-Forest Tate wrote a great song.
-my friends helped me make this in the unsure early days of quarantine.
-everyone is hurting, some a lot more than others. Please support Alpha House if you can. alphahousecalgary.com
I have been a part of a lot of great songs in the last 15 years since I started helping people make their records here in my garage. I have learned a lot and have made many amazing friends doing this work. I have been moved to tears. I have jumped for joy. I have had intense arguments. I have heard secrets. I have laughed and I have cursed. I have wanted to pack it in and I have wanted it to never end. I think I’ve done it for the right reasons, almost always.
Forest Tate came here at the tail end of 2008, right after Christmas, and we recorded some of his songs. This one ended up being the title track of the record he put out in the spring of 2009, and the song that inspired this notion that has been percolating in my head for years- that I should make a record of covers in tribute to all these great artists who have buttered my bread for so long. It is an awe-inspiring list and I am very aware of how lucky I have been to be able to do this.
In the early days of quarantine, I, like many of my friends and fellow musicians, was adrift. Unsure, confused, perplexed, dread-filled. All the work I had lined up for the spring vanished, nobody knew how any of this pandemic was going to shape up and/or pan out, and I found myself out of sorts. Aimless, I turned to music, as I often do, and one day I flipped on my old Wurlitzer and started playing The Fall. I had never learned it, and probably hadn’t even heard it in 5 or more years, but I literally put my fingers on the keys and started singing “I dug deep/And gave what I could”.
I spent a bit of time going over the tune and then shot a phone video to remember the version. I thought it was an OK video, so I posted it to Facebook. Within a few hours Jenny Kost (possibly also suffering pandemic-induced aimlessness and dread) had sent me a voice memo of her singing harmonies to my Facebook video, for no reason other than she felt the need to do it. This filled me with joy and hope, and I asked her if she’d wanna record it again, for real, not just jamming along to a cellphone video. She said “OF COURSE”. So I made a few calls, sent a few texts, and everyone I asked jumped at the chance to get in on this song with me and Jenny. Everyone had some sort of recording device in their house and they all put what they thought sounded good on it and sent me their tracks for mixing.
Then, miraculously, I got busy. This community saved my bacon again, as it always does. Financially, sure, but emotionally and spiritually, too. It is a precious thing to me, this amorphous collective of misfits and freaks that is our little Alberta music scene, and I am indebted to it in immeasurable ways.
As the months dragged on it became apparent that Covid was not a hiccup, but a change in orbit. Nobody knows what this will mean long-term for our music community. The bands, the clubs, the festivals, the studios- everyone is shooting/screaming into the void, hanging over the precipice of who-knows-what.
And all summer I had this one tune sitting here, finished, and while working on other Covid-inspired/necessitated projects, I realized (thanks to my pal Jenny Kost) I needed to act on this decade-long notion of mine.
So: in 2021 I’m going to release a record called “It’s Not the Worst Thing You Heard All Day”. I'll draft whoever is willing and able to chip in on a song-by-song basis and we'll record it in the same manner as The Fall.
I have a list of about 30 songs I think I can learn and do justice to, but it’ll probably get whittled down to 10 or so, as my limitations become apparent, and I am hoping for it to be a love letter to all the artists I am proud and grateful to know.
When I first asked Forest for his blessing to release this song, he suggested that there might be an opportunity to help some people here in Alberta who have been affected by massive cuts to social programs in the last year and a half, cuts that were put in place before and/or regardless of the pandemic. I have chosen to raise your awareness of Alpha House.
Alpha House and their DOAP Team do critically important work helping incredibly vulnerable people (please read about them here: alphahousecalgary.com
) but their critically important work does not involve making records. They had no input into the making or (obviously) writing of this song, I just really admire their commitment and compassion and I think you should know about them. Please take the time to visit their website.
To that end, if you have a dollar or two to spare, please consider downloading this song for free and donating to Alpha House here: alphahousecalgary.com/how-you-can-help/
and let them know I sent you.
If you would also like to contribute to the making of “It’s Not the Worst Thing You Heard All Day”, please name your price, enjoy Forest Tate's amazing song and accept my heartfelt thanks.