Water, Wind, and Electricity – Eggemoggin Interlude

Water, wind, electricity don’t mix but in this instance they do, with wonderful results.

While on tour in Norway during February of 2002, I had the good fortune of meeting sculptor, inventor, and musician John Josefsen. In an overused expression, John truly is a renaissance man. He lives on the west coast of Norway next to the mighty North Sea and its winds. Our tour manager Tom Mortensen introduced me to John. Tom, while not a renaissance man, was (I hope still is) a character in his own right with a penchant for extremely-aged single malt scotch, even more cups of black coffee than I drank at the time, and I can only assume was somewhat of a masochist with his habit of putting out the hots of his cigarettes between his index finger and thumb. Back to John. After an afternoon of pleasantries and coffee, he took us to his workspace. There he showed off his contraption he called the Wind Harp – an instrument made up of a series of strings all tuned to a C chord. But, more importantly, he played the recording he made with the Wind Harp, which he had put on the roof of his home and studio. The wind blowing in off the North Sea caused the strings to vibrate and moan with varying intensities and sounds as the wind rose and fell creating this droning, harmonium-like, hypnotic sound. I was instantly taken, as everyone in the room saw, and, of course, asked for a copy of the recording. John was reluctant having just met me and not knowing my intentions. He said no. When he showed up at the gig that night, he’d had a change of heart, and presented me a copy of the Wind Harp recording. I promised never to use it without his permission. So, I carried around this inspiration of sound for almost twenty years before using it as the bed on “Eggemoggin Interlude.”

Eggemoggin Reach is the body of water between Deer Isle and the mainland of Sargentville, Maine (and others) on the Blue Hill peninsula. It’s one of the most serene places I’ve ever been. It is also the original homestead site in the New World for the paternal clan of my wife Juliet Simmons Dinallo. We spend as much time there as we can. It’s also the place we wrote our first song together in 2008. That song, “Don’t Got Much,” appears on Juliet’s “Dream Girl” album, which was released in 2018. In August of 2020, we in Sargentville for our annual end of summer stay. One of the afternoons, it was pouring – coming down Like Hollywood rain (as on of the songs on our new record, “I Need to Be Free,” proclaims). I’m constantly fascinated by sounds and their possibilities, so I placed a recorder at the edge of the porch and just inside the curtain of rain falling. I had no idea what I was going to do with it but I had to have it.

The idea to combine the North Sea wind and the Eggemoggin rain came to me shortly after we returned from Sargentville but before I was to be in the studio in Ridgetop, Tennessee with Tim Carter finishing up our new record. I spent a while experimenting with what passage of the thirty or so minutes the Wind Harp I was going to use against which portion of the falling rain. Eventually I struck upon the seventy or so seconds of both. It was after I had the water and wind that I went about adding the electricity. I find great power in simple, melodic motifs and their variations or ramblings. In some ways, songs that have enduring melodies inspired the melody here – ones that just the notes with no lyric immediately evoke memories of. One such for me is “Amazing Grace.” Simple, powerful, and evocative. “Will the Circle Be Unbroken” is another such example for me. I do not deem my compositions to be of that stature but aspire to achieve their worthiness of comparison. And, so I hope goes the melody of “Eggemoggin Interlude” in which I aimed to create a lilting dance with water, wind, and electricity.

-Michael, Cleveland, April 2021

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