The Wilderness (volume 4) – Unanswered Letter

Last Spring a long time friend of the band, John Bottomley, a fellow musician, died unexpectedly (as they euphemistically say in the obituaries these days). John had been living on Vancouver Island for many years. He had fallen in love with the mountains, the rivers and the trees, but, I guess, had fallen out of love with life. At his funeral his mother lamented the fact that John had settled out west, if only he had been living closer to home, back in Ontario, closer to his family and friends, closer to his roots, if only….
Unanswered Letter was the last song that I wrote for The Wilderness and the last song that I wrote for The Nomad Series. It was a few days after John’s funeral and I headed up to Margo’s farm to try and finish off a few songs: a beautiful spring weekend, with all of the streams and rivers roaring and the spring migration gathering steam (not unlike the weekend weather that had inspired the song Good Friday fifteen years earlier). As I sat beside the river that flows across Margo’s property I thought about John and tried to imagine a state of mind in which even the chatter of a returning red-wing blackbird, a harbinger in these parts of warmer, brighter, easier days to come, could be interpreted as a mocking, insulting cry, “I am home and you are not”.

After Pete, Al, Margo and I had worked up a bedtrack for the song I sent it out to Joby Baker in Victoria, to see where his imagination and talent would take the song. Joby had worked with John on his last album, but I didn’t tell Joby what or who the song was about. What I got back was completely unexpected; an eerie, haunted backing track of bowed bass and ghostly vocals. What was most unexpected was that the song now sounded like a John Bottomley song….the mystery of the creative process: it keeps some of us going, until it doesn’t.
Here is the demo that I wrote and recorded that beautiful Spring day:

Her heart torn open
and left like an unanswered letter.

Words were not spoken
just left in a spidery scrawl.

Twisted and gutted,
the last of the smoke in the air.

She gets up to leave
and idly fixes her hair.

Words from home, words from home.
What we miss are words from home.

I lost my heart
I left it alongside the river.

That blackbird clucking
songs he knows nothing about.

That bird returning
to a home that makes him sing out.

Words from home, words from home.
What we need are words from home.

We will be having a listening party for The Wilderness on the site on February 23rd (which is the day that we will also start pre-orders for the album). Stop by and give the album a listen.

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.

Tags: ,

This entry was posted on Wednesday, January 25th, 2012 at 6:37 pm and is filed under news, Uncategorized. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

One Response to “The Wilderness (volume 4) – Unanswered Letter”

  1. Marc Anthony Says:

    January 26th, 2012 at 11:51 am

    Time Keeps Slipping Away ©

    She wore her hair up
    Tight under a shawl

    An old man rocking
    By the window
    In his rocking chair

    The wind blows cold
    The woman moves
    As she too feels
    She is growing old

    The bird
    Wears his black coat
    Back from a winter
    Where he’s been
    What he’s seen
    I don’t know

    The river flows
    As if it knows
    Just where it goes

    Time keeps slipping away
    Before us
    Time keeps slipping away
    Before we even know
    That time went away
    Where did time go

    A soldier
    Lies dying
    A roadside bomb
    Wickedly smiled death
    Once again

    Another baby
    Born crying
    Wanting only to be warm
    Next to its mother
    Once again

    The horses graze
    In the meadow
    The sun plays tag
    With the clouds
    As the snow
    Quietly melts away

    Time keeps moving
    Time keeps ticking
    Time keeps slipping away

    Marc Anthony