Entry Date: April 1st, 2014

Wyeth Walks

New music by CMC!

“After I get in the mood of a painting I love to paint the background, it’s the most joyous, exciting thing because I dream about this world that’s going to live in that background.” – Andrew Wyeth

Creating music that can live in the background and yet be interesting if someone chooses to listen intently is something that interests me greatly- two of my albums to-date are 60 minute solo piano pieces created specifically for this purpose (River Flow – Sanctuary is currently nominated by broadcasters worldwide as Best Relaxation/Meditation Album for 2013 in the 10th annual ZMR Awards).

Andrew Wyeth said he spent months painting the background of “Christina’s World”, perhaps one of his most famous paintings, of a crippled woman in a pink dress crawling up a grassy hill towards a house in the distance.

“Every blade [of grass] was separately painted.  …I wanted to make the grass come toward you, a surge of earth, like the whole planet.  I was building the planet that she was finally going to exist in – a living being on a hill whose grass was really growing.”

These quotes got me thinking about how I could take my interest in “background” music further- how could I meticulously “paint” each note?  How could I create this “surge of earth” in the music- notes that were alive, but yet sparked the listener to dream of bigger worlds?

My “Aha! moment” was when I realized that this was my opportunity to fulfill my long-time vision of layering and looping the sounds of the acoustic grand piano – that I could layer sonic textures the way Andrew Wyeth was layering his background paint strokes. 

This piece, with six piano layers and three vocal layers, was created on January 20-21, 2014, at Imaginary Road Studio in Vermont, with producer Will Ackerman and engineer Tom Eaton.  Most of the first day was spent crafting the layers, which consisted of me playing my sketches, Will shaping them like clay, and Tom helping me ensure all lined up perfectly.  At the end of the first day I was chomping at the bit to improvise my emotional reaction to the piece we had been creating.  Tom and Will lowered the lights, turned on the computer recording, and left me alone.  Very soon into that solo time, I improvised a 5 minute piece that I knew was the “painting” we had been creating the background for… the notes from the world I was hearing and feeling all day as we were layering each texture.

The next morning I came into the studio with an updated vision- I wanted to use my solo piano “painting” as the introduction, middle, and end of the piece we had been creating- so that the “background” would weave in and out of the world we had created.  With Tom’s unbelievable engineering wizardry, we made this a reality and merged the solo piano recording with the layered textures.

I am working on more music inspired by the Wyeth family of artists, and I cannot wait to share more of this project with you!