I grew up back in the day when an album was more than just a collection of songs — an album was a concept, a holistic audio-tactile experience.
January 5, 2015
I struggled for months trying to piece something together only to have it hijacked in an instant by something else.
We were working on a collection of songs we intended to finish as a full-length album when it happened. The tunes were a motley crew of different sounds from Americana/Indi-rock to influences touching on industrial and world. It was a creative endeavor, but it was never a clear vision of what I had always thought an album should be.
I grew up back in the day when an album was more than just a collection of songs — an album was a concept, a holistic audio-tactile experience. It was something you opened as soon as you got home with it to pull out the little book tucked inside, reading the lyrics and perusing pictures and artwork. Then, as you listened from start to finish over a pair of headphones, you would either close your eyes to shut out the world or keep exploring the insert.
You surrendered yourself to the journey, letting the images and ideas burned into your memory mix with the concepts that swam into your ears. Images, sound, stories and pictures and….feelings…all of these feelings. There was something magical about a good album, it could put you in a trance and leave you like a sleepy passenger at the end of the trip, reminiscing over the landscape you just took in.
Albums like that are still made, you just have to work a hell of a lot harder to find them. Mainstay pop-music seems to have gone so far to formula that it resembles most other mass-produced commodities these days—cheap and of low-quality. At the same time there are so many independent artists putting themselves out there on the internet that it reminds me of day-trip fishing just looking for something you can sink your teeth into. Sometimes I get lost just jumping from video to video on Youtube. I’m never even sure how I get started on these little adventures but it can be enough to shake me out of the candied doldrums. You can find some rare gems but you’ve got to be willing to sift for gold.
I wanted so badly to make an album in the way I believed an album should be made. And somehow I neglected to realize that most of the songs that would best illustrate that kind of storybook were the ‘untouchables’…the tunes that were more like journal entries to me than anything else.
Why did I keep these to myself? It struck me one day when I happened across a playlist of them and realized what I was keeping away.
The song I wrote for my husband and sang to him at our wedding, "Strange Love".
“Cornish Folk Song” – The song I sang at my grandfather’s funeral that had come suddenly while I was driving, as if dictated to me the week before
The tune that came the day I’d been told I needed to have a biopsy, “The Story”
The song I wrote for my father after we reunited, “Mending Fences”
There was a secret number I’d cranked out one night as I was driving home. It was inspired by a friend at work who helped a woman through her dying days just as my little nephew was born, “The Long Drive Home”.
There were so many of these, some of the best stuff I’ve ever written but for some reason counted out. I realized that what I had been working so hard to find had been ready and waiting for me all along.
And the story was all there, all of these songs were tied together in ways spanning generations. All of the stories were pieces of the puzzle I called my own.
The Album came to life unexpectedly, leaving me with the feeling that it wasn’t quite my doing. The stories are filled with spirits, secrets and so much of my heart.
I asked my aunt for some ideas for photographs I could use in the design for the album and more stories started to climb out of the woodwork. The album began to breathe, to take on a life of its own with serendipity on its heels.
Update: The release prior planned 'Cornish Folk Songs' will be self-titled.
Cornish Folk Songs is slated for release on June 26th 2015 at One Longfellow Square with lots of fun and festivals in the works.
So we hope to see you around this Summer. Don’t be a stranger.