a flooded forest/a Japanese Telecaster/you/Bamberg:
1. this evening i took my guitar to a wild, wooded area about an hour’s drive north from where i live. it’s a small place, surrounded by meadows and farmers’ fields, but so packed and tangled with life that you don’t even need to breathe while you’re there. the river that usually winds its way through the trees had flooded its banks due to a recent rainstorm, and the entire forest floor was awash and rippling like a magic carpet longing to take flight and carry the whole area, dripping and filled with singing birds (and one singing man), up into the sky.
i worked on a new song with my bare feet in the current, sitting on a stone. listened to the frogs drone and beep. dropped my guitar on the rocks as i hiked out, adding three or four fresh scars. at one point, a massive cloud of crows landed in the trees above me, cawing so loudly that i swore they were angry with me. or maybe they were cheering. it’s hard to tell with crows.
i’ve mentioned this before, but i’ve always had to sing very softly in my apartment, because the walls and floors are made of tissue paper that my landlords have cunningly disguised as wood. and i don’t have a rehearsal space anymore. so lately, when i have to prepare for a show, or work on vocal parts for new songs, i’ve been borrowing cars from generous friends whenever i’m able and driving to this place, where i dreamed up a lot of the final lyrics and parts for the songs of ’Öxnadalur’. i can sing there without anyone hearing me. it’s not the most convenient arrangement, and i probably lose about a pint of blood to mosquitoes every time i visit in the warmer months. but it’s terribly beautiful there. a pint of blood seems a reasonable price to pay.
2. i’ve written every one of the guitar parts for my songs over the years on the same scratched, dented, rock-scarred, taped-up Japanese Telecaster that i took with me tonight. from ‘violet light’ to ‘hail of arrows’ to ‘diving bird /portal’. and everything in between. every note and chord from all 41 songs that i’ve released so far over 10 years. i’ve only ever owned this one electric guitar, and tonight this is hitting me really hard for some reason. how much gratitude i have towards this miraculous, ruined thing. you can practically see my fingerprints embedded in the neck. or at least i can.
3. you need to know that i carry you all around with me now. you’ve shared so many brave and sad and intimate stories and messages of love and support with me, and i carefully read every one of them, sometimes multiple times, and keep them all in a special place. if you only knew how honoured i am to have been a part of your lives through my music. what it means to me. you will never know. i know i try to say this often, and maybe one day i’ll say it the way i wish i could. sometimes i can only cry when i read the things you share with me. the people you’ve lost. the people you’ve found. the memories that you wish would disappear. the memories that you try to keep alive.
i have to stop writing about this now. but we are connected, and i can feel you, all around the world. and i need you to know how much it means to me, to know you are there. as much as you say my music is a part of you, you are all in turn a part of me. and i am a better person for it. thank you.
5. i have some new details about the solo show with Sigurbjörg Þrastardóttir at Villa Concordia in Bamberg, Germany, on Tuesday, November 10th.
first of all, is it possible for a venue to be more beautiful? please look at the attached picture and try not to fall in love. i can’t believe i’ve been invited to such a place.
because Sigurbjörg is a former artist in residence at Villa Concordia, the show will be free to attend. there are no advance tickets. however, to ensure that anyone travelling to see it gets in (several of you have written to ask about this), the organizer of the show has kindly offered to set up a guest list. please take advantage of this if you are planning on attending. he is also able to make hotel recommendations to anyone who will be staying in Bamberg overnight.
his name is Martin, and his email address is firstname.lastname@example.org. you can also find his contact information on my website, under ‘tour’. he is a wonderful and helpful man.
this show is inexpressibly dear to me. there will be a new song or two. and Sigurbjörg Þrastardóttir! and Villa Concordia has a piano.