Jet Black Crow
Feathery Findings Beyond The Fogs Of Digression
I’ve been doing some house cleaning recently, but instead of digging my way to the back of the closet, organizing clothes and finally laying to rest those underwear that died years ago, I am rooting around in old hard drives and journals. This activity has historically been a kind of preamble to creative bursts! I tunnel through journals, forgotten emails and dusty hard drives. The things I find are usually redundant, in that they are ideas I’ve toiled over and brought out into the cold light of critique and coerced into songs, but pretty reliably there are ideas and sketches that just somehow get lost in the shuffle.
They burst up and out, like the hand of a still animate but unfortunate soul reaching into the night air, grass and earth bowing and bending as he claws his way back to the surface. I suppose that makes me the goth kid who was hanging around in the cemetery; my heart stopped for a few beats then leapt into my throat at the sound of tearing lawn followed by a terrible “guuhhh!!” After the initial shock comes the realization that he isn’t the front line of some coming army of the undead but merely an unlucky tourist who pissed off the wrong voodoo priest and got himself a face full of zombie powder.
Then the fogs of digression start to clear …. in comes the understanding that my cerebral process is (for some unknown reason) located in New Orleans, that my ideas have the potential to anger what could be described as witch doctors, and that we are ultimately talking about songs that got lost in the shuffle. So, back to the point.
The song sketches I’ve been sharing here are the lost and overlooked ones. The proverbial “undead”- arms outstretched and eyes wide! They aren’t hungry for brains though, they just want air and ears. So thanks for being such willing and nurturing hosts, and for being patient with my questionable punctuation. (Hi Andrew!) Most people see a dirt covered and scratched up shell of a thing limping towards them and just scream and retreat. But you? No, you flinch a bit then quickly remember that often good things come in deceptive packages.
Burrowing further yet into this now empty grave or disorganized closet, (feel free to choose your own descriptor) there are also song sketches that DID become fully fledged tunes, and this is what I’d like to share with all of you today. I found the original demo for what would eventually be the song ‘Jet Black Crow’ from my Sons Of The Sea project. You’ll notice that some of the lyrics evolved and once this demo found its way into the ears of Brendan O’Brien, he and I crafted a bouncy middle eight that, in my opinion, completed the song. I also invite you to notice how parts and performances of these demos do sometimes make their way onto the final recordings. Case in point, the toy piano bits in the intro and melodica stuff in the chorus’.
The takeaway for me is that making music is non-linear. It comes in waves and is as much a process of digging and unearthing as it is about nowness and presence. All that and it is an unendingly fun challenge. Enjoy!