The Pickle Barrel
by Van Wagner and Ollie Wagner, 2003

$12 for CD's.    This is the first ever full-length recording done with Van's brother Ollie Wagner.  Van released Ollie's song "Falls Creek Brick" on the 1997 album "Living In Myself."   Ollie is a superb song-writer.  He is older but much shorter than his brother Van.  His guitar playing and love of singing grew out of Krislund--a Presbyterian camp in Madisonburg, PA.  Ollie now lives with his family in Montoursville, where he has a fondness for campfires, the Loyalsock Creek, teaberry ice cream, backyard football, cross-country skiing, his mom's cooking and his father's council.

$12 per CD.

For secure credit card orders visit the Van Wagner store online (click here.)

or Send $12 to

   Van Wagner
  115 Tower Rd.
            Danville PA 17821

#1 Home town
#2 Up and away
#3 Talking Conformation Blues
#4 Angelique
#5 Winds of Idaho
#6 Lake Life
#7 Pickle Barrel
#8 Red Fender
#9 Borrowed tune
#10 Stuff
#11 Uncles
#12 Martin Luther King
#13 PA proud

The songs in detail...

Hometown (V.Wagner)
Surprise surprise!!!  Another Danville song!  I wrote this after moving to Idaho.  It’s not meant to be a lamenting ballad, but rather just some snapshots of some of my Danville memories.  It’s a common theme in life that we often don’t appreciate things until they are gone.  I dedicate this song to my father.  He is a big reason that the Elephant Rock remains in the Susquehanna River today after the new bridge construction.

“I’m Flying Today” (O. Wagner)
Imagination frees the soul.  It is one of life’s most important gifts.  God bless the dreamers!

Talking Conformation Blues  (V.Wagner)
I wrote this with my good friend Chad McKonly in 1996.  We went to Penn State Berks Campus together.  Chad and I are both black sheep in our own ways, and the other sheep were afraid of boots and banjos.

“Angelique” (O. Wagner)
Sitting in a Starbucks in Atlanta on the last day of a semester, a newspaper article about a homeless woman and the neighborhood which is trying to help her caught my eye.  In the real world, life is more gray than black and white.

Winds Of Idaho (V.Wagner)
I’ve been working as a logger here in Idaho.  We’re salvage logging up in the Sawtooth National Forest when I wrote this song.  It’s like something out of a western theme park;  snow capped peaks in the distance, cattle down in the plains, cooking off an open fire, and sleeping on the ground surrounded by sweet smelling Sage Brush.  I dedicate this song to the bushy tailed fox that’s been hanging around our camp.  So far he stole: Tabasco Sauce, a bar of soap, a Bottle of Jack D., Gatorade, and 2 dozen of Tamara’s fresh baked cookies (and the Tupperware lid…still unaccounted for).

“Lake Life” (O. Wagner)
It’s hard to capture in song the sheer joy of a summer day on the lake.  Here’s to Lake Natalie, Georgia and the Smith family’s “Slip-a-Way” lake house.

Sweet Pickle Barrel (V.Wagner)
Whenever I get song ideas I try to jot them down ASAP.  The result is scraps of paper in my car, in coat pockets, in my wallet, EVERYWHERE.  This song was sparked by a few of those random thoughts.

“Red Fender” (O. Wagner)
Our family river lot was a peculiar place to find a guitar pick—covered with muddy silt in three inches of water.  Hard to explain. The old hymn “Amazing Grace” is still around for a reason—being “lost and found” is both the human predicament and joy.

Borrowed Tune (V. Wagner)
This song originally appeared on my homespun album “MacLeod’s Dream.”  I try to resurrect one “MacLeod’s Dream” song for each new album.  Wrote this around 1995.

“Stuff” (O.Wagner)
One of those songs that I didn’t write—it fell on me like toys from a disorganized closet.  In a world with Wal-Mart, Toys-R-Us, 40% off sales and lotteries. . . you can hum this tune, too.

“Uncles All Around” (O. Wagner)
It’s a life-long gift to grow up with so many characters who share your last name and take an interest in you.  Uncles for me have been somewhere between having an extra set of parents and having lots of big brothers.

Martin Luther King (V. Wagner and O. Wagner)
Ollie and I wrote this song together after hearing an “expert” on the life of Dr. Martin Luther King on the radio.  He said something to the affect of “Martin Luther King has been celebrated in every form of music…except bluegrass of course..”   I’m not sure I totally agree with the gentleman…but now that this song is out there shouldn’t be any question.

“Pennsylvania Proud” (O. Wagner)
In “North of 80”, Van wrote about central PA. I wrote these lyrics a few years before he released that song.  A tune finally found those words. People often leave the state for better jobs.  Some return.   Those who don’t spend a lot of time thinking about it.

The Picker’s and Grinner’s

Guitar, banjo, mandolin, bass, harmonic, vocals by Van Wagner

Guitar and vocals by Ollie Wagner

Hammered Dulcimer by Woody Wolfe

All songs written by Van Wagner and Ollie Wagner except “Talking Conformation Blues” by Van Wagner and Chad Mckonly

All songs recorded and Mixed at Heart to Hand Studio by Woody Wolfe
Co-produced by Woody Wolfe, Ollie Wagner, and Van Wagner

Mastered by George Graham

Album graphic design done by Kyle Umbenhauer, Dookiak Studios