This album was not raised by wolves. Its genesis is in the folk tales and myths I have been reading to my kindergarten students and telling my three daughters for the past fifteen years. Stories about the Pacific Northwest trickster Raven, Odziodzo and the origins of the Champlain Valley, and the local legend of the Dugway led the children and I to question the meaning of truth. Is a story true because you experienced it? Is it true because someone else tells you it is? Or is it true because it expresses a truth about life?
On my travels as a father, teacher and songwriter, this last answer has held the most water. Written over the last decade and a half, the nine songs on tall tales, for me at least, reflect this understanding. Some of the characters are inspired by family ('Tommy'; 'Queen for a Day'), some by public figures of ill repute ('The Ballad of Heather Home Wrecker'; 'One for the Money'), and some by historical enigmas ('Anastasia in a Commoner's Clothes'). Some are inspired by dreams ('Handsome Boy'), some by experience ('Josh Brooks' 115th Hangover'; 'You Remind Me of Her'), and some from the place where experience and imagination meet ('Frog on a Lawn'). What unites these nine story songs is that they aim for something like truth... whether they are true or not.
I recorded tall tales live on one mic, sitting on the edge of my bed, in stolen moments between basketball practices, grading papers, washing dishes, reading stories, loving my wife... you know the drill. The decision to record this way was both an artistic and a monetary one: bedtime stories for adults told on a father / teacher / grad student / songwriter's budget. After five years of making big noise with Grant Black, Panton Flats and The Benoits, it seemed like the right time to get back to basics for a number of reasons. Many thanks to Ryan Power of Stu Stu Studio for taking my rough drafts and polishing up the edges. Also many thanks to all of the reviewers, DJ's, fans, friends and family who have helped, are helping, or will someday help to bring this album to life.
It's a mad world out there. tall tales vol. 2 shouldn't be too far behind.
released December 18, 2014
All songs written and performed by Josh Brooks, copyright 2014, Vowel Girls Music (ASCAP). Recorded at Edge-of-the-Bed Studios in Vergennes VT Oct-Dec 2014. Mastered by Ryan Power at Stu Stu Studio in Essex Jct. Vermont.
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