I wrote most of the songs on The Department of the West in consideration of land and place, my own relationship to it as well as its historical uses. Wide open spaces have always been refuge and escape. Getting outside in natural landscapes is how I dealt with my family growing up, how I’ve found solace as an adult, and how more recently, I’ve made cohabitation in a small house work.
While this record is still ‘new’ it feels like it’s from another era, as of course, like everyone, life is different now. I haven’t been venturing too far beyond a two-mile radius. Trip plans have been shelved and I haven’t left Alameda Island in more than a month. It’s been more than a week since I’ve been in a car. It’s a time of acute interiority.
I’m happy to know that wildlife is recovering and expanding into the wild lands that much more without me, without us, in it. Instead of big land, my anchors have been walks, the music, routines and house projects (like a lot of people I’ve made bread and am now contemplating which vegetables to grow) and my yoga and Buddhist practices. I’m excited about the personal shifts happening, and, as I read the news and posts about deaths and frontline experiences, I’m very aware of the privilege I have right now to even contemplate them. Life will never be the same for all sorts of reasons. I’m very interested in who we’ll all be on the other side of this.
Back to The Department of the West. While I think every day is earth day, tomorrow is designated Earth Day. And in honor of that collective bow to the planet I’m donating half of the proceeds of The Department of the West @bandcamp to The Sierra Club. If you haven’t got a copy of these 11 songs already, I hope you’ll purchase them this week!
Thank you and take care out there.
The Department of the West
1. Lit by the Mystery
2. Let the River do the Running
4. All Signs
5. A Garden
6. Department of the West
7. My New Sweet
8. Long Roads
9. The Other Side
10. River Stones
11. What the Land Will Tell You