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Kaden Hollow (the new album)

artwork by Magda Gluszek

Kaden Hollow is a project I have been working on for a long time; off and on for probably 15 years or more. It began as an idea for a series of short stories about characters, some real and some invented, in the southern US. When I first set out to write the stories, I had a fairly clear idea of how their lives would effect each other and where their paths would cross. The first few writings came out pretty easily and fluidly, building the characters into monoliths in my mind.

From those first writings, I came to see the people and places quite often in my creative moments, which eventually bled over into songwriting sessions. Over time, the characters' stories that had seemed to erupt in some sort of nostalgic inner universe for me took shape in a series of very authentic, folk-influenced songs. Inspired by the roots of country, mountain, and Celtic music, mixed with the writing craft of many early American songwriters and poets, Kaden Hollow began to take shape as a body of work in fairly quintessential concept album fashion.

Once the songs began to emerge, other things about the format of the story changed for me as well. I began to compose music, mostly instrumental, that was meant to accompany the passages of the short stories, sort of a "soundtrack to a book" or something, I began posting the passages as a blog with embedded instrumental score, which some of you will remember from almost ten years ago.

I loved the idea of scoring a blog and having a more sensual reading experience involved with the writing, but over time something else shifted and my focus with the project again changed. This time I felt that the stories, or larger story as it were, would be better told in a different format, and I set about writing it in screenplay format. As I wrote the characters' lines and the transitions of the scenes, whole new ideas about them began to emerge and twists that hadn't been present in the first place began to take shape. At the same time, as the story evolved, so did the songwriting.

Then, in 2013, my mother, grandmother, and dog all passed away. My mother was a huge influence in my musical path and I major force in my life. My grandmother was a sweet, kind, and loving person, and her loss hit my whole family pretty hard. My dog, Shane, was the best dog I have ever known, and he was a best friend who had been with me for 8 years. Living through that year ripped me apart and left the pieces all over the place. Among many other things I was analyzing and reevaluating, my art and writing went under the microscope.

Kaden Hollow shifted gears and became a cathartic endeavor. I took down the blog posts, got rid of the instrumental compositions, and set out writing a whole new project from the beginning, and from a completely different vantage point. So it has not been the same project I have been working on the entire time, but it has been numerous incarnations of a common theme and subject matter.

I am now in the studio recording and mixing the songs, and am in the process of finishing the stories, which have become a sort of stream-of-consciousness novel. I plan to release both of them in 2019 and look forward to sharing the material with people as well as letting the whole thing go. It's been a heavy, fun, scary, painful, manic process. Here's to new chapters.


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