Skip to main content

I finally did it -- All four seasons -- a "boxed set"  -- 80 songs, 63 songwriters . . . coming in time for the holidays

thumb drives and handmade Ukrainian boxes

You. get your choice of Ukrainian box - light wood or dark wood?

Dear Music Fan:

I have just finished the most ambitious recording project I will ever do in my life: 80 songs, 63 songwriters, over 400 digital pages of lyrics, bios, and color photos. A boxed set. But not just any box.

I started this way back in 1989 when I got the idea (during a dream I had in Cleveland -- no kidding) to put together a compilation called “On A Winter’s Night,” that also became a four-artist tour. A few years later I added autumn songs on a compilation called “When October Goes,” though it was always my plan to make a 4-CD set with Spring and Summer Songs, too.

So now — finally! — it’s a four season compilation called, “The Seasons Project,” with some of the best singers and songwriters in the US, with a few Canadians, Brits, and a lone brilliant Irishman thrown into the mix.

But every record company I spoke to said, “Don’t make CDs!” Why? Because so many people no longer own CD players! So the whole thing is on an 8 GB bamboo thumb drive (most people now DO own computers and these are compatible with anything that can take a USB drive) — and that 8 GB bamboo thumb drive (with lots of room for other favorite songs of yours) will be packaged in a wooden box made by Mykhailo Chaban, a brave Ukrainian artist, who is keeping his business running in Kyiv during the war with Russia. And you get to choose which color: light or dark? Right now I have 150 of each.

I spent many hours online working on the liner notes with an editor, Elissa Wolfson, based in Ithaca, NY. I'm told I will be getting a thumb drive proof tomorrow from the manufacturer — and if all goes well I will have the finished thumb drives in hand within the next two weeks, and can start packing them in their boxes made just for this project by Mykhailo.

Now that I know a proof is on its way, I have the gumption to send this letter out. This really IS happening. I've dreamed of this moment, and here it is.

There are only 300 thumb drives in these Ukrainian boxes to sell — but if they sell out quickly I will use that money to do another “pressing" if the finances work out the way I hope they will.

But there’s also the chance that 300 is all there will be. They are going to sell for $100 each, which I think is a fair price (and would make a lovely Christmas/Hanukkah/Solstice gift). After all the expenses are covered, the money will be shared equally with all the artists, and we also want to give a share to Mykhailo in Ukraine, on top of what he charges.

There is a bit over five hours of music, and a 480 page digital book that contains all kinds of information on each artist. Some wrote their life story. Some wrote cryptic notes. A few of the songs were written in the early 1970s; some were written in 2022 and 2023. It’s not an exaggeration to say that these are a sampling of seasonal songs written over the past 50 years by some of the best songwriters alive (though a few are now, sadly, deceased). I put this together and assembled the liner notes with my eye fixed firmly on the future. I hope this will be something that folklorists and historians in the late 21st century will stumble upon and get a true feeling for what we all were up to way back when in 2023.

I’d like to send you 20 pages of the liner notes right now. Those pages contain the foreword written by Folk DJ Emeritus Ron Olesko, founder of “Folk Music Notebook,” the first 24/7 internet folk music station in the country. You can read for yourself if this is a collection you want to own. There will eventually be both mp3s and wav files on the thumb drive in the Ukrainian box. But if you don’t want to spend $100 on this, no worries — you can keep the liner notes (save ‘em for the Antiques Road Show -- might be worth a fortune; might be worth 11 cents).

But I won’t send these liner notes til I get an email from you with the headline, “Yes, send me 20 pages of the 480 page liner notes for The Seasons Project.” When you see how much time and thought went into this project I imagine you’ll know that many times over was the time spent choosing the songs. Mastering engineer Phil Klum, who is as good as it gets, mastered all the new songs and remastered all the old ones (technology has improved since 1989 when I started this). You can also see his picture and read Phil’s bio in the liner notes.

I’m hoping this will be something many folk music fans will want to have in their collections, so I am letting you, my weblist, know about it first. And don’t worry — you are under no obligation to buy this if you ask for the liner notes.That wouldn’t be the folk music way. What IS the folk music way is helping support all the musicians who are on this project by going to their live shows. I cast as wide a net as I could — Dar Williams is now part of this, along with Willie Nininger (who started this whole thing when he wrote his gorgeous song, “On A Winter’s Night”), Maude Maggart, John Forster, newcomer Kyle Hancharick, Missouri singer/songwriter Jane Godfrey are on board, as is old pro Art Podell (one of the original members of The New Christy Minstrels).

I hope you will become part of this now, too.

If you like what you read, drop me another line and let me know if you want to be on the waiting list to get one of the first copies of “The Seasons Project.” My website isn’t set up yet to include this project, but will be over the next week. So you have time to think about it.

That's also the folk music way.


Christine Lavin