For those of you who don't know my dad, this basically sums it up...
I'm pretty sure that John O'Donohue and my dad must have known each other in a past life, because that blessing was written for my father for sure.
"The quiet constancy of your gentleness drew no attention to itself, yet filled our home with a climate of kindness where each mind felt free to seek its own direction. As the fields of distance opened inside childhood, your presence was a sheltering tree where our fledgling hearts could rest."
A quiet man, most of the time, my dad is a lover of the simple things in life: a good song, a mug of chamomile tea, and maybe a poem or two by Robert Frost. I think one of the most satisfying things ever is witnessing my dad *truly* find something funny. When something really tickles my his funny bone, he doesn't let out a big guffaw, or clap his hands together and yell with glee - instead, he smiles and quietly chuckles, his shoulders shaking... and sometimes, if you're lucky, a few happy tears squeeze out of his eyes. My family and friends who have been fortunate enough to be a part of moments like this can attest - its pretty amazing!
I grew up listening to my dad play traditional folk songs - he loved old ballads, whaling songs, tunes about farmers and working folk. I have so many wonderful memories of lying in bed in my family's cabin in the woods of Jaffrey, NH, listening to my dad play his guitar in the early hours before the bustling morning began.
This week, I finished recording, mixing and mastering my first solo album. It has been a whirlwind experience. I started working on it in September, and just two and a half months later, its finished! I've been listening to the tracks for the album pretty much non-stop for the past month or so. My ears have been inundated with my melodies and words - its been a bit overwhelming, actually.
But this week, the blessing made me think... these aren't really my melodies, or my words - sure, they came from my brain and my heart... but they also came from some place far deeper than I know, from a place that my father helped to build. The songs he sang - their melodies, their simple language, the pictures they painted in my mind - play a huge part of my songwriting; I can hear how they have influenced my work. But more than all of that, it's my father's unending love for folk music, and his dedication to sharing that love with his family and friends and the whole world, that has had the biggest impact on me and my music.
I've been keeping my dad pretty much in the dark over the past few months in regards to the album - I actually toyed with the idea of not even telling him or my mom that I was making an album until it was done. In the end, I couldn't keep my mouth shut about it, haha. BUT I haven't let either of them listen to any of the rough mixes, or see the artwork or even know the full track list. I want them to be surprised and hear it all as one final product. ... Dad, I know you're reading this now and hoping that maybe I'll give you some sneak peak with this blog post, maybe I'll include a track, or a sliver of the artwork as my art project for the week.......... but no dice, Pops! Sorry! :)
But I will offer up this little diddy... This is a song that brings back so many memories of my dad. I can see him in our living room playing it, or on a bench by the lake in Jaffrey, by the fireplace at the Ayres' house, on a stage in a quiet room... I love this old song, and I love when my dad plays it.
I was lucky enough to have Dana Price and her tremendous violin skills helping me out this week - thanks Dana!
(Though it doesn't really seem like it in the video, 'cause we're sitting so far apart from one another, Dana and I really do like each other! I promise! And next time, we'll look more closely at the framing of the shot, haha!)