Translated by Nahko

....at the time, i was just beginning to read and study native american spirituality.

 

i was reading a book called 'all my relations' and learning about the medicine wheel.

 

i think i was double reading another book called 'god is red' which was helping me redefine my understanding of spirit.   it was never really a 'finished' song in my mind, but i believe it is all it needs to be now.

 

i used to sit around our first little garden and sing 'we are so provided for' to our plants. somewhere i'd been reading that plants really respond to vibration and sound and if it was positive they would respond with healthy results. so i thought i'd try it out.  and as far as i can tell, the plants grew healthy and strong and green.

 

this was the last song i recorded and the first song I did on the piano when I recorded at New North Sound in portland oregon. it felt really empowering to  finally use my piano skills in recording and it was the beginning of learning how to confidently play my songs in a different way than on the guitar.  it also was the beginning of orchestrating my recordings in a format that began with a 'tone setting' or a 'welcome to country' style of inviting prayer into the story.

 

FATHER MOUNTAIN

Mitakuye Oyasin

ON THE VERGE

BACK TO TOP

booklet tracklist

I must have been 22 when I wrote this mantra for
'all my relations'

it was central alaska at 18 that freed me from the shackles of the american suburbs and thrust me into the wilderness with the transient seasonal workers and poured all the medicines of the world into my cup

VULTURES OF CULTURE

the year i wrote this song was a wild and mighty chapter in my becoming.  it was one of the first years bailey, my partner at the time, and i got in the van and toured the states with no real agenda.  it was me, her, her chocolate lab nalu, and the VW.  i had booked a few coffee shops and cafes to play at in our route.  got into one festival in colorado.  we started in portland and drove south along the coast.  camping in redwoods, bathing in hot springs, riding bikes on back roads to no where…national forests, state parks, long highways in summer swelter.

I was hired to be the music director for the dinner theater within the resort and i would play piano from 3pm till 11pm.  after work i would often go for hikes into the national park.  this mountain, i think it was called mt. healy, was the mountain the song is about.  Alaskan summers, it's still light out at midnight.  so i would get off work at 11pm and climb 'ol father mountain - usually under the guide of a hallucinogenic - and write poetry and songs a top the summit.

 

 

after 5 months of that, late fall came and i hit the road for Louisiana - a winter i'll never forget - to follow love and new found friends.  i only lasted about 4 months there and caught a train back to portland in search of work.  found a job washing dishes and waited for the winter months to pass before i could drive my van back to alaska.  thus the lyric "i'll wash dishes for a quick cash binge till april comes and it's into the winter again."

 

I WOULD GET OFF WORK AT 11 PM AND CLIMB 'OL FATHER MOUNTAIN - USUALLY UNDER THE GUIDE OF A  HALLUCINOGENIC  - AND WRITE POETRY AND SONGS A TOP THE SUMMIT.

i was writing a lot about the system then.  bailey and i were such amazing mirrors of each other - we could always find the absurdities in how the u.s. had things set up.  we visited a lot of national parks that summer.  got kicked out of a lot of places for having Nalu off leash and chasing birds and things.  we thought it was funny and dumb that we couldn't just roam free.  got in trouble for picking wild flowers and camping in the wrong spots.  even got in trouble at a mall one time for cuddling on a couch.  they told us to leave!  we began to become jaded by authority.  my mind was swirling with rebellious thoughts and i couldn't understand how these folks that were supposed to be protecting our sacred land could make it so difficult for native people to enjoy them!  the fact that the sacred had become a spectacle for foreigners to pay and see was so crazy to me. and yet here i was… a part of the paradox.

 

when we went to see the crazy horse memorial in south dakota all my frustrations seemed hit rock bottom. we pulled up to the gate of this disney land looking place and the man at the gate asked me if i was native american. i said yes and he said 'sir you and your friend may enter for free.' i thought, wow finally some perks! it was a 20 dollar entry fee to see this huge stone carved to look like crazy horse even though it looked like a man mermaid. the thing that bothered me the most was that this museum they had was full of native artifacts that should be in a native run museum, not by some german guy. and there was no information on the fact that crazy horse had been murdered under a flag of truce! i was very disappointed although now i've heard they have made improvements at the museum including accuracy around crazy horses life.. i drove out of there feeling even more jaded and frustrated with the entire puzzle of western civilization and the appropriation of first nations culture. i was writing vultures of culture during this entire part of the trip.

Ocean As Well

I USUALLY DON'T WRITE SONGS THAT HAVE NO REAL STORY RELATION TO ME, BUT THIS SONG WAS ONE.

 

simplicity | simplicity | i don't need should could would do that | cause my will is my way | and it definitely involves time travel through space and capes and duct tape | and a new name on an old face | a place I an escape all the noise | all the noise

 

synchronicities | synchronicities | synchronicities | the sequence of events that fit together perfectly | spiritually lyrically makin up my life | the ever present union around the peace pipe | and my grandfathers life was a primitive life | livin in the mountain with his bow and his knife | But he connected to the brethren enlightened beings | Envisioned a time without these things just our hands

just our hands

 

Astrological | Astrological | same person different body its a miracle | spiritually lyrically makin up my life | the ever present union around the peace pipe | and my grandmothers life was a primitive life | weaving the baskets and dryin' her hides | and she cries at night | yeah she cries at night | for the native way of life | for her peoples pride | for her peoples pride

 

mercury in retrograde, retrograde | man lost in interspace without a trace of his mind | mercury in retrograde, retrograde | man lost in interspace without a trace of his mind | ah uh oh ah oh ow ow ow | ah uh oh ah oh ow ow ow | i see stars and flames and consolation names | i see myself ridin' through across an open plain | i see stars and flames and constellation names | i see myself ridin' through across an open plain | ah uh oh ah oh ow ow ow | won't you come on down | ah uh oh ah oh ow ow ow | won't you come on down | ah uh oh ah oh ow ow ow

Oceans as well is a  song inspired by the ocean and by the thought of love, something i was seeking while working at the natural food store in south kona, living on a mac nut farm, playing songs at open mic, and picking coffee in my early twenties.  the tag at the end, the part about wanting to know god, is actually a piece i took from another song i wrote called "Early February" which i wrote symbolizing my parents story and my birth - all before i met them.

this song was unusual in its writing, too.  i pieced together poetry that i'd written over a period while living on the hamakua farm with jason, my land partner and friend.  i took phrases and one liners that i liked and put them all together to make a collage of sentences that kind of flowed together.  mercury in retrograde at the time!

DINNER PARTY

i was dating a young lady in kona at the time of this creation.  we visited my first medicine wheel.

i asked the directions to guide me back to my mother.  and three weeks later i found her.  crazy, yeah?!  i like this little love story.  i think for where i was at in my writing it's pretty clever.  it reminds me of living in a big tent under a mac nut tree, picking coffee, refusing to spray chemicals on plants to my boss at my landscaping job, planting fruit trees, playing guitar on the cliffs to the moon, ganja and banana bread!

MR. WASHINGTON

i was sitting in my buddies volvo in fairbanks, alaska doing lines off a national geographic magazine.   we were about to go thrift shopping.  i looked at sleepy and i said, "how did i end up here?" kind of joking.  we both laughed.  and so it began.  sleepy always looked like mr. washington to me and he was my guide at that time into the vagabond lifestyle.  into the unknown traveling vagrant world that i was dedicating my life to.  i was realizing that each person and each moment makes up for your experience.  you make your own story.  no one else can do it for you.  i was so perplexed with things like cars, microwaves, telephones, sections of the government, native spirituality, languages, words, and emotions.  it all made sense and no sense at once.  there was this crazy joy that came out of my bitterness.  and this song is a testament to that.

GHOSTs EMBODIED

i didn't like this song at first when i finished it.  which is ironic, because the meaning behind it is precisely why i was not into it.  i was at war with the idea that i couldn't be present with my moments. that i was always dreaming.

 too much dreaming.

NEVER ON THE GROUND

ALWAYS IN THE CLOUDS

and maybe that's why i couldn't hold a girlfriend steady, or keep a job, or be happy in one place.  i was a ghost embodied as a human.  i wanted to be taller, i wanted to be a chief's son reincarnated, and sometimes i just convinced myself that all those things i wanted were things i was in a past life.  i was so anti establishment in my writing at the time and all i wanted in life was to lay in a forest, undisturbed by society and play my guitar.

PUEO

i was driving down to green sands beach on the big island of hawaii one full moon night.  on every fence post down the dirt road in the moon light i saw a white owl, called a pueo in hawaii.  at the time, i didn't know the significance of this omen, but it seemed very sacred and even eerie as i pulled up to the quiet cliffs and set up camp and ate some mushrooms.

The thing about my life at this time is that i was very into ceremony.  hallucinogenic ceremonies.  i often would go out alone somewhere and take some medicine with me and go on a journey within myself.  it was a huge gateway to self discovery.  this particular night, i sat in the moonlight and let this song come thru me.  i kept saying there will come a day.  my heart was heavy with the weight of the world and the transitions our earth was going through.  i didn't know why i was given this weight but i often was sad with it's burden.  my fear was endless.  and facing that fear came in other songs.  the animal totems were coming for me.

  and i knew if i died, it would be honorable.  but, i was afraid to die.  this song brought to life a picture in my dreaming.  where the mother reclaimed her bosom and all the earth's inhabitants fell away, lost forever in a story long forgotten.  so beautiful, though, i thought and the song to this day draws a urgency to never forget our roles to care take of the earth and prepare for the changes at hand.

 

it was that year i wrote vultures of culture that this song came to me.  i remember it clearly.  bailey was driving the VW and i think we were in california somewhere.  i laughed at the first verse when it came out - well this is real talk this is non stop it is looped now tongue and mind played off the sidewalk straight to your boom box how it travels from ear to memory.  she and i always were in awe at how our kind and joyful spirits would cause people to stop and stare.  how our music when we played together seemed to move mountains and quiet a space.

 the book black elk speaks was a huge influence at this time.  the horses i speak of in the end of the song come from black elk's dream he had when the thunder beings (the horses) came to him while he was in a coma and took him to the elders in the heavens.  that story really affected me and i love the picture of it all.  at the end of the song i rounded it out with a sort of mantra about using your medicine.  i was very set on this concept that we each have something to give back.  each of us has a gift we can use, a medicine if you will, to help heal and strengthen.  this mantra has become a very important piece for our movement.

  i wanted to write a manifesto like the ones my ancestors wrote to keep peace with the whites.  proposals to state your intentions and prayers for a better today, tomorrow, and for the next 7 generations.

THANK YOU

Thanks to Terry Tobey, New North Sound Studios, Noah Woodburn, Brandon Jaiconia, Zac Bates and Mark Murphy, Max Ribner, Tim Ribner, Jeanna Collett, The Yamhill House, NIAYH crew, Muddy Waters Coffee House, The Vagrant House, Michael Lynn, Aloe, Sara Dread, Addie Raven, Food Not Bombs, jeanna love, aliina champion, bailey scott and the scott family, dorothea mccown, sleepy brian, sky pavek, gia rose, freedom, the big island tribe, Tryon Community Farm, all the bands we played with in Portland back in the day, to every open mic that hosted us, People's Co Op, Amanda Brown, The Bell family, The Lopez family.