So here is the album Caduceus by the wonderful Stephen Galvin, recorded over a three year period at Lionheart Productions and mastered and pressed earlier this year, it is now available on CD from Stephens website or as a digital download at iTunes.
I first met Stephen many years ago in West Cork at Maugha, homestead of the Collard Clan and a long time sanctuary for me. It was the day after one of those now legendary musical gatherings at Future Forest. Stephen was, and still is, a very sensitive man and after the long night before and little sleep he was feeling a little worst for ware. He has since told me he was in a troubled state of mind at the time, a spiritual or existential crisis and that myself and Christy seriously helped him at a time of need. I just recall us making him tea and making sure he felt welcome but i guess i could emphasis with someone who i could see was having a hard time with life... we've all had those times to deal with. He stayed for a day or two, and then he was gone.
Few years later i was sound engineering the annual spring celebration concert at the Kinsale Community College, called the Springanamagig. There were a number of act's that evening gracing the stage of the impressive wooden amphitheater... the usual mix of bands, singer-songwriters and a performance from the acting students. Many of the musicians were on the colleges' renown Permacultre course and when i saw a certain Stephen Galvin, who was that year a "Permie" (alternative gardener to you and me) student, listed on the line-up sheet, i didn't know it was the same young man i had met a few years previous; either we hadn't exchanged formal surnames or, more likely, my memory had done its usual erasure. We didn't do individual soundchecks for the singer-songwriters as they were many so i was totally surprised when Stephen took to the stage to sing a couple of his songs and i was blown away when he started singing! For someone as gentle as Stephen is, he possesses a powerful voice that commands attention. His guitar playing is an intricate finger-picking style and then there are his songs, poetry if i've ever heard it.
After the concert had finished, i chatted with Stephen, re-aquanted and caught up a little with what we had being doing with our lives since last seeing each other. I mentioned that i had been recording, was slowly getting the studio together (in its first couple of years existence in my apartment in Cork City) and he remarked that he would like to record at some time. This eventually happened while i was still in the city, where we did one session though little, if any, made it on to the final cut. Two more sessions were recorded in the lovely cob-house in amongst the hazel trees of Coopers Wood near Kealkil were i had the Studio set up for three years and one final session in Stephens house were he was living between Kinsale and Innishannon. Time was taken over the correct selection of the versions of the songs, Stephen wanting the right feeling and energy to be portrayed and projected, to give the meaning of the songs stories their right due. Mixing was done carefully and methodically too, though always with creative experimentation and so in all, the finished album has three years behind its production.
The album deals with the transformative journey of the soul, through often troubled waters. These waters can sometimes overwhelm and be too much for some, resulting in suicide, an epidemic of which has been spreading through this land. This has a lot to do with our society's limited ability to support those who are lost on these existential oceans. The songs Stephen sings deal with these wider issues as well as his own sailings though choppy sea's as well as dealing with the loss of those who didn't manage to make it to the safety of the shore.
The experience of working with Stephen has helped to nurture our friendship, i feel i've met a spiritual brother (not something i would declare lightly!) and has helped my understanding in how to facilitate a space, both physically and mentally, to allow the free flow of creativity to blossom. I have learnt also from observing Stephen prepare himself to get into the zone to perform a song where the essence of of the story been told touches the heart of others truly and brings about a healing that is real. I am grateful to have been a participant in this albums' birth. :)
The CD is available from Stephens website:
Caduceus is available at iTunes: