I began work on many of the songs that found their way onto The Wilderness in late 2007/ early 2008, (months before my family and I took off for China, the trip that would inspire Renmin Park, the album that would kick off The Nomad Series). Some friends of mine had graciously given me the use of their writers retreat: an old crumbling cottage perched high upon the Niagara Escarpment about one hour north of Toronto. I spent several days a month, over the course of that winter, huddled by the enormous woodstove, watching the snow drift and the birds come into the feeders, plunking away on my J200, trying to figure out what direction our next album should take. Some of these songs made it as far as the concert stage, and throughout the Spring and Summer of 2008 we performed them on tour. But I could never get a handle on the collection of songs that was beginning to emerge. They never felt part of a single “piece”; I couldn’t figure out what tied them all together and therefore had no direction to chase them and without a direction it seemed pointless to try and form them into a defined collection of songs. But then my trip to China intervened and with that came a whole set of new ideas and the preliminary concept for the Nomad Series. From the outset it was decided that many of the songs that we had been working on before China, would be held on to until Volume 4. We figured that with the luxury of time and distance we would be able to get some perspective on these songs, so we put them away.
Sure enough, time and distance did the trick, but so did the chance coupling of this set of songs and Enrique’s winterscape that graces the album cover. The Wilderness which I had originally chosen as a “place holder” while we mocked up the cover, became the perfect title. Enrique’s painting became the physical manifestation of these songs, this is what these songs “looked” like. And the title, The Wilderness, in some odd way seemed to define what these songs were actually “about”: fragility, emptiness, loneliness, beauty, loss, desperation, the delicate balancing act that makes up a life. They are about being lost in the wilderness of age, the wilderness of parenthood, in the wilderness of just trying to find meaning and substance, happiness and truth in ones day to day life. They are about standing alone in middle of it all, breathing in the cold still air and wondering.
Fairytale is one of the first songs that I wrote for The Wilderness. Here is my demo for it. (The Wilderness will be for sale from our site starting February 23rd)
The Nomad Tour begins on February 23rd. The first leg brings us through the North East USA: Ithaca, West Long Branch, Providence, Ridgefield, Annapolis, Alexandria, Norfolk, Charlottesville, Charleston, Harrisburg, Boston, Philadelphia, West Hampton Beach.