Three Hour Detour: The CD
"Seriously, this is probably the best Stick-centric recording since Bob Culbertson's first solo album" - Kyle Wohlmut, international man of mystery.
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Clever Sheep Records Home Page Three Hour Detour Concert Schedule Three Hour Detour Band Info
The Musicians in The Band:

Ray Ashley: Stick®, Mbira, Piano, Vocals

Sound Sample:

Listen to a RealAudio montage (226KB Real Audio 5.0). You'll need the RealPlayer to listen in.

Track Listing:

1. Creative Hands

2. Traveller

3. Omnichrome

4. Nhema Musasa

5. Christmas Tree Farm

6. So We Can See

7. Forbidden Planet

8. Snow Karma

9. McBane

All songs by Ray Ashley (c) 1998 except for Nhema Musasa, which is traditional to the Shona People of Zimbabwe.

Details of Instrumentation:

Ray Plays Stick on every track. There is some Wurlitzer® Electric Piano overtracked on Christmas Tree Farm and So We Can See and mbira playing throughout Nhema Musasa. Snow Karma is a solo Stick piece.

Helene played a Zeta® Electric Violin on all tracks except Forbidden Planet, Christmas Tree Farm, and Traveller, on which she used acoustic violin.

Joe played Tama® drums on every track except Forbidden Planet, which featured a South African djembe drum with a furry zebra skin head. He also played shakers, vibraslap, cowbells and sleigh bells in various obvious places on the record.

Ray sings lead on most of the songs, but Joe has a backing vocal on all of these tracks. Joe sings the verses in Omnichrome, Ray does the choruses. In Christmas Tree Farm, Joe sings the part that goes "far away the children...".


This CD has been sent to the following radio stations/shows. Give them a call to request a tune (espcially Omnichrome):


The critics continue to chime in!

"Here's some light, sunny, jazzy fusion with a few vocals mixed in by a trio on violins, percussion, stick, keyboards, and some pleasant sounding African plucked instrument named the Mbira

Things get off to a sprightly start with "Creative Hands", featuring some driving stick work by Roy Ashley and Joe D'Andrea's lithe drums. Then Helene Zisook's understated violin work in "Traveller" add a more folky, almost Appalachain bluegrass touch, the same as later on in "So We Can See".

The six-minute "Omnichrome" shows the group deftly handling an odd time signature, but the real high point on this humble effort is their adaptation of a Zimbabwe traditional song, "Nhema Musasa".

Overall, Three Hour Detour offers relaxing, pulse-soothing, coffehouse fare, with the notable exception of the raucous closer, "McBane", which sounds closer to Anekdoten, of all things.

Not baaaaaaaaaad, for clever sheep." - David Taylor

Go see the Lyrics

Three Hour Detour: The Studio Journal

by Ray Ashley. March 1998.

The Three Hour Tour CD Project is in the tracking stages at this time. Tracks are being recorded at Milkboy Studios in Philadelphia, PA, with Master Engineer Tommy Joyner at the controls. This is a document of the work in progress.

Rhythm Track Weekend Day 1: March 14th 1998: Set up went without incident, except for a few crazy drum frequencies that had to be tamed. I was a mazed at the bass sound that I got on tape with the Sansamp PSA-1 and some funky old compressors and e.q. Our early takes of Creative Hands and Traveller seemed endless and a little rough. After a lunch break we resumed recording with Nhema Musasa and suddenly everything seemed to click. I think it was the food from El Greco's. That first take ended up beeing the keeper. While the vibe lasted, we knocked out some good takes on Omnichrome and a new instrumental number. After dinner we played a perfect Christmas Tree Farm and called it a night.

Rhythm Track Weekend Day 2: March 15th: Revitalized, we laid down new takes of Traveller and Creative Hands that were much better than Saturday's takes. The rest of the day is spent punching in corrections and improvements to these tracks.

March 25th - Most of the Stick solos were finished today. Lots of screaming leads. Tommy got a great distorted sound out of an old 4x10 Fender cabinet, which was driven by the Carvin solid state amp (very quiet!) in my rack. The GP-100 amp simulations sounded even better than usual, and I played around a lot with room ambience and feed back.

April 2 - Joe layed down some interesting percussion, and I did my mbira track for Nhema Musasa. Also, we finally got to do the basic tracking for Forbidden Planet. Joe did the drum on a South African Djembe that we borrowed from the music store downstairs. It had a unique Zebra Skin drumhead that still had some fur on it (hopefully the animal rights activists will not protest this CD because of this).

April 7-8- All the vocals are done and Helene has started to lay down violin tracks. We experimented with different gain levels on the Zeta and the Tech-21 XXL distortion she so tastefully uses. Also, Paul Mimlitsch has been busy making some really trippy cover art.

April 22 - 23 - Helene has completed all her violin lines and the next step is mixdown. I think her performance on Forbidden Planet is the best track she has ever put down on CD (although with a new Broadside CD on the way she'll have plenty of opportunity to top this).

April 30th - After a two day mixing marathon, (April 27th and 28th) we mastered the CD Tonight. Next Stop - Product release meeting with the executives at Clever Sheep Records, and then its off to the CD pressing company.

Check out these exiting studio photos! 1. Joe on the kit -Note the magnificent Wurlitzer Electric Piano to the left of Joe! 2. Ray's studio rig, March 1998 (the acoustic guitar is just for show)

Lyrics and Enhanced Liner Notes to the Three Hour Detour CD

Lyrics by Ray Ashley (c) 1998

Creative Hands

Creative hands is an instrumental piece , based on the following Haiku:

To speak directly

we give form to emotion

with creative hands. 


Dedicated to kind travellers everywhere

Traveller, don't you give up on this one, your journey has only begun.

You'll find water on the surface of the sun - Traveller

Traveller, why are you acting so marooned? Don't you know it's so very soon,

you'll find flowers on the surface of the moon - Traveller

(during reprise "mind traveller, kind traveller")


Omnichrome is a great and wonderful city where all colors are experienced with equal intensity at all times. It is one of the true wonders of the Galaxy, contained within a huge geodesic dome.

Far away, a dream a day, perception stained my face.

Only there was I aware my past.

Far along, the siren's song, far along the way.

So far to go, so much to know or say.

"Dead ahead", the sailor said, dead ahead you'll see,

the colored sky shows you why you're free.

Nhema Musasa

This instrumental piece of music is tradtional to the Shona People who live in Zimbabwe. I was taught this music by Gary Zablackis. Later, I learned more variations of the song from Erica Azim and Shona mbira master Forward Kwenda. On this Track I play mbira and Stick, Helene plays many of the traditional vocal lines on violin. All the Stick lines that I play are derived from traditional mbira music. 

Christmas Tree Farm

The fall of snow, on silent trees, so soon to leave this life of ease.

They have no voice, they have no say, but we will cut them anyway.

Planting seedlings in the ground, only later to cut the down.

Ornamental greens inside, we let them stand the way they died.

The children's smiles on Christmas day, to them this is the only way

Around the world its all the same, in Television's picture frame.

Come tomorrow, another year, and still we have this lingring fear,

we rule the forests we have grown, a kind illusion we have sown

Merry Christmas, merry Christmas Tree Farm!

(though we have a long way to travel through winter)

This will keep us from harm!

'Till Spring is coming!

So We Can See

Instrumental. This music was originally inspired by the sunrise over a Norwegian fjord at 3 am. 

Forbidden Planet

I'm taking a vacation, I'm going far away, I should have done this long before today

I've grown so tired of running, running everywhere, around in circles but I really feel quite square.

look to the sky and say "impossible", look inside you're head, see it doesn't really matter.

In places dreams would take you, far below the sea, no one there would tell you how to be.

Back on Earth we struggle, judgements all around, telling us our lives are so unsound.

And you can blame it on yourself if you want, and fall in line with those who want to hurt you.

This forbidden planet, garden in the sky, people live in peace and love to fly.

They have no televisions, they've left them all behind, now they're living free and being kind.

They choose to hide themselves from evil thoughts and closed minds of most people on earth.


Look to the sky and say impossible, look inside your heart, see its already happened

Snow Karma

This is played solo on the Stick with no overdubs. Inspired by the great blizzard of January 8, 1996, the sheet music for this is available through TouchStyle publications. 


Mcbane, you're one tough cop

You're out in the field, not in the shop

Mendoza's slippery, but you know the truth

When they said "you're outta here", you showed them two.

McBane, yeah, you dance with death

You'd leave Springfield tomorrow, without regret.

But it's a city, it's a city of crime

and I know you get you're man every time.

This is the full spread of the original cover artwork (c) 1998 Paul Mimlitsch
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