Samorost 3, an adventure puzzle game by Anamita design, follows a curious space gnome who uses the powers of a magic flute to travel across the cosmos in search of its mysterious origins. Visit nine unique and alien worlds teeming with colorful challenges, creatures and surprises to discover, brought to life with beautiful artwork, sound and music.
The little gnome's horn sounds like a clarinet. He lives in a world of floating planets made of various natural pieces, a world full of creatures that communicate through sound and the player progresses through the game solving sound based puzzles.
Like other brilliantly composed soundtracks of Anamita games, such as Machinarium, the magical soundtrack of Samorost 3 is a blend of live acoustic instruments and electronica, with handpan like organic bell tones and ambient / chill percussion / beats.
The water wheel well organ is a gorgeous instrument that you play with an 8 note controller to play the melody.
A mouse that lives in one of the instrument’s pipes sings a song that you can mimic to get an achievement .
Each achievement in the game has its own sound. There’s a section in the menu that has all the achievement symbols that you can click on to spin them to mix their sounds together. All of them together make quite a busy song but a few of them together make fun music mixing.
Speaking of which : There’s a musical pond near the gnome's lighthouse that is fun to play with and there is a band of lizards that sing a song together based on how you manipulate the plants in the pond next to them.
The world of Samorost 3 is full of communication through emotional sound, no words needed.
The bug in the picture below hums tones from its antenna when you strum them like the strings of a harp.
Pretty much every thing you click on makes a sound and then you have a gorgeous, creative soundtrack by Tomas "Floex" Dvorak.
Samorost 3 is a very fascinating, beautiful, musical and creative sound puzzle game to play. You can download it here.
King Roy Wing is a five piece indie folk band in my current hometown of Ashland, Oregon. I recently met with Dan Sherrill at Mix Cafe in Ashland, and we talked about their new album, These Rolling Hills, which he produced.
The cover photo was taken at the historic Hanley Farm.
As a producer and sound engineer and one who knows that not all houses are built the same, Dan sought out a natural, untreated space that had real character for the recording.
"when I walk into any room that I’m potentially going to record in, I clap, just to hear what the reflections sound like, to listen to the space, too often the room sounds dead... it’s all about vibe...it’s not like I want some cathedral ceiling, all I want is somewhere that has clarity. "
The group decided to rent a house deep in the country near Tiller, Oregon and for five long days they recorded the songs.
"we moved all the furniture into this one room, the downstairs floor with the kitchen we turned into a recording studio. "
“What I really wanted to focus on for this record was to capture what we do live as a group, to recreate our live dynamic, while having control” which Dan did by tracking the album, recording the instruments on separate tracks and then layering them together. Dan finished the album at his home studio, known as Rent A Puppy Records, doing the mixing and the remaining components of the recording.
The songs of These Rolling Hills, written by Michael Henry, might seem fairly simple at first but the arrangements are complex. “We all had our hands on every song, Henry wrote the melody and lyrics, we arranged our parts." says Sherrill.
The mood of the album’s start, with the song Temperate Son, opens the heart like the sunrise, like waking up to a particular eventful day that perhaps you had been anticipating and step forward into courageously. It is evident in the tones of lead singer Michael Henry’s voice and the soft layered harmonies that what is being communicated here is sincere. The strings swell like waves of honey and are lovely and uplifting in a Horsefeathers type way. The song builds into its own landscape and after a wholesome double bass featured section performed by Jenica Smith, the piece deepens with some electric layers to boldly reach the edge of where you might not have thought the song would travel but once you are there it feels like quite the welcome exploration. A banjo politely trickles its way in to start the next tune, Over The Noz, an instrumental. With a spring in its step, this piece progresses from a Goat Rodeo Session type tune to a carefree bluegrass journey toward a magical land. The next song, Copper Wolf, delivers some down home grit along with some slapping bass, chunky guitar and a solid dobro performance by Gaur Groover. The album returns to its original sentiment with the title track, These Rolling Hills, a heartwarming and longing folk-hymn, a timeless stretch of the Americana highway that feels so familiar. From there we arrive at Cherokee Hill where we find its story supported by some creative classic electric guitar and poignant fiddle melodies by Hanna Winters.
Apollo feels strangely wonderful and with the magic that the well balanced voices deliver in the lyrics, it’s easy to appreciate the unique, creative melody and picturesque lyrics. The song splashes into electric guitar land until the peppery notes of another instrumental, American Mastodon, come jumping in like a refreshing river. The tight string-band interaction of the instruments here are really fun and feel like a sophisticated bluegrass celebration.
Weeds Amongst the Wheat and Ojai Pixie keep the traditional music heartbeat rolling with multiple flavors of bluegrass glory. Finally, Maria, a sweet, slow burn delivers stellar harmonies, Dan Sherrill’s lush telecaster and soaring fiddle.
Dan Sherrill of King Roy Wing
“We're excited to see what’s next ” Sherrill says.
After chatting more about songwriting, Dan and I walked over to his house and checked out his studio space and gear:
a glance at some of the equipment that Dan used to record These Rolling Hills
These Rolling Hills is a glistening picture of Americana. The album pumps like a mellow and full bodied river carving through an isolated range and all the while inviting the listener to plunge in the water and soak in the refreshing tributaries that spring up beneath rocks and join the waters wide.
Listen to the album here on Spotify :
learn more about King Roy Wing on their Website here :
I am very happy to have found Cross-Channel Music, a project from London that has produced a gorgeous 4 song EP called Average Rock Star. The 33 second "intro" sets a fantastic wave of emotion with layered horns like the perfect soundtrack to watching the sun rise majestically out of the ocean's horizon. Then, with staccato strings bubbling like clockwork, the song "Turtle" emerges like the fascination of a hundred baby turtles cracking out of their shells and waddling their way across the sand to the water.
Cross-Channel Music's singer/songwriter + music composer Pierre Lassegues, delivers his track Turtle like he is building a majestic sand castle in front of you. His rich baritone vocals, percussive effervescence and endearing cello swell the waves of emotion and, one of my favorite parts, a very wholesome arpeggio layer of sun soaked electric guitar, pulls you into this kingdom like a wide eyed child discovering the kaleidoscope of life. Meanwhile, the lyrics shed light on an otherwise humble creature to be a regal king of this fantasy land and of course relatable to our human condition with the shells we keep to cover ourselves but find our way from stuck on our back to our feet once again.
" the world moves fast and you move slow...."
This song soars gorgeously. The rest of the tracks on the EP are just as well crafted. Enjoy listening to this beautiful track and support the artist by purchasing a download of the track.
Pierre recorded the EP with Jim Wallis at Bella Union studio back in June last year. The beautiful Brass parts are played by Will Dollard. The EP’s haunting cover art, is Pierre's good friend, illustrator and designer Yannick Rigour.
The Oregon Shakespeare Festival is now closed to the public and the circuit of wonderful wineries, bars and other live music venues here in Southern Oregon, where I normally perform have closed their doors so I am focusing on delivering my music online. Live performances were a large part of my income so now since I am working from home I need your support and here are some great ways that you can contribute.
Buy CDs, stickers and other Merch. from the Magnetic West Music online SHOP.
Download my music on Bandcamp - I make more from this than I do from streaming.
Here are the links to the Bandcamp accounts for my various projects:
Son Ravello / Magnetic West Music / Kites & Crows
Become a patron of Magnetic West Music on Patreon.
For as little as $1. a month you can support the creative ongoings of my music convergence projects and receive exclusive content.
plus Patrons of Magnetic West Music ( The Real Deal tier + up ) will receive a CD pack in the mail!
Come explore more of what this Patreon place is all about, check out the tiers I have made or create your own, watch the video < < HERE > >
Listen to my music on streaming platforms, every play is monetized:
Son Ravello : Spotify / Apple Music / AmazonMusic
Kites & Crows : Spotify / Apple Music / AmazonMusic
Add a song to your Spotify or Apple playlist.
Share links to your favorite tracks
Subscribe to my YouTube channel ( + enjoy watching the videos ! )
Include my music in your own videos.
search for music at MagneticWestMusic.com
Performing music can be very overwhelming to me sometimes. There’s a part of each performance that always has me questioning it. Every time I am onstage or every time I post a video of myself singing, I question it. How can I be sure that this is sincere? Should I be so self-assured to share this with an audience and assume it is valuable? What part of me needs to perform my songs? We all want to be liked, but am I just showing off? Does that part exist purely to feel accepted and admired? How do I differentiate between the mindsets of egotistical and self-confident in performance? Are these questions that only I seek the answer to, or are audiences keen on being aware whether or not the performer is too ego driven? What parts of your ego do you not share with others or even allow yourself to develop? What parts of your ego are helpful to you for being confident to deliver something that you can share with the world?
It is humbling to share your heartfelt work through performing music. There’s certainly a specific humility that is needed to get up on stage but it is obvious that you have to believe in yourself as well. What drives you to take it out of the bedroom and onto the stage? Often, after a performance, someone will express to me how my music made them feel, how it helped them through a hard time. Well, there’s the proof, my music is useful. Still, I have to believe that I am not the only one that finds the questions will find their way back to me. What if the performance you are sharing isn’t helpful, or doesn’t add value in anyway to someone else’s life, well then, what’s the use of sharing it?
Carrie Cheadle, a mental skills trainer, who approaches these questions of humility from the field of sport psychology, answers this very well :
“There is a difference between having a healthy ego and being egotistical. Once you cross the line to egotistical – it can be detrimental to your performance. There’s a continuum that has self-assured on one end and arrogance on the other. When you’re self-assured, you’re confident in yourself and confident in your ability regardless of the competition and what’s going on around you. When you’re arrogant, your “confidence” comes from exaggerating your importance and belittling others.
Working on humility helps you move towards the self-assured side on the continuum and a great way to work on humility is to stop passing judgement on others. We ALL do it. At some point you’ll find yourself talking shit about someone else in order to feel better about yourself or your own situation. We don’t consciously realize we’re doing it, but that’s exactly what we’re doing. One of the most AMAZING impacts of actively working on humility and having a deep respect for the people around you, is that it can actually help you improve your own performance. When you stop judging others, you stop judging yourself. When you stop focusing on them, you start focusing on you.”
This mindset can help performers manage their emotions and persevere under pressure. What are the other ways that you have found help you reach your peak performance without the battle of the ego hindering your flow?
I think the best music streaming app. to have on your phone is Spotify. You can try it out, for free, and if you want to pay 10 bucks a month and get Premium, you can avoid having to listen to advertisements. If others in your household want Premium then you can get The Family Plan for 15.99 a month. That’s the price of one CD. All the music and podcasts you want, in your pocket, for that price is pretty good. If you stick with the free plan you’ll be limited to listening to music in shuffle mode and can only skip a certain amount of tracks per hour. A lot of other people seem to love Spotify as much as I do. Spotify has around 30 million paying subscribers and nearly 90 million users total, which is more than any other music-streaming platform out there. To put it in perspective, Apple Music has about 13 Million subscribers.
I listen to music and podcasts everyday and Spotify is my main source. If you decide to download the app. and try it out, here’s a simple guide to get started and have all the music and podcasts you need to build the soundtrack of your life.
Home Sweet Home
The Home section displays Spotify’s great approach to music for lifestyle convergence. It contains your recent playlists, new episodes of podcasts that you follow, playlists hand-picked for you by Spotify, music you might like based on what you’ve listened to, the main songs you listen to, playlists that you’ve created or ones you follow, songs you can’t get enough of, other recommendations and one of my favorite sections, Mood.
Search for a song, an artist, a podcast topic…
Tap the search tab, a little magnifying glass, and type in something you are searching for. If you like the song and want to save it to Your Library you can tap the little heart on the right side of the player button. Spotify will give you matches to your query as you type, including artists, songs, playlists, albums, podcasts, podcast episodes and profiles that match your search.
Search / BROWSE
Inside the search section you can Browse . Explore Spotify’s amazingly vast catalog of featured playlists, charts, new releases and genres to build the soundtrack of your life. The tiles at the top are playlists that Spotify thinks you'll enjoy, based on your listening habits.
When you are in the Search Section, notice the camera icon in the top-right; this lets you scan special Spotify tags that link to a specific playlist or song. You might see these tags on Artist’s concert posters or promotional materials, or you can scan it from a friend who has opened a tag of a song on their screen .
Spotify’s Genres & Moods section is a great way to cue up playlists based on activities. This is one of the features that proves Spotify is keen to the idea that Music Makes the Moment!
The last tab is YOUR LIBRARY but if you are new to Spotify, then you haven’t built much of a library yet, so let’s look at a few other main components of using Spotify first and before long you will have built your library and you'll see how it's the soundtrack of your life.
-Now Playing -
The Now Playing bar always shows at bottom of screen right above the navigation tabs.. Tap it to see full details, including Play/Pause and Seek buttons, Shuffle and Repeat functions. Touch the three-dot menu int the upper right hand side of the screen for options pertaining to the current track. Here, you can access a bunch of functions like adding the song to a playlist, putting it queue, share it, go to a radio station based on the songs and more.
-Follow a Playlist -
Scroll to see the Playlist results from your search. If you like a playlist and want to save it to your playlists then you can follow it and it will get added to your playlists.
-Turn the Radio On -
You can choose a radio station that’s pre-made or tap the "+" button at the top to create a station based on a song or artist.
Build your library
The very last tab in the app is Your Library. It's where you can store and organize all the music you find on Spotify. This tab is a collection of all the music you’ve saved in Spotify. You’ll find your Playlists, Albums, Liked Songs, Artists, any stations that you created in the Radio tab and more for easy browsing. Here you can also also find everything you’ve recently played,
Want to Make a Playlist? You have several options:
> Tap the option button (circle with three dots) next to a song and hit "Add to playlist." You can add it to an existing one that you created (not someone else's you're following) or create a new Playlist with this song.
> Go to the Playlists section in Your Music, tap the Edit button in the corner, then the "+" that appears in the upper-left corner.
When you create a playlist, you can decide whether to make it public or not. If it’s public, anyone can search for it and it will appear on your user page. Right-click a playlist and choose Make Public to send it out to the masses.
To further build your playlist you’ll see Recommended Songs for your playlist if you scroll and You can click Add to drop these into your playlist to make it even better.
> Build a Playlist with Your Friends
Right-click it and choose Collaborative Playlist. Share the link and other Premium users can edit it and add to it. note: you need Premium to make Collaborative Playlists on a mobile device.
Going on a hike or road trip to a remote place? You can Download songs for offline listening.
To download music, go to Your Library. At the top of any playlist, album, artist, or your entire Songs list, flip the switch to "Available offline."
It is recommended that you connect to Wi-Fi and charger cord first because downloading songs sucks up data and battery power. You can listen to that music even when your device is in airplane mode — and it won’t use your data if you are online.
Line ‘em Up!
Queue songs to play next. You can queue up music on the fly by tapping the option button next to a song (circle with three dots) and choosing "Add to Up Next." To view the queue, go to the Now Playing screen (tap the bar at the bottom of the app) and hit the icon in the upper-right corner (three lines).
Some additional activities:
Share a Song or Playlist:
Spotify makes it easy to share music and podcasts with others.
To share on mobile, tap the three-dot icon on any artist, album, or playlist page, or next to a song. Tap Share and you’ll see several sharing options, including Copy Link.
Discover New Music:
The Related Artists section on every artist's page suggests other artist you might like. Right below the list of popular tracks, you'll see a little section with a list of similar artists. Choose one and explore.
Follow your friends in the app to you view (and add) their playlists, see what music they're listening to and directly send them music you like. To find and add friends, go to Your Music and tap your photo at the top-right corner. Hit "Find Friends." You can also go to the main search bar and look for them there.
Follow an Artist:
Use this feature to get notifications when an artist you like releases new music or adds it to Spotify for the first time. Just go to an artist's page and hit "Follow" at the top.
Some settings you might want to play with:
Go to your Library and hit the gear icon at the top. There are a lot of settings to choose from, so here are some important ones:
Gapless playback. This is my favorite setting. You can take out the gap between songs with this feature. You can even adjust the crossfade slider to make the songs overlap which is great for continuous play for workouts, wedding dances and events like that when you don’t want the music to stop.
Stream / download quality. You can set download & stream quality to Normal if you want to save some data.
Offline mode. Enable this mode and Spotify will only let you play downloaded music.
As a music consumer that grew up making mix tapes on cassette and saving ups my allowance to by a CD, I am simply amazed by Spotify and love all of the features for integrating all of my favorite music into my life. One of my main uses of play-listing on is for fitness and Spotify even has special features for that purpose. Stay tuned here for an upcoming guide to using Spotify for fitness. In the mean time, explore all the playlists that I’ve created, follow them, collaborate with me.
Share some of your playlists and favorite songs and podcasts on Spotify here in the comments section below.
Song stuck in your head?
We all know, stuck-song syndrome happens. In fact, according to a Finnish study, about 92% of people experience this cognitive itch weekly and these types of parasites are clearly not consciously self induced.
Is it a clear sign of a good song? Does it signify that the song is well endowed
with catchy melodies to slosh around in your noggin whether you want them to or not? Indeed, no matter if you like the song or not, it'll get in there. You hear someone humming it or it is playing in the grocery store or from the radio on your way to work and you say “thanks a lot, now that song is stuck in my head !”
Does a memory trigger a repetitive loop that your brain is needing to express? Is there something you see that triggers a song? Are you merely filling the void of a bored mind with an uplifting beat? It could be any combination of these triggers but the musical simplicity, repetition and vocalization of something such as the “doot-do do-dootie-doot” in the baby shark song makes the sound swim around in your fishbowl head, feeding on your brain for days.
This unique musical phenomenon, scientifically known as "involuntary musical imagery”, or INMI comes from the German orwhurm."
Experts on INMI from Goldsmiths, University of London indicate that music with notes that last longer but are closer together in pitch are more likely to get stuck in your head. Perhaps a good example of this would be the Star Wars Imperial March song ? Oops sorry if that is stuck in your head now! The scientists created a model that could predict whether a tune has the potential to take up residence in your head with an over 80% success rate. Why is it usually just a snippet? Something in that part of that song that hooked you in?
Is there an emotion that triggers a song? Perhaps we have this innate ability to store a song in our radio head so we can pass along the vibration and communicate the message to ourselves or perhaps our brain waves get addicted to the pattern.
FREE THE SHARK!
It’s been said that a song gets stuck in your head because you haven’t heard the end of it. You’ve been exposed to a pieces of it and it won’t go away so to get it out of your head you need to listen to the whole song. Does this work? Is this some sort of survival tactic for music to stay active in human culture?
The other option is to replace the song with another one. In your experience is this a guaranteed fix? Does it cure the problem? Can it chase the baby shark but not be so
catchy itself to take it’s place endlessly sending waves to your inner ear?
These scientists call it the the "saturate and seek closure" method. Listen to the tune all the way through, at full volume, preferably singing along. By concentrating on the full version of the tune, the tune that haunts your inner ear will be broadcast by your radio heart beat until the very last chord fades from your mind.
How could the practical or therapeutic uses of ear-worms benefit for our brains and mental health? Try and anchor a melody in your head all day and see what happens.
Have you seen Dead To Me?
Dead to Me is a fantastic dark comedy created by Liz Feldman which premiered on May 3, 2019 on Netflix. The series stars Christina Applegate and Linda Cardellini as grieving women who bond during therapy. If you are a fan of the show, like me, you will be pleased to hear that it has been renewed for a second season! Sweet! Recently, at the 71st Primetime Emmy Awards, Christina Applegate received a nomination for outstanding lead actress in a comedy series, which is well deserved because she is brilliant in this series. If you've seen it, you know what I am talking about, if you haven't seen it, I highly suggest it, and I'm not working for Netflix or anything, I'm just a music lover, and yes of course, I really like the sound track. The music is fantastically curated by music supervisor Tricia Halloran. Listen to the playlist I made on here and please follow Magnetic West Music on Spotify.
It's important to have a Music Performance Agreement between you and the venue so the terms are clear and there's no gray area to figure out during or after the gig. Send this form ahead of time to the booking agent, talent buyer or music coordinator at the venue if they don't send you one first.
On the form you will of course include all of your Contact Information. If your act has multiple members then this is a good way to have one member be the point person. It is very important to have a phone number that the talent buyer can use to reach you easily for updates to the gig or contact when you are on the road.
The performance Date is helpful to keep clear for scheduling, travel and information for publicity and obviously showing up on the right date for your gig and making sure the venue doesn't double book you. Pinpoint the location / address of the venue to plug into your maps app. so you can arrive in a timely manner and plan your travel time. If your venue is in your home town and you play there a lot then maybe mapping it out isn't important but this contract is still important. If the Event has a name, like if it is part of a certain music festival, a series, showcase or something along those lines, it is helpful for publicity to indicate that. All of these items ensure that you and the venue are on the same page.
The Services section covers a lot of useful information to the venue so they are clear about what to expect: what services you are providing / your genre, band members, or any notes about what you are delivering, so that the venue isn't expecting a full band when you show up solo. The Performance Details are often filled by the venue and can include: the performance order and where you're placed on the bill, how long your sets are, breaks, if there's more than one act performing, what time you're expected to arrive and load in and do sound check. You can ask about these details in this section if they haven't been previously arranged.
It's good to have the venue write down PA / Equipment Details so you know what you need to bring and what the venue has. You can also put your tech. / stage plot requirements here.
Payment: this is good to clarify your compensation, wether it's a guarantee, percentage of the door cover or ticket sales. Does it include food & drink? Are you getting paid a portion of the money upfront (“deposit”), and if so, what is that amount, and when is it due to be received? Are you being paid before or after the show? How are you getting paid – cash or check? There are a lot of variables in how artists are compensated so it is good to get those details taken care of before the gig.
Seems like I may have forgotten something, right? Other Info. to include could be an agreement as to what happens if you are sick or the event gets rained out or anything else that is unique to the performance.
After you and the talent buyer sign and date it, and you get their contact info. so you can text them when you get to the venue, you'll have taken care of business and you'll be able to focus on the performance. Download the complimentary form below! Have fun!
chime in : Do you you already have a form you use? How does it differ from mine? Have you noticed using a Performance Agreement helps ? How often do you use them?
kindly, Mike Caruso ( MAGNETIC WEST MUSIC )
I met with my friend, singer/songwriter Justin Gordon and we talked about his new album Backwater. Early on in the conversation he stated :
“you compartmentalize some part of your identity and, for me, I’ve always been committed to making records. It’s how I’ve arbitrarily chosen to mark the eras of my life. ”
With what Justin communicates in his music, he believes the listeners to be " the presumed perpetrator of bad culture, which is in fact, the person who is just like you or me or anybody else, doing their best. ” In addition, he describes the album as "a query to be answered by O yea, I understand what you are saying... I feel that way all the time. It’s a call for reassurance. " He continues to illustrate this reciprocity one might have with his music as “I heard that song and I really connected with it because I feel the similar feeling of alienation or something along those lines " and then he " connects with that person over that feeling.”
Furthermore, of the material that floats in the mirror pool of Backwater, he says " some of them are just love songs or songs of lost youth. ”
We examined the element of songwriting where you decide to include or leave out specific place names and Justin said " certain songwriters use that to great effect. You think it might be putting people on the outside - well I’m not from Jersey - or something like that but it’s almost an intimacy , it can be like you are getting let in on this person’s geography, like an inner circle." The album's songs feel rooted in the geography of southern backwater reflecting a warm desert glow, but the songwriter sites locations spanning from Maine to Southern Oregon, from Athens, Ohio and the Lost Coast of California, and as far as Mexico and Columbia.
From the first tones of the acoustic guitar on the opening track, Folly of Youth, you can hear the carefree character of Justin’s $10. guitar that has appeared in many recordings (including the 2006 album entitled Ten Dollar Guitar ) . On this track, that has some of his signature chord structuring, comfortable vocals deliver a confident melody and the final moments of the song are enchanted with the chiming notes of piano. On the track that follows it, Cabin Life, the buttery growl of Justin’s Harmony Rocket , a semi-hollow body guitar with gold foil pickups, churns under his poetics. Then Possibilities shows up to celebrate with a fun retro style. Riohacha, which appeared on 2016 album Home Fires as a reverb soaked acoustic track ( which I coincidentally played on accordion on) got released in it’s full glory brewed in the smokey Backwater which is the original version of the song , how it is played live, with Dave Hampton on drums and Jeff Fretwell on bass.
The album , like Justin’s other work , is full of captivating melodies to hum , or whistle, like he does in Wilderness, which, if you’ve heard his song Me & Chuckles, you might recognize the melody (Wilderness was actually partially written while in Guatemala in 2009. Me & Chuckles came later and took over some of that melody . ) Simple Man is a tune that I could hear spinning in the background of a party, cascading good vibes into the air. The playful marimba sound comes from an 80’s Casio keyboard which he feels is a portrayal of a “simple melody played in someone’s bedroom , a lack of polish, a counterpoint of clean tone” to balance out the warm lo-fi recording. “I like combining those things” he adds. Stones , the fifth track on the album is a beautiful deep dive into emotional territory. Elders, which delivers an elegant sense of the sonic field of the album and The Beach , which brings you right there to that sandy location with an easy going rhythm and relatable lyrics, are two personal favorites for the songwriter. When I asked Justin to elaborate on Elders, which is my favorite too, he said “ I was looking at chords that I had written out years ago with the first verse of the song, there was a scribbled out chord and the scribbled out chord looked like a letter C. I played the progression and I was like, That’s not right, but I like it. It was a strange place to start a verse or a song but I was like oh, this is going someplace already.” He continued with “most songwriters are either embracing their structure or trying to find new ways to get out of their tendencies or chord progressions. I don’t make any great effort to get out of my chord progression tendencies but I certainly try to think of every possible angle that I can go on a key...there are no rules”.
The warm, inviting recording , which was originally supposed to be captured directly to 1/4” 4 track reel to reel tape, was actually recorded digitally and then mastered to tape. The melodies are engaging and the well crafted lyrics rise throughout the album like delicate desert flowers or gasoline fumes packing a pungent punch. It is truly gritty and honest Americana poetry at its finest. Backwater reaches new landscapes in its effort to remove itself from the mainstream but it is certainly not a departure from Justin's well seasoned creative persona. The achievement catches my senses. It is firmly rooted in honesty and it feels good to listen to. About the title's theme Justin says " Backwater is a place where things don’t change, they haven’t been modernized. I wanted to convey reclusion or trying to achieve some remoteness, a getting away, an escape from feeling crowded, which coalesced on a trip to the Lost Coast. I think this collection of songs is like the Lost Coast. It's about appreciating the old ways. "