ARCANA: an anachronistic anthology

Posted: September 2, 2016

 

Screen Shot 2016-08-28 at 11.29.58 AM“We all know something’s wrong…but life goes on…”

Coming soon. My least polished and yet, to me, my best album.

ARCANA, which means secrets and mysteries, is subtitled ‘The Lost Songs’ for a reason. These sessions were brought to a premature finish by technology issues, lost or corrupted files and my move from Santa Fe, New Mexico to Portland, Oregon.

I thought I might simply start over.

But I had a complete set of rough mixes and, listening to them after some time had elapsed, I realized there was a quality to them I really liked and probably could not recapture. I have no idea if others will like them too but I decided to let it be and move on.

ARCANA is my Basement Tapes – if you are old enough to get the reference. A bootleg kind of deal. Or perhaps a chance to listen in on a band’s rehearsals. Songs that are complete but unfinished. Finished but not polished.

Rob Eaton kindly agreed to take my mismatched rough mixes and to master them as best he could to create this anthology of 21 songs spread across 3 CDs. I owe him a great debt. Many would not have agreed to work this way. And any shortcomings in the tracks are all mine, not his.

Having lost all interest in what I think of as the commercial music business many years ago, I am thrilled with the end result. It lives and breathes in a way little music does for me these days. The imperfections are there (mostly mine) but the quality of the musicianship of my fellow players shines through.

As it says in the liner notes (Are they still a thing?)…

“The magical inaccuracy of music played and sung with the natural rhythm of men and women not the perfected meter of machines.”

As some of these songs were in an early stage of development the majority of the playing is me…guitars (both acoustic and electric, rhythm and lead), Dobro, harmonica, ukulele, keyboard string arrangements and lead and backing vocals. But joining me on every track is superb bass player from San Francisco, Sam Bevan. Ace drummer Ben Durfee is on all tracks except one. And on several tunes Tom Hampton adds his haunting lap steel, electric baritone guitar and mandolin. Peter Farrell provided piano and strings on one track (an acoustic version of the previously released THE DREAMS OF MEN) and Deborah Domanski is guest vocalist on LOVE AIN’T EASY.

Evaluating your own work is always difficult…and largely pointless. But for what it’s worth I feel this collection includes some of my best writing.

From MY FATHER’S SON…

“Taller than you by the age of twelve/It took me years to understand/It’s not in feet and inches/That you measure a man.”

To the lengthy ONE DAY AT A TIME…

From London Town to Tokyo/There I am wherever I go/People smiling – knives in backs/ The future falling through the cracks/ I know the sky ain’t falling/I know it’s not a crime/To live your life one day at a time.”

From CRAWLING BLUES…

I put my faith in the devil/We met at the crossroads one night/But I couldn’t read his offer/I needed a little more light/So I put my faith in a woman/My best wasn’t good enough/It seems she met the devil too/And they fell in love.”

To THEIR WORLD NOW (Written in a park in Milan, Italy)…

There is a certain calm/That only time can bring/We’d trade it in a heartbeat/For one final fling/One trip around the passions/Ah..that we’d like to take/To feel the flames of new love/To feel the old heart break.”

For good or bad, these songs focus more on my voice than perhaps any of my earlier albums.

As the world moves to single song downloads, I put out an anthology of 21 songs on 3 discs. Sounds like me. Clearly this collection is meant to be dipped into at random – anyone playing the whole thing end to end would risk finding themselves deeper in my life than perhaps they want to go. Although, as one song says…

“The lines in my face will lead you to my heart/If you really want to see what’s on show/They’ll tell you who I am/And why I don’t give a damn/And why right now I have to go/Before I tell you things you were never meant to know.”

ARCANA will be released as a very limited edition of just 100 copies, with single songs being available for download from this site as usual. It will not be for sale through iTunes, CDBaby or any of my usual outlets.

It will be a few weeks before it is available.

THE LOVERS

 

 

 

 

 

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