Today I am kicking off a new section of my Substack which will be devoted wholly to music that I’ve created either just for myself, or in association with other game, film, or audio drama projects. This content will be available exclusively to those of you who have subscribed as paid members. For that reason, I hope you will please respect that the music I share with you here is not to be distributed elsewhere without my express, prior written consent.
The first episode of this “podcast” - as Substack requires audio to be a podcast - is a song that I wrote last year following the passing of my mother. After returning home from burying her in Oklahoma, I had intended simply to write something that expanded in some way on the eulogy I’d delivered at her funeral, but found that words had altogether deserted me. I couldn’t formulate anything to “say” that would really explain how I felt about her. I was fortunate that we’d shared a good relationship, and neither of us had any question that we loved each other, but my mother was a complicated person who could not be easily summed up in words. It was very much like trying to explain how I felt about the sea or the sky or anything that was deep and enigmatic. And thus the “sea” metaphor for the song took shape.
The one thing I want you to understand about this song is that it represents the absolute first time that I’ve ever recorded ANYTHING with a guitar. Although I’ve owned one for years, and I grew up watching both my father and brother playing them in my living room and on stage, I can’t actually play guitar, at least not in the formal sense. I couldn’t demonstrate for you an actual chord, or play through an entire song for you on guitar, not even this song you’re about to hear. What I can do, however, is find the notes I want, perform them into my recording software, and repeatedly overdub takes until I have the chords and layers I need. Years of audio engineering and electronic music experience gave me the know-how to do it, and that is the way in which this song was developed.
The tune sits very intentionally in the same space as the jazz fusion / prog-rock / space music of the 1970s - 1980s. For the guitar sound I was shooting for something with a strong David Gilmour / Pink Floyd vibe. The title of the song, The Mare of Farewell, is both a tip of the hat to Floyd’s Dark Side of the Moon (because the “seas” of the moon are called mares), but also word play on mère, which is the french word for mother, thus a farewell to mother with a spacey-nautical vibe.
After I completed the rough cut of the song, I made a few adjustments based on the advice of several musician friends. My long-range plan, however, was to find distribution and publicity for it as a single through a music label based here in San Diego. After giving it a listen, they were very enthusiastic about putting it out, and were preparing to do a final mix for me, but the abrupt intervention of a messy divorce paired with the closure of their studio has at least temporarily put the remix and distribution on hold until the studio can be re-established.
In the meantime, you’ve got my nearly, but not quite finally polished version of The Mare of Farwell. I hope you enjoy it.
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