January 31, 2012

I have not posted lately. I say that a lot. Anyway here is my backyard ice rink this year. Enjoy!



August 25, 2011

The release dates of Tracts is rapidly approaching and the songs have rounded into form. I am incredibly excited about this collection. It may seem like bluster but I really believe these are the among the best songs to ever come out of The Alder Fork. The track listing (in no particular order) is: Random Places We Meet, Who Wants To Know, Space, Ghosts and Mysteries, and Summer Running Down.

I also want to mention that I will be releasing a second collection of 5 songs at a later date. The Lost Spoons will feature 5 acoustic song. One is the familiar Twenty-Five from The Lights I See You In Shadow. The other 4 songs are brand new and two have never been heard before by anyone.

More details about both are coming soon.

Do You Really Want To Know?

August 16, 2011

Please join us in this public service announcement, with guitars!

Joe Strummer

This blog began with a long series of posts dedicated to the release of a new album by a new group. I thoroughly enjoyed writing about The Lights I See You In Shadow and the history of my music. I have returned today to begin a new series on a new collection of recordings by The Alder Fork.  Over the past few months I have been working on a number of songs with no real plan for what to do with them. I am in the early stages of creating a new band, The Histrionics, with some friends, which means The Alder Fork is at risk of vanishing. This EP of 5 songs, called The Long Spoons, may represent that last new material from my solo project for awhile. It also might not, such are the whims of my musical career (If you really want to know about how I have evolved musically go back to post number 1 and start reading).  The release date is September 17t, with more details to follow. In the coming days and weeks I will be making posts about the tracks and other related material. It should be another fun ride.

New Song

June 23, 2011

I’ve got something brewing, here’s some words:

When world’s collide
Both light and darkness
We wait on the side
Will we take part?

Is there light enough to see where we’re going?
When we try to change the world from the outside

Just look around
At all this talk
Maybe it’s the first step
To a new start

You try to soothe me
Say it’s not my fault
I don’t believe you
No not at all

Is there light enough to see where we’re going?
When we try to change the world from the outside

And if the future
Will be a better place
I can’t keep hiding
In a sacred space
No I can’t keep hiding
In a sacred space

Is there light enough to see where we’re going?
When we try to chang the world from the outside

A Bridge In the Woods

May 7, 2011

A bridge in the woods demonstrates a great deal of generosity and faith. There is no reason to build it unless you believe someone will come along to use it. Constructing a bridge in the middle of a shady wood, far from the roads, requires difficult labour. So why build it for strangers who might wander by? I have to believe that its carpenters were good-hearted and wanted to leave a silent legacy of kindness. Why else would they toil among the bugs and humidity, or worse rain, for my benefit? Me, the mysterious person who hikes through the woods and sits on the side of the bridge to eat a pear.

So I began this narrative of your life. You were a group of adventurers who weaved in and out of the Niagara Escarpment on the weekends. When you reached water you trudged through because as your leader said, “no river can stop us when we work together.” In this way you covered the hundreds of kilometers between the Falls and the Bay. One day you reached my town. It seemed simple enough with its lime kilns and lack of sprawl. I imagine you thought this was just another meaningless stop on your endless journey. I wonder if you could go back to that day if you might have turned down another Sideroad to avoid the creek, but there you were standing in a farmer’s fallow field. As you reached the tree line you could just hear the water ahead. “Oh just another stream to cross,” shouted your leader. You cut through the broken fence and stopped at the edge of the creek. Then something unexpected happen, a sudden thirst perhaps, and one of you bent down to drink the water. In that moment, as the clouds drifted above the treetops, the squirrels dashed from root to bush, the flies hovered, and the water passed between her lips, everything changed. Your group was stuck. The location was no longer a blur of trees and water, but the most significant place you had ever been. You also realized that if you didn’t act no one else would enjoy this place. After all, why would anyone come here if they couldn’t cross the creek as you do.  In the following days you carried wood and built. You hammered and cut the wood for a magnificent bridge. You made it possible for many others to come and cross and experience the moment just as you did that first day. Here I am.

Beautiful Skies

November 11, 2010

Recently I have been thinking about the moon and the stars a lot.  Not so much the technical aspects, but more the real majesty of the universe. For a place that is so filled with empty space it is really very beautiful.  For millenia, people have tried to find meaning in the stars, without any real success.  The only real meaning to space is the underlying principles that govern the formation and movement of objects.  Some people would say that ignoring a “deeper” meaning robs the universe of its magic.  I think that trying to force an explanation onto reality serves to minimize the true wonder that really exists. Yes, there may be more to the universe than we can see, there may even be a supernatural explanation to existence. For me, however, there is only the inescapable fact that the universe is beautiful, mysterious, and full of unrealized possibilities.  This is the starting point of my latest project.

I don’t intend to write an album about stars and planets, but rather to play around in possibilities. My hope is to explore some familiar topics in new ways.  I also promise that future posts aren’t so self-indulgent!

The Return

November 10, 2010

It has been quite awhile since I’ve posted here, but I am feeling a renaissance for The Alder Fork blog (and maybe podcast too).  This post is a short one to announce a new album is in the works. Tentatively titled “Sliver of the Moon” it is percolating in my mind as I write this.  I’d also like to note that I am always open to guest writers on my blog so if you want to submit an article, please feel free to do so.


Roll On

May 26, 2010

An interesting project has been floating around for several months.  It focuses on eating disorders and is mostly musical.  Although most of the work is still to come, here is a piece of literature that was written for it. Many anorexics describe their illness as a person.  Essentially they have a relationship with their eating disorder.  In treatment this relationship is challenged and addressed. I hope these words capture some of the inner turmoil.

If I knew of a better way

I would tell you to roll on

Oh so far away

Oh so far away

It’s in your head why won’t you eat?

What my mother says to me

But it’s such a feat

But it’s such a feat

The doctor’s offer a remedy

The potential for recovery

And this year is killing me

With promises it can’t keep

The time I’ve spent on this pursuit

My life with you under wraps

For us, us alone

For us, us alone

I hoped for it all night and day

The answer to my prayers

A new way to live

A new way to live

The doctor’s offer a remedy

The potential for recovery

And this year is killing me

With promises it can’t keep

With you it’s so easy

One hour of this

No time for that

I always listen

To your sage advice

My life makes sense with you in it

The doctor’s offer a remedy

The potential for recovery

And this year is killing me

With promises it can’t keep

Everything Tangible

March 2, 2010

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The Mass Romantics

Cardinal Patrol

Taking on any kind of creative project under a deadline is an immense challenge.  Max Woghiren, aka The Mass Romantics put together a 7-song collection during the month of February.  He says that he fell a little short of his actual goals, but is satisfied with the output.  He should be more than happy with this solid group of songs. Once again, The Mass Romantics blend indie-rock style with Beatles-esque melodies. Indeed this album spans generations of musical convention featuring pieces such as Songs We Lost that mimic The Doors and Genesis, two fairly different bands.  These influences are implicit for Max rather than an overt effort.

The album starts out in triumphant fashion with the moving I Know That You Are a Decider.  He really shows his influences in a genuine way without succumbing to blatant copying.  This quality is very hard to find in popular music.  The second track The Fiction may give you flashbacks to the mid-90’s.  It is homage more than an exact copy.  Max has always been a skilled melodist, and on Cardinal Patrol he has really expanded the texturing of his songs.

Although each of the tracks is enjoyable, We Fall Together was my personal favourite. Coming in at 3’28 it is the second longest song on the album. It has an inexplicable quality that is both goofy and moving.  It also demonstrates Max’s influences in a compelling fashion.  In my mind I was transported to another place, particularly during the instrumental interludes.

Lyrical composition is a great strength of this collection. In the past, Max has been known to deride his writing. Cardinal Patrol, despite being written over only 28 days, is filled with compelling and well-written songs.

Max pays particular attention to creating an atmosphere on this album.  Monotony is the biggest risk in an album created in a month, but although the songs have an overarching textural quality, they each operate within it differently.  This is especially remarkable because the songs average about 3 minutes in length. That is not a lot of time to make an impact. Max is willing to change time and explore tangential ideas in even the shortest songs.

Overall, Cardinal Patrol is an album well worth checking out.  Although it is not available in wide release it is hoped that The Mass Romantics will be confident enough to let the world hear.  These songs are moving and dramatic.  It is 22 minutes in an alternative world where the vibe is solid and ideas are free.  There is no fear in these songs.  This is The Mass Romantics best album to date.

This Is Our ’72

February 28, 2010

The 2010 Winter Olympics are drawing to a close, and many of us Canadians have been fixated on it. I am an Olympics junkie so I have watched virtually every event, but there is a significant current underneath these games.  In Canada, virtually everyone has embraced the Olympics.  A country that has mostly been known for it’s beautiful scenery and polite people has unleashed a powerful patriotism.  Some have argued that these games have been bigger in Canada than Expo ’67 or the Summit Series of 1972.  I can’t say if that’s true, but I can say that for the generation born after those events the Olympic games will be that meaningful for us.  It has been a country changing event.  Despite early trepidation, anxiety, and disaster, the Games have become a touchstone moment for the entire country.