Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Encumbrances Of Angels

My friend Janet, the wife of Dr. Andy, is a poet who publishes under the name J. M. R. Harrison. When I first read this poem of hers years ago I immediately thought it could be put to music.

Encumbrances Of Angels

With all eternity to ponder
the nature and cost of freedom,
even an angel might prefer
the rasp of sand between the toes
to the ethereal tug of cosmic tides,
choose the angularity of starfish
over the symmetry of stars,
desire---whatever the penalty---
the lash of wind-driven rain
on a back unburdened of wings.


The first step, sometime back in the '90s, was to work out a melody over some guitar chords, with the only notation being the words with the guitar chords written in overtop. That's where things stood until a couple of years ago when we decided to actually notate the melody, add flute at Janet's request, and add standup bass as Dr. Andy was just starting to work with one, and turn the guitar chords into a keyboard accompaniment and adding an introduction.

We then got Nancy Lynn Marmorella, who had helped out on the Mantra Mountain CD, to make the trip down from Harpers Ferry to sing, and asked Hayley Parrish to play the flute part. We got together one afternoon, ran through it a few times, and then made this recording down in the living room. 

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