A personal note about Season of Stone
I started writing Season of Stone after my father, who suffered from heart disease, slipped into a coma in October, 2017. Unlike other songs I've written, I didn’t work on ‘crafting’ these. I kept the words and music that came to me untouched. I wanted them to be as simple and raw as possible. I hoped to record them before my father left this world for his next great adventure, but it was not to be. My father passed away on February 4th, 2018, at 11:24 PM. I was at his side with my older brother as his heart took its final beat. I recorded the songs on February 26th, while still in the early stages of mourning. You might hear it in my voice. It is at times weary and grieving. I notice it especially in the song Angel, and remember tearing up as we recorded it. The song is very much about my father, though it is a universal message about embracing our ideals even when they seem tainted or broken. Like the fallen angel in the song, they are still beautiful and worthy of our love, and we are lucky to be in relationship with them. I wish my father would have felt more at peace about his shortcomings and 'broken' ideals because despite them and our tumultuous relationship, he was and always will remain my hero.
I arranged and performed the songs the way my Dad would have liked best: Live, without any frills. We didn't select the best bits and put them all together to create a perfect take. Rather, each song was recorded in one shot, with lots of imperfections and with some magic moments. Season of Stone and Gold Violin were inspired by dreams I had. My father liked to share and analyze his dreams with me and I wonder what he would have said about these. The chorus of Season of Stone pays homage to the hymns and sacred music my father loved, though I balance that out with what I like to think of as my 'pre-chorus heavy metal rebellion'. It might be a challenge to hear these influences in such a simple arrangement. Perhaps some day I'll make a studio album with these, and the places my creative imagination took me will become clearer. Miss Innocence and Little Devil are about city life. My father and I lived in a few cities together and by now the hustle and bustle, the mystery, the adventure, the fertile creative ground and the dark underbelly of what a city is all about are in my blood.
Finally, the songs are an attempt at putting poetry to music. My Dad and I spent many an afternoon listening to Leonard Cohen, Jacques Brel, and some of his favorite French 'Chanson' singers, and he loved telling me about his glory days in Paris during the student revolution that changed the world. My Dad had an old-world attitude, but a very new-world philosophy. He instilled in me the idea that men and women are absolute equals, that personal liberty is the highest ideal, and that the humanities, music, poetry, good food and love, are the true riches of life.
We recorded these songs with a 'hot' mic: As my father was dying, I sang to him right against his ear, softly so as not to disturb his process, but close to ensure he would hear me. With this recording, I tried to recreate that kind of intimacy. My vocals are accompanied by a simple arrangement of guitar and violin. Charlie Rauh on guitar was the perfect musical companion for this project. He has a purist's ear and a penchant for sacred music, while also very much embodying the grit and sophistication of New York City. It is a wonderful combination. Nathalie Bonin graciously laid down the violins from Montreal, a city close to my heart where I spent my formative years with my Dad. The album was recorded by Tom Gardner at Rift Studios in Brooklyn, and mixed by my dear friend and long-time musical collaborator, Sari Dajani. Sari also co-wrote and produced Searching for the Light at PSD Musique in Montreal.
I hope you enjoy the songs
Season of Stone is dedicated to my father, Jean Louis.