River of Time is a slight departure from the usual type of music we’ve come to expect from Jorma. This CD is much more folk-oriented than we’ve seen from him, bringing us 13 cuts of pure, mellow, and dreamy music, at a little over 49 minutes.
Add to that the typical frank, honest and straightforward lyrics which identify folk and country blues, and you’ve got a winning recipe for good, front porch, rocking chair music. We’ve seen and heard the transition he made from the 1960s, when he became one of the founders of the Jefferson Airplane, during the heyday of psychedelia, flower power, be-ins, and psychedelic rock, which was the mainstay of the J-Plane.
During the early 1970s, we saw and heard Jorma and childhood friend and bandmate Jack Casady form Hot Tuna, which was really an early version of outlaw country long before that particular label came into being. Since then, he’s pretty much stayed in that vein, musically anyway, until this CD. But he was also branching out in different directions. Since 1989, he’s been building and developing his Fur Peace Ranch in southeastern Ohio into one of the most sought after guitar training camps in the US. Be forewarned, however. This is not a fantasy camp; it’s a working camp. If you ever get over that way, check out the website for one of his killer upcoming concerts.
I’m not sure if it was the seed that grew into this CD, or if it was one of the ingredients, but the title cut, #12 on the CD, was born in a conversation Jorma had with the sister of a childhood friend he ran into while on a trip to the West Coast. The friend had died young, and the sister gave Jorma a photo of the friend. That night, his grandmother came to him in a dream and talked of the cosmology of people, and the metaphor that came out of this dream is, “We’re all in a river of time and those from the past are all on the shore.” He told his wife about the dream and her sage advice was to “Write that down. You’re gonna need it someday.” And now he’s used it as the title.