Ok so, The Night Country… Well first things first the title comes from a book that I read back in time, by Lauren Eiseley, where the night is described as a boundary we can imagine and sense but not quite cross into, the place outside the porch light, that we can feel the allure of when alone, that we always could cross into.
Just a little disclaimer: you could pick this idea apart, the irony is rich, but I actually don’t really like talking about what an album is “about” (‘what’s it all about… man?) but I like having a dialogue with YOU so here we are.
This album is very much a continuation of The Faraway. Most of the songs were written during a time in my life where I had made a leap from the small town to the city, very much wanting to prove through my own life and to myself and to the woman I love that a dream can be followed all the way through to the end. Optimism and defiance, which in a way sums up the voice of most of the songs I’ve ever written, maybe.
It has really been a long struggle to let this album go. It has been a frustrating time for my music career, to be honest. And so I think I have been making it take longer than necessary, I think maybe I don’t want to let go of that place, where you lay down your cards and proclaim that win or lose you are triumphant, that that can’t be taken away.
Meaning: the process of finishing (not beginning) these albums has been a reckoning with who I was and not who I am. I guess that’s always true but there are versions of you that you want to hold onto… In my case I respect the defiant optimism still in these songs, and even though that stubborn and wide eyed phase has passed naturally, letting this album go is a form of moving forward that is difficult but necessary.
Big deal right? Here’s where you come in… All of these songs are can be read “as let go, set off, and the journey will sort itself out.” If that’s what you need. Whatever you need, you might find it in there, I know I ran the gamut myself.
It’s necessary musically… I’ve never harkened to any era or leaned on nostalgia so much as I did while recording these. I didn’t harken to the 60s or some other musical bullshit like that, but I harkened to the forever idealized version of my musician self that wailed inconsolably and banged on guitar strings violently and lived in a woodsy bubble removed from coolness without knowing or caring that I was removed. Making music in a vacuum, purposefully not tapping into the endless stream of new, not referencing anything directly, and seeing where all these years of songwriting take me.
And these songs are a foundation and I will move forward gladly, now, but in a way they do justice to the albums I always wanted to make, back when the idea of recording a pretty good sounding album was a distant romantic vision. This one is getting closer (though infinitely far away) to my platonic ideal of an album (Nebraska or Astral Weeks are others for me.)
I’ve nothing to lose with my music, which is liberating. And so there might be some balance here.
And the music should speak for itself and it will, regardless, but I thought I’d write this out and take note of how this particular time and this particular longing was especially tough to unveil. And I hope it speaks to your change and to your resistance to change and to the struggle to reconcile the past that is always present and I hope that what comes through is that that process also yields something beautiful in its own way, even if on the surface it is gnarled and dusty and heavy, inside maybe it’s the light that is easy to carry that reminds you who you are. No big deal, just that. Just the you that approaches the edge of night, the scary territory, that knows you can turn back but does not turn back.
And this time for real!
I can’t wait for y’all to hear this album which has been coming together for so long. I literally am going to go back to bed and sleep until February 3.
It’s been since Redwood Summer since I put out a more acoustic album, and since never that I’ve done an album that I feel so strong about all the way through.
Listen to three pre-release tracks for yourself…
And thank you.