I wanted to write something a bit more subdued after "Shamanic Youth", and the result is "Russian Novels". These songs came to fruition during the autumn, which was quite conducive to the more introspective and reserved feel that I was going for. The title is not necessarily meant to convey an overarching motif- I don't know that the scattershot thematic references to Russian literature are substantial enough to warrant labeling this a concept album, but I suppose it's not altogether impertinent.
An interesting note about the cover art... before I began recording this album, when the songs were still incubating in the vague realms of fancy, I approached Norman artist Sarah Capshaw about doing the album cover art. She agreed, and we began a collaborative project by which the songs themselves influenced the artwork and vice versa. Sarah was the first person to hear these songs in their embryonic state and the first to hear them upon completion. I was as well able to witness the painting as it became ever more layered, complex, and dreamlike throughout its stages of manifestation. It was a very illuminating process, and I felt that it added a welcome new dimension to my own creative process as well. You can view more of Sarah's inimitable work at sarahcapshaw.ugallery.com
I had lots of help from lots of shiny stars on this one...
Penny Hill sings on "Sheltering Sky" and "Waxwing Funeral", and plays banjo on "Waxwing Funeral" as well. Do yourself a favor and check out her album "Unbutton Your Heart", it is quite lovely, and her music has been a recent influence of mine: www.pennyhill.bandcamp.com
Blue Valley Farmer sings on "Sheltering Sky", "Waxwing Funeral", and "Some Birds Sing" (another brilliant Oklahoma musician and phenomenal folksinger, whose songs can be heard at cllct.com/art/bluevalleyfarmer
Rae Rome sings on "Some Birds Sing"
Kara Joy McKee sings on "Some Birds Sing"
Zakk Flash plays Arabic drums on "The Dustman"
Released Dec. 19, 2010