The snow is relentless this year. In fact, I cannot remember a season like this in Northern Arizona for quite some time. No one else can either. The previous records have all been broken. The ski sales and projections on the mountain have all be surpassed and we all sort of wade through it, using our best resources and taking advantage of what it is. It means more show-shoeing, xc skiing, and of course: snow removal. It means knocking off ice dams and carving little walkways and watching the neighbor's roof collapse and helping people out of their driveways and on and on. For me though, since I"m working on the mountain right now, it means endless "snow mitigation". Your tools: Big shovels, Honda snow-blowers, and skid-steers which all feed each other at various rates to eventually pile the snow high and wide in some other area where skiers and employees can get through and do what's what. It means multiple layers at 3:30 am and thanking the creator of the Toyota Tacoma, passing stranded semis and sedans in white-outs and chugging up the mountain before the Cats get to it. It means driving into town to track down your mail to find that it's been sequestered in a "Storm Delay Cage" with no reliable ETA. So that's that and no one's really complaining. It's the Spring Equinox here and the lift areas are currently in the midst of another blizzard and tomorrow it'll be another early morning. We like the snow, but we'll rejoice at the first signs of spring too. We miss the trails, which brings me to Bjørn, the little Australian Shepard we just added to the family. Adorable does not adequately describe him and he's so smart that he was basically house-trained in under a couple weeks. The idea was that we needed a nice trail dog to keep up with the activities around here and we found him at a breeder's ranch in Ash Fork. He's brought so much fun to the mix that we already can't quite imagine what it was like before him. Bjørn means "Bear" in a few Scandinavian languages. He looked more like a tiny bear when we first saw him. Basically, just a round puff with two eyes and a happy smile. He's hanging out underneath the chair now and I know we've got plenty adventures ahead. Dalo Tiger comes along. It evolves. I've remastered and re-released most of the material in question. Sometimes things percolate for awhile until it all comes in a flash. I've never been able to objectively categorize or pin down what I do with music. It just comes out and I try different styles and approaches along the way. Last week I was able to say for the first time: "Ok, that was then. You were on a learning curve over there. That other stuff was over here and you were doing this." There's certainly a linear progression with engineering techniques but I've been writing songs for close to 30 years so I had this pile of around 100 tracks and was going through them and wondering how to release little batches or singles and I finally got my head around it and got it done. I think there's maybe ten singles still hanging out that don't necessarily fit anywhere and that'll come out in the next few weeks. The point is: It's been a long and winding road with music. In and out of bands, studios, projects, ideas, environments, etc. I've worn many different hats along the way whether as a drummer or songwriter or producer and it hasn't always been rainbows and unicorns. It's all bridged between prolonged bouts of manic obsession and 12-hour sessions and gallons of coffee and probably too much red wine along the way, but it's fascinating to have a sort of retrospective appreciation of the journey. There's a Van Morrison song for all of it at the end of the day. I just keep doing what I do. Now that it's within the realm of building my own instruments and microphones I'm left with more questions as usual. I've rediscovered Kirtan music with its droning devotional elements and I wonder how current projects will turn out with their blatant U-turns from the past. I've paused myself many times over the past few years to ask why I do it at all, but as usual there's no definitive answer. Humans create because humans create. It's our main thing out here on the open plain. I write music because it's fun. I engineer because I feel like the music deserves it. But we all need fresh air and new perspectives after awhile. The thru-hikes were something deeper. Something that so fundamentally changed my perception of who I was and what I was doing that it had to affect the music. It took years afterward to step back and figure out what I was doing and get a cursory glance at "why", even if I didn't lock it down-I got a few pearls of wisdom. I got simplifications and a clearer path. I got a reservoir or meaning that wasn't there before. There was no longer any need to force it into a box. No need to challenge myself technically. No need to wear this burdensome yolk, whatever it was. There were bigger things on my mind after all that. If I said anything relevant in any interview, it's that music just allows me to narrate something that exists on a scale too grand for words. You've got to say something...but words become trite. Music exists because there's no other format to present higher ideas in.
Today is more snow-blowing. It's groceries. It's 101 little things. It's keeping this fluffy little guy occupied and happy. It's the Spring Equinox and it's another year. Last night I dreamed that we did a long bicycle tour and took Bjørn along for the ride. Who knows. It's been a long winter and there's projects on the horizon. I'm not good at Zoom meetings but I show up. I just want to get my hands dirty. More on this later.