Released May 6 2012
Dedicated to all those I know who continue to live Unbroken.
I wanted to record this album a year ago. But a year ago I was in the middle of a year long construction project that had me tearing apart half the house and building a room, inside a room, inside another room that is a world class space for recording acoustic guitar. The back wall is twenty inches thick, with a four inch air gap in the middle, and insulation to over R50. I believe the record in your hands will prove that the effort was worth it.
A good share of the time I spend with my wife is on the road to perform. It takes twenty minutes to load the car and get ourselves in it. As I’m packing I imagine us circling down the twisty gravel road that leads to the gates of the sprawling compound that, for now at least, we live on mostly in my mind. I stop at the main road, swing the steel gates wide, and we depart on another adventure.
This piece came to life as I held a dear friend through very bad day in 2010. At the end of it I sat down with the guitar and my thoughts shifted into this realization: Despite this, we are alive. We are loved. We are unbroken. This piece is the spiritual centerpiece of the record and all of the other pieces spring from it in some way.
Even in victory there comes a point where you surrender what is lost and move on. From that point forward, really, it’s all wings.
In the middle of the forest a circle of light opens and rays fall on a warrior lying in the dust. Angels gather and slowly lift his form from the earth to carry him higher, higher, higher. Healer, traveler, earth mother, ocean's daughter, teller of truths, keeper of the long swords, maker of the black wings. May there always be a sweet song for Ash.
To know the story of this song is to have your heart broken in so many places that you can scarcely breathe. It is a tale of the light left on, the empty chair at dinner, a prayer for safe return.
Remembering kind eyes and gracious moments. To the first of many muses, the dreaming of Forgiving Dreams, and the continued Rotation Of Earth.
For Alex the kindly and gentle muse, a force of tenacity and power. When I see her beautiful face and welcoming smile my heart grows to three times its normal size.
My father lived in orphanages from age seven to age fifteen. At sixteen his adoptive father died in his arms of cancer. At twenty-two, he buried his adoptive mother, who also died of cancer, and moved to San Diego where he met my mother and started the loving family I grew up in. I don’t know how he did it, but there isn’t a day that goes by that I’m not thankful for his finding the strength to keep going. To Charlie, the strongest of the bunch, and the loving parents who took him in.
Song inspiration doesn’t really come to me in the form of “I will now write a song about the ocean.” What usually happens is that I’ll spend some time with someone and then later that night I’ll pick up the guitar and start working on a piece and thoughts of that person will influence the combination of notes that resonate with me. I wrote this one after spending a lovely evening with Sophia, the beautiful model who appears on the cover.
When I was a child my mother had a favorite Bible verse - Song of Solomon 2:15: “Take us the foxes, the little foxes, that spoil the vines: for our vines have tender grapes.” It refers to minding the details, I believe, but it always made me laugh for some reason. This piece reminded me of the many conversations I had with her about how to get things done.
Doug Modig worked side by side with me every Saturday for a year to build my recording studio and workshop. Corin Nelsen showed me how to build this fine studio. In my time recording Forgiving Dreams in Vermont Will Ackerman and Corin Nelsen taught me as much about building houses, even if just by observation, as making music. A hell of a lot of carpentry happened around here in the last year and the first fruits of it are in this record.
I close this record with another piece for my beloved Lily. We have a safe place together, a place that feels good to come home to, in this home.
Corin Nelsen for designing my studio and without whose expertise, friendship, and consultation I would not be able to make this music. Eugene Friesen for so beautifully representing the soul and hollow places on Unbroken and Book Of Ruth. Kyle Cassidy for capturing my likeness and Sophia so gracefully and for giving us one of the most enjoyable days in memory. Sophia Iannicelli for being flexible, patient, kind, & for making fabulous art with us. Neil Gaiman for encouragment and public mentions at what turned out to be a critical juncture in my career. Will Ackerman who helped me get the ball rolling in the first place. Ash Reisende for making it all better, time and time again. Doug Modig for the carpentry, expertise, and motivation. Alexzandria Helgesen for inexplicably opening a window on the sunny side my heart. Tea Mars for holding the Family together and letting me be there when it matters, Unbroken. David Haxton and Mark Stanley for building my beautiful guitars. Adam Werner, Rocky Fretz, Robert Linton, Ken Verheecke, and the rest of the Many Miles Music family. Kelly Ritting for the Botticelli years. Allena Gabosch, Alora Boatwright Mars and Bart Boatwright, Will and Mary Ellen Buxton, and Megan, Keith, and Christopher.
Extra Special Thanks to my beloved Lily, the artist and author LA Smith, for encouraging me to follow my creative heart, and for building this wonderful life with me.
March 29th, 2012
Produced by Damon Buxton
Recorded at The Yellow House in Seattle Washington except cello parts for Unbroken and Book Of Ruth recorded at The Pushkin in Greenfield, Massachussetts.
All songs written, arranged, and performed by Damon Buxton except Unbroken and Book Of Ruth written by Damon Buxton and arranged and performed by Damon Buxton and Eugene Friesen.
All songs ©(p) 2012 Damon Buxton and published by Many Miles Music (BMI)
Engineered, Mixed and Mastered by Grammy¨ Award winning engineer Corin Nelsen at SynchroSonic Productions in Bremen, Maine.
Photography by Kyle Cassidy.
Cover model Sophia Iannicelli.
Damon Buxton's guitars were hand made by the following Seattle-area luthiers:
1996 Mark Stanley Classical
2003 David Haxton S-004 Concert Steel
Damon Buxton uses Rock Hard Road Cases.
Damon Buxton plays exclusively Hannabach strings.