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from the liner
I'm not sure when I first became aware of these songs wanting to finally be recorded, but they must have been waiting nearby for a few months. Certainly they were far away until then. And when we finished mixing the live album from the Maria tour so quickly, Teenagermade its desire to be known known. I wrote my first song when I was 16 for an english class. It got a low mark for being too sweet. (pause). Whatever. And the original recording you hear was done in the 1st blush of my excitement at being able to create my own harmonies. Bouncing back and forth between 2 cheap tape recorders. The little room I rented was on a hill with a stoplight. You can hear the trucks gearing up and down. In recording these songs as a fresh 40 year old being, I found that I went right back into the same guitar playing, piano playing, harmonies, and simple vocalizing of the times when I wrote and played these songs. Nothing extra was needed, wanted. The paths to each of these songs were so well-traveled that there was little room for deviation. I recorded (not sequenced) them in a chronological order. Starting with the song to my father. "Broken Birds". Hearing them all in a new light. Knowing so well the journey I've followed since then. Trying to say certain things more and more clearly, as my mind's eye focuses, looks away from certain ways of seeing, then returns.
It was curious to hear this young girl's words, what she was moved to speak about, what she allowed or didn't allow herself to say. In some ways, I felt so far away from her, almost more familiar with the teenager of today, all the angst, confusion, unaccountable ecstasy, anger and lack of ethical maps. I had all the same things, I guess, but those were different times. And it was as important or unimportant as ever to fit in or not fit in. I can hear in my voice when I couldn't quite sing the words from long ago, although I was quite faithful, hardly changing any. But some I can hear getting stuck in my craw, so to speak.
And it was strange, in mixing, to hear a song with so little sonic stimulation. So used are we to arrangements that constantly change, new things always coming in to make sure we stay interested. Fast cut music. Fast cut videos. Fast cut times. So to hear these pieces stand on their own, relying solely on the song structure, a few harmonies, and the dynamics of the voice and instrument for development, was strange. They seemed so flat and linear at first. Like nothing was happening. And then, I guess I got used to it, became comfortable with it, and then fell in love with the solitude and purity of it. And then I couldn't bear to have anything extra. Reminding me once again that we have many ways of hearing. And to exercise these ways of listening (seeing, feeling, etc.) is to exercise keeping our beings as wide and adventurous as we are meant to be. Hmmm...
Jane - vocals, guitar, piano
Rebecca Campbell - vocals
Peter Kiesewalter - accordion
engineered and mixed by David Travers-Smith
recorded and mixed at Reaction Studios, Toronto, Canada
ass't engineer Jeff Elliot
mastered by Greg Calbi, Masterdisk, NY
art direction, design & layout by A Man Called Wrycraft