It is nearly noon, but the light outside is frozen in a timeless gray. The clouds keep the sky above painted a dull silver, and the wind helps the trees to gently wave at me through the windows. Since seven this morning, the faeries have been begging me to join them in the late Fall beauty of the drizzly day. They beckon still, and it will not be long before I finally comply. It has been many years since I've willingly walked in the rain. Too long.
However, before I disappear into the woods among my fae friends for a bit, I wanted to share with you my deep appreciation and love of the musical works of Woodland. Certainly, I've mentioned this incredibly talented group before. If not, I have been amiss! Originally introduced to me by what can only be described as one of my true form, faerie friends, T., I fell in love with their ethereal sound immediately. The pixie-sweet vocals are accompanied by a myriad of skillfully played instruments. If you are, at your very core, a fiercely spiritual, natural being, feeling lost in the world we, as humans have built up around us, shutting us away from the primal nature from which we emerged eons ago, Woodland's music will reach deep down into this dark well of "humanity" and bring us back to our long-lost senses. Like a shimmering fish returning to a fresh water pond from a muddy creek, the otherworldly notes of music from Woodland brings us back from the brink of soul-death and sets us before our pure, crystal clear self we had thought long gone.
Emilio and Kelly Miller-Lopez's lyrics are not trite, nor do they urge us to think, believe or feel anything that is not already within us as curious, loving, pained, joyful, incomplete, greedy beings of energy, light and shadow. In fact, for me, I find myself embracing my greedy self when the music has ended; I want more. Twilight, their freshman album was loaned to me years ago by the aforementioned faerie friend, T. We would often briefly discuss music and other spiritual thoughts over coffee (his purchasing, and my crafting it.) I loaned him my copy of Delerium's Poem (another entrancing addition to the ethereal music pool.) He loaned me Twilight, and I promptly bought myself a copy. (Realizing that compact disks are not recyclable, nor are they environmentally friendly to create, I will buy the actual albums of artists that I believe deserve the credit, recognition and money for sharing the fruits of their labors.) Did I mention that their music is inspired by the ever-enchanting works by the landmark fae artists Brian and Wendy Froud? If you are a fan of the films Labyrinth and The Dark Crystal, then the incredible, dreamy work of the Family Froud has not gone unnoticed by your discerning eye. Just one more reason to purchase Woodland's albums! In addition, to help take some strain from Mother Nature, the production of Woodland's albums involves: 100% Green Forestry Practices Board, all vegetable inks and 100% recycled trays.
To go back a few years, to 2007, T., my friend C. and I journeyed out to Philly for the first annual FaerieCon (the East coast version of FaerieWorlds in Oregon.) T. had mentioned his relationship with Emilio Miller-Lopez of Woodland(they had been friends for many years!) So, lucky me, I met the band and (excitement!) had my Twilight album signed by each member! Their spirit that shines so brightly in their music is the light of their very souls; they are not insincere in their lives or music.
Recently, T. was so dear and thoughtful in his gift of Woodland's sophomore and latest album, Seasons in Elfland:Shadows! As I enjoyed Twilight, Seasons... is no exception to my high esteem for their showcased talent. This album does just as the title suggests; it takes us through the seasons of the year; or perhaps the spirit? Yet, the tunes concentrate, again as suggested, in the shadows. For without shadow, there can be no light. Embracing the darker side of each aspect of the turning wheel, Shadows... makes the lighter sides and notes all the more sweet, yet helps show the seldom seen vulnerable side of the dark. We all fear what we hear but cannot see, feel but cannot touch. Woodland has given the unknown and misunderstood a softer side. We all crave and need contact and love. Darkness is not exempt from this instinct. A mother bear loves and cares for her young; yet it is common knowledge that she will kill to feed and protect them. The "darker side" of life is often shunned, ignored or stored away. Woodland brings the shadows back out of the closet to embrace all of our heart, not just the happy, shiny light.
Woodland's Seasons in Elfland:Shadows has quickly become my go-to album for musical inspiration when I sketch. Fall and Winter, I think, are the seasons best suited to the album, while Twilight is a soundtrack for the Spring and Summer months. I cannot easily choose a favorite song, but will take this moment to express my joy in their musical backing to part of track 12, Winds of Ostara. Though the full song is beautiful, the chorus brings me back to happy moments in my childhood when Auntie would sing with us. She taught us the round Rose, Rose, and we spent many joyful, sunny afternoons repeating the same verse without boredom. Rose, Rose fits perfectly into the chorus bit of Winds of Ostara. Though they are not the lyrics Emilio has written for the song, I still chime in my part.
(The lyric variation Auntie taught us was the following:
Rose, Rose, Rose, Rose
Shall I ever see thee wed?
I will marry at thy will
Sire, at thy will.)
Now, off to answer the faeries' calls!