work as a chaplain; there are also songs about being a father; about being a son; about being a pilgrim. Tim Lowly’s artwork and the graphic design of Daniel Bracken make it also perhaps the best visual presentation I could have hoped for, in terms of quality work appropriate to the songs. Here are the notes I wrote to the songs, with the persons who contributed musically and the studio noted also. I hope you enjoy it. – Jim
Earth Beneath My Feet (2004)
- (Janalee Croegaert, Eileen Bechler, vocal parts.)(SY)
- At a liturgy for cancer survivors in January, 2004, Delle Chatman, Chicago writer, speaker and creative force, and herself a survivor, prayed a prayer that included a line to the effect, “I’m so glad the earth is beneath my feet, and not on top of me.” The prayer resonated profoundly through the hospital chapel where the service was being held, filled with many who were themselves survivors. Verse two refers to the “Relay for Life” when those who did not survive are remembered.
Especially For Anna (1986)
- (Jacob Croegaert el. bass, sax; Janalee Croegaert, Jacob Croegaert, vocal parts.)(PS)
- I wrote this song for my daughter when she was in her early teens, yes, a while ago now, but still…
I Was In Love Once (2001)
- (Dean Clemmer, guitar; Jacob Croegaert, el. bass; Michael Powers, drums) (TZ, BA, PS)
- “You know, I was in love once,” a hospital patient, seemingly alone, once said to his chaplain. A powerful phrase for reminding caregivers of the multidimensional nature of the lives of all the people they care for, of which they see only a small part.
Dad’s Long Road (2002)
- (Dean Clemmer, steel guitar; Jim, Hammond organ) (TZ, BA)
- This is a tribute to my father, Virgil Croegaert, to whom this recording is dedicated as well. Dad became a single parent to me and my three siblings (ages 8-15) when cancer took our mom’s life in 1959. We think he did a pretty good job. I was able to be with him when he died in 2002, and wrote this song two days later.
Looking For A Landing (2002)
- (Don Kulp, Daryl Snider, vocal parts.; Dean Clemmer, guitar)(TZ, BA)
- This one is also about Dad, written two months after his death, at a lovely farm in SW Wisconsin.
The Field (2000) (PS)
All Of My Life (2002)
- (Don Kulp, Daryl Snider, vocal parts.; Steve Walker, el. guitar; Dean Clemmer, steel guitar; Jacob Croegaert, el. bass; Michael Powers, drums) (TZ, BA, PS)
- This song, whose verses are from Ps. 138. was composed and is still regularly used for, the “Blessing of Hands” in which nurses at my hospital rededicate themselves to their profession as a ministry.
Every Mother’s Child (1997)
- (Dean Clemmer, steel guitar, guitar)(TZ, BA)
Bernie’s Song (2005) (PS)
- Bernie was an elderly member of our parish who was a friend to me and to many. Many years earlier, he had lost first his daughter (his only offspring) and then, eleven months later, his wife, both to cancer. He deeply loved them both, but instead of becoming bitter, Bernie became a hospice volunteer, and never stopped being involved in people’s lives. It was my privilege to be with him when he “passed over,” and I wrote the song over the next days.
I Will Not Be Overcome (2001)
- (Don Kulp, Daryl Snider, vocal parts.; Dean Clemmer, steel guitar; Michael Powers drums; Jacob Croegaert el. bass)(TZ, BA)
- The chorus is a prayer of Julian of Norwich, whose writings and insights are strikingly relevant today, as much as when she lived (1342 – 1419).
Fields Of Umbria (2004)
- (Jim C., Harmonium) (SY)
- Janalee and I had the privilege of spending time in Italy with our dear Australian friends, Paul and Chrissie Heinrich, at a villa owned by some generous friends of theirs. It will ever be in my soul, and I hope I have captured some of the wondrous quality of that place, that time.
Sing, Desolate One (2004)
- (Tim Lowly, vocal part.)(SY)
Oh, The Light That Falls (2003)
- (Janalee Croegaert, Bob Shuford, Lois Shuford, vocal parts; Jim, Harmonium; Bob Shuford, Harmonium Pneumatic Assistance)(SY)
These songs recorded at the following studios:
- Blue Angel, Ronks PA (BA), Rusty Richards engineer
- Tone Zone, Chicago IL (TZ), Roger Heiss, engineer
- Pogo Studio, Champaign IL (PS), Mark Rubel engineer
- Steve Yates Recording, Morton Grove IL (SY), Steve Yates engineer
- “Especially For Anna” was mixed by Mark Rubel; “Dad’s Long Road,” “Looking for a Landing” and “Every Mother’s Child” mixed by Doug Jones; all other songs mixed by Steve Yates and all songs mastered by Steve Yates at Steve Yates Recording.
Artistic Consulting: Tim Lowly
Artistic Direction, Graphic Design and Production: Daniel Bracken
Photograph of Jim: Dick Louderman
Special thanks to:
- The many musicians and vocalists who collaborated to enrich these songs. The relationships represented, friends and family, are part of the texture and fabric of the recording.
- Doug Jones, whose work in “translating” across different formats was indispensable.
- Tim Lowly, whose fine art (as well as vocal work) graces this recording and whose suggestions helped bring focus.
- Steve Yates, who helped greatly in pulling things together.
- My wife Janalee, who remains my best and most trustworthy critic, as well as beloved life companion; and my kids and grandkids who make my life so rich.
- This recording is dedicated to the memory of my father, Virgil Andrew Croegaert (1913 – 2002).