In the fall of 2013 I left the woods of southern Oregon and the handmade studio home that I had built there, to begin a new adventure with a new love in the Mojave Desert. I joined Jenny and her daughter Yazzy in Joshua Tree, a tight artistic community in a land of severe beauty.
I started writing songs for Jenny days after I met her, already had half a record of them by the time I moved to the desert. Just a few months later, she fell suddenly and dramatically ill. Those songs began to take on new and deeper shades, and new ones came, during six months in the icu and the long hard recovery after.
Jenny is one hell of a muse. The songs that grew out of these years are my reflection of the richest experience I've known: standing beside a love warrior in major crisis. They are both a gift to me, and my offering of thanks, that my muse is still by my side.
I recorded "My Friend" at Piety Street Studios in New Orleans in 2013, and began the rest in 2015, laying down basic tracks with Damian Lester (bass) and Danny Frankel (drums) at Red Barn Recorders, Gar Robertson at the mixing board.
Over the next year I added tracks at home from local luminaries and traveling friends, including Lucio Menegon (guitar) Bob Furgo (violin), Scott Drago Kisinger (trombone), Kelly Corbin (sax/clarinet), Sailor Banks (strings/synths/loops), Felicia Banks (guitar), and Jenny Qaqundah herself (cello).
New Orleans players included Matt Perrine (upright bass) Alex McMurray (guitar) Helen Gillet (cello/vocals) Luke Brechtelsbauer (harp) Paul Thibodeaux (drums) Debbie Davis (ukelele/vocals).
I mixed half the songs at Red Barn and half at High Lonesome with Chris Unck. The result is a very special blend, a spooky record colored by soul/jazz and folk/rock, and close to my heart as anything I've ever made.
I will be pressing to vinyl for the first time, pressing to cd, and creating an art/lyric book with download code, for those who crave something beautiful to hold in their hands while listening.
Would you like to be a part of getting this project out into the world? There are many ways you can support it's manifestation, with all rewards including the record itself in one form or another, and possible additions ranging from original artwork to bespoke songs to tickets to a very special Mojave Desert performance, celebrating the end of this fundraiser, on March 17.
Jenny has just completed a really unique and wonderful book, about her experience and her life as a double amputee, which she will be starting fundraising for soon. We plan a book and record co-release in June, and joint touring thereafter.
You can find more background—info and music—at myshkinwarbler.com.
Please pass this around! And many thanks for your open ears and hearts. Your support feeds my courage, to keep pushing the things I make out of the nest, to fly.
Risks and challenges
The record is ready to send off to the presses! The art/lyric book is in process, and I have found a printer. All that remains is securing the funds.
Beyond getting this project manifested and available, the challenge is letting people know about it. Our attention turns to promotion and tour booking next month. If anyone would like to host a house show, or has a favorite local venue they would like to see us in, or knows someone who likes to writes about new books and records, please don't hesitate to reach out.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
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