Wind and Bones is an album about people moving through space; heading somewhere, getting away from something, or sometimes, being in the wrong place at the wrong time (a total of 412 characters die in four of these songs).
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The album kicks off with a couple of tracks that have my personal perspective. The first song is about a trip I made in the 1990s to Newfoundland where I visited the graveyards in various outports that contained ancestors from both sides of my family. I’d never known these people but I pondered on a connection and what similarities there might be me in my life. The second song takes place far from the Atlantic, on the prairies and a fall evening as I was driving west via North Dakota and into Saskatchewan. Like my ancestors who crossed the ocean, here I was crossing an ocean of flatland where there was much time to consider choices made in my life.
The majority of songs are of a historical nature but are about people, often not in ideal environments; in many cases they are moving through hostile or foreign settings (a ship in northern waters, a police patrol in an arctic wilderness) or, in one song about a friend of mine leaving his small town. They feature people reflecting on where they are from and where they are going or plan to go along with the hopes and dreams that go with that.
All the songs were written about 25 – 30 years ago. I wanted to revisit them and bring them back to life. In most cases, it was about 20 years since I’d sung most of them so it was a bit of a voyage of discovery as I dug back in and saw them, freshly.
In the winter of 2016/17 I went into Marc Atkinson’s Barn Studio on Hornby Island and began tracking the songs (guitar and vocals). It was then followed by Marc adding his musical talents in the form of drums, bass and lead instruments. Singer/Songwriter, Kim June Johnson added her wonderful voice to the tracks in the form of background vocals (though Marc is in there, too).
Check out the page below to see some photos from the recording experience.
I think of this record as my “space” album because it’s really about movement. I have a set of new songs ready to be recorded this coming year that are about “time.” I guess space and time are related but I hope you’ll enjoy spending some time with Wind and Bones as you go on your own journeys.
1 Wind and Bones 3:39
2 Drunk With Loneliness 3:17
3 Princess Sophia 4:56
4 Song of the Sockeye* 3:44
5 Towboat Man 3:50
6 Lost Patrol 5:04
7 Chief Thunderbird 4:27
8 Bogotá Rain 3:27
9 Out of Step 3:11
10 Though Time Goes On 4:14
11 Cumberland Coal 4:04
12 Railroad Town 4:13
Words & Music by John McLachlan
*Words by Ross Cumbers / Melody by Phil Thomas
Produced by Marc Atkinson
John McLachlan: Lead vocals, acoustic 6 and 12-string guitar, hi-string guitar, harmonica
Marc Atkinson: Bass, drums, lead acoustic and electric guitar, banjo, percussion, keyboards, mandolin, harmony vocals on “Princess Sophia,” “Out of Step”
Kim June Johnson: Harmony vocals on “Drunk with Loneliness,” “Lost Patrol,” “Chief Thunderbird,” “Bogotá Rain,” “Though Time Goes On”
Bill Usher: Percussion on “Cumberland Coal”
Recorded & Mixed 2017 by Marc Atkinson at The Barn Studio, Hornby Island, BC
Mastered by Joby Baker at Baker Studios Ltd.
Cover Photo by John Struthers