April 27, 2009

sonos train moving at super sonospeed

Hello all! Oh boy, have we had an exciting few weeks....finishing up some bonus tracks, writing & arranging for our future ChristmaHannuKwanza album, moving forward with album art, brainstorming about merchandise, learning three new tunes to add to the set, doing two gigs @ Home Restaurant in Silverlake, drinking lots of coffee, laughing quite a lot, sleeping very little, etc. etc. 

Somewhere in the midst of all this hullabaloo, we flew to Charleston, West Virginia for a performance at Mountain Stage w/ Neko Case. She was amazing, of course, and we also got to share the stage with some other incredible artists - Crooked Fingers, Vic Chesnutt & Greg Brown. Everyone was super nice & we had a great time celebrating & enjoying some margaritas together after the gig. The whole show was recorded & will be broadcast on your local NPR station soon.

*In case you miss when it airs, it'll soon be in the archives on www.mountainstage.org
*Also, for a great written review of the show, go...HERE!

One of the new songs that we've been working on since returning from WV is an arrangement of my own - Bon Iver's "Re: Stacks". The name of the band, which is actually just one insanely talented folk singer-songwriter named Justin Vernon, was taken from bon hiver which in French means good winter. If you haven't heard Bon Iver, you serrrrriiiouuuuussslyyy need to download his album For Emma, Forever Ago, like yesterday. His music is like nothing else I've ever heard, and the backstory is something as well. After the devastating breakups of a band, a relationship & a bout with a serious illness, Vernon left home & spent several months completely alone in a cabin in the remote northern woods of Wisconsin. He didn't go there with the intention of writing music, but rather to be alone, to rebuild, to heal himself....

"It's been painted in the reviews of the record as this magical four months of hunkering down and writing a record. In reality I headed out to the cabin because I just didn't know what to do next in my life. Once I got there though it just felt like all the blocks that I had put in my brain and heart in terms of musical expression started to loosen. They had been there for so long and the only thing that was able to loosen them up, and loosen me up, was having that much space...." - justin vernon

He arrived at the cabin with little but some guitars, a microphone and a desire to find some peace of mind, and left with complete recordings of the songs that became For Emma, Forever Ago. His music is beautiful yet tragic, haunting yet uplifting, cold and dark, yet warm and comforting, all at the same time. I first heard his story & his music at a point in my life when I really needed to hear it, and it has resonated with me since the first time I heard it. Thus I was inspired to do an arrangement of one of his songs for Sonos. 

Okayyyyy wow so I have basically just written a small essay about Bon Iver. I could probably go on forever but now I'll leave him for to you to discover on your own if you are so intrigued. If you want to check out some tracks to decide if it is your cup of tea, I'd recommend downloading Blindsided, Lump Sum and Re:Stacks. I was particularly inspired to do an arrangement of Re:Stacks for us for many reasons, but I think I'll wait to go into that until my next blog...for now, check out the original & get excited to hear our take on it at a future Sonos show :) 

If you are still reading this, I am truly shocked. Goodnight!

xox, jess

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