“Flying” has been out for about 10 days now, and I’m still trying to get caught up. It’s always...


“Flying” has been out for about 10 days now, and I’m still trying to get caught up. It’s always like this — feels like it takes forEVER for the album to actually be released, and then after all that waiting, there isn’t time to take care of what comes next. I’m 20 years into this, you’d think I’d know by now. Anyway, thank you to everyone who has sent a message about the album — it has been so lovely to hear how much this album has spoken to all of you. I try so hard not to care if anyone else likes the music I make — but of course it absolutely matters to me that the songs I write are able to connect to other hearts. This album is *so* open — every song is really me, not a metaphor, not a character — and the fact is, like the lead-off track “beauty and grace” says, “it’s a hard truth to face the modern world’s not interested much these days in beauty or grace, cause balance sheets and bottom lines have taken their place.” So I’m grateful to have friends who actually are interested in art, in creative endeavours, in music, in color, in light, in connection. I sure do appreciate you all.

The photo above was taken at the marvelous City Museum in wonderful St. Louis. I firmly believe that St. Louis is one of America’s great cities (and I believe this not just because my sister and brother-in-law manage to show us the BEST time every single time we visit) and City Museum has got to be at the top of any list of best museums. It’s a totally oddball outta-left-field experience and I hope you get to visit one day.  Anyhow, Rip took this photo of me in an old bomber perched on top of a giant play structure that is built outside of the museum. It was absolutely freezing outside but we were kind of mad with the glow of being children again — City Museum puts that sort of wild energy right into your veins if you let it — and I crawled through a rebar tunnel into this plane and plopped into the pilot seat. Rip took the photo, not knowing that it would be the answer to what we were looking for a year later.

We were trying to name the album, and we were stuck.  I liked “How Rome Will Fall,” which comes from “Flood Zone, “but A) we had to cut FZ because of length (too long for vinyl) and B) it was a bit nerdy as a title (no problem there for me but I acknowledge the truth). We tossed around several of the song titles themselves, including “Halfway Through” and “Blind Curves” but neither felt like a TITLE. Titles are hard, y’all. We had briefly considered “Flying on Instruments” more than once, but we were always like, “yeah, but the artwork? What, are we going to do a shoot with the whole band surfing on their guitars and drum kits? That’s dumb.” And then honestly, I don’t know if we came across it by accident, or if one of us remembered that day at City Museum, but we came across this photo and Rip was like, “I think I can work with that.” And from there, it was always Flying on Instruments. It had to be.

And of course that’s how these things go. You can’t see the forest for the trees, you can’t see the path, there are blind curves everywhere, etc.  I was tearing my hair out, trying to find a title that would work… and then, duh, there it was.  Right in the middle of one of the most important songs on the record.  “How long will it take to get there, I’m not sure,” indeed. It’s a question I ask all the time — my belief in everything working out for the best is SO strong… but man, how long is it gonna take.  We just have to remember that every last one of us is flying on instruments. We’re all just making it up as we go along. We’re all doing the best we can. And that’s ok. We’ll get there.

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