Leadville singer-songwriter Ned Warner is preparing to release his first full-length solo album “Travelling Companions.”
The album, which contains songs written for, about, or from the perspective of Warner’s friends, reflects a newfound contentment Warner has found in life.
“I’m just more outward-facing now and not as self-absorbed as I once was,” Warner said. “The songs I wrote for Lake County Rain (Warner’s old band) feel like a past life.”
In sharing the perspectives of his peers, Warner explores the love and heartbreak attached to different sorts of relationships.
The singer-songwriter humorously recounts a friend’s breakup in “Dog.” The woman doesn’t miss her ex but, oh boy, does she miss her ex’s dog.
“I’d leave you in an instant, baby, I’d leave you if I could / but I’m in love with what you got, and what you got is good / I love your dog / ooooooh your dog.”
The singer-songwriter penned a more serious track, “You Are My Friend,” after Leadville local Ali Lufkin was diagnosed with cancer.
“You, through troubled times, I’m by your side, I am your friend / you, on through the years, smile through the tears, I am your friend.”
“Travelling Companions” also includes love songs to Warner’s wife and a tribute to Mary Oliver whose poetry has acted as a friend to Warner throughout the thick and thin.
Warner and a crew of local musicians recorded the live-track album at FREIGHT this spring. Josh Alford sat in on guitar and mandolin, George Finnell on bass, Tyler Watkins on drums and percussion, Judah Arrington on organ, Sam Galey on bass and Emily Blau and Karen Johnson on harmony vocals. Carey Nall engineered.
“It was such a joy to play with all Leadville folk,” Warner said. “Everyone brought something different and fresh to the table that I wouldn’t have been able to.”
Brad Smalling, of Evergreen’s Evergroove Studio, produced the album with help from Warner and Alford.
One hundred percent of the album’s proceeds will benefit Full Circle of Lake County, a non-profit Warner said he cares deeply about.
“I don’t want my songwriting journey to just be a self-motivated cathartic tool,” Warner mused. “I want use my craft for the betterment of the world.”
From writing songs as gifts to others, sharing friends’ experiences with the world and giving back financially, “Travelling Companions” marks the start of that journey.