The Sycamores, Lianne Smith, Eric Ambel – Before She’s Gone
“Before She’s Gone” written by Robert Dunlap
Frank Randall – acoustic guitars, vocals
David Downey – drums
Jim Johnson – pedal steel guitar
Heath Henjum – bass
Lianne Smith – vocals
Eric Ambel – electric guitar
Arranged by Frank Randall
Recorded and Mixed by Tom Herbers at Creation Studio, Minneapolis, MN
Additional recording by Eric Ambel at Evie’s, Brooklyn, NY
Slim, when I think of you, I always think of the nights spent dancing with my friends to the soulful sounds of The Sentimentals at the 7th Street Entry. I also think of what a great story-teller you are both on-stage and off. You have an easy way with yourself on stage, and I’d like to take that as a lesson I learn from each and every time I step on stage myself. Frank Randall and the gang here were very kind to include me on this recording. Both you and Chrissie know how much I hate recording and listening to my own voice, so you gotta know that this is, for me, completely from the heart. A special thanks to Eric “Roscoe” Ambel, my friend and neighbor here in Brooklyn for helping with this recording.
– Lianne Smith
“Before She’s Gone” was an outtake from Slim’s sessions for his Times Like This album. For some reason, he just didn’t like the way it turned out in the studio, and he tucked it away for another day. When he played it live, well that’s another matter. For a time it was a staple of his live set, and to my ears it was always a standout. A knockout, in fact. The song that made you stop drinking, or talking, or dreaming, and wonder what such great hook is doing in a bar like this. The kind of hook you take home with you and never look back. It’s one of those story-songs where you just get a glimpse of the characters, and you relate to them immediately. You can see the movie unfold as you listen: The restless sleep of a guy who knows things aren’t right with his girl. The girl who knows she needs to leave but can’t. The bus stop. The coffee shop. The chorus that tells it like it is. The realization that love is worth fighting for. Slim’s tunes just have a way of connecting with people and I’ve been hooked on “Before She’s Gone” since I first heard it.
I’m not sure if Slim ever thought this would work as a duet, but it’s a natural. The Sycamores were lucky to have the amazing Lianne Smith join in on vocals, and the subtle power of her voice brings this recording to a new level. In fact, it was Lianne’s August 2011 show at Patrick’s Cabaret that reconnected me with Slim and Chrissie after several years of being out of touch. The Patrick’s show was a CD release party for her excellent Two Sides of a River album, and Slim was supporting her on guitar. One of those shows where you say to yourself, “this is going to be special.” It was. Thank you, Lianne, for everything.
Lianne also helped us build on our Minneapolis-Brooklyn connection by putting us in touch with her friend, producer/guitarist Eric Ambel. Eric not only helped us with the recording process, but contributed a mighty dose of his lyrical guitar work throughout the song. Some guitar players just “sing,” Eric in particular.
Slim, here’s one of your tunes that people need to know about. I hope you don’t mind us giving it a whirl.