I shite thee not.
Featuring Lauren Osborn as Miss Helen, Psyche Chimere as Han-Mi, Rhys Owen as Henry The Alchemist, and Studly McMuffinpants as The Sheriff. Cover and extras art by Sarah DeBuck.
The album is Act 1 of The Ballad Of Lost Hollow.
Length: 1 hour and 2 minutes. Price likely to be 7 dollars, 5 pounds, or 6 euros if purchased from Bandcamp. As usual, it will go on sale at iTunes several days later.
Listen to an early preview track:
Here it is folks. There’s a second video coming that features Lauren actually singing her take.
Featuring Lauren Osborn.
Artwork by Sarah de Buck.
Out of the two genres i’m currently subsuming the most, it’s Gothic Western that has me the most excited. I knew about and have listened to Dark Cabaret, but Gothic Western is a new candyland of music i really like, really inspires me, and is basically untapped.
Oh sure, the genre has roots in things i already love, like Tom Waits and some of Johnny Cash’s (especially later) work as well as bits and dollops of things i pick up here and there. But as a whole the genre is until now just outside my radar and the artists currently working it unknown to me and i’ve been playing this in the car more than anything else. The mood is just wonderful and combining this with Dark Cabaret… the possibilities are legion.
I’m almost done with the first song of the Gothic Western Steampunk Cabaret. We’re forgoing overtures this time around. Cabarets do not have overture, they cut right to the chase. So while i putter away, here are 5 tracks from the Western Gothic genre that i particularly enjoy:
I Am Oak
Lost Hallow is in a position where the desert meets the forest. Desert runs for miles and miles, endlessly in front of the small town, but behind it runs a mountain range where dense forest grows and wild things run free and hunt in the dark nights. Strange noises come from the mountains and more than one resident has claimed they heard a call in the night which they could only resist for so long. Those who hear the call all eventually go, some after a week, some after 6 months, but one day, sure enough, off they go under the stars, into the mountain forest. It would be wrong to say they are never heard from again as some are in fact spied by a resident gone camping who can only describe the person as having gone native, reclaimed by mother nature.
The desert side is where the sun rises and the skies go on forever into the distant. There are a few ranches here and one small artist collective who takes cactus buttons and tries to paint the sky they see afterwards, to varying effect. The desert is calming to the soul, the peaceful side of town, but deadlier even than the forest. A person can survive in the forest. Wander off too far into the dessert past where you can see back to the town and they say
you will never find your way back again. And the desert offers no hope of survival. Plus you don’t want to accidentally stumble on the settlement of giant, ill tempered, sentient scorpions because the truce doesn’t count if you wander into their territory.
Still, as a frontier town, Lost Hallow has all the resources it needs to run itself. It has wood, plants and water, mud, clay, sun and rain. And for a place so isolated and difficult to come by, it has a surprisingly large assortment of characters who wander in from all sort of places and all walks of life.
It is not a particularly large place. There is of course a main street and a few side streets running parallel and perpendicular. there is an open air market to the east of main street and the nightlife street to the west where the Saloon is. The Saloon is a popular place on the weekends. It is not a rickety, wooden thing. The inside is covered in red and violet satin with candles everywhere. It is one of the few businesses that allows wolves inside, although they are expected to mind their manners and for the most part do.
It is no secret about the presence of a werewolf compound at the foot of the mountain, just outside the town. it contains all manner of lycanthrope, running the gammit from those who are human who turn into a wolf every full moon, those who turn into a wolf nightly, and those who only turn human every crescent moon. They can get loud on full moon nights but otherwise are very good neighbors and are roam freely in the town with no ill will from the non furry residents.
Other notable points of interest are:
– the town library is rather small above ground, but is said to run for quite a ways below. There are all sorts of books of interest the librarian can pull for you, and some say below ground eventually the books give way to stacks of other things that give information. The librarian never speaks and is in some ways the most feared person in town although she is nothing but quiet, well mannered and helpful.
It’s the way she looks at someone who is acting rude, rudeness being a trait she will not abide, and the access she has to forms of forbidden knowledge you don’t even want to guess at. If she decides your quest for knowledge is worthy and what you seek cannot be found above ground, she will take you down into the stacks. But DO NOT stray from her. If you are lost down there it could be years before you are seen again. Just ask Old Man Gaynor. He was in his 20s when he went running off down below. he was only gone 2 years above ground time, but he came back over 30 years older, and definitely not all there. He can be relatively lucid, particularly in the mornings, but once he starts rambling it’s best if you stop listening. Those who try to understand what he’s saying end up going off the rails of sanity themselves, although usually for only a short time. Still, Carlos Valencia once tried to follow Old Man Gaynor’s ramblings while he was well liquored up one Sunday night, and ended up in the psych ward for 3 weeks. It should be noted that the psych ward is actually a refurbished barn out in back of Doc Svendsen’s property that his wife tends to, where the horse stalls have been fitted with plenty of hay in place of rubber rooms.
– The Preacher is a mythshifter. He changes appearance mildly, but more so he changes belief system. This is not superficial, when he changes into a Mormon or a 7th Day Adventist ( or Elysianism) the theological knowledge that comes to him is deep, encyclopediatic and intense. Same for African Shamanism, Jainism, Hinduism, you name it. There might be some places where this might negatively affect Sunday service attendance, but in Lost
Hallow, Sunday service attendence is through the roof. Some of course come out of pure curiosity to see what kind of crazy dogman they’re going to get an earful of that week, and some honestly find it to be spiritually inspiring.
The Preacher was the son of a rambling tent revivalist, who was known for his snake work. He often bragged there was no snake in existence he could no subjugate, and his reputation suggested this was certainly true. He came to town seeking Sophia Suarez, the town herbalist. If it grows, Sophia can someone how get it or grow it, and she supplies Doc Svendsen with most of his medicines, none of which are in pill form. Sophia’s peyote is world famous. This Tent revivalist caught wind from multiple sources of the presence of a great multi- dimensional Snake that exists within the peyote landscape, and having bested the serpent of Satan already, wished to tame this new challenge. Thus he came to
purchase and consume Sophia’s famous peyote buttons, which he did. He tripped
his balls off and sure enough, met and battled the Great Snake.
After a week had passed and he still hadn’t come down, his son, now our current Preacher, decided he neede to go in there and rescue his fool old man. Sophia flat out refused to sell the boy peyote buttons and it took the boy another week before he convinced Feena O’Kelly, the town tarot reader, so purchase some for him. Feena wasn’t too keen on the idea, but she consulted her cards and saw that sure enough, the father was indeed locked in a heated and endless battle with the serpent and that the serpent being engaged like this for too long a time would cause terrible consequences on both the psychic and eventually the material realms. So she bought the boy the buttons and went in
with him to see that he came to no harm.
They found his father locked in a fierce battle with the Snake. The story of the negotiation session isn’t worth getting into here, but the long and short of it is: the father eventally married the Snake and stayed in the spirit realm. The boy went back, but as part of taking the Snake as his step mother, he took on the mythshifting ability which would define his long and well received preaching career. Back in the material world he was adopted by Feena O’Kelly who looked after, finished raising him and who he loves like a mother.
– The town Firestarter is a Hasidic Monk named Yitsak Isaacs. He practices a unique form of Kabbalic Tai Chi which can produce fire and otehr forms of light, including laser and subtle luminscence. He lives next to the river, and contributes to the town a number of ways, the most banal and obvious being he lights the nightly gas lamp that line the town center. He does this by doing a slow, graceful, swirling dance down the center main street every evening, the lamps lighting themselves as he passes. Many residents enjoy sitting and watching this nightly ritual.
More importantly, Yitsak was responsible for stopping the awful scorpion raids that had been the terror of the town prior to his arrival years ago. Deep in the desert is a hive of giant scorpions who would raid the town from time to time. These skirmishes these raids resulted in were brutal. Yitsak for some reason had the ability to communicate with these creatures and managed to work out a truce, although it was a long, difficult process. The scorpions were not keen on a truce, still aren’t all that thrilled with it to this day, and some nights in a saloon you can hear some talk to the effect that it’s only a matter of time til the truce breaks down.
Artist Sarah de Buck, who i mentioned will be doing a heap of art for the upcoming Gothic Western Steampunk Cabaret project, has made some preliminary sketches for the most important character, Han-Mi. It’s an odd job because there need to be some elements of cliche to the Cabaret side of the character even though the performer does not share these cliches (and in fact takes issue on occasion).
She has done wonderful work and i am immensely excited to be working with her on this project.
This is the sound of me in love.
This is one from the vaults. I made this awhile back, just after The Coffee Cellar.
I was in love. I was so in love.
It was unrequited.
When men are in love they often do big, romantic gestures to demonstrate the epicness of their feelings.
So, i did what you might think i’d do.
I wrote her an entire album.
Her absolute favorite story of all time was The Little Mermaid (the original Hans Christian Anderson version.) So i made her an album that told the original Hans Christian Anderson version of The Little Mermaid using music and narration.
My suggestion is if you want to skip just to the highlights, start with The Ball. That was where i poured all of my… it’s the song where i said as clearly as i could with all my young raging hormones and emotional…. AWK: “GAwdDAMMIT. i. WANT. YOU.”
In the original story, the Little Mermiad not only cannot speak, but every single step she takes with her new legs is agonizing pain. She has no way to tell the prince how she feels or that she had saved him and loves him. She walks with him although each step is tearful torture. Finally, at the big ball, when she sees how much the prince is intrigued by these dancing girls, she steps up to dance for him, her only chance in the entire story to express herself, even though each step is unbearable pain.
And DO listen to the one after it, Waiting For The Sunrise. This track was a defining moment in my learning to tell stories.
This album was important on a musician’s level because i found i could tell stories using narration, which became a big tool for me. This album was in fact key for me as for the merging of music and story ( and as a side note, clearly i was still in my electronica phase).
I would add, i must have done SOMEthing right, because she married me and our 4 year old is running about my feet as we speak.