Maria Alden was educating a Zoom class for her elementary faculty college students one current morning when she glanced out the window on the stunning sight of a wild fox cavorting within the San Anselmo yard she shares together with her husband, singer-songwriter Kyle Alden. She was amazed when a second fox confirmed up. And when a 3rd all of a sudden appeared, it was so unimaginable that she turned the digital camera round so her class may see what she was seeing and share in her pleasure.
“She was simply thrilled,” he says. “And the youngsters had been blown away.”
That pleasant second grew to become the inspiration for the title observe of his new album, “Triple Fox,” a group of 11 usually poetic, typically topical and, at occasions, humorous rock, pop and Americana tunes recorded in his basement studio throughout the enforced isolation of the pandemic.
A line from the tune: “The triple fox on the equinox breached the backyard gate/Wiggled his toes within the spinach rows and danced until half previous eight.”
To Alden, the episode with the foxes is emblematic of one of many few constructive ramifications of a plague that’s been tragic for people whereas on the similar time releasing for animals and refreshing for the pure world.
“If you happen to suppose again to when the stay-at-home orders had been first issued again in March and April, there was loads of uncertainty about how unhealthy this was going to be,” he says. “Folks had been actually staying residence, which suggests they weren’t driving their vehicles, they weren’t flying in planes. The entire planet grew to become quieter. And that was an invite for the animals to acknowledge this quietness that most likely existed for tens of millions of years earlier than we got here on the scene and really feel secure to enterprise out.”
The observe on the album that’s getting probably the most consideration, particularly on school radio, is a comic book folk-rocker referred to as “Movement.” With its line “the cellphone name was good,” it robotically brings to thoughts the absurdity of the now notorious “good” cellphone name by our twice-impeached former president with out really being about him.
“I needed to construct on the thought of why somebody would use the phrase ‘the cellphone name was good,’ so I started riffing on that,” he says. “My songwriter self started ruminating on what qualities may presumably make a cellphone name good, a masterpiece even.”
On a deeper degree, the tune additionally works, in his phrases, as “an homage to our want for communication.”
“We’re all in our little world, significantly throughout COVID,” he says. “So, should you take it on the extent of speaking amongst human beings, an ideal cellphone name is definitely one thing all of us need and wish.”
Probably the most overtly political tune on the album, “Guidelines,” offers with inequality and privilege at a time when the pandemic places the disparities between wealthy and poor, between the haves and have-nots, in stark reduction. It was additionally impressed by a politician, this time by one he voted for and helps, California Gov. Gavin Newsom, who was scandalized for violating his personal pandemic tips at a dinner with a big group on the French Laundry in Yountville.
“It appeared so unhealthy, however he was caught in a really human, unlucky scenario,” Alden says. “I simply went, ‘Wow, the principles don’t apply to him.’ Nevertheless it resonates extra than simply with him. It’s a really necessary social subject in addition to an existential one about who we’re as Individuals.”
Greatest often known as an Irish-influenced people musician, Alden has been acclaimed for setting poems by W.B. Yeats, W.H. Auden and others to music on earlier albums, together with final 12 months’s “Fables” and 2011’s “Songs from Yeats’ Bee-Loud Glade.”
“Triple Fox” is a inventive departure from these initiatives. It builds on “Down within the West Vol. 1” in 2013 and “Down within the West Vol. 2” in 2017, albums of unique music that led me to dub him “Marin’s musical poet laureate.”
“The brand new album displays an inward-looking course of — getting in contact with the craft of songwriting and dealing within the studio, making an attempt out completely different concepts,” says Alden, acknowledging the debt he owes to the poets he honored on his earlier albums. “However, on this document I’ve made the acutely aware determination to work alone language and lyrics.”
Alden handles lead vocals in his folksy baritone and performs guitars and many of the different devices on the document. He’s joined on some tracks by the versatile Marin drummer Rob Hooper, former Frank Zappa bassist Scott Thunes and Eamon Flynn, as soon as a member of Eire’s the Commitments, on piano, organ and backing vocals. The charming cowl drawing is by Lagunitas artist Jeffrey Beauchamp.
At 63, Alden is a prolific songwriter who’s been in a position to steadiness twin careers as a working towards architect and as a working musician, not a straightforward feat, particularly now, when being a musician means not having the ability to play in entrance of a crowd.
“I serve two muses,” he says. “It’s devastating typically however fulfilling.”
Actually, he designed the home that he and his spouse stay in now, feeling grateful to have such comfy environment throughout these lengthy months of being homebound. It was in-built 2017 on the identical lot as their previous home, which needed to be torn down and hauled away to make room for the brand new one. That have grew to become the fodder for a poignant ballad on the brand new album, “Gone for Good,” that speaks to the recollections the previous place held between its partitions that stay within the minds of those who used to stay there.
The tune’s refrain: “Reminiscences nonetheless linger on/Family and friends have moved and gone/Like maple timber the tales develop/the extra we inform them the extra we all know.”
Contact Paul Liberatore at firstname.lastname@example.org