THE STORY OF BLUES TRIP
In order to make this record, Melanie and I had to ride our bikes to get to Dante's studio, an old barn set in the middle of green horse pastures. The ride was almost 100 kms in the beast-heat of August; 30 kms on a dusty, deserted trail that used to be a railway line that criss-crosses the Cowichan river, at times taking us over 145-foot high trestles. At one point we ran out of water--not to say we almost died, just that we had a strange or atypical journey to get to the studio that might have infused our playing with some sense of having stepped out of our lives for a week. We ran out of water, and we had been bumping along this dusty trail for a bit too long, and all of a sudden we saw at the edge of the trail an unplugged fridge that had been baking in the August heat; I opened the fridge and grabbed a syrupy hot cola drink. It was horrible.
I put a dollar in the honour cup, as I am honourable, and then we coasted the last twenty kilometers up to Dante's barn. We had some dinner, and then we walked through the tall grass down to the studio and set up our mics. We didn't use too many mics; just three on the drums and a few for our amps...I played Dante's old Jazzmaster, into a tape echo, and then into a tube record player, hooked up to a 60's 15 inch alnico speaker, which made a pretty neat sound. Dante put his bass through an ancient Fender twin, setting the volume pretty low to not blow the old speakers. My plan was to sing "off of the floor", but the few days prior to this summer's day, Melanie and I had been on an island, both celebrating and mourning the loss of my dear old dad to the cancer, and my voice was just not up to it at all. So every sound you hear is the sound we made that day, plus some more sounds like singing and a bit of extra guitar, both recorded in my home.
Everything sounded pretty cool, so we walked through the tall glass and to his mother's house and went to sleep, falling asleep pretty quick from the heat and the riding and then the setting up. And we woke up in the morning and had breakfast with his mom and talked about the plasticity of the mind, more listening than contributing because we're not experts in the subject, and then after berry smoothies and with a big glass of water in our hands we walked down through the paths to the barn, and warmed up some tubes, and played all day.
At 5pm, Melanie dropped her sticks, and I put down the Jazzmaster, and we hopped on our bikes and rode for an hour to the last ferry that took us to my mom's house. We had to make that ferry because we have a young son, and after a day we had started to pine for him a lot; it just happens that way. So we really flew, really gunned it, country-riding beside sunny fields on a shoulder-less incline that took us spiraling around the lip of a mountain, down to the beach, to one side of a fjord, where a small ferry took us to the more populated other-side of the fjord. We had our songs playing in our minds too.
At the ferry, 20 First Nations (I'd guess Coast Salish Malahat) kids, not one over 15 and no one under 5, jumped off of the dock into the sea, splashing around, jumping off the tarred dock that had probably 100 signs on it expressly forbidding any swimming or dock-jumping. It looked like great fun, but more than fun, it was YOUTH. The oldest guy, the ringleader, a moustachioed 15-year old, paddled around in a dinghy, supervising it all; he approved merrily, drinking a big gulp and paddling between the jumpers.
The ferry came and the bronzed woman with the chipped tooth who might have been the captain told us that the boat only took cash as payment for a ticket, so we didn't pay anything but got on anyway, and I stuck my head out of a porthole and watched the kelp float by. I think these images stuck with me when I got home and did the singing, a few months later. And that's why I mention all of this here.
released February 18, 2013
Melanie Campbell: drums
Carey Mercer: guitar, vocals
Dante Decaro: bass, keys
Dan Bejar sings a few key lines on a few tracks
Tracked by Dante Decaro, vocals and 2nd guitar tracked by Carey Mercer
Mixed through a Grommes Precision mono tube mixer by Carey Mercer
Mastered by Carl Saff,
and the beautiful images are, again, photographs by Harry Booth:
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