The wind makes
until it wraps itself in the leaves
of the trees.
And that sound is just
until it makes someone
(kb from ‘Jenny’, 1999)
Finally found a moment to locate a copy of the disc so I could play this song for you again. It’s funny how many people still remember this piece. The words are from Alice in Wonderland, of course. The arrangement is not. Anderson on the harp, myself on guitar and voice, and David Woodhead on the fretless bass. The additional sounds you hear are a synthesizer hooked up to the divine Mr. D’s bass. One of the things David did so beautifully in his playing at the time was to combine textured synth sounds with his lovely melodic bass approach (this was always done live, both in concert and on recording, never added in later, and so it formed part of his instrument). It helped make up that lovely, rich soundscape that was such a significant part of what we did.
If you listen closely, however, there’s a little something different here. At various points the snyth sounds triggered are directly out of the cartoon universe. It just seemed so appropriate. To make things even more interesting we decided not to program specific sounds for specific notes. Instead we left it completely to chance. And because this whole album was recorded straight to stereo with no overdubs or edits, what you hear on this track is a live take with all of the delightful accidents that can only happen when whimsy is invited. And yes maybe encouraged.
Ah friend, you’ll permit me a bit of bemusement that this track is now almost twenty years old. Remember, too, this was at a time when Canadian folk rulers had decreed that we musicians were not to mess with tradition. It simply wasn’t done. Apparently they were convinced that those traditions weren’t robust enough to take the abuse. You can imagine how popular this made us among those folks. I suspect you can also imagine how little I cared. Happily, as is often the case, the official tastemakers were absolutely mistaken, and completely out of step with the general listening public, who asked for this again and again. And again. I’m often puzzled when I’m told that much of our stuff was ahead of it’s time. But on listening, I guess some of it was getting a bit out there.
Sure was fun though.
the song –>The Jabberwock from the Anderson & Brown CD ‘Crimson’, 1991 (A&B102CD)
Ah friend, the change of season is truly on us, and there hasn’t been as much of a chance to get together as we would’ve liked. Hoping you were able to get out in some of the fall colours before November blew them away. The golden light on the meadow was more beautiful for being some of the last we could enjoy before spring. And the deep copper sun of late October evenings made every line of trees something to stop and admire. Sensible people add a bit to their travel time in this season. You never know what you’re going to see. Or how long it’s going to take your breathe away. Whatcha lookin’ at? Oh nothing.
Around here I think fall gives us a sense of time having passed. Yes winter is on its way. But there is now some distance between where we are and the promise of last spring. And without getting overly entranced by the view it’s maybe useful to get a sense in us of that distance. If it’s good it’ll help keep you and me warm in the hard freeze. And if not at least we know where the work needs doing, and have an actual measure of how much. Turns out objects in the mirror are much smaller than they appear.
Hope you’ve been well and your challenges have been do-able. I must admit it’s nice having not quite so many things in the ‘dear me’ pile. There must be people who glide serenely throughout life unruffled by the random acts of loopy that just happen around the rest of us. I am apparently not one of those people. No, I get my serenity from a different place. I suspect it’s a place where there is so much surprise weirdness going on you just have to sit yourself down and get serene. Forced to be zen. Yes I suppose that could be an epitaph. More likely an aphorism. Yes which I’m more likely to have. Fair enough.
It’s been nice to put my hand to a few projects over the last little while. Just finishing a bit of editing for an interesting location recording I did this summer. I’d also done some bass tracks for my friend Nabi and when it came time for a cd celebration concert she put together a great band. Was huge fun to play, great audience, wonderful music. Just starting into transcribing the interviews for the Eilleen McGann book. What interesting conversations those were. Kind of nice to know that my interviewing chops are still reasonably intact. At least acceptable. Now I guess I get to see how my transcribing chops are. Meanwhile the Thursday night sessions continue to be rewarding, if nothing else giving me a chance to play some more of those odd Beatles arrangements that continue to plague me. Although I think people need to stop encouraging me. One of these days I’m going to forget and play one in public. I’ll either get laughed off the stage or get my sorry white bum sued. This is not a career move.
Writing’s going well. Although don’t ask. I’m at a point where I’m doing more staring into space than I am getting down words. I’ve grown used to the idea that this too is part of writing. Just like finally figuring out a scene when I’m in the grocery store is also part of writing. Yes I show up at the page, but it seems that writing comes when it comes. Where it comes. And if you refuse to listen you’ve only yourself to blame. So although I may be sitting and working on that long story I’ve been sharing with you, when I suddenly realise that song in my head isn’t something from the radio and it fits perfectly into that point in the story arc of the new musical that I wasn’t so sure about, I put down the story and pick up the musical. As it turns out I’ve noticed that when I’m involved in sustained creative work it really is good to put it down and walk away from it for a while. Problem is it follows me around. So I take it for a walk. We’re both happier.
Speaking of walking, it would be good for me to move into the next part of my day. Thanks for giving me a reason to sit down for a bit, friend. It’s good for me, and as you know I don’t do enough of it naturally. Apparently you’re good for me. Thanks for that. As always I hope you’re busy enough to feel useful and still enough to know peace. Write when you get a chance.
Hey friend, how’s your day? It’s continued to be a fairly intense summer here in many ways. Hoping you’ve had some down time. I’ve made myself be still now and then, and lo and behold there have been flowers to enjoy. It’s been nice to sit on the bench a bit too. Sharing memories while I contemplate the present. I wonder if you have a place you like to do that.
The bench was moved. It was nice where it was, but on reflection an even better idea was found. I’ve said it before, I like people who will allow reflection to influence what they do and how they do it. Absolutely, there are times when it’s good to go with first thoughts, or even to make it up as you go along, I’m certainly no stranger to the strengths of improvising. But oh the unfortunate things I’ve seen when someone hasn’t allowed reflection to inform their actions, thoughts, or feelings.
However, sometimes it’s just a bench.
And now it’s under a bit of shade, where if I look up I can see the chickadee hanging upside down to get at the pine cone, and over my right shoulder the moon will rise in the night sky. But for now the small meadow filled with wildflowers of late summer is in full day in front of me. There’s a small bit of wind in the trees rustling the leaves, that’s the sound that tells me when spring has turned to summer. But right now you can tell what kind of bee is working nearby from the sound it makes, silence means they’re getting what they’re looking for. It’s amazing how quickly a small yellow butterfly can make it along the entire length of the opening and down the laneway, and in a way that makes it look like they have no idea where they’re going. Sometimes they weave and circle one another, here for a moment, there for a while. The monarchs are more gentle, although they move sometimes even more quickly. If you time it just right the late afternoon sun warms your shoulders for a good couple of hours. Better than a massage. Yes, this is a good spot.
A little after that I noticed there was a little more birdsong than usual. I looked to the right, over the laneway, and saw a group of small birds wing into the meadow, skim along the flowertops, and finally rise to light in the big tree at the far end.
Goldfinch. A dozen or more in a single flight. Wow. And as I watched them settle another wave came by and joined them. And another. First they filled the tree, so the new ones couldn’t find a perch, hovered for a moment, then dropped to the flowers. Several dozen in the big tree, then more in the long grass. I laughed when I saw the sticks in front of me filled with cheery yellow birds. A handful would fly up into the air, circle the opening, and settle again somewhere else, not far away, but presumably better. Sometimes more, sometimes fewer, singing all the while.
For an hour and more I watched the goldfinch show. Eventually larger and larger groups swept along the meadow, then out over the laneway and gone. Until finally the trees were silent.
Haven’t seen them for a few days. Although there was a pair passed through today. Have you ever seen a pair of goldfinch fly? They each seem to be making their own way, curving and reeling each on a different path. But somehow they end up someplace useful. Together. I think there’s a lesson in that, but I’m not sure what it is.
It is surely beautiful though.
Ah friend, sorry to been out of touch for a bit, but first there was the car accident, nobody hurt, then there was the canoe trip on Superior that turned into more adventure than planned. Apparently I have a few stories to tell, and since we won’t see one another anytime soon I’ll put them here. But it’s been a couple of weeks of fairly intense life, so I’m going to take a bit to collect myself before I get there.
Although I did find it odd to walk out the door here and immediately see the Big Dipper in exactly the position it was the three nights the lake pinned us and we couldn’t move. I was facing the same direction, the waves were pounding behind me, and as I turned around I could see the moon over the island.
Standing there in front of my friends’ door I could hear the roar.
Good to be back.
Part of me is still there.
I sometimes know happiness
I sometimes know sadness
I am sometimes not sure which is which
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