Archive for the ‘The Alder Fork Blog’ Category

Confused? Answers here!

July 14, 2009

Those who are familiar with this blog know that I have two other ones floating around.  The more important of these two is http://thealderfork.wordpress.com.  If you stumbled in here looking for information about the band, or The Alder Fork Festival, that is the place to go. The site is updated with up to the moment information about both.

Amazing Stories, Well Not Really

July 11, 2009

Blogging is an interesting medium.  I have been extremely distracted the last few days, preparing my music for live performance, recruiting musicians, dealing with some release related issues, on top of my usual school work and other responsibilities.  Thus the blog has been deadly silent.  Yet thanks to the many, many posts I have done, people have continued to visit.  Rest assured the blog has not “died” in any way.

Lately, I’ve been reading a lot of Canadian short stories.  This particular collection is organized thematically, and the editor has been quite clever in his selections.  The section entitled “violence” the stories range from murder to a crop destroying hail storm.  The loss of their entire wheat crop devastates the family in that latter story.  It’s hard to fully grasp the precariousness of life in the past and in places where subsistence agriculture is the norm. Over time people all over the world have become disconnected from their food, and their food security has increased.  In southern Ontario there is an ongoing battle over the conversion of agricultural land into suburbia.  The various governments claim to be clamping down on sprawl.  So far that seems to be the case, and it bodes well for the future of agriculture in this province.

A great deal has been written on this idea, and the story I’m refering to is Sinclair Ross’s A Field of Wheat.

MMMM Cake

June 30, 2009

I am Henry VIII I am, Henry VIII I am, I am.

Herman’s Hermits (covering an old British Dance Hall song)

I’m Henry VII I Am

This relatively obscure song is my way of saying sorry folks! I’ve been away camping for several days, and without internet a little bit longer.  Thus The Alder Fork has taken a bit of vacation.  The new album is now available in hard copy form through my etsy.com store.  It is also available directly from me, if you are interested.  I think the album art alone is worth the ten bucks, and the music is the icing on the cake.  Pretty soon it will pop up on iTunes and the circle will be complete, so to speak.

My recent post on HIV was pretty popular so I suspect I will write more on related topics in the near future.  It is fascinating to delve into recent history and witness how the unknown continues to confound and scare our species.  There are certainly other examples, but none as clear cut as the AIDS epidemic.  Some people still believe you can get it from casual contact, even though it has been clearly established that it isn’t possible.

The Song Is Playing In My Head

March 27, 2009

It’s another overcast day like it’s been for a week and I would blame feeling down on the weather if I had no other reason to be, people let you down when you least expect them to and hearts they move around so fast and love it somehow gets renewed.

Jill Barber

In Perfect Time

I want to write some more about Jill Barber in a future blog, so hang around for that.  Today I want to talk about feelings.  Some blogs are all about the people who write them, while some deal mainly with topics outside the individual. Some link to other people’s stories, and some just give opinion after opinion. Some have pictures, some have video, some have music, and some have all of those.  This blog falls in and out of all those categories.  It operates a great deal like my brain wandering to and fro as the sun goes up and comes down. I thought I’d give you, the stranger, a glimpse into what I’m about inside. It’s a tour I rarely offer, so strap in.

Those who know me, may realize that I am a deeply emotional person. I once walked into an interview with 12 other people and when asked to pick one word to describe myself I picked “moody.”  It was a perfectly accurate assessment, but likely prevented me from getting the job.  I have always been careless with my future, just like that. Yet it was a rare moment that I let people who were mostly strangers know what I’m actually about. I guard my real feelings as much as possible, probably due to growing up as an only child.  I don’t feel compelled to be around other people, or to soak in their company. I love my friends and do many things with them, but probably less than most people.  The internet is ideal for me because I can compartmentalize my interactions with people in nice, clean packages.  Does this make me socially deficient? Probably, but if you met me in the real world, you might not think that.  Like most people I am different things at various times.  There are those I have worked with who were surprised to see me operate so effectively in front of an audience, because I can generally seem a reserved and quiet person, especially with strangers.  I change jobs frequently, and it’s almost like I don’t want to give people time to know me.  Or perhaps I don’t want to take the time to know them, I never know which it is.

My family worries that I’m anti-social, that I don’t spend enough time around other people and that I live too much in the basement.  I think I have found a fine balance in my life, between doing what I like and what I have to.  I do worry sometimes that I will regret missing out on many adventures, but I believe the future is a giant mystery that I don’t want to worry about.  I’ve always lived better in my head anyway.  And that is the great big secret that I usually hide from the world. In my mind there is a vibrant life full of crazy thoughts, and endless conversations with people who don’t exist.  Now I might sound crazy, and possibly I am, but bear with me.  This blog and my associated podcast have become outlets for many of these ideas.  I would say the number one reason anyone blogs is their inherent need to get ideas out of their head.  I suppose some are out to make money, and others want their opinions known, but I do it first and foremost so I can occasionally say things that won’t come out of my mouth.  Those pieces are interspersed throughout entries about bands, videos, mental illnesses and whatever other obscure or common posts I’ve made.  I also hide them in songs.  My lyrics generally chart elements of my life that are mine alone.

I said at the outset that I’m a deeply emotional person. That is quite true. I mentioned a few days ago that there was a song that made me cry.  This wasn’t just a run of the mill cry.  This was an instance where I had to pull my car over for 10 minutes until I could calm down enough to continue.  It was the single most intense moment of my life, and I somehow feared for my life. I simply couldn’t go on.  That may sound over-dramatic, but it is the truth.  There is, perhaps, a deeper story hiding behind that story and any of the other emotional episodes of my life.  It will stay behind the words of The Alder Fork.

‘Tis Once A Year

December 25, 2008

We’ll build our walls, aluminum, we’ll fill our mouths, with cinnamon

The Decemberists

Sons and Daughters

Merry Christmas folks.  Most blogs that I read have shut it down for the day on account of the holiday.  I am not most blogs! Since I doubt many people will read this (I hope you are spending today with family or friends) I won’t say too much.  I just want to let everyone know that 2009 promises to be an exciting year for The Alder Fork in all its forms. I am currently working on getting one or two other artists to join the music wing of things.  I am attempting to convince purveyors of Canadian music to give me access to their musicians for interviews and other things.  Plans are starting to formulate for the 2009 Mid-Summer Festival of Peace and Tranquility. The Alder Fork is working on two simultaneous musical projects, and the first single from The Lights I See You In Shadow complete with never before released B-sides is expected in January.  I also have a special project in the works that will further expand the scope of The Alder Fork Projects. All in all Christmas dawns with a bright future ahead. Tomorrow I will begin a new feature on the blog. It’s not that different from some other posts but it’s a new spin on an old gem.  Once again Merry Christmas, Happy Hanukkah, and have a safe time out there.

It Feels Like Independence Day and I Can’t Break Away From This Parade

December 4, 2008

Loneliness can appear as a faint dis-ease, an inner dissatisfaction, a restlessness in the heart.

Jean Vanier

Becoming Human

I will be writing more about Jean Vanier and discussing him on the podcast in the future. I have been re-reading Becoming Human and continue to be fascinated by the man.

I was thinking about the blog today, and it’s relationship to other blogs. There are blogs on just about every topic, sports, news, politics, pornography, cats, hats, rats, children’s books, TV shows, birds, airplanes, and on and on.  Henry Abbott is a blogger that I greatly respect (he writes TrueHoop, now on espn.com). He had a post about 6 months ago talking about what makes a good blog.  He pointed out things like having passion for what you write about and holding yourself to a high standard. But he also noted that successful blogs usually stick to one thing they do very well and know intimately and focus on it exclusively. In his case it’s basketball.  The Alder Fork is not that kind of blog. I have mostly written about music so far, but I’ve broached other topics.  I think it’s a reflection of the way my brain works. I don’t usually stay too focused on one particular thing for very long before one of my other interests take over.  I don’t know if that’s the best way to attract readers to this blog, or listeners to my podcast, but it’s who I am. One more rule that I would add to the what-makes-a-good-blog list is, be yourself. Don’t try to be something you aren’t or write in any way but through your own voice. People lie in job interviews, on dates, in public, on sports fields, in the business world, in politics, and probably even to themselves by pretending to be lots of things that they aren’t.  I certainly do it, and to be honest I’m not always even sure who I am. But when I make my podcast or write on this blog I can’t hide anymore. So if you know me personally this is a chance to know me better. If you are a stranger, welcome to my world, I hope you stick around awhile.

Have You Seen It?

November 30, 2008

Up ahead the roads were closed
And the Gennys ran most of Buffalo
The customs man at border control
Said yes you can go
But you won’t make it home

Don’t be like that

Kathleen Edwards

Buffalo

Sometimes I find that a song reminds me of reading a great novel.  Usually it is a Canadian song that bring back feelings of diving into Wild Geese, Have You Seen The Wind, or Emily of New Moon. This Kathleen Edwards song is one of those.  The experience of music is, of course, very subjective. You and I hear the same song but it means something different to us.  Immediately after Buffalo on my main iTunes list is Danger Zone by Kenny Loggins. How is that significant? Well Danger Zone reminds me of my old friend Kern, who loves anything to do with fighter planes.  He’s like a Korean Tom Clancy with a degree in Environmental
Science (not studies, he would want me to note that).  So in two seconds I’ve gone from thinking about a classic piece of literature to an old pal who loves his dinosaurs with feathers and his women from
Russia.  Music has that kind of effect on people.

The retrospective of Urban Moon, Banana Company, and Pinstripe Mystery is over now.  Thinking back on everything that happened in the pursuit of musical genius (or recognition?) has been enlightening.  When I
think about any particular recording, gig, or project it doesn’t seem so difficult. But when I put together the last 10+ years of effort its astounding.  I gave up lots of free time, money, and dignity to play
around 50 or so gigs, and to record two full length albums an EP and a bunch of random CDs.  I have also hosted 9 or 10 Mid-Summer Festivals of Peace and Tranquility, including one that raised over $400 for Heart Cry Restoration Ministries. It led me to consider the pros and cons of it all. I had a lot of fun rehearsing, recording, and performing, and I still do.  It could also be very emotionally draining (see Frosh Week 2003) and liberating all at the same time.

What does all this have to do with anything? Well as this blog goes forward and becomes a forum for both my thoughts and ideas, and those of others, it will become part of the journey. It can’t just be a marker of time, it has to be an active part of that.  I am saying all this to encourage those of you who read the blog to post comments in reaction to what I write. I would love to start a dialogue about the songs, sites, pictures, and whatever that I post on here.  I would also like your response to my words and ideas. Many years ago I had an email list that I used to spread ideas, but never achieved the collaborative model I hoped for. That is what a blog can do. So comment away!

You can also leave thoughts about the podcast and I will respond to them on there. To find the podcast click on the link on the right. A new post will be up in the next day or so. In case you missed it The Lights I See You In Shadow is now available. Click on Get the Album to download it.