Willie’s Oasis (The Mitchell Feeney Project)

(Willie’s Oasis…a song about looking for drink in all the wrong places)

This a song from my collaboration with John Mitchell (The Mitchell-Feeney Project).

I wrote the lyrics and John did pretty much everything else (except the violin)

The lyric was adapted from a poem I wrote called “A Dry Country in Arkansas”. The poem was published some time ago in Cyphers,  a long -running Irish literary magazine. When I gave the lyric to John, I had no concept what kind of song would emerge, I couldn’t have been happier with what he did. I’ll let John explain…

“Willie’s Oasis” turned out to be quite a challenge musically. I loved the feeling of the tune, that southern heat out on Highway 82, but no matter how I tried, I couldn’t hear the music. I tried using my electric guitars, my acoustics, I even tried my piano, but no matter what key I played in and what chords I used, I couldn’t make it work. So I decided to use technology, and I searched through some of my pre-recorded samples and found this rough sounding, bluesy guitar riff. As soon as I started to work with it and edit the sample, add a few more samples, voila, “Willie’s Oasis” appeared.The only live things I put on this tune were my handclaps and my vocals. 

I decided that it needed something else, so I called a wonderful violin player friend of mine named Ben Mink and asked if he would put some fiddle on the tune. Modern technology allows me to send him my tracks, he puts on the violin and sends it back to me via e-mail. We were never in the same room. I expected him to put some real down-home fiddle on, but he completely fooled me and played the most smoking electric violin parts that took the song over the edge. 

(A note about the violin player, Ben Mink: Ben co wrote “Constant Craving” with KD Lang. The song won KD Lang a Grammy in 1993. Ben and KD Lang also got co-writing credits on a Rolling Stones song, “Anybody Seen My Baby”, because the Stones noticed that the chorus of their song had similarities to the chorus of “Constant Craving”).

8 thoughts on “Willie’s Oasis (The Mitchell Feeney Project)

  1. msjadeli

    I thought Ben Mink’s name sounded familiar! What a kick butt tune! I appreciate the nod to Saginaw 🙂 Really good music. Where can I pick up the disc?

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  2. Susanne

    You are a man of so many talents, Jim, and fly in quite the Concord musical crowd! Fantastic song. The fiddle is terrific – no big surprise considering the fiddler’s pedigree. Have you ever been to Arkansas? I have dead relatives who used to live in a place called Gasville. No kidding. So glad to be Canadian.

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    1. sdtp33 Post author

      Thank you Suzanne, glad you like the tune. Yes, I have been to Arkansas, I spent a week in Ashley County. First night, I asked the guy at the motel desk where I could get a beer. He said “This is a dry county, son, this is Arkansas”. Willie’s Oasis is a liquor store, outside the county line!

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