“Been There a Long, Long Time” – A Collaborative Album


Rachel Ledoux, Writer

At the end of 2018, Eric Bushey, Bellows Free Academy’s band teacher, made a resolution: to begin recording his own original songs.  Now, after two years of work, that resolution has come to fruition. Bushey released his debut album, “Been There a Long, Long Time,” in 2020, during the height of the pandemic. 

The album was a collaborative effort, according to Bushey. BFA social studies teacher, Justin Bedell, played bass guitar on a few tracks, the cover art was done by Marty Shields and several BFA teachers, students and alumni contributed to the album. And, of course, Bushey played guitar and banjo and performed many of the vocals for the album.

“It’s a real mix of people,” Bushey said.

Much of its heart comes from Vermont, as well, with the album recorded at Saint Albans’s West Street Digital. According to Bushey, a lot of the songs have roots in Vermont folklore and Bushey’s own life experiences, too. 

“Four Stalks In,” the first track on the album, references a Bushey family legend. The legend goes that Bushey’s grandfather used to bootleg liquor during Prohibition and would bury it in a cornfield. If he was paid, he would tell buyers to go “four stalks in” to the cornfield to dig up the liquor. This song tells that story.

Another inspiration in the album was Bushey’s mother and the sugar maple trees near his childhood home, which inspired the title track, “Been There a Long, Long Time.” The song explores life and death through the lens of not wanting to outlive your children or the sugar maples in front his childhood home.

According to Bushey, most of the songs on the album have their roots in his own life and viewpoints. From climate change to life and death, the album displays his perspective on current events and philosophy at this point in time.

“It’s not like my first album was a collection of songs written from the ages of 15 to 48,” Bushey said. “They were all written in the past year. They’re all new.”

Bushey noted, though, that the album doesn’t have a very concrete theme it was based around.

“I was trying to make a statement in the album,” he said. “About life, about death, about nature, about what my experience has been so far.”

You may listen to the album streaming on all regular services at www.ericbushey.com.