A contemplative version of the old folk song about leaving, separation, and longing for return.

This song took me seven years to record. I did some tracks in 1993, of which only the harmony vocals have survived. I did some more work on it in about 1996, including recording the piano intro at a place where my friend Sharon was house-sitting. I redid all the lead vocals in October of 1999, then all the instruments in January 2000.

It’s a mysterious song, Shenandoah. I’m told it’s a sea shanty, yet it talks about inland rivers. Maybe it’s addressing the river, or a region, or a person. That imprecision opens it up - I can see it applying to the whole panoply of faces, places, and experiences that have slipped away as we’ve floated down this river, that we’ll never see again… or that perhaps we will.

Somewhere around 2000, this recording was in the top ten on the World/Folk chart on MP3.com for a few weeks. Now they’re long gone, but it was a nice moment.


oh shenandoah, i long to see you
far away, you rolling river
oh shenandoah, i long to see you
away, i’m bound away
’cross the wide Missouri

oh shenandoah, i miss your valleys...

oh shenandoah, your spirit calls me...

for many years, i’ve been a rover
but i’ll return to be your lover

oh shenandoah
    - hudson jordan mississippi nile
i long to see you
    - in this lifetime or after
far away
    - beyond the power of tears
you rolling river
    - take me in your arms
oh shenandoah
    - river of my dreams
i long to see you
    - gliding to the ocean
    - where no separation
i’m bound away
    - keeps me from my love
across the wide Missouri.


tjw: piano, classical guitar, vocals, electric bass, synthesizer.