Clipper Ship

by Wooden Wand

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  • Record/Vinyl

    Wooden Wand's Clipper Ship is pressed on 140 gram Dutch black vinyl by Record Industry and housed within a full color gatefold jacket. It was mastered by Patrick Klem. Clipper Ship will be released on May 5, 2017. Also look for Wooden Wand dates this year all around the US and in Europe.

    Includes digital pre-order of Clipper Ship. You get 2 tracks now (streaming via the free Bandcamp app and also available as a high-quality download in MP3, FLAC and more), plus the complete album the moment it's released.
    shipping out on or around May 5, 2017

     $20 USD or more

     

  • Compact Disc (CD)

    Wooden Wand's Clipper Ship was mastered by Patrick Klem. Clipper Ship will be released on May 5, 2017. Also look for Wooden Wand dates this year all around the US and in Europe.

    Includes digital pre-order of Clipper Ship. You get 2 tracks now (streaming via the free Bandcamp app and also available as a high-quality download in MP3, FLAC and more), plus the complete album the moment it's released.
    shipping out on or around May 5, 2017

     $11 USD or more

     

  • Pre-order of Clipper Ship. You get 2 tracks now (streaming via the free Bandcamp app and also available as a high-quality download in MP3, FLAC and more), plus the complete album the moment it's released.
    releases May 5, 2017

     $7 USD  or more

     

  • Full Digital Discography

    Get all 94 Three Lobed Recordings releases available on Bandcamp and save 50%.

    Includes unlimited streaming via the free Bandcamp app, plus high-quality downloads of Clipper Ship, Daniel Bachman [2016], Jack Rose, I Do Play Rock and Roll, Dr. Ragtime & His Pals, Blues From WHAT, Parallelogram, Parallelogram, and 86 more. , and , .

     $360.50 USD or more (50% OFF)

     

1.
04:02
2.
Sacrificial
3.
04:03
4.
Mallow T'ward the River
5.
One Can Only Love
6.
Clipper Ship
7.
Mood Indica (Reprise)

about

Chickens were puzzling to early chemists and remain so. Despite a diet low in calcium, eggs laid by chickens contain a huge amount of calcium. Chickens, in that sense, are the only alchemists with proof that they are able to transmute an element; Wooden Wand’s 'Clipper Ship' album reminds me of that fowl alchemy, where the sum of songs’ parts add up to some impossible, elegant germination that cannot be reduced.

Drones and lush arpeggiated codas spin out in concentric fractal patterns; the finger picking of Kentucky’s own Nathan Salsburg on “Sacrifical” layers and weaves like harmonocist Hans Kayser described the octaval correspondences between the shapes of plants and musical notes. The hopeful acoustic line ascends, and repeats; the words reference modern master Trinie Dalton’s short story Scarlet Gilia, calling forth its volcanoes, bare feet, blood and love. The three part “Mallow T’ward the River” begins like a civil war ballad, then segues into a funky bass breakdown, and ends with Glenn Kotche’s sparse percussion that at turns sounds like a jump rope slapping the ground or a brush made of a thicket of grass: maybe mallow grass. It is surprising, hypnotic and stubborn. On this record a certain restless swagger or arrogance I have always loved in James Toth’s songwriting is changed; there is something introverted and peaceful. In “One Can Only Love,” a Yardbirds’ “White Summer”-style raga meets Toth’s Yaweh- John Donne-Don Juan lyrics; the narrator here is godlike, but humble, can learn, is loving. ‘You taught me to find peace / where there is no grace.’ Old Testament Toth is becoming New Testament Toth.

On 'Clipper Ship', the images, though they seem like they’ve always been there, still shock: like finding a cave in the woods behind your house. Phrases like: ‘the sun’s not going down/the sun’s just being shy/the clouds look heavy/like they’re duct taped to the sky’ have an erstwhile American dignity, like John O’Hara could have written them. They are not just words the songs are serving, however; neither one would resonate accurately without the other. Toth is hard to pin down as a vocalist; his voice is a compelling mix of channels: the intimacy of Pearls Before Swine, the cajoling of Judy Roderick, and the sly, gentle tone of Kevin Ayers. He and Ayers share that quality of more than one voice moving through their throats, like the wind touching a series of chimes in one breath.

In “Mexican Coke,” the narrator states, ‘You ask me why I carry cash around with me all the time,’ a dirty, old tech-- like he is answering a certain kind of modern listener: why the carefully considered words, why the dirty old tech of folk song and guitar chords? He doesn’t reference privacy, or fondness for a ‘simpler’ time. In “Mexican Coke” the value of the old object is relative to the currency that pays for the things of its time. Resale value is not nostalgia; the worth of the old thing is relative to the new thing it can bring. Like the forked stick of a dowser, acoustic guitar and gentle arrangements find those thoughts and hums that can only be caught by arcane tools, songs that breathe with the previous songs and breaths that built them, the format a cradle for the gifts of the collector. That just might be worth a cool grand to the right ears. James Toth is an obsessive, of words and melody, of records and books, and if he trawls through enough dusty silverfish riddles, old tunes, rusted twists of iron, a rare thing is found and transmuted into something new.

[Coda: Listening to this record today, and listening to it 2 weeks ago are completely different experiences. Now I hear a foreboding: an attempt at finding solace rather than solace. America feels foreign to me for the first time. Art in general feels frivolous; I have to believe records, books and work of the human imagination matter now more than ever. This is a good one.]

--Elisa Ambrogio, November 2016

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In a world of guitar players, James “Wooden Wand” Toth remains first and foremost a songwriter and lyricist. "Clipper Ship", however, presents a break in tradition: in attempting to emancipate himself from old habits, Toth wrote most of the songs on "Clipper Ship" 'music first,' adding lyrics later, a reversal of the tried and true method that has made him one of the most prolific and respected songwriters of his generation. The result is the most democratically-conceived, multi-layered, and musically sophisticated album in the vast Wooden Wand discography.

"Clipper Ship" is the first proper full-length Wooden Wand album since 2014. Performers include Darin Gray (On Fillmore, Dazzling Killmen, Jim O’Rourke, Tweedy, William Tyler, etc), Ryan Norris (Coupler, Lambchop), Glenn Kotche (On Fillmore, Wilco), Jim Becker (Califone, Iron & Wine), Nathan Salsburg (Joan Shelley), Kyle Hamlett (Lylas), Josh Wright & Seth Murphy (Bear Medicine), Luke Schneider (Margo Price, JEFF The Brotherhood, Natural Child, William Tyler, etc), Zak Riles (Watter, Grails), and Jim Elkington (Tweedy, Horse’s Ha, Richard Thompson, Steve Gunn).

credits

releases May 5, 2017

All songs by James Toth (Evil Leaper Music BMI) except “Mood Indica (reprise)” by James Toth (Evil Leaper Music BMI) and Zak Riles (Watter Music, ASCAP)

Mastered by Patrick Klem
Photos by Amelia Courthouse
Layout and Design by Scott Caligan

The song “Sacrificial” was inspired in part by Trinie Dalton’s short story “Scarlet Gilia,” from her book Baby Geisha

Thanks: Cory Rayborn, Jerry DeCicca, Joseph Carver, Andrew Stith, Aaron Rosenblum, Elisa Ambrogio, Ben Chasny, Nathan Walker, Tim & Elizabeth Bracy, Ringo, Scott Caligan, Doc Feldman, Cecilia Wright, Josh Doss, Mia Krout, Keith Wood, Trinie Dalton, Owen King, Black Iris, Roman Hutchison, Liam Cunningham, Will Burchard, Nick Mitchell, The Chapman Family (especially Ava), and the Reyes Family (especially Heyd)

For Leah

this is TLR-123

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Three Lobed Recordings Jamestown, North Carolina

Three Lobed Recordings is a boutique record label that specializes in small print-run releases that cover all flavors of psychedelia. The label was started in 2000 and is largely operated by cats.

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Track Name: School's Out
Let me swim and keep on swimming
Bordered by two beginnings
Because the waves between are life
They live between an unknown darkness
And another unknown darkness

Volcano, spare our only daughter
She was not made to be a martyr
And the way your lava flows
It beckons like a moon so bright
We mistake it for first light

The snow is now falling
Now school can begin
The snow has all melted
And school’s out again
Track Name: Mexican Coke
You ask me why I carry cash around with me all the time—
Don’t you see all these “Yard Sale” signs?
When I flip this first edition for a cool grand
Then maybe you’ll understand

Where there’s a will, there are ways
So take this five-dollar bill
And go and buy yourself a Mexican Coke with the change

There’s no using all the unused hours down the line
You can’t stockpile time
What has the night to do with sleep
When there are promises to keep?

Remember all that you pass
Make the first thing the last
The innocent get to dream, the rest of us crash

If you leave the doors open so the flies can escape
You’re just inviting the rattlesnakes!
We can always do more harm than good
Our best intentions misunderstood

Whether we drink from the stream
Or find it’s just a mirage
Bet you a Mexican Coke it comes out in the wash

--For Simon Joyner--