Sunday, December 23, 2012

Moth Masque

In the entire history of Stone Breath, only one concept video was made - Francesco Paladino and Maria Assunta Karini made a video for "A Dream of You in the Garden of Gethsemane"...there is talk of more videos and short films being made in the future, but thus far, the single concept video is all we have. It has gone unseen by most for many years but finally appears now as a bonus feature on the DVD in the Moth Masque box set.

Moth Masque was one of three somewhat more experimental projects I began as we took a temporary break from Stone Breath (Moth Masque, then Black Happy Day, and finally Crow Tongue). It's something I did with Alicia Lee Wade and a banjo (and loads of effects). The original CDr is long out of print - we did a second album that we never finished at the time. This was finished these many years later and we added a third album (made from sound sources from the first two and new vocals). Francesco and Maria also made a Moth Masque film - they took the entire album and combined it with their own themes to make a wondrous strange and haunting piece of work. This is on the DVD too, along with another Moth Masque video for the song "Life's Lesson."

The Moth Masque box set will be ready in early January 2013. You can pre-order the box now...just click HERE.

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

The Snow-White Ghost-White Stag

17 or so years ago, I started this band. For awhile it was me, alone. Alison, who would later become my wife and mother of my children, helped because I asked her to - and really because I didn't want to be alone in the credits - but it was never her great desire to be in a band. 

Prydwyn came along by the second album. My friend. My True Brother. He taught me how to sing. Flutes. Whistles. Strings. More. He made the music better.

Sarada came next. My friend. A voice of pure silver. My True Sister. She made the music better.

We made music this way for many years. Prydwyn's wife, Kira, would eventually bless us with her wondrous strange harmonies. She made the music better. Then came Don - for my money, the best guitarist in the genre and he knows next to nothing ABOUT the genre. He is a musician through and through. He made the music better. Don brought Brooke - the youngest of all of us - who started out with incredible raw talent but continues to refine it at a pace that is shocking and just amazing to watch. She made the music better.

These, all of them, my friends and family. I couldn't imagine doing Stone Breath with hired hands or people I didn't connect with on some deep level.

I asked Carin next. Stone Breath had toured with her old band, Iditarod, and we fell in love with her voice. I don't think there is anything like it - and I mean that in the best possible way. I was honored when she said she would sing on Stone Breath albums. I expected to love it, but I never expected our voices to work so well together. She made the music better.

...and then there is "The Snow-White Ghost-White Stag."

In my youth, there was a albino buck that wandered my rural neighborhood. Many of the kids hunted, and all of those that did hunt, wanted this white buck. To my knowledge, none of them ever killed it. I wrote the song specifically for Carin to sing. 

When we were asked to play in State College - it is near Carin's home - I asked her immediately if she would sing with us. The practicing "live" band these days is Don, Brooke and myself. Everyone else just lives too far away. So, we knew any songs Carin sang with us would be without practice - but we also knew we wanted to do "The Snow-White Ghost-White Stag." What you hear on the live recording is a testament to Carin's talent - it's her song now. I just wrote it.

17 years and many many blessings. Our first live album in all that time is available now from Deep Water Acres

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Twist of Thorn

Twist of Thorn is the new cassette album from Stone Breath.

It is available now from Brave Mysteries. We will have copies at the Dark Holler Arts shop soon.

Update: We now have our copies at Dark Holler Arts.

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

3/31/2012 video

Here is a link to a video of our most recent performance:

Stone Breath and Arborea play Schlow Centre Region Library in State College, PA. March 31, 2012.

Stone Breath's set list was as follows:

The Night Birds Psalm (1)
The Sleeping Rise (2)
Where the Crows Go (3)
The Song of the Bone-White Bird (4)
Bedlam Boys (5)
To Sleep with Skeletons (1)
The Snow-White Ghost-White Stag (1)
Johnny has Gone for a Soldier (3*)
Mad Song (5*)
Sixteen Hooves (6)

(1)= from the new CD, The Night Birds Psalm
(2)= from the CD, The Ætheric Lamp
(3)= from the forthcoming cassette album, Twist of Thorn
(3*)from the forthcoming cassette album, Twist of Thorn. Traditional, arranged by Stone Breath.
(4)= from the LP, 2CD, and box set of The Shepherdess and the Bone-White Bird.
(5)= from the forthcoming LP, Spear of Flame, Horse of Air. Traditional, arranged by Stone Breath.
(5*)= from the forthcoming LP, Spear of Flame, Horse of Air. Words by William Blake. Music by Stone Breath.
(6)= from the mini-album CDr, Who is Listening?

©Stone Breath. All rights reserved.

Sunday, March 25, 2012

Of Mist, Ashes, and a Twist of Thorn

The first Stone Breath release was a cassette called Of Mist and Ashes. 1995. It was 11 songs on 1 side of a cassette tape. It was the first and, until 2012, the ONLY Stone Breath cassette release. Most of the songs eventually appeared on the Strange Familiars ep and Songs of Moonlight and Rain, our first full length CD - it was the first ever release on Camera Obscura Records. (some of the unreleased songs from Of Mist and Ashes, as well as all of Strange Familiars and SoMaR all appeared on the Songs of Moonlight and Rain (expanded) CD from Hand/Eye.)

At the time, I don't think I knew exactly why I wanted to make acoustic music. After Cloud and Mourning Cloak, which could be as much electronic experimentation as it was folk, and the Mourning Cloak live shows wherein I was plugging in guitars and twiddling with racks of effects - I knew I wanted to simplify in some sense - but more than that, I just loved the sound of acoustic music. In later years, I would learn this probably has to do with the complexities of the harmonic overtones generated by acoustic instruments, but in 1995 I was a very naive musician. I just knew I wanted to make acoustic music. I came up with a theory, at the time ...and that was: electronic music lends itself to music of the ætheric and astral realms - inner and outer space. Acoustic music tends to be earth music - made from wood and metal, hair, skin, and gut. (In later years, I have come to think of acoustic music as just being more timeless - or more potentially timeless I suppose - in that it is not dependent on electronics outside of the recording studio and performance venues)

I was a VERY naive musician back then. While deeply in love with psychedelic music at the time, I had grown up through my teen years listening to DIY punk/hardcore/underground metal - and I was deeply influenced by DIY/zine culture. While I won't claim there's much from that music in Stone Breath, I did take some of the ethic with me. Why shouldn't I try to make my own acoustic music if that is what I like? Just pick up the instruments and do it. So many people have done this, well before me, that it's not really a revolutionary concept anymore - but I mention it to give due credit to punk rock for my folk band.

I practiced and practiced though - and I hope my improvement in both playing and singing is there to hear from record to record. Having been joined by first Prydwyn, then Sarada, and eventually, Don, Brooke, Carin, Kira and everyone else who has helped with Stone Breath over the years; having played as Tom Rapp's backing band; touring, playing, recording with Stone Breath and every other project I've done since - all of this helped push me and Stone Breath musically.

So, here we are in 2012 and Stone Breath is releasing a cassette on the Brave Mysteries label. I am brought back full circle to 1995. I never minded the format, having run a cassette label for years before I ran a "real" record label - and the cassette is still a widely used audio format in places in the world where people are not yet entirely digitized (amen to those places). Maybe the cassette just becomes a curiosity or a collector's item - but I love the idea of releasing this now - appealing to both my luddite tendencies and that young part of me who bought and traded so much music in that most DIY of formats, the cassette.

Stone Breath Twist of Thorn cassette, coming April 2012. 
Side A: 
Where the Crows Go
Hand in Hand*
Johnny has Gone for a Soldier**
In the Garden of Ghostflowers*
No Ends Meet

Side B:
How Many Hours 'til the Spider's Work is Done*
Blood Winter

*originally recorded by Black Happy Day, here reinterpreted by Stone Breath
**traditional, arrangement by Stone Breath.

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

March 31, 2012

Saturday, March 31, 2012 Stone Breath will be playing live with Arborea in State College, PA. Information HERE. I believe the wonderful Carin Wagner Sloan (ex-Iditarod) will be joining us for a few songs which is great news!

Hopefully our live appearances will become increasingly less rare, now that there is a local and regularly practicing membership. On that note, Stone Breath is looking for shows - so contact me if you have anything for us.

O yes: If you are on Facebook, please "like" Stone Breath.

You can hear some of our music and get more information at our ReverbNation page...and if anyone remembers MySpace, we have some music there as well.

Monday, March 19, 2012

He's got death upon his tongue...

"Walking Sam" illustration by timeMOTHeye... 

Walking Sam appears on the newest Stone Breath album, The Night Birds Psalm. The song's genesis was in some strange reports about a sinister character I read in 2009. For me, it was the perfect name and theme for a kind of witchy call-and-response blues song. I wrote a part two - of a sort - called Witchwalker, which appears on my upcoming solo album/art book, Undeath (coming in 2012 from Crucial Blast records).

The illustration was done early on during the recording of The Night Birds Psalm - when the original plan was for me to do illustrations and illuminations for every song, as I did for The Silver Skein Unwound and The Shepherdess and the Bone-White Bird before. Unfortunately, Walking Sam was the only drawing I completed in time for the release (in my defense, I did complete an entire series of drawings used for Undeath in that same time).

The original illustration is available to purchase HERE.