First, let me say that it's an honor to be a part of this project. With all the heavy hitters on this CD, I think too of all the people, especially those who slug it out in the little bars and squat-and -gobbles across the country who might also have been included. I don't see why another collection couldn't happen including the likes of Eddy Jeff Cahill, Jim Miller, Bob Bovee and Gail Heil, J.B. Freeman, Ron Miles, and a host of others. I don't think anyone should see the 39 song cutoff point of this project as some sort of exclusion of those not included.
Utie handed me and my late partner Jane Kopiska an incredible gift in 1982, when he felt he couldn't take the main stage at the Winnipeg Folk Festival due to his then-new trouble with his hands. When he approached Mitch Podolak and told him he wanted us to take his slot, and I heard the word an hour later, I could hardly believe it. I felt that we couldn't carry his case, let alone adequately fill those 25 minutes with anything resembling the quality that Utah embodied. He told us not to worry, to just go out there and do what we do better than we've ever done it. Unfortunately, due to problems with sound and rain-soaked equipment, we were only able to do four songs, and weren't able to close with our version of "North Star", which we were going to dedicate to Phillips. We got the hook, and I thought at the time that it was because we sucked, but it was just the stage manager doing a good job of keeping the schedule on time. Nevertheless, this gesture on Utah's part is something I'll never forget. This very act, more than any particular song he wrote, or any performance I was blessed to witness, inspired me, and continues to inspire me in that you have to pass this trade along to those younger and less traveled. I hope this lesson can continue to guide me.