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i've spent 30 years on this stormy road
so much time away from my home
tell me everything will be alright
but i can't see you anymore maybe i've gone blind...
i've lived a long and lonely time
seen far too much for any man alive
i've been led astray
everything that i've ever known
has washed away...
music and lyrics: Trewavas • Blackwood
Sea birds are gathering around beachgoers on a lovely sunny day. The calm of the ocean waves lapping upon the shore as sounds of happy children and their parents enjoying a beautiful summer day are completely unaware of the massive "Disturbance" that is coming for them.
An old sea captain is looking out upon the calm waves which he has come to know so well after all these years. He strums gently on an old beat up guitar reminiscing about everything in his life ... what he has given up to become a master commander of the maritime ... all the broken relationships ... all that he has recently lost because of her fickle nature and everything else that he is now about to lose forever to the only place left that he can truly call home... the sea.
He can see the signs. He's been waiting for this moment. All the beachgoers so oblivious to what only he can sense. The Disturbance Fields are about to arrive and no one... not even him with all his knowledge on navigating the sea, will come out of this alive.
Eric Blackwood penned the lyrics of this song and wrote the guitar line on an 8 string "Cuatro"... an instrument native to Puerto Rico and the Caribbean islands that is tuned to the key of "B". As Hurricane Irene raged over Edison's Children who were all hunkered down in their rustic beach house turned recording studio with mics and wires and guitars everywhere in Ocean City Maryland, they switched to acoustic instruments so that power surges wouldn't destroy any of their gear. Pete had quietly mentioned his thoughts out loud to Wendy Darling that even though they may just make it out of this storm unscathed ... many may not be so lucky. Their homes and everything that they've ever known was about to be "Washed Away". The place they watched TV in the family room the night before and all the photographs they've taken of the children over the years... all the memories that were embedded into the bones of that olde house ... could be gone in the flash of an eye. Pete Trewavas didn't realize just how clairvoyant he was until the transmissions returned to Maryland and the National Weather Service was flooding the airwaves with Special Reports of the utter devastation of entire towns which had simply vanished due to the incredible storm surge overnight. Up and down New England reports were coming in of so many old New Hampshire homesteads which had survived so many storms and so many disturbances since before the Revolutionary war had indeed been Washed Away. Eric Blackwood looked at the lyrics he had scribbled on an old piece of loose-leaf paper about an old sea captain looking back at everything he had given up to be the master of the sea... all the broken relationships ... all the times he chose for a life on the water over his life at home. And now ... the gratitude he would receive for making those hardened choices was to take on Mother Nature one last time... in a battle that he knew he would never come back from. Edison's Children would pause the writing and recording of their 1st album "In The Last Waking Moments" and the song "Silhouette" which would grow into the 67 minute centerpiece of their second album "The Final Breath Before November" and focus their concentration on this overwhelmingly mournful moment... and to everyone who just lost everything they've ever known in the blink of an eye due to the wrath of Mother Nature. Of Edison's Children's 3 epics to date, The Disturbance Fields becomes the first time that Pete Trewavas was responsible for the development of an album's concept.
Wendy Darling used an old log book from the early 1800's that she found from inside Warwick Castle in England as the background for the lyrics taking the bookcases from the Castle's library room and super-imposing that around the old log book to give the idea of the captain down in the study of the bow of his ship ... writing the accounts of the day as he sails off into what would be the most catastrophic storm the world has ever seen.
For the entire recording of the album... Rick, Eric, Pete and Wendy had intended to head to a beach to capture the sounds of the sea in the most perfect of settings. Wendy tried getting the original "beach scene" recording that begins the album in Cape Cod, Ocean City and in several beach towns up and down the Coastal Carolinas but there was always too much wind in the microphone and it didn't do the album any justice when she put it to tape, even after Rick and Pete tried to compress it. It simply didn't capture the mood of happy sun-loving beach goers oblivious to the fact that they were about to be annihilated by a massive weather event. The album would go to final mix-down without any real "beginning" except for the opening strum of Eric's Cuatro. It was John Mitchell who looked through some old BBC sound recordings (much like the ones the Beatles had used in songs like Blackbird and Pink Floyd used for many of their background effects) and put it in the front "beach scene" with the sounds of Eric's flute from "The Calm Before The Storm" section at the end of "Asphyxiation". Rick, Pete, Wendy and Eric were as surprised as anyone to hear this totally new beginning to the album, suddenly emerge after receiving a copy of the final mix. Edison's Children all felt that John Mitchell had done a fantastic job of adding something quite special to the album... a true "calm before the storm" and something to put you nicely at ease before the onslaught of "A Random Occurrence", "Asphyxiation" and "The Approaching Front/Indigenous... with its guitars so "in your face" that the nice peaceful beginning almost "set you up" to be "blown over" by the incoming "Disturbance Fields".
There was a bit of a disagreement on the single strummed chords that were played over Eric's acoustic cuatro. Pete felt that the 2nd "broken minor chord" (starting at 1:05) was very discordant and didn't work musically. Of course, that's what Eric loved about it. He felt that broken minor chord made you feel un-easy... a foreboding that something quite horrible was about to occur. Eric not only intended to keep that chord in that song and throughout all of the album's continued reprisals (Captain's Refrain and Epitaph)... but to raise the volume up loud enough that it would the same level as his lead vocal. Pete relented and once he got used to the chord, no longer questioned it's "musicality". However when the album was suddenly re-mastered before its initial release, the chord really came through quite intensely and perhaps a little more than even Eric intended. Still Eric is quite pleased with the emotional complexity or un-easiness that the chord stirs up in you, which is probably what made Pete feel a bit anxious about it in the first place... though Pete would probably tell you "it's a bit too high in the mix". (Rick meanwhile has always been quite used to Eric's unusual chord inversions and never found it to be "abnormal").
The song's concept as the beginning of a massive piece of music originally came up as stated earlier in Ocean City Maryland as Hurricane Irene was battering Edison's Children's month and a half long recording session... (just one of many weather events they would face during this 6 week period). Though Eric wrote the lyrics and sang and played every instrument that appears on the song himself... the song was written to be the beginning of Pete Trewavas' vision of having your entire life "Washed Away" ... and never being able to "go home again" to that location that had always been your "safe place". The song was further revised back in Sugar Loaf New York when the sessions in Ocean City came to an end. Eric Blackwood would re-record the "Cuatro" guitar parts over and over trying to get the strum perfect and the character of the unique instrument just right. Unfortunately on tape, the 8 stringed "Cuatro" would record a bit muddled as it was very old and hard to mic. If put through a "direct in"... the lost all of its character and sounded harsh and nothing like a native instrument. Brad Morrison aka Mr. Lee (Manger and Record Producer for Phish / Miracle Legion / The Pixies and owner of Black Dirt Studios which Eric leased for 3 years) would try to help Eric recapture the sound. Unfortunately even he would struggle with it after decades of working with acoustically mic'ed instruments. Pete Trewavas finally recreated Eric's old "Cuatro sound" with the far superior digital receptors of the Roland VG-99 Guitar Synth which Eric's strumming was processed through and suddenly the character of the old instrument was finally "captured" (though not with the original instrument itself). The single strums of the other haunting guitar and the flute playing quietly over the "beach sequence" were performed by Eric in the Berkshire Mountains of Western Massachusetts. The extra FX on Eric's voice were put on by Pete Trewavas in the fishing villages of New England including the delay at the end of his "ever known has Washed Away" and Pete has said that it is perhaps some of the best lead vocals that Eric has ever done. As you will read in the liner notes, the opening beach scene was added by John Mitchell in the U.K. during final mixdown after Wendy Darling's attempts to create a beginning "beach sequence" in Hull Massachusetts, the Outer Banks of North Carolina and the coast of South Carolina were all un-successful due to her mic picking up too much of the overhead high winds.