I tried to imagine what my songs would sound like if I had been influenced by a long tradition of Dutch folk music. Why not try to make a record like that? I felt a need to have a sense of home. To feel like I do when I sit near the water of the lake where I spent many summers in my youth. How the lake itself never changes despite what’s happening near or on it nowadays. Like we don’t change inside.
How could I capture my Dutch roots musically? Popular roots music never represented them. Music from our sailing, farming and windmilling days disappeared a long time ago. Alas, we lack deep musical traditions heard in other European countries such as Ireland, Scotland, Sweden, Spain or the Balkans. But we do have some musical folklore. Accordion music was played in cafés. Hymns were sung in churches accompanied by pump organs. Villages had brass bands. There were sailor songs. We may not have flamenco but we did have graceful ice dancers in winter, swaying in slomo on frozen lakes and canals. And our forefathers must have been chanting when they were cutting peat for heating or reed for roofing. Or when they were building dykes, to fight off the ever present threat of flooding. This intrigued me.
I picked instruments I felt represented the light of my country, arranging songs for portable instruments only. It should be possible to walk into a room and just start playing. I worked on these arrangements for a year before assembling a group of musicians I admire, to record with. We came together a few days in a vintage studio in Weesp and recorded the basic tracks without rehearsing them. All in about to three to four takes, often with seven people playing. Our engineer was Oz Fritz (USA), who I’d worked with before and knew to be great at capturing a flow and keeping it alive, despite incidental vintage gear trouble. Oz is known for his work on a few Tom Waits records I love for their warm and organic sound. After I had worked on my vocals and guitars by myself for some time, we then mixed the album on great equipment at Prairie Sun Recording in Cotati, California. The same studio where some of the forementioned albums were recorded.
That’s the basic story of this album. The songs have their own stories to tell. They all mean something to me. I write them to transcend experiences or events that left an impression. Trying to embrace them. Saying yes to everything. I am hoping they may reflect things from your life.