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Jim Page / Blog

Hello Again, Seattle

Back in Seattle… Looking out over the water to downtown from Alkai, it’s a great site to see. Sometimes the weather is so clear that it’s almost unreal, sometimes the fog and the rain-mist covers it up and you have to dream that it’s there. Either way it’s a great way to be related to the city. For the first week or so I was up every morning at 5:30 so I could watch it get light, watch the big boats of commerce slowly wind their way into the harbors of unloading. And those harbors are to the world what the folds are to my wallet. Sometimes they have money in them, sometimes just notes to myself. Sometimes there’s an old flat top barge that sits out there for a week getting outfitted or waiting for orders. Often times the big container ships from China pass by on their way to Walmart. A lot of people don’t like the idea of the Chinese getting into our national business but when I think of the history of things I think it’s only fair. The bottom of the San Francisco Bay is littered with the bones of the stolen illegal Chinese, and their underpaid hands were used to build the railroads and dig the mines. Our business concerns linked long arms with the pirates who took them from their faraway homelands and put them onto the streets of this great country of ours. The muscle of empire passes around. Our turn is done. We paved our streets with their unsung names and it’s their turn now.

In this way the calendar is a moving train. And we can hear the train yards form here as well, coupling and uncoupling. It’s good to hear and to see the labor that makes this place work. It would be nothing without labor. Nothing.

From our back window we can watch the floating engines of capital. The ferries and the police boats. The anal little skiffs of Homeland Security checking for papers. The divers and the jet skies. And there’s seals out there, I can hear them bark sometimes. Take a walk around the bend and the city disappears completely, and I’m looking out at Vashon Island and the great snowy mountains in the distance. We were in Eugene for a while and Eugene is a sweet place, small and livable, lots of quiet, lots of friendly people. But I need that engine. I need to be at the lip of the global artery. So we came back and we settled into a little rental along the Alkai road. It’s an old house with memories in the basement and neighbors who have seen it all. It’s little but it’s home.

Hello Seattle. Welcome me back.

Starting Off

Okay, gotta get this thing going. My friend Caroline Aiken swears by Reverbnation and practically broke my arm over the telephone to make me start up my account. Thanks Caroline! No rest for the wicked…

Putting in time here in Eugene where I can ride the bike trails and nobody bothers me while I get all this stiff together. My new record Ghost Bikes has been out for a short while and we are working on getting all the right pushes in the right places. I call it a record because record is short for recording – and I don’t care what format it’s in or how you get it out there you have to record it in the first pace so they are all records.

This one is great! It’s my favorite so far. I wanted something where you could hear the conversation between the musicians, and the easy flow from thought to feeling would carry you on. Something where you can hear the musicians listening to each other. Where it feels like you just got lucky and happened to be there when somebody was having a really good session. So we booked the big room at Jack Straw and invited 30 people to come down as audience. For the musicians we had Michael Gray on fiddle, Grant Dermody on harmonica, Erin Corday second vocals and bamboo flute, and Joel Litwin on percussion. Special guest was Joe Martin for the last couple of songs, also harmonica. The whole thing was recorded in about 3 hours. Including mixing and mastering it was about a 12 hour project. Sweet!

So now we are planning for spring tours – across America out to the east coast. Then to Ireland. Keep an eye on this spot to see how things go.