Vanished Days sees James Culleton’s songwriting take a slightly nostalgic turn in that the album is a series of songs focusing on family and farming in North Dakota.
Vanished Days was the result of a residency Culleton was invited to by the Museum of Art of North Dakota. The residency took place at The McCanna House, located west of Grand Forks, a turn of the century house designed by Joseph Bell DeRemer, one of North Dakota’s first and finest architects. The Museum was given the house and surrounding acreage by Margery McCanna Jennison, a long time patron of the gallery. The residency offers artists, composers, and writers unfettered time to work in a setting that preserves the history and integrity of one of North Dakota’s first architect-designed, country homes surrounded by rich, agricultural land. Culleton visited the residency for three consecutive years, dug into the history of the people and the place, in particular looking for interesting stories to tell through drawings and song.
The album is a collection of 9 songs that speaks to days of farming long since passed in the prairie as well to the history of the McCanna Farm. The title track Vanished Days describes the days of the wheat farming in the 1890’s. Homeseeker’s March is the lament of a farmer who has been renting land for too long and is looking to move to North Dakota to buy his own farm. Dear Margery is a song based on letters between Charles McCanna and Margery McCanna in the 1940s.