Monday, October 14, 2013

Autumn in the Coastal BC Forest

Autumn comes like a small town parade to the coastal British Columbia forest in an eruption of colour and season end growth that marks its' decline into winter's slumber. Joyous and brief, mushrooms of all sizes and descriptions emerge in colonies or by themselves. Outrageous deciduous fall tree colours, contrast against the more stoic evergreens.Here are some of the pictures, I'd like to share with you, from my walks in the forests near Agassiz and Yale BC this past week.

A Walk in the Woods ©

Still plenty of green in the woods that hangs above our group but it is on the verge on of change.  The air is a little cooler, soon we will want to wear gloves, as we take a walk on Green Mountain, Agassiz BC.

Green Mountain Gold © Stephen Mullock

 That dab of light on the trail above seemed to beckon me.

A Quiet Moment in the Woods © Stephen Mullock
 A more heavily forested area near Yale BC provides the locale for the above shot and the next two pictures.  I was attracted to the light on the Douglas fir tree bark in the foreground and also liked the downward hanging boughs of the tree to the right.  Light was shining through its' moss. The autumn colours beyond reflect on the forest floor adding unity. I was happy to spend some time here.

Colony and Treed Impressionism © Stephen Mullock
 With a Impressionistic background a community of mushrooms looks like so many raised umbrellas.

Red Caps, Green Face © Stephen Mullock
This striking group of vividly coloured, small and delicate mushrooms were found at a tree base. The forest moss in the upper right hand corner reminds me of an old man's eye, nose and mouth - perhaps looking over them.

Thursday, October 10, 2013

10 Great Songs about Home and Hometowns since 2004

There are a lot of great classic songs about Home and Hometowns; "Homeward Bound" by Simon and Garfunkel, "Our House" by CSN&Y to mention a couple of fine songs now sadly overplayed, but what about newer songs?   Looking back the last 10 years there have been some fantastic songs, not all have become famous, that are worth checking out.

Here are 10 of my home and hometown song favourites from the year 2004 and onward.

Back Home on the Farm © Stephen Mullock

1.  "Beautiful House"

     by Leeroy Stagger (2005)
     from the album "Beautiful House"

Foundation: Leeroy Stagger is a Canadian Alternative - Singer Songwriter from rural B.C.  I don't know a lot about Leeroy Stagger, I found this song on an CD EP from A&B sound in Vancouver, BC by far the best song on it, and, it has been a favourite ever since.  I enjoy this unflinching, earthy humour and gentle vibe to this Leeroy Stagger mini song drama, "Beautiful House". Couldn't find a good video of this song on YouTube (lots of lousy stuff) I would recommend checking out iTunes.

You and me in a little house
The kids are watching mickey mouse
Sitting, waiting for me patiently
And the porch wraps around the whole damn thing
The sun beats off your wedding ring
You're watching the waves crash from our backyard

And this is our house
Beautiful House
This is our house
Beautiful House
This beautiful house

And the driveway floods cause it cant not rain
The door creaks driving you insane
The neighbors dog keeps you up on most nights
The record room smells of pot smoke
Your crazy uncle ruined the joke
Your mother laughs and lights a cigarette

2.  "Welcome Home"

      by Dave Dobbyn (2005)
      from the album "Available Light"

Foundation: Dave Dobbyn singer song writer from New Zealand with this song he extends his arms in welcome to new comers to New Zealand with the reassurance "so welcome home, see I made a place for you".  Lovely.  YouTube video.

3.  "Home"

     by Phillip Phillips (2012)
     from the album "The World From The Side Of The Moon"

Foundation: Phillip Phillips comes from Georgia, USA and was the 11th season winner of American Idol in 2012.  The song "Home" was a massive international hit from this his first album. YouTube video.

4.  "The House that Built Me"

     by Miranda Lambert (2009)
     from the album "Revolution"

Foundation: Miranda Lambert was born in Texas and is married to Blake Shelton.  With this award winning song Miranda explores a return to a family home and a maelstrom of thoughts and feelings - such beautiful melancholy.  If the walls could talk. YouTube video.

5.  "Home"

     by Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros (2010)
     from the album "Up from Below"

Foundation: Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros  are large 12+/- member indie band that was formed in Los Angeles.  Wonderful uplifting "hippie" type energy with endearing duets between a strong male and female singer.  I would suggest that the album "Up from Below" and "Here" be explored first. YouTube video.

6.  "Going Home"

     by Leonard Cohen (2012)
     from the album "Old Ideas"

Foundation: Celebrated Leonard Cohen, born in Montreal has been one of my favourite singer-songwriters since my youth.  This weary "winding up a career" song of returning home still shows the 78 year old Cohen as being in full mastery of his considerable writing talents.  Recommended albums: "I'm Your Man (1988)" "Songs of Leonard Cohen (1967)" "The Future (1992)" and of course any "Best Of" recordings you can find.  Jennifer Warren's "Famous Blue Raincoat" is a beautiful tribute album and is also recommended.  YouTube video.

7.  "Mushaboom"

     by Feist
     from the album "Let It Die" (2004)

Foundation: Canadian singer-songwriter Leslie Feist has a distinct sound and an expansive imagination. This playful song is about a longing to leave a second storey apartment behind for a family and a little house in the woods. Mushaboom is a rural community located in Nova Scotia, Canada the province in which Feist was born. YouTube video.

Old dirt road
Knee deep snow
Watching the fire as we grow old

I got a man to stick it out
And make a home from a rented house
And we'll collect the moments one by one
I guess that's how the future's done

How many acres how much light
Tucked in the woods and out of sight
Talk to the neighbours and tip my cap
On a little road barely on the map

8.  "To Build A Home" (featuring Patrick Watson)

     by The Cinematic Orchestra (2007)
     from the album "Ma Fleur"

Foundation: The Cinematic Orchestra is a British jazz-electronic group that last recorded in 2007. The song "To Build A Home" features the vocals of Canadian Patrick Watson and it has been used in both television and film. YouTube video.

Out in the garden where we planted the seeds
There is a tree that's old as me
Branches were sewn by the colour of green
Ground had arose and passed its knees

By the cracks of the skin I climbed to the top
I climbed the tree to see the world
When the gusts came around to blow me down
I held on as tightly as you held onto me
I held on as tightly as you held onto me

9.  "Home"

     by Jack Johnson (2013)
     from the album "From Here to Now to You"

Foundation: Jack Johnson a surfer dude and mega talent has softly rocked into world promenience and once again recorded a solid album of good material. The song "Home" stands out with its gentle observations of house and home - makes you feel like you are right there with him, in a jungle paradise like Hawaii. YouTube video.

10. "Death to My Hometown"

      by Bruce Springsteen (2012)
      from the album "Wrecking Ball"

      Foundation:  International rock and roll star Bruce Springsteen pulled no punches when he recorded his last album "Wrecking Ball " in 2012.  The show that he gave in Vancouver was phenomenal although I do wish that he had played "Thunder Road".  This song "Death to My Hometown" pins the distress many American and other cities in the World have suffered since the financial meltdown in 2008.  No one has gone to jail.  This song is a cautionary tale and a call to arms that the danger to our hometowns come not with soldiers and war but rather with financiers and commerce. Strong stuff indeed.  YouTube video.

If you have a favourite song about Home, House or Hometowns from this century 2000 + let me know.

Here are some other suggestions from my friends - thank you all.  (some recorded before 2000):
  • Feels like Home by Randy Newman
  • Small Town and Big Dreams by Paul Brandt
  • Who Says You Can't Go Home by Bon Jovi
  • I Love this Town by Bon Jovi
  • Home by Blake Shelton
  • I'm Coming Home by Michael Buble
  • The Long Way Home by Norah Jones 
  • Grandma's Feather Bed by John Denver
  • Our House by Madness