What could be sweeter than a daddy singing ‘Little Baby Born Today’ about his own child? Portland’s Andy Furgeson does this in his new collection, Born in the Deep Woods. He describes how the ‘birds all hushed’ and the ‘mama jay spread the word through the woods today’.
Then the tempo picks up in Mockingbird when big brother joins in on a few of the lyrics with his sweet, yet excited voice. The young tyke expertly repeats his daddy’s lyrics like, “Baby, howdy-do!”
This is a family affair designed to invite all other young families to join in song, dance, and lots of fun!
“Portland, February 28, 2017 ~ Red Yarn, Portland’s acclaimed family folksinger and puppeteer, releases a new album called Born in the Deep Woods on March 10. The album completes his Deep Woods trilogy, an epic song cycle exploring the roots and branches of American folk music. With his full band and puppet troupe, Red Yarn will celebrate the release with shows around the Pacific Northwest this spring, at SXSW in March, and on an east coast tour this summer.
Seven years ago, Texas-born artist and educator Andy Furgeson began a deep exploration of American folk music, adapting dozens of songs and posting rough recordings under the name Red Yarn. He dreamed up a forest called the Deep Woods to contain the strange animal tales he found. He created a cast of “critter” puppets to bring the characters to life. His homespun aesthetic caught on in Portland, where he built a successful career performing these songs and stories for thousands of families. Three award-winning albums and many music videos later, Red Yarn culminates his Deep Woods project with Born in the Deep Woods, his boldest musical statement yet.
Recorded at Portland’s Type Foundry Studio with celebrated producer Adam Selzer, Born in the Deep Woods explores the genres that grew out of American folk music. From bluegrass to heartland rock, the album traces the evolution of our national musical vernacular.
At the heart of the album are Furgeson’s harmonies with his wife Jessie Eller-Isaacs. Recorded while she was expecting their second child, many songs channel the joys and fears of bringing new life into the world.”
I cried because my daughter ate my breakfast. Then I cried when she yelled at me for ruining her picture. And again, I cried for something equally ridiculous. Sure, I knew my period was coming and that always makes me a bit weepy. But this was different. This felt way too familiar. The fear and hopelessness was settling in and I knew we had a problem. Hiding a panic attack from a four-year-old is impossible. So, I called my husband and he came home.
While I waited, sitting on the stairs, crying, I quickly started to cancel everything I had on my calendar for the next few days, all via text. There was no talking to anyone. And when you tell people you’ve had a panic attack, they don’t question you. And you don’t really care if they do. It happened and all you can think about is crawling into bed and shutting the world out. So, that’s what I did.
Of course, when the dust settles, it’s important to think about what brought this about. I know my triggers and some of them were definitely the culprits this time. I had overwhelmed myself with work. My marriage was a wreck. My daughter was sucking the life out of me. I felt like a horrible mother and wife. Your usual stuff.
Except for one thing. Something unusual had happened and I didn’t know until it was too late that it could have ever been a trigger.
In October of last year, I started the process of writing a book. I’m working with a publisher and editor. It is a collaborative effort with a small group of yoga friends and mentors who played a huge part in my journey toward motherhood. They taught me how to manifest my dream of becoming a mother, even at the ripe old age of forty-four. My first draft is due on April first and the release date is November first. The working title is Kula Talk.
Sounds great, right? It has been. What a treat it is to look back over the last ten years of my life and see how far I’ve come and the amazing things I’ve accomplished. When I remember who I was then and see who I am now…mother, wife, writer, artist…the transformation is amazing.
But, what I didn’t realize in doing research into my own past was that I would be reliving it. I’ve read through old journal entries, found old books I read, looked through old pictures, and struggled to remember intimate details, many of which are painful. My path to motherhood was not an easy one and although it all turned out beautifully, the way I got there was physically, emotionally, and mentally draining.
Psychologists talk about the ‘Anniversary Effect’, which, according to Psychology Today, is defined as a unique set of unsettling feelings, thoughts or memoriesthat occur on the anniversary of a significant experience. Now, the actual calendar date of my panic attack holds no significance that I’m aware of, but I strongly feel that the dredging up of past experiences for my book played a large part in my feelings of fear, hopelessness, and anxiety. I felt like I was there again and I was scared. Not a terribly ‘happy’ anniversary.
It’s really no wonder. I’ve been reliving bad relationships, fear of never being a mother, fights with my husband, the pain of fertility shots, pre-natal and postpartum depression, and a few other struggles to finish the long list. I’ve never been one to hold my feelings in and the evidence surrounds me in books, journals, pictures and letters.
Needless to say, I have pressed pause on my book for now. I tried to take a look at it a few days after my incident, but only felt the sadness rising again. The words looked disjointed, the story seemed incongruent. I know that it’s not and it certainly has the strength and merit deserving of a quality book, but to my eyes and heart right now, it doesn’t feel right. And that’s okay. For now.
I know I’ve got a story to tell and I will tell it. It is much too important. And I feel sure that it will touch others in a way that will make my struggle worth it. I’ll be back on track very soon.
Pressing pause, working on identity, and dealing with unsettling feelings and memories are all things I wish my brother would do to recover from alcoholism and his Co-occurring Disorders, anxiety and depression. Many times over the years, we have tried to help him through this problem, but we can’t. He needs professional help. And until he finally realizes that, nothing will change.
Ahhh…my favorite color. Purple. Has been my favorite since child hood. I started with pink, but at some point, graduated to purple and have never wavered. It would be interesting to know when people choose their favorite color and if it changes over time. What about you?
My father made this amazing sign in the early 70’s in a little Chicago suburb called Beverly, when I was about 3 years old. It now hangs at my brother’s house in Ponte Vedra Beach, FL. All five kids loved the sign when we were little but then were embarrassed by it in our teen years. Things have come full circle and now, as adults with little and big kids, we adore it once again.
I asked my father to remind me of the facts behind the making and display of this sign and true to his character, he sent a dissertation:
The sign was created by me and only me in the basement of our home on the south side of Chicago. I’m not sure of the exact year but it would have been in the very early 70’s. I wanted something to hang on the front of the house that captured my strong positive feelings about the season but also projected some irreverence, a sense of humor, and some respect for the 60’s that put words and phrases like this into popular use.
I probably asked for some advice from Mr. Michaels, owner of the hardware store on 103rd Street. He was never too busy to stop and explain things to the young, clueless
homeowners of the time.
Anyway, supplies were purchased including plain canvas (sail cloth), paint and the rope to hang it or me if it didn’t come to fruition. I remember a decision to buy plastic rope for durability. The sign was to be a big one – about 25′ by 4′.
After that it was just a matter of finding the time to work on it. The canvas was spread onto the basement floor, measurements were taken for the size and placements of the letters and figures, pencil lines were drawn and, over the course of several weeks, the message was painted.
Never before nor since have I been so patient with a project of this type. I followed the old adage, “measure once, cut twice, measure twice, cut once”, which kept running through my head substituting the word “paint” for “cut”. I remember the tension from the worry about a mistake that would have ruined the canvas and probably the project.
The last step was to sew ropes into a hem on the top and bottom of the sign. Mom taught me to use her sewing machine which also was not used by me “before nor since”.
Hanging the sign on the house carried challenges of its own. The idea was to spread the sign across the front of our second floor and tie the ends of the rope to hardware on the side windows. The sign was heavy and neither Mom or me were ladder friendly.
It took several tries and in the end, one of us would lean out one front window holding one end of the sign and throw the end of the rope around the corner so that the other of us could catch it and tie it to the side window. Adjustments where then made by hanging out of one window or another with a broom handle. Our proficiency with this barbaric approach improved over the years.
The family and the neighborhood loved the sign during the several years until we moved in 1974. The sign was then preserved in a simple plastic bag – and more or less forgotten. We never again had a house, grounds or neighborhood that seemed appropriate for the sign ……until:
One day our Son (who, when the sign was created would have been 5) asked about the sign saying he was thinking about displaying it. To the amazement of all, the sign remained in excellent condition notwithstanding its burial for all these years, deep in a mountain of stored items. The sign is now displayed at his home and thereby proves that intelligence increases through the generations. Our Son’s home also has a second floor with windows. But, the sign hangs magnificently, 6 feet from the ground, between two trees in the front yard.
This wimpy pumpkin was the sole survivor from my brother’s pumpkin patch in Illinois. Weeds took over and nothing else grew. My daughter planted one in May. We’re pretending that this is hers. Way to go, Emma’s pumpkin!