Monday, April 13, 2015

A Guide to Each Song on Calexico's Edge of the Sun

Posted By on Mon, Apr 13, 2015 at 3:30 PM

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07. Coyoacán (instrumental with Adrian Perez on Jalisco harp from El Paso TX) - documenting the time spent in Mexico City, one of the oldest neighborhoods, where Cortez set up camp before heading into way against Montezuma and the Aztecs. The old church in this neighborhood like many religious sites is built on top of an old ancient temple. Having read Buddy Levy's book "Conquistador" about Hernán Cortés conquering the Aztec Empire and defeating Montezuma was stunning, and I really wanted to check out the old historic sites of not only Teotihuacan but also those in Coyoacán. This song is light on its feet, it keeps you moving, it is sustenance and it is in 6/8. I love the spirit on this track. There is something definitely said for doing recordings without much thought or preparation. Being in the moment can be a hard thing to do when your mind is telling you that you are mortal and have imperfections, all the while the heart is singing guiding the way soulfully. It definitely was a gift to be in Coyoacán and recording amidst so much inspiration culturally and spiritually.

08. Beneath the City of Dreams - (Gaby Moreno vocals in Spanish. She's from LA via Guatemala). One of the more upbeat numbers that came from the writing session in Coyoacán. It took a while to find its feet but musically it fits somewhere in the record shelves with The Clash, Mano Negra and Dylan's "Infidels". The theme of false layers in every life, every town, and every sense of truth are touched on in this song. We are looking for a way out and wondering what lies beneath the surface. Ciudad del Sueño looms for some. Others wait for opportunities that arise from the chaos and misfortune of others. It is all part of the story.

John Burns: Cities beneath cities, specifically Las Vegas from the vice episode. people living in sewer tunnels and other places, true underground citizens. not CHUD, lost humans, but then also wealth in vaults underground as well. Looking online from Vegas which I had heard about led to
so gambling and drug addiction had their streams crossed

09. Woodshed Waltz (featuring Greg Leisz on electric guitar)
Joey: Holding on to old way has its consequences. This is a portrait of one who carries on without checking in with his heart.
John Burns: sure went through a lot of changes, but the idea of a guy not changing his refrain and the box of letters in the rain sort of framed it all, the leaves of paper and someone hiding their tracks with leaves in a forest fit.

10. Moon Never Rises - (featuring Carla Morrison vocals from Mexico City) it seems like there are a lot of dedications or motifs on natural elements. I know this is a common thread in the past, but here the song titles and lyrics have their own calendar like character or perhaps the elements to make a map. Utter darkness and no sense of direction is what happens when the moon never rises and stars never shine. Torn from love and wandering thru the aftermath. "Sin amor la luna no brilla en mi" the moon doesn't shine in me. I wouldn't mind hearing a remix of this song where the drums and bass are more distorted and the low end given more prominence. We are very fortunate to have one of Mexico's most popular new singer/songwriters, Carla Morrison, make a guest appearance on this recording.

11. World Undone
- (two members of the Greek traditional band Takim play on this track) After listening to a new Bill Callahan album, I began writing a minor blues figure on a 5 stringed open tuned nylon strung guitar. The melody unfolded around a drone in Gm and the words were found in an old notebook. The original version was over 6 minutes long but we decided to shorten it for the album. "Can't trust in this anymore still waiting on the fence, so many times before, what keeps you here anymore? your world's coming undone." I guess for me this is a little more straight forward writing wrapped with a little pastoral painting "Red Bird on the Branch, Cactus Wren in the Thorns" that frames us in Sonoran settings. Throughout this whole year, the word 'tenderness' kept coming to mind. I was waiting for it and was hoping I could demonstrate it to my loved ones.

12. Follow The River - (Nick Urata from Devotchka backing vocals) "Man goes where water flows" - Lawrence Clark Powell. Here the theme of resolve and searching for a path or stream that is lost is the main ingredient. Sometimes we find a source, a river or an arroyo whether there is water there or not, as is the case in many rivers and streams around us in the Sonoran Desert, doesn't matter but it is finding a natural path through times of hardship. This song's character is "swallowed by ambition with a heart full of lies". I am sure a lot of people can relate in these selfish times when there is more focus on competition and advancing personally with all the fixings and trimmings that come with success. At what point do we stop and take notice at where the quality of life is at? This song delves to the depth of an aftermath and comes out with an offering of "Not giving up". This is key and this has been my motto. 

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