Friday, April 26, 2013

the sea in between

the other day i wrote about my secret affinity for the music of taylor swift.  and i don't back down from that now.  but i have a wide variety of musical interests and tastes, and today i want to write about music that is at the complete other end of the musical spectrum from swift, at least from the production point of view.  whereas taylor swift represents the full power of the american music machine, pumping out pop hits at record pace, garrels has a different approach. 

having mostly harnessed the power of affordable technology to make some pretty beautiful music on the power of his unique voice and songwriting talents only in the comforts of his bedroom, he and his production team (his wife) took a different approach wherein they asked for some support up front from fans and patrons, and then made something beautiful using the accumulated resources.  this isn't exactly a revolutionary approach to art (think art patrons back in the renaissance), but it is a different approach than the music industry is used to or, quite frankly, comfortable with.  garrels isn't even the first to do this in recent memory, as others, including over the rhine, have taken a similar approach in order to raise the capital needed to record an album. 

but this dvd, and the journey it represents, is totally unique.  it's called the sea in between and it is the story of the johnson family, who liked garrels' music, looked him up on the internet, and called him.  they had no idea where this would lead, but they invited him to come to their home on mayne island on the north pacific coast, just to play some music and hang out and maybe get some time away.  well, it turned into something so much more.  josh invited a bunch of musician friends, created some new songs and made some new arrangements of his old songs, and invited some folks to come and film the whole process.  the result is pure magic.  here is the trailer:

and if this captures your imagination at all, i strongly urge you to check it out.  it is amazing.  stunning.  it is these wonderful musicians, with very different worldviews, coming together to be a part of something bigger than themselves, and the beauty that emerges is something way more significant than some wavelengths emerging from your computer speakers.  real life happens.  real change happens.  transformation and inspiration and maybe even some redemption in the midst of it all.  it's compelling to watch, and i would be remiss if i didn't invite you to share on the journey.  here are a couple of the songs from the documentary.  the first one is called "pilot me" and gives you a sense of the incredible natural setting of mayne island, as well as the really great music that emerged.  the second one, "little blue" features josh and his wife on what i think is a song about their daughter.  c'mon....enter into the joy of this with me!

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