Songbird will take you on a magical adventure around the world highlighting instruments and rhythms from many different cultures.  It is my story.  It is your story.  It is the expression of the idea that no matter how different we may appear we are all in this together. 

Our journey starts where it often does.  Where all is well with the world.  Then calamity and chaos create pandemonium.   Hard times and turmoil are endured, then a love story blooms into a shining moment when everything comes to light...and we are better for it.

Each song is a chapter in an autobiographical tale of an injured bird who flees the nest, has many adventures amidst friends and foes, and comes home transformed.  


This album inspires and reminds us of what is truly important, to follow our dreams, to be fearless when we're afraid, and to bring out the best in others.  It is the search for who we are and what we will become. Seeking truth and our place in a world that is not always friendly or welcoming to strangers.

-Stanton West

“Songbird oozes with sweet folkie charm and giddy grooves”

-Randy Erickson LaCrosse Tribune

“The project has a good spirit about it, the songs work well and the performances are very satisfying. So many nice elements with the fiddle and percussion and even the Hammond B3. Good stuff!”  

-Steve Gillette

"Stanton has the playful nature of a modern day minstrel.  Amid the poetry of the journeying album lie many nuggets that fans will recognize"

-Ocooch Mountin Music

Quoth the Craven

“Producing someone else’s music for a recording can be challenging and exhilarating - for starters. The content, perspective and spirit of both artist and producer does a dance that surprises each other in the process. There are many ways to arrange and package a song or, in this case, a collection of songs that were consciously tied to one another to tell a story of movement, hardship, redemption and realization. Decisions must be made and the commitment of a path clearly taken. Each song a chapter and each chapter an opportunity for lesson and growth. As I arranged and created the landscapes of these stories of Stanton West's, I learned more about him and myself than I ever imagined. As the project continues, now the immersion as a supportive listener is inviting you”.  - Joe Craven


All songs written by Stanton West

Arranged by Joe Craven & Stanton West 

Produced by Joe Craven

Recorded on May 14-19, 2017 by Steve O’Neill at Foxtail Sound

Stanton West: Guitars, Banjo, Flutes, Vocals

Joe Craven: Percussion, Fiddle, Tenor Banjo, Octave Mandolin, Mandolin

Jonathan Stoyanoff: Bass

John R. Burr: Keys

Hattie Craven: Backing vocals on Dig A Hole

Steve O’Neill & The Craven Family: Wedding Parade 



1. Come & Get It (all is well, foreshadowed)

2. South for the Winter (the songbird hatches)

3. Black-eyed Susan (take flight on a call to adventure)

4. Caravan (migration)

5. Ray of Sunshine (fall in love, meet mentor)

6. Wedding Day (crossing the threshold)

7. Dig A Hole (put down roots)

8. Spiders in the Window  (blown off course)

9. The River Knows the Route (the path home is shown)

10. Grateful  (transformation and the power of gratitude)

11. Wallowa Mountains (return to the nest)

Have you been traveling my friend? Come in out of the cold and warm yourself by the fire.  Eat, drink, rest, and I will tell you a story of a long migration from beginning to end. We wander different paths, both in our bodies and our minds. Some of us lose heart and fall by the wayside, whilst others endure to realize there dreams and desires.



If you want it you can have it come and get it

If you want it you can have it come and get it  

If you want it you can have it

Just come on up and grab it

If you want it you can have it come and get it


The board is set in place, the pieces movin

The curtain came up and now we're groovin

It's time to live your mission

To be your grandest vision

Decide instead of

Wishin go and 

Do it  


Step up to the gate & let her open

You’ve got to hurt to heal, I ain't joking

I will show you and suggest that the future will be blessed

and we’ll all be there before you know it


Out in the fields you can see it's time to mow

Out in space Leo's putting on a show

Sing in stereo and let the people know

High upon the mountain 

You can sing it


These days know truth and are auspicious 

Running like molasses so delicious

Go be your highest self

Give the world new wealth

Start if from a seed unto fruition




I met this gal who sang like a bird

She had long legs and she whistled her words

With a little round tail and two rosy breasts

She had red on her wings and 

She wore a long white dress

She was elegant and royal

and anything but common

She had five shades on top and one on the bottom

She wore a gold crown and her hair was spotted

With chestnut and she flew in the Autumn



Songbirds and Bluejays 

and so flies the crow, 

warblers, and sparrows 

and glaucous winged gulls 

Whenever they fly, 

and often they go

South for the winter 

and north for the Pole


Her voice sang a song that was deep and hollow

When she got mad she would hoot like an owl

growing great horns and screech and Peafowl

Up all night and sleep for an hour

Her genus and species were hard to make out

She was a rufous, olive, slaty adult

She had a dark crest with a ruby red chin

a long broad bill and dove shaped wings


She wore a green belt and hers eyes had rings 

when she sung others would sing

she'd knock on the door all raucous & laughing

The pintails, the shovelers, and Woody's be quacking

Love's for the birds the wrens and dodo's 

Birds were once lizards a long time ago

Lizards are things that happened to grow

into something else like people you know




On a midnight bus from a good ol’ boy town

Wheels keep turning as they’re leaving downtown

She’s tire of losing and going solo 

Coming in third in a two man race so

Now she’s leaving old friends behind

She’s got lots of baggage and it is so unkind


Black-eyed Susan couldn’t sew up her holes

A patchy bird, a dark-eyed junco X3


I said your acting kind of strange

She said I always act this way

Her only wish she had more roots than branches

I gave her my number on a book of matches 

She took with her to pass the time

A birders handbook, a field guide




The campfire glows for the fiddler tonight

The kids are dancing with the light in their eyes

The night it sparkles for its wandering sons

So it’s woven sweaters for everyone


The leaves are falling to the ground

Dry and twisted and orange and brown

I have no home and I have no king

Open spaces are calling me… 


Like gypsies on a wagon

Hobos on a train

Old boat on a river

Hippies in a van… in a caravan


Harmonica Joe slings his pack on his back

The old steel train is running the track

He hops on board as the steam whistle blows

Chugging through the mountains of Idaho


I strum my guitar on the river of diamonds

I’ve got a big straw hat because the sun is shining 

I shut my eyes for an hour or two

Floating down the rive of the old Kickapoo


I’m riding the highway in my captains chair

I’ve got the tunes cranked up I’ve got the wind in my hair

The road is long and I’m driving slow

Through the sage brush desert down to Mexico




I can tell your in a room by the sound of your laugh

I'll always remember the day that we met

I had a watermelon

We were at a potluck

It was Halloween

& we fell in love


You are my best friend

My greatest lover

Your cookin in the kitchen

an my biggest supporter


You Love to dance

on your little feet

You're not afraid to laugh out loud

You care about the trees


You are so crafty

Content & Happy

I'm getting sappy

Shining all the time

I Love your family

I think your funny

You call me honey

Your my ray of sunshine


I can tell your in a room by the sound of your laugh

I'll always remember the day that we met

I had a watermelon

We were at a potluck

It was Halloween

& we fell in love


You keep my fire burning

Your always learning

You see the good in everyone

& you can read a map


You are hard working

Your body is curvy

You always smell like coconut

& your gentle yet tough




A lot of villains envy me because I hold the key

to their gold, young & old, it belongs to me


Wooden voices are calling me from this place in this yonder tree

From the mountains come from we

Throwing roses and planting seeds

A patchwork quilt of our ancestry

A humming bird and a humming bee


A honey whistle and a bride to be

A barefoot wedding for you and me

A sun white dress and a flower bouquet 

On your wedding, your wedding day 




I work too much, but I ain't got no money

I don't laugh at all though Life is funny

I barely Love though I have a big heart

I mend & sew, but I keep falling apart


Dig a hole, deep in the dirt

Dig a hole, move some earth

Dig a hole, plant your roots


You can't blame the weeds if your garden won't grow

You can't blame the boat if you refuse to row

You can't blame the yarn if you can't knit a sweater

You can't blame your Life if it won't get better


You can read all the books

You can travel the world over

You can always search and you will never discover

That what you need only you can give you

It's not money or things, it's much more trivial


Summers too hot

Autumns too short

Winters too grey

Spring is too wet

I have so much though I am so unthankful

I have 2 hands, but only have on handful




There was a 3-ring circus on the outskirts of town

There were devils, and lions, and foxes all around

Down in the hollow there stood an old cabin

There lived a white-feathered heron with the temper of a dragon

He smoked his hooch from bones made of a rabbit

That rabbit gave him trouble now that rabbits gone and had it


There were spiders in the windows in that cabin down the hill

Where I aged 100 years and barely lived at all

The horses ran away they were all made of wood

I ran with them though I swore I never would


Cause when you want it so bad you can't be happy without it

when you get it you don't want it you don't even care about it


Now I'm long gone but those spiders haven't left

There's songbirds in their webs and birds don't fly when they're dead

Would you take heaven on Earth if you walked through hell to get it?

The fire that melts butter melts steel and then bends it

I was down and out so I'm heading up and in

The place I'm going don't believe in sin

I've never been a hunter though I often like to gather

I don't like the sight of blood or the smell of a battle



It’s been an uphill battle on a bumpy old road
The further you get, the further you go
So you wander over yonder where everything is for sale
and you come back with nothing, but your legs between your tail
Take what you want and leave the rest
Cause when you only take the good, you end up with the best


Over the hills and far away
Your too busy running and I’m standing in place
Spinning around every which way
We’re always moving forward, but never moving straight


It’s all downhill from here

What’s done is in the mirror
It’s Love instead of fear


It’ll work itself out
I have no doubt

The River Knows the Route


I have always been a fan of the philosophy
That if you ignore the problem it’ll go away
I Am Who I Am every single day fear is

knowing who you are and not living that way
You can paddle up the

River till your blue in the face
But the River always wins when your

swimming that race 




To rainbows and peonies, starlight and epiphanies

To good songs and rad girls, short, long, tall, and curly girls

To good friends and friends of theirs, old guitars and polar bears (asian pears)


To cold rivers, and deep lakes, and big ole beavers in wild places

To skinny dipping’ and laughing more.


These are the things I Am Grateful for… that I am truly grateful for. 




There’s a place I go on the Grand Ronde River where the trout they love my flies.  I swear to you if there’s a heaven I will go here when I die.  


I love the winter in Wallawa, but I do enjoy Spring, Summer & Fall. 

I left my green heart in Oregon, I long for Wallawa


Upon a hill in a Blue Mountain sundown there’s a cabin out in the woods.

The fire keeps warm in the cold of December as the snow falls on the shed.


The flowers bloom the the high plains desert.  The view goes on and on and on.  The turbines spin and they blow the sagebrush and at night you can see all the stars. 

Grab Your Free




All these songs came together to tell the story of the Heroes Journey, which is a common template used in story telling.  Basically, a hero ventures forth from the world of common day into a region of supernatural wonder: fabulous forces are encountered and a decisive victory is won: the hero comes back from this mysterious adventure with the power to bestow blessings on his fellow man.  Tie it all together with the bird concept/theme and you have the new album, Songbird.


The first song on my new album came to be with the help of both organizational and Intuitive Creativity.  I was setting up for a gig at the Acoustic Cafe in Eau Claire, WI when the chorus just hit me!  I just started singing it, “If you want it you can have it come and get it…”  The first thing I did was write it down so I wouldn’t forget it.  I always keep a notebook nearby.  The next day I was listening to my favorite evolutionary astrology report on the radio.  The report was reiterating the same concept as the chorus that came to me the night before.  I wrote down all the main ideas and then organized them into verses so that they rhymed and made sense and voila, I had a song.  The main idea, the chorus, was backed up with supporting ideas from the verse.  This was the fastest I have ever written a song.    The definition of Auspicious is showing or suggesting future success is inevitable.  


Nov 9, 2014 Astrology Report 

The board is set. The pieces are moving. Yesterday the Curtain opened with Mercury entering Scorpio. Today Venus in Scorpio, our need for Deep Feeling and Truth is triggering our need to radiate and express our unique Vision/Mission in the World, Jupiter in Leo.  Tomorrow, our need to find our power and step-up, Mars in Capricorn, engages the gatekeeper of the Collective Unconscious, Pluto.  Open up to healing. Open up to Love. Open up to forgiveness. Open up to faith. Open up to magic and mystery. Open to the Ancestors wisdom. Truly love yourself.  Emerge victorious by keeping the integrity of your Heart real, honest, forthright, and focused. Auspicious these days are, saturated like a sponge of maple syrup. Let’s make the best use of this energy and maybe our individual actions could help the whole of our culture to happily mature just a bit more.  The gardening calendar says to mow.  The space calendar shows the Leonid meteor shower peaking on the 17th.

I played a Xaphoon which is a bamboo saxophone made in Hawaii.  I also played my -string banjo.   John R. Burr played piano and was going for a Longhair thing.   Joe rips it up on snare drum!



Track 2 on the new album is called South for the Winter.  I hadn’t written a song in 11 months.  I took some time off from touring and forced myself to spend some time writing.  I wrote one song a day for seven days in a row.  Out of those seven songs I had two that I was happy with.  All the others I put away to work on later or take pieces that work to make yet another song.  South for the Winter is a song that I had been wanting to write for many years.  I sat down with a Field Guide to North American Birds and wrote down a bunch of terms and phrases describing birds.  I anthropomorphized the bird and created a character and a song was hatched.  

Joe turned this song into a waltz and added some new chords.  He played his Octave mandolin which is such a rich sounding instrument.  John R. Burr makes the piano sing like a bird.  Jonathan Stoyanoff's upright bass solo really sticks out and I love that he sings along to it.   I really had to go outside of my comfort zone and sing pretty.  


BLACK-EYED SUSAN (TAKE FLIGHT ON A CALL TO ADVENTURE) is a song I wrote while sitting outside of Powell’s Bookstore in Portland, OR.  I had a cousin who was trying to escape her life by hooking up with a man she met online.  I empathized with her feeling of needing to run away from a dissatisfying life.  The only thing she has with her to pass the time on her long bus ride is a Birds of North America field guide. She flips through the pages to ease her weary mind.


When writing a song you need to be careful to make sure that what you are saying is what people are hearing.  In this song I sing, “Black-eyed Susan couldn’t sew up her holes, a patchy bird, a Dark-eyed Junco”.  What most people unintentionally hear is, “Black-eyed Susan couldn’t sew up her holes, Apache Bird, a Dark-eyed Junco.  I was trying to describe someone who had a lot of patches on her clothes and ended up making the main character of the song a Native American.  By the way, a Black-eyed Susan is a flower and a Dark-eyed Junco is a species of bird.  

This tune turned into a Reggae/Ska thing and the John R. Burr takes you to new places with the organ.  Jonathan Stoyanoff on fretless electric bass.  Joe added a bridge that really helped the song to breath.  















I wrote the song CARAVAN (MIGRATION) as an effort to express my longing for the freedom I felt when exploring public lands like National Forests and Parks.  Public land is more prevalent in the Western States and becomes less and less the further East you go.  I had just moved back from Washington State to Wisconsin and was having a hard time finding free places in nature to hang out in.  Gypsies, Hobos, Boats, and Hippies are all things that represent a lifestyle of a roamer and wanderer.  I wanted the song to have a Django Reinhardt feel to it.   

I asked Joe to turn this into a Django Rhienhart Gypsy/Jazz thing so he put it in a minor key and added a bridge.  He played mandolin, octave mandolin, tenor banjo, and fiddle on this tune.  That's a lot of MoJoe!


RAY OF SUNSHINE (FALL IN LOVE, MEET MENTOR) is a Love song plain and simple.  I have known my wife for 20 years and had written Love songs for her before.  I was running out of fresh ideas.  I was going through old journals, songs, and junk drawers looking for inspiration when I found a love letter I had written to her when we first met.  It was titled 22 Things I Love About You.  I did some finagling and turned it into a song.  

22 Reasons I Love You:
1. I can tell you are in a room when I hear your laugh
2. The day we met
3. You are my best friend, greatest lover, and biggest supporter
4. Your thoughtfullness for others
5. When we met you had an 8-track player and composting
6. I admire you for trying new things and going new places 
7. You are constantly learning
8. You're cheeks smell like coconut
9. You don't need a recipe to cook a good meal 
10. You Love to Dance
11. Your little feet
12. You are not afraid to laugh out loud
13. You are a hard worker
14. I can have fun with you anywhere
15. You are a great navigator
16. You do not need a lot to be content
17. You see the good in everyone
18. We don't always need to be together, we are supportive of each others individual goals
19. Your curves
20. Your gentle and tuff
21. Your family
22. You are funny

This song has John R. Burr tearing it up on both piano and organ.  I played an archtop guitar.  This one changed the most drastically from the DEMO's I sent Joe.  It was definitely the hardest for me to sing on the whole album.  It has a n awesome dance beat and a celebrate life vibe.  


As an ordained reverend I have officiated over 30 weddings.  I basically just followed the advice, “write what you know about”.  Do I know about weddings?  I Do.  

Joe added Djembe, shaker, and talking drum to this to give it an afro-beat.  Jonathan Stoyanoff on fretless electric bass.  I played 6-string banjo.    











I was 31 years old before I got my first “real job”.   I had my first kid and the pressure to be responsible was overwhelming.  One month after I started hanging out in my cubicle I wrote the first line to the song Dig a Hole, "I work too much but I ain’t go no money… " The job lasted a year and I’m back at it trying to live a life that feels authentic to my being.  

Joe hits the sweet spot with the mandolin on this song.  His daughter, Hattie, sing beautiful harmonies.  He ended up turning one of the verses into a bridge.   I play a nylon string guitar.  


SPIDERS IN THE WINDOW (BLOWN OFF COURSE)  is a song with a lot of tension and turmoil.  It is in a minor key.  After I left the corporate cubicle world I tried out organic farming.  I quickly learned that being a farmer and being a musician are about as opposite lifestyle as you can get.  A farmer is tied to land.  A musician roams.  The two lifestyles were incompatible.  I wrote this song on the last day that I lived in the house I thought I would live in for the rest of my life when I bought it.  The whole time I live there a spider lived in the window.  It somehow lived in there through all those cold Wisconsin winters.   Again, what I thought I wanted was not actually what I wanted and I had to learn the hard way.  “When you want it so bad that you can’t be happy without it, then you get it, you don’t want it, you don’t even care about it”.  

Spiders is a Cha Cha.  John R. Burr on piano.  Joe with another fabulous moment in mandolin history.  I added the flute and it gave the song a haunted feeling.  















The song THE RIVER KNOWS THE ROUTE (THE PATH HOME IS SHOWN) is actually about a creek.  I was sitting creekside watching the Autumn leaves flow by and noticed some would follow the current and others would get stuck in the Eddy.  This song is a long and indirect way of saying, “Go with the flow”.  

This is totally a reggae song.  We are chilling on an island in the middle of the river mahn.  The organ solo by John R. Burr is one of my favorite moments of the album.  


GRATEFUL (TRANSFORMATION) is a song about things I am grateful for.  I had been hearing a lot about the power of gratitude and how to get what you want in life you need to be grateful for what you have and more of it will come your way.  This song has been featured multiple times on Wisconsin Public Radio show Simply Folk.  The only other time I was on a nationally syndicated radio show was when I called in to Car Talk to find out what was wrong with my 1984 Chevy Vandura Country Cruiser.  

This song is a celebration.  And boy do I Love Asian Pears!  I play nylon string guitar.  Jonathan Stoyanoff plays a Jaco Pastorius style bass.  It reminds me of Paul Simons Graceland.   We recorded it tuned to 332Hz instead of the traditional 440Hz.  I read that that frequency resonates with humans better.  Joe added a Socca dance beat and we agreed this would be the one song on the album that had a fade out.  


The last song on the album is called WALLOWA MOUNAINS (RETURN TO THE NEST).  This mountain range is in Oregon south of the city of Walla Walla Washington.  It’s a love song about a beautiful landscape.  It works in a song because it is fun to say. 

This is an old-timey bluegrass number.  Jonathan Stoyanoff on upright bass.  I play a dreadnaught guitar.  Joe added a bridge to the end of this tune and played mandolin, fiddle, and tenor banjo.  He also added bongo and beatbox. 


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