"Fire Mountain" is a collection of songs on love, death, and rebirth. Performed with JT Bates and Jeremy Ylvisaker, it was recorded and mixed by our dear friend Micheal Larsen (R.EYE.P.) at E&A Studios in St. Paul, Minnesota, and was released as a very limited-edition CD-R, which I distributed throughout Alaska in 2008.
To my knowledge, this is the first time these songs have surfaced online. The elite, or so we thought, tracks went on to be included on "Ephemeral Eon" and withheld from this digital re-release, making it a cozy 7-song EP. Track 2, "Grateful Man," featuring Haley Bonar, is the one song that finds inclusion on both albums, as this alternate, stripped-down mix allows the listener to appreciate the simplicity of our sessions: live, raw, and from-the-gut authentic. At 3:12, if you listen closely, you can hear the sound of laughter. It is symbolic of the fun we had making this record.
When Mikey passed last autumn, I listened back to these songs and realized how beautiful they are. I pictured us back in the studio, taking breaks to get pizza and coffee, talking about life, art, transcendence. I was in a stage of great development as a songwriter and vocalist, so, naturally, I was a little uncertain of how these recordings sounded at the time. Mikey encouraged me a lot -- "Just believe in what you're saying," he told me, "and the world will listen." Listening back now, everything sounds perfect.
These songs are mighty special to me not only because they were recorded by a genius/legend, but because they pay homage to my bloodline. "We've All Gotta Lose" is a tribute to two of my grandparents who had passed shortly before the sessions, and "Hope" is an ode to my sister, cheekily telling her to keep her chin up through her final days of school + waiting tables (True story: Al Franken don't tip a dime and Peter Yarrow tips in kisses).
The bookmarks of this release, however, are rooted in the universals -- "Don't Know Where I'll Go" is the odyssey of the archetypal wanderlustful traveler who wants everything in life but doesn't know how to get any of it, and "New Blade of Grass" declares his enlightenment: "I was shit, now I'm manure."
Once you realize you're shit, you can be anything.
Thanks to Mikey, JT, Jeremy, Haley, Tom Herbers (mastering), and Keegan Wenkman (incredible cover art) for contributing so lovingly to this project. I hope these songs find the minds and hearts of our kindred spirits.
Love you and miss you, Mikey.
released 27 July 2008
(ltd. ed. CD-R released 27 July 2008)
Luke Redfield - guitar, vocals, harmonica
Jeremy Ylvisaker - guitar, organ, dobro, bass, percussion
JT Bates - drums, percussion
Nick Burcher - upright bass on 1
Haley Bonar - vocals on 2
Micheal Larsen - recording, mixing, production
Tom Herbers - mastering
Keegan Wenkman - cover painting
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