Municipal workers had strung blue stars and imitation icicles between the buildings after they'd ran out of leaves to rake. With their slow pulse cutting through my living room I'd try to weave songs out of the days events. I was spent after frenetically singing “Old McDonald," shouting colors, numbers, and animals at Parisian children for hours, but I’d take what energy remained and feed it through the guitar I’d brought from home.
And that feeling of home, specifically its reluctance to detach from the first place that held the name, was something I struggled with daily. How I spoke and the risks I took told me that what I considered to be its true form was still state side. My experiences were stories to tell the family and friends back there, in Portland, so the murder in the capital and the joy in the children as they shouted and sang, the violence after the Chris Thile concert in La Verriere and the runs through the wild portions for the Chateau grounds all collected in my chest to be delivered when I returned. In this way, at least at first, I was distanced from my new reality, and this disposition informed the album that followed.
Most of it took form in my Versailles apartment on a salmon colored futon below a poor Jackson Pollack imitation. I'd smell the scent of fresh pizza waft up from the shop below, eavesdrop on those who strolled my side street, and process a little isolation, the distance we digitally tried to shorten, the advances of another woman, violence in Muhammad's name or inflicted on me for fun or a cellphone, or think about the skin I couldn't touch but facetimed twice a week.
What's funny is that I chose to go to France to make a record, ostensibly to teach but really to write and learn, to actually record a bunch of songs in that little flat and emerge with 10 or 12 of them. But most of the experiences were too big to be captured all at once. Some had to find their conclusions in the states before they would feel complete. Some are still undone, perhaps waiting for me to go back.
What sense was made out of that era was funneled into the music that lives here. These pieces, this entire album, is a melange of several years, of travels before, after, and during a year teaching abroad. It's a richly orchestral depiction of a life spread across two continents.