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WELCOME TO LEVEL 1 OF THE MINESHAFT RABBIT HOLE !

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Hunter and I are excited to share with you our adventures that slowly molded “Mojave.”  Before we get started, a quick explanation is in order.

Over the course of the next 5 emails
(one email per day, each called a “level”)
we will lead you down through the layers of the “Mojave” album – two tracks per day, until we reach the deep, deep bottom.  How you return to daylight is up to you.  There are three tunnels for each song:

  1. The first tunnel will be a short explanation of each song and what we were thinking

  2. The second tunnel will play the video for each song

  3. The third tunnel will show bits of the filming for each video. Hunter and I regularly use our cameras in abandoned buildings, caves, tunnels and other places both creepy and spooky.
     

PLEASE NOTE: the videos may look like black boxes when you first see them. Click on them if they don't pop up for you. If you don't hear anything, there is a little note icon on the bottom right of each video that will turn the audio on.


SO LET’S GET STARTED !!!
 

“Mojave” was a labor of Love and Fear over 18 months, during the gaping maw of the pandemic. I had just finished the previous album “Dark Americana: Stories and Songs” and felt emptied. I recorded the bulk of that album in ten days; I was a spent candy wrapper. Hunter and I drove out into the Mojave desert to be one with the Invisible Murky Mystic (more on that in the regular newsletter). We hunt for abandoned buildings out there.  And there are HUNDREDS  of them, if you’re willing to drive. As we found these rotting husks of memories, we also found the Soul of the Desert.  There is an appealing eternity out there. It tenderly kisses your cheek while tasting you.  There are a million untoward human stories in the Mojave.  Our wheels started turning.  I’ll let the video take it from here…

LIKE A HOUSE WITH BROKEN WINDOWS

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We drove out to the Salton Sea; a place of decay and mystery. It's own existence was due to an accident over 100 years ago. The sand seems to be pulverized bird and fish bones; it crunches under your feet. There is almost nobody on the Salton Sea's shore. It feels like a Lake of Death. We drove further south and came upon Bombay Beach, which was built back in the 1950's to be a resort next to this new sea and featured celebrities and charming little beach houses. The accidental sea started drying up and growing toxic fertilizer runoff and most people left this once thriving little community. Most, but not all. Driving through Bombay Beach is like seeing a community inside the belly of a monster slowly digesting its meal while that meal lives its life unaware of its fate. Driving through the dirt streets of Bombay Beach, we came upon a wooden skeleton of what must have been a very desired piece of real estate 60 years ago.  We met this house on our first visit; before the first note of "Mojave" was plucked.  It told us its version of the American Dream; of how easily things change and how fragile fate balances as it spins. The ballet shoes were in the house when we arrived, like a ghostly whisper crying for help. It birthed the ache I was looking for and a year later gave us  the video for “House With Broken Windows"

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Filming videos is always challenging since gravity and I are grudging acquaintances. Hunter is an award-winning journalist for a local TV station (seriously – the girl has two Golden Mic Awards and an Emmy). She shouts directions and runs the cameras. Me? I try to stay vertical. I should note here that when I'm dressed as Kilroy, I can see NOTHING (and the outfit gets HOT very FAST, regardless of weather.)

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DOWN THE RAVINE
This song originally had many extra instruments on it – it was almost a Glam rock song. Then Ms. Hunter said “NAY!” and had me trim it down to it’s current state of feral.  Good call.

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This song is about a midnight bonfire party in the desert, where the maps show no markers, where the heart of the desert slithers and crawls underfoot, bathing you in the Dusty Primal as you and 200 other people are dancing, playing guitars, laughing and yelling, boomboxes and car radios blending into a cacophonous holler like one enormous, drunk, bellowing amoeba. The night of the desert serves you a deep pocket in which to hide whatever you wish.  You're on your own. It is the perfect place to conjure the Forces of Nature to bend at your will and create rips in the Fabric of Spacetime. Witchcraft in the desert? Can you think of a better place? Some of the people living out there refer to themselves as "Desert Rats". You look very tasty in the moonlight...

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And so with hope in our hearts and a song on our tongues, we searched for SOMETHING to use as a ravine.  After a long drive to a place that turned out to be fenced off, we started back out and accidentally found our target. I won't give the location away, but there were wild burros around us. Again, grace and poise are not my first or second languages...

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