A Live Musical Excerpt from Alex Henry Foster & The Long Shadows
Jul 14, 2020
It’s always really humbling for me to realize just how close we are all becoming through those Cult Missives. It gives me a great sense of "now"! Taking the time to write like this, I can’t believe we’re already halfway through July, mid-year, a year that will be marked in our personal and collective memories forever, for whatever good or tragic reasons.
In fact, writing those letters brings back a great notion of hopeful humanity for me, as the connection we have is rich in honesty and sincerity. Regardless of the form it takes, it’s real. I truly value that type of genuine connection we have. It's meaningful and that’s why I feel very privileged not only to guide you into Alex’s creative universe but to also share about the emotions his paradoxical world reveals or inspires others.
Therefore, I was really happy to receive so many answers following the last missive I sent you last week, messages I take immense pleasure in sharing with Alex as we go out for a short walk with his two “boys” Leonard & MacKaye! Your words resonate significantly, especially knowing how personal and intimate the song "Snowflakes in July" is for Alex, and just how every single word he sings has been hard for him to write down and acknowledge. But as he often says, personal healing can only begin once the measure of acceptance and let go that always precedes freedom and peace takes place. And as Alex kept telling me, brokenness is an opportunity we all have to define or redefine our existence.
So, we spent the entire week slowly approaching the song "Snowflakes in July", as we’re getting ready for the July 26th live broadcast held by the cultural hub BrooklynVegan. We haven’t played that song together since last November as we played the Astral in Montreal as an extra concert following the sold-out Jazz Festival concert, which is what pretty much gave birth to Alex’s live solo journey! Having performed the song three times only, it makes this next live event something unique and significant.
Alex's despise for creative formatage makes every rehearsal challenging for us as a band, especially as we know he is looking for something intangible, something that transcends the song itself. So for us, it goes beyond being ready musically; we need to be completely atoned with the moment, especially as we know we won’t have several rehearsals with Alex who always arrives with tones or new lyrics and different musical ideas to make sure no one will start what he calls the “jukebox copy cat effect”. This is the reason we have to be willing to abandon ourselves to the immersion of the instant stream, otherwise, everything feels odd and out of place.
Since we started playing as The Long Shadows, it became essential for us to go back to the essence of the song, its meaning, the moment it was written, and to find how it resonates for every one of us personally and collectively. This way, when Alex joined us to rehearse, we were already disposed and willing to discover whatever may come our way in that particular instant. It’s especially true for the song "Snowflakes in July", as we were there when Alex lost his father and witnessed a few pieces of what he had to go through thereafter. It wasn’t our “forced love” that would offer him the solace we all wanted to give him.
“There will be time…” but we all felt that time was “right here, right now”. All empowered and animated from the emergency to be one and to allow this inspiring communion to lead us musically, lyrically, spiritually, we were fuelled by hearing Alex singing new words about his vision of sorrows, allowing himself to go back to a place so personal that we didn’t know even existed at this point. It was a place of pure lucidity and raw honesty that became a template for us to follow him in such a place of transcendence...
And without too much thinking, “Sorrows (If Only I Had Known)” became a brand new song… We were all moved, overwhelmed, sweaty, and emotionally empty, but all grateful in a deep kind of way as we felt we all went to hell and back together… transformative in every possible way!
We couldn’t keep this for ourselves, so here it is exclusively for you, my friend!
See you on July 26 at 10am (Eastern Time)! Truly looking forward to sharing this new song and so much more with you!
Thanks again for inspiring us!
Your host and friend,