On Covid, Corvids, and Collaboration
These days, whenever I get impatient with where my music career is going (and I'm a pretty impatient person), I try to remember that there is an important date coming up. It was about a year ago that LittleFox went from being very much a solo project to a more collaborative one, which would eventually lead to a new band, live gigs, and more potential recording projects than I can shake a stick at... But let's go back to the beginning for a minute.
One year ago, I was texting a casual acquaintance of mine instead of prepping for my next online piano lesson. This friendship, haltingly born just before the pandemic, was doomed to failure I suspected, because how could a new and tentative bond possibly survive in a time when everyone was lamenting the breaking of much more established bonds? Isolation was killing friendships left right and centre...but it was that very frustration with my isolation that made me reach out... My friend had sent me a piece of music he'd written: would he (I texted) like to collaborate musically sometime? I didn't even really know what I meant by that but apparently that didn't matter because my pal texted back YES! and before I knew it this person I barely knew and hadn't seen in almost a year was showing up at my house. And we've been showing up at each others' places for a year now. At first I brought some old songs to record at his place because it was more fun than doing it alone in my basement suite. And because it was more fun, and because family and friends and this new acquaintance seemed to like what I wrote, I wrote more. And more. And eventually I had enough songs that I could envision having a band. And an EP. Nope, scratch that: I now had enough songs for an EP and TWO albums! I asked some friends to record guitar parts, violin parts, pedal steels parts on various songs. I asked another friend if he'd like to be my guitar player and eventually we played our first gig. I needed a bass player, so I asked my recording buddy...and to my great surprise he said YES! Now we were a trio. We played a couple more gigs. We learned a lot and we got better.
And now we are 5. When I envisioned my band originally, I had my heart set on hired guns, who could come and go as they pleased, and as I needed them. I ended up with a band comprised of some of my closest friends, both old and new. Some of the same friends who recorded violin parts and pedal steel parts back when the idea of a live band was still a pipe dream. We practice together, even when I can't find us any gigs in this ravaged pandemic arts scene. We laugh a whole lot. They come up with parts that send shivers down my spine. We learn from our mistakes. And, just a year ago, I never could have imagined that YES! would lead to all of this.
SONG STORY: Magpie Heart
Let's get lost, lost in the little things
Let's get lost, oooh, teach this bird to sing
I wrote "Magpie Heart" on an island with no magpies, for all the rare souls I know who refuse to compromise and are absolutely themselves and delightfully unique. A lot of times when I'm writing lyrics I seize on one or two "hooks" and once I have that I have something to hang the rest of the lyrics on. The title itself was a hook of course, because it immediately made me think of someone who would collect shiny things, whether they were literally shiny or just things that appealed to them in some weird way. And that led to the chorus, about getting lost in the little things. In a world filled with the biggest, darkest things imaginable, finding friends who can help you find wonder and delight isn't frivolous, it's essential.
You can watch the video for "Magpie Heart" below.