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HOW I SPENT MY SUMMER VACATION

A large enveloping silence
secreted me in its shell.
With me one enormous
hummingbird leapt on its
intricate machinery.
The apostrophe of an insect
tested the stereo of my hearing
and Julia separated continents of silence
with the shutter of her camera
photographing bone.

Indifferent clouds measured meaningless time
Whiskey jacks groaned and complained

We inhabited the shell, wind,
beasts, bone, metaphors and all, guests
of an unguessable mechanism,
rafted on a sea of breeze and trees,
bent grasses, losses, emptiness and streams

Unknowable, unseen.

A measure of time went by
and then went by again
like a cartoon backdrop.
We lifted the voices of our eyes
to a silence made visible by small diacritical marks
waiting for nothing.

Fields grew.

A few notes on the songs ...

DUBIOUS ELEGY - This is a song about a guy I used to know. It's not a very flattering portrait, but some people who knew him say it's pretty accurate. There's a Flamenco version, with a chromatic harp.  Then there's an early home mix from Beautiful Ruins, with a slightly out of tune guide vocal, but this mix was for the guitars, and the six or so harmonic vocal tracks done by my sister Jennifer. 
GET OUT AND DANCE, or SHED YOUR DREAD - as it was later called.  In this version you can hear the Foley sound effects at the end a little more clearly, though synth marimba is hardly a replacement for live violin.

GET OUT OF IRAQ - This was supposed to be a children's song, but somehow it changed. I wrote it around 2006 when I realized the implications of some 100 people a day dying every single day post the invasion of Iraq.  When all the smoke clears, this will be seen as another Vietnam - no doubt.  Folk songs about an administration so cynical and deluded seem almost laughably impotent, but it's the best I could do.

LITTLE FLAME / LEGO TOWN - Two demos that highlight the dubious appeal of a synth keyboard which actually features a whammy bar. Lego Town on the album was a live recording with the great Jack Breakfast on piano, doing three very different versions - hard to pick one.  The song was based on a poem my sister wrote.  I really liked the strangely evocative phrase "Lego town". 
THE DAY THE PLANES ALL STOPPED / DISMANTLED BY AN IDIOT - Two demos recorded with Ryan Granville-Martin on drums and Steve Zsirai on bass. 

EASY WAY OUT / IMAGINE - Two covers of two favourite songwriters. The engine sounds at the end of each song were real.
GO BACK TO SLEEP - There was an idea to insert little 30 second songs & instrumentals in between longer songs on Night for Day. This song was recorded but didn't seem to fit the album.  It might be on the next one, tentatively entitled, "Minor Matters".
THANKS...AND SORRY - I recorded my album Beautiful Ruins without knowing if I would actually release it, so I did a lot of home mixing just to play with different sounds.  This version has a bit of a dub feel on the drums and the end elements are organized differently than on the album.

AMBIGUITY / TUSCANY STONE - Two live songs from a recent show at The Tranzac in Toronto.  Drew Jurecka plays accordion on Tuscany Stone and violin on Ambiguity.  Michael Herring is on upright bass.  I particularly like the super-loud can being opened in the middle of Tuscany Stone. 
Covers
  Band friends The Parkdale Revolutionary Orchestra released a brilliant new album The Torture Memos on December 11th at The Tranzac in Toronto.  Ben and Kristin Mueller-Heaslip of the band covered Chris Warren's "The Day the Planes all Stopped" at the Tranzac recently.