Life, Faith and Urban Farming

The life and happenings of an unconventional pastor and urban farmer living in the city with a family of five.

Tuesday, January 02, 2018

Haunting



Some might say songs come like a ghost in the night. They're unexpected and arrive as though they have an agenda or a mind of their own. The great song writers are inspired by their past, the present and hope for the future. Great song writers allow their surroundings to speak into a song and create a lasting impression of a moment in time when the song began coming together. Our album, Solace, was an experiment in improvised instrumental music. There are no words, only layers of guitars and synthesizers with rhythm and ambient noise, basically whatever was going on that day.

Haunting was a track that came about quite unexpectedly at a time when I wasn't sure I wanted to keep working on the project. I was sitting at our 100 year old family cottage an hour north of Pittsburgh. Our cabin is filled with very old things, items that out date the cottage even, things brought from our family farm in the early 1900's. There are also old photos, old books and lots and lots of family memories. When I picked up my guitar I had forgotten that it was partially tuned to a drop D chord. I put on my cut capo, which guitarists might know as a partial capo that produces open sounding chords. I use it a lot and I use it more creatively than most people I know. I put it on the 4th fret and when I played the chord what came out was unexpected and hauntingly beautiful. For this particular track I didn't do much more work beyond teasing out some chords in this new alternate tuning.

Later that week when I got home and back in the Backroom studio I wanted to record the song but the crickets outside were extremely loud. I don't know if anyone else noticed it, but they seemed exceedingly active this fall, for many weeks. It seemed they wanted to take part in my recording, and it seemed the simply song needed some accompaniment. And so, after adding some ebow work with my Fender Strat, the final version was born. And it's still super simple, ambient, calming, but I like it like that.

Here's also one of the photos I found at the cabin that day of a family member no one can even identify any more. Maybe he was playing around with my guitar tuning that day. 

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