Roy Book Binder considers last year's The Good Book to be his most important album. And he never thought it would happen.
"I didn't really want to make any more records," he said in a recent phone interview. "I didn't want to do any more covers of [Mississippi] John Hurt and this one and that one. I figured, 70 years old coming up, why bother? ... I kept telling people, 'When I write enough songs, I'm going to put out an album.' I never thought I'd really do it."
But, he said, there was another pull, the simple fact of getting older: "If I don't make my mark soon, I ain't ever going to make it."
He said he had two good songs, and "I did a live album [2005's Live at the Fur Peace Station] just to get them out before I died, you know?"
When people would ask about a new album, Binder said, he'd pay lip service to the idea: "I kept saying it would be out in the spring, but it never was. Then finally I said, 'It's really going to be out in the spring.'"
But when he returned home in the winter from his annual six-month trek around the country, his wife asked him how it was going. "I got out my notebooks and my pads," he said, "and I had like three and a half songs written, plus the two that I put on the live album ... ." Then, during a visit to the Caribbean, "the songs came to me."
The resulting record, he said, will likely be his legacy.