I have stacks of books. Stacks and stacks and stacks. They are organized by subject: in the corner is a pile of books concerning WWII and the Holocaust, Hitler and atrocities of man. On the chair against the wall are books telling of German heritage, some in languages I cannot read.
In front of the double window is a small wooden stool, dug out of a trash pile down the street long ago and valued for its early American craftmanship. It’s likely this stool, at one point in its long and storied life, was used in a barbershop to help little boys, like my own, reach the seat more frequently occupied by men. Atop this stool sits a collection of tomes that busy themselves with the old way, if you will. Homesteading, backyard gardens, a volume of Powers family history, Foxfire, and the like. The music of Harlowe and The Great Northern Woods would fit perfectly in this mess of pages, if I could put it to paper and bind it. In the evenings, as the sun descended and took its leave from my hemisphere, the light would shine in and flicker through the curtains on those fettered words and things, when looked at through the wonder of that porthole and the simple act of nature, would seem to fit.
There is an unknown magic in the mathematics of putting together people in a circle, giving them particular instruments, and then setting them loose to put words to their collective sounds. Music, in itself, is an amazingly mysterious being (to me, anyway). Even when it seems simple it certainly is not. It is not unlike our familial lineage — if your great-great-grandfather had not ventured here from Ireland there is no feasible way you’d exist. If your mother’s mother’s mother had not dreamed big enough to believe that she could set sail on a ship and make it here in our land on her very own, then you’d be nothing. Music, in it’s every form, is just like this.
Harlowe and The Great North Woods is just like this. If someone, tired of what seemed like a useless piece of outdated machinery, had never donated their tape machine to Goodwill, they might not be here. If these people had not been born and lived what they have lived, there would be no recording sessions in woodshed studios set in California orchards.
There is a feeling of incredible predestination in this band. It seems possible to me that a hundred years ago people got on boats and people met and people had babies and formed lives so this band could live. They feel as large as actual great woods situated in the North and yet they fit a tiny shed. It is astonishing, this life and this music.
Harlowe and The Great North Woods :: Roses [MP3]
Harlowe and The Great North Woods :: Mason Jars [MP3]