is anything ever normal

The weekend, still reeling from the sudden death of our friend and bandmate Darius. Honestly, I’ve been in a fog ever since. I dove in to work. The country album with Holly’s campaign came to a close, we exceeded our goal. You can still preorder the album, of course. But I mixed it … all 14 songs. This week. And finished up the last mix for Mimi Schell‘s album, which had gotten a sidetracked with the news of Darius. And finished the Sweet Gum Tree mix, for the second of two songs we recorded at the top of the month. And then S. Kyle Robinson arrived last night and today we started working on his latest album, doing overdubs on basic tracks he recorded in Glasgow. Thank God for the work. It not only pays the rent, but it keeps me grounded, and me something to do…if I had to sit around and contemplate the loss of my friend, I’d go mad.

A little bright spot: on a real estate errand we went Sunday afternoon to Vouvray, and found it was the ‘fore aux vins’, that is, a wine expo for Vouvray wines. In a winding cave, about 20 producers of Vouvray wine — white wines that can be dry, sweet, sparkling — many expressions and styles of wine, but virtually all made from one grape, Chenin Blanc. You buy a glass, which you keep, for €3, and then enter and can taste all the wines inside, plus there were cheesemakers, the famous Hardouin, a charcutier of great renown in the region. Another branch of the cave was set up as a restaurant, so we had lunch. We tasted a lot wine, bought some, and left very happy. It was a gorgeous day. Other than that… I simply worked my ass off. One night when Dom was in Paris, and Aden was away on a school trip this week, I worked til 3am. In fact, on during this school trip, Aden turned 11. The first birthday we weren’t together, at least Dom & Aden, I’ve certainly been on tour for some birthdays but never has she been away from both of us. Wow.

She was fine, I don’t think she even missed us, she had a great time.

After the session tonight Kyle & I trammed down to the guingette, shared a bottle of wine and discussed our lives, our art. It felt good. There was a live salsa band playing. People breathing fire. The picture at the link makes the place look tiny, but it’s sprawling, I think there are on a weekend night around 1000 people hanging out, maybe more. It’s cacophonous, vibrant. It’s about as happening as Tours gets, so we’ll take it.

We found a dead lizard on our stairsteps. We don’t know why it died. The lizards here are called European Wall Lizards, they are quite numerous. Generally they are speckled brown, to match the rocks and the dead leaves in the undergrowth. We put it on some metal siding to dry out. A bird took it after a few hours, but before it disappeared, it did something interesting — it turned blue, cornflower blue.

The Record, which Holly & I have made. It’s really special. The idea was casually proposed, almost a dare. Make a country album about the people in “Doesn’t It Remind You of Something”. Get some friends to play on it. Very casual. You know what…it’s incredible what came out of it. Some amazing songs, some beautiful performances, and I think the country vibe suits me. It’s not cliché country. It veers…thru Tex Mex, folk, bluegrass…the songs are some of my best, and there are songs from other people too, that just sound wonderful. Holly wrote some gorgeous songs, and her singing — despite the fact she was fighting bronchitis for the sessions, is just…heart wrenching. This was music we were born to make. We took to the genre like ducks to duckweed. And we had incredible contributions from a bunch of musicians and singers, people have been very generous to us, with their time and their talent. I’m very grateful.

Just so you know.