Treelines and Skylines was inspired by considerable time spent in the small pockets of true forest that remain out west: the sequoias, redwoods, douglas firs, spruce, and cedars. There’s no place where life feels more in balance than in an ancient forest. “Treeline” was conceived while standing on top of a rock face while looking across at a grove of giant sequoias in the distance. “Song for Joyce Kilmer” tells the story from the tree’s point of view. “Into the Trees” explores the disunion between nature and man and the virtues of life in balance. In contrast, “Skyline” exposes the fallacies of city life and human self-importance. In between are songs about aging and our medical culture, freedom and travel, love and renewal, a musician’s hard choices, death with dignity, racism and war, and losing a parent. The album concludes with an instrumental inspired by author and soundtracker Gordon Hempton, played entirely on a single acoustic guitar.
In July of 2013 Kim and I were up in Durham hanging out with our friend / amazing musician Emily Pakes when we started talking about possibly writing a song together. She mentioned the recent death of local Durham cyclist Seth Vidal, which I had heard about. I also knew about several other bicyclists killed in Wilmington and other North Carolina towns because my brother is an avid cyclist and wrote of these accounts in his blog (sirbikesalot.com). But Seth’s story is that one that really haunted me. Two days before he died he tweeted: “It isn’t a contest. Just enjoy the ride.” This stuck with me and I couldn’t hide from it until I put it on paper and worked it out in the studio with Kim. Then Emily came down and delivered an impressive rap for the second verse.
This song is dedicated to Seth Vidal (killed in a hit and run on Hillandale Road in Durham), Paul Tyler (killed in a hit and run on Wrightsville Ave), the Doolittles (father and son killed while riding in the River Road bike lane), Phil Tidmarsh (killed on River Road by a young addict), Harley Becraft (run over twice before anyone stopped to help), Alan Simons (shot in the head by a firefighter in Asheville), Gary Frank Sargent (killed on Eastwood Road), and everyone else killed or injured on our roads. These are preventable tragedies, if only we’d take driving seriously and be good people to each other.
~ Sue Cag of Folkstar
Direct song link: https://folkstar.bandcamp.com/track/enjoy-the-ride-feat-emily-pakes