In Frank Capra's indomitable film 'Mr. Smith Goes To Washington', a wide-eyed doe of a man leaves his home to add one heartfelt voice to the conversation, and conversion, of humankind through politics. Facing as he goes along the raw gears of a system built not for the common good, but power, and learns as he loses the hardest lesson of all; that it is God's law we fight for, and not ourselves, which in turn becomes the truest enrichment of all: possession of the Truth.
But what is indeed 'true'? Ask a neighbor, and he or she will oftentimes give you answers that are wholly unlike your own, drawn from sources closer to copied digital messages and myths than the wellspring of history. As if this epoch alone is wholly made anew, and our ancestors were infinitely more stupid than we. Yet we in the West endeavor by a standard of living they could only dream of, and would laugh (I presume) at our wastefulness and common cruelty; for what we tear down we rip with distant hands, and behind the mask of a helix ID.
Mark of the Beast, indeed.
So feel free to align where I place myself in that story; that is, if you can accept that I was once innocent. But innocence in these sinews reigns no more, and with it's abandonment went those star-zapping powers that sang so readily about my descents into the glass darkly. And the trinkets traded freely for faith.
Indeed, words are usually powerless without heart. And by that standard I stand accused. For often I've said far too much, and too often, without some clear intent by which to measure myself other than a wish to be proven right by time. So if there is a judge listening, it is here I wish to resign my long-beleaguered suit against so many. The grounds upon which it labored, meritless.
So what does that leave untouched? A simple impression found, and the music comes of it.
For newer sights I look towards ruinous America, and her open road. Or something approximating the mightiest byway of the 1800's, the grand Mississippi, and that closest urbane chimera, Route 66. Add one ruddy military vet and a stack of maps, and we'll hit out on those same veins and tributaries, heading from Chicago first towards more temperate climes. Hopeful that I might write a new album by using the milk of Delta mud, amongst other things.
Too obscure thus far? How's this to be straight...?
My mate Justin and I are set to head out and chart the beginnings of a new documentary I'm aching to make about America. And as we meet strangers and friends in living rooms and backyards and porches, and near campfires and rusting trolleys, we'll need your help of where to go and what we must see. If that intrigues you, and you or yours have family along our route, we'd like you to contact us with good heart. For we'll need help and support to make this work as I imagine it in my mind. To sketch at least the beginnings of a project that may be so vast it'll take much more than a 3 week roustabout to understand.
For example, my grandfather was at one juncture of his life a coal miner. So though it may seem I'd be more interested in where the cool kids hang about, we'll be much more taken with documenting the stories of an elderly class that can share impressions of the country as it once was; good, bad, or indifferent. And in order to do so with integrity, I'll need to be invited into old-fashioned parlors and the like to retain some sense memory of what's come and gone. In exchange, I'll bring along a guitar to play, in what we'll call an unofficial tour before the IN PLAINSONG shows; all of which go on sale this Friday, February 5th.
As of now, our start date is immediate, where we'll head southward along the river Illinois to the Mississippi, and then west, posting an intended route each morning; but flexible to where the wind take us. To make what I'll deign as a living postcard before all is so faded from view that it is all but unrecognizable through pictures. For what stands left of the temples of Rome but what the Caesars forgot to destroy?
So find us if you will, and guide us...(our contact information can be found below, at the bottom of this post).
Speaking of the IN PLAINSONG tour, work has begun on constructing a long and varied set, which this round will feature in its midst a suite of Siamese Dream songs; much like the eight-or-so from Adore we did last year. The neat thing about the constructed suites being you can hear all the pieces together, strung out and fairly close to the form in which they were written. And judging by the most recent interest in this album, I'll presume this will be a highlight each night.
If not, we look to touch on every other period of my songwriting for you (if possible with only so much time), including tunes from Zwan and The Future Embrace, and maybe even or two I've helped others write. And certainly with Jimmy Chamberlin there, plus Jeff Schroeder, Sierra Swan, and Katie Cole (multi-instrumentalists all), our choices for presentation and dynamics are wide open.
We hope to see you there!