First Fruits of California / by Kevin Embleton

In May 2015 we filmed An Attic Session with our new friend Josiah Parry in Canton, Oh. Josiah discovered our record on Noisetrade and filmed the session on his way out to the West Coast. He lives in the bay area when he's not going to school in New England, so we met up a few days ago. After exploring the city for a couple of hours we found a spot to shoot another session, this time a new song called "Like A River Running Wild and Free". 

In all honesty, I hadn't planned on playing it. I've had a pretty good case of writer's block for the last year. This new one is the closest I've come to finishing a song in a long time, but I wasn't sure if it was done yet. I figured I'd play an older, more familiar song like Mountain Time or Sad Songs and Waltzes. But I've been longing for something new... And as we rambled around Ocean Beach in San Francisco, looking for a place to record, I decided to go for it.

We hiked the ocean cliffs for over an hour, searching for some shade. From a lighting point of view, the normally cloudy bay area was letting us down. The sun shone proudly, making for a beautiful day but terrible filming conditions. My acoustic guitar, packed safely in a hardshell case felt like a million pounds by then, and the 64 oz. Nalgene we were sharing was nearly depleted, taunting our thirst. The waves proved too loud in some places, and we just couldn't escape the sun in others. Finally we settled for a spot under a few trees, near a well travelled path.

During our hike I felt it would be a waste to just play an old song. I'm 3000 miles away from the place I lived for 11 years, and everything around me screams a new beginning. I wasn't sure if "Like a River Running Wild and Free" was ready to perform. I had finished writing the second verse that morning, but the song as a whole wasn't in my muscle memory yet. But I just couldn't play an old song. We had come all that way, and creating makes me feel alive. Immortalizing it on film could be terrifying, but also exhilarating. And sometimes you have to put a song to tape to call it done.

Thirsty, we shared the last of the water and went for it. The first take was interrupted by a fellow hiker letting off some steam with a loud yelp. And then a plane flew over. Not knowing what the second take would hold, I went for it. We kept it. Here is Like a River Running Wild and Free.

- Kevin Embleton