It's been a really long time this time since I wrote a new post here. It's not that I didn't have anything to say. Those who know me know that's rarely the case. It's because I've been really busy and haven't had a lot of time to say anything here.
The main thing I've been busy with, is working on a new solo album. And it's finally done! It's titled Coming Home and it consists of 14 original songs ranging in style from kind of country/folk, to folk/rock, to alternative. It's not punk rock. I want to make that perfectly clear so no one buys it hoping to hear new music from me in the vein of the Subhumans only to be disappointed.
I'm very happy with it overall. I had a lot of really great musicians on it helping me out. Some of them were friends and some of them were session players and they did a great job of making my rudimentary guitar playing and singing sound pretty good. I also had 2 great recording engineers and a great mastering engineer help to get the sound I was after.
Of the 14 songs on Coming Home, 7 of them were originally recorded and released on a cassette tape I made while I was in prison. (For those of you who don't know the story, I was sentenced in 1984 to ten years federal prison time for my involvement with the armed revolutionary group Direct Action, aka the Squamish Five). The cassette tape was titled Songs From Underground. While I always felt the songs were strong and a surprising number of people liked the tape, the recording and production qualities of Songs From Underground were pretty shoddy. It was all recorded on a 4-track cassette recorder with crappy microphones, poor facilities (you can imagine) and not a whole lot of experienced studio musicians to choose from. Ever since the tape's release, I was hoping for a chance to redo the songs. With Coming Home I got that chance and I think it turned out great. Huge improvement.
Of the other 7 songs, some of them were written while I was still in prison, but written after the release of Songs From Underground, and the rest were written since my release. Most of the 14 songs somehow relate to my prison experiences, if not directly, then at lest in terms of my having to relearn how to navigate through the outside world with it's complex political and social realities. I'm still learning and while I definitely have a lot of very strong opinions about many things, I realize as I get older that I actually know very little. I think the album reflects this sentiment as well.
Besides encompassing diverse musical styles, this album also has huge mood swings ranging from very upbeat optimistic messages, to very dark pessimistic thoughts as well. That's probably partly a result of trying to keep a brave face on while actually cowering in a prison cell. But it's also because, although I believe we must keep on trying to make the world a better place through political activism, I've never been a terribly optimistic person. I find I have a powerful need to express my negative feelings too and even if that becomes a bit odious from time to time, it's better than being in denial.
Coming Home will be available in digital download form and as a physical CD via CD Baby's distribution network on December 2/2014. If you get the physical CD, you'll get a more in depth background to the album in the liner notes and short explanations of what each individual song is about. It kind of reads like a little history book. The album may also one day be available on vinyl (depending on whether or not some rich benefactor or crowd sourcing folks decide to help me out. I'm not going to hold my breath!). I do hope you'll check it out when you get a chance. Keep on looking for and proclaiming the truth behind appearances. Shout above the noise. All the best.