When winter starts up every year, I get weird. I lie on the floor and stare out of the window, I cry a lot. I run around on the ice barefoot, saying things like, “I think I need to be more grounded.” I dream of moving to the desert, of spending the winter months in the South Pacific annually. I get depressed. As I have been fighting off the annual attacks of Seasonal Affective Disorder the last few weeks, I never thought, “A musky pop album about trees would really help.” This morning when I played it, my eyes were opened.
Listening to “I am the Forest” was like going for a hike without actually having to leave the gloomy kitchen where I am stationed for the morning. I love that the first track contains the title line. It seems very unpretentious when artists do this and I like it.
Mayor Byrne is the chosen stage name of musician Kevin Moritz. He is joined on this album by Michael Moritz and Daniel Natoli to create a really cool sound. Between the three of them, there is a great variety of instruments being played. There are some nice, gentle harmonies and some cool, subtle vocal distortion. The lyrics are very straightforward and unassuming without losing their beauty. There is a lot of storytelling on this album about trees.
If you want something rhythmic and introspective, check out “Preserve”. Told from the point of view of an old tree watching, giving, almost becoming something else, falling, becoming the soil, a different part of the ecosystem. “I am the forest. I am the trees. And when I fall down hard no one can hear me.” A silent life, but a beautiful one. I loved the unconventional structure of this song.
“Christmastime in Washington” has a rock-and-roll sound. Electric, energetic. It’s about decorating, cutting down your Christmas tree, the joy that brings, the memories. The frustration for some, the consumerism. I personally don’t listen to Christmas music, but this is a song I can get behind. It’s easy to listen to with pretty lyrics.
My favorite song is “Living in the Woods in a Tree”. It’s the stuff that my most idealistic dreams are made of. If I was really the Kate from the Ben Folds song, this is the life I would live. Make breakfast every morning, play music, be in community with nature, and invite my friends over for parties. I love this song so much. It brings the most beautiful, adorable pictures into my brain.
If you like trees, being outdoors, or breathing air–you should check this album out. If you battle Seasonal Affective Disorder in the darkness of winter, this album might bring you a little bit of light. Enjoy it!