In 1968 a young woman was found dead along a dirt road near Eagle Creek, north of Georgetown, Kentucky. For thirty years, she was known only as ‘Tent Girl’, the name given to her by the Kentucky Post & Times Star because she’d been found wrapped in canvas resembling a tent bag. This album is a series of overlapping narratives inspired by her story as re-imagined to incorporate imagery and locales from Matt Bauer’s rural Kentucky upbringing. These songs explore what it means to be home and to be lost, what it means to pass from life to death.
The Island Moved in the Storm takes its name from a stretch of gravel and shale in a bend of Triplett Creek where Bauer grew up. After a hard rain, the island would “move” and change shape, adapting to the new flow of water. The album reflects this vision of impermanence and fleeting beauty not only in the songs that take the island as their setting, but also in songs that expand into the wider world: The woods have “scatters of deer tracks frozen in the mud” and wild horses are glimpsed for a moment before they scatter into the trees along a shoreline. Human hair is spread around a garden to keep out rabbits only to be woven into bird nests and carried away on the wind. Girls jump from a river bridge and “their hair floats up to heaven.”
But the world of this collection of songs is one of powerful indifference as much as passing beauty. A blacksnake crawls headless through grass and dandelions, perhaps the same white dandelions that later find a breeze “blowing off their heads”. A soldier lies wounded on a battlefield, imagining a mysterious figure with a string of bluegill, still gasping for air, hanging from her dress. As her mascara runs “like downed telephone wires” he asks her “are you the one / who has come to sew me up / and send me back out?” A boy likens the meeting of his parents to a spider trapping a fly, an image that insinuates an unbalanced relationship, but also, as is often the case in The Island Moved in the Storm, a sense of inevitability and natural order that is beyond judgement.
The musical arrangements retain the economy and space of Bauer’s previous recordings while expanding the palette of sounds and instrumentation. A range of musician friends from Bauer’s current Brooklyn base, and from the San Francisco Bay Area, contribute to the recording. These include Angel Deradoorian (Dirty Projectors), Alela Diane, Mariee Sioux, Greg McMullen (Chris Whitley), Elizabeth Dotson-Westphalen (St. Vincent), Nathan Wanta (Last of the Blacksmiths), Angela Webster (Rhett Miller), and longtime collaborator Frank Floyd.
Recorded in closets, living rooms, kitchens, attics, bathrooms and studios from San Francisco’s Mission District to Greenpoint, Brooklyn to Fayette County, Kentucky, The Island Moved in the Storm is none of those places and all of them at once: It is a moment of beauty, stolen from a fleeting world.
July 13 Banjo Jim’s New York, New York
July 29 Cafe 9 New Haven, Connecticut
Aug 02 Quebec Folk Festival @ Seminaire de Quebec Quebec City, Quebec
Aug 04 La Sala Rossa Montreal, Quebec
The Island Moved In The Storm (La Société Expéditionnaire)
Street Date: Sept. 2, 2008
3.Don’t Let Me Out
4.Rose And Vine
5.As She Came Out Of The Water
6.Blacksnake In The Carport
7.(He Asks The Figure) Are You The One
9.We Drove To Highbridge (Glass Insulators)
10.The Silver Cloud
11.The Island Moved In The Storm
15.You Were Saying Goodbye
16.Corolla (The One You Love)
MATT BAUER LINKS:
Press Materials: www.la-soc.com/islandmovedpreview.html