Legend of Nowhere Train
'The Legend of Nowher Train: An Audio Novella' LINER NOTES Once my shoulder was busted, it seemed my return to the bayou metropolis was all for nothing. It proved to me the medicine man had been right about the chicken's foot, and he was probably right about everything else too, which meant I was screwed. Bad Mojo got me. The black cat come. Man, it hurt like hell. And I was still stuck down there. I should have gone a-hospitalin' straight away, it occurs to me now. But New Orleans was not Canada. New Orleans at that point was hardly even America. Word I heard on the street was it was taking fellas with gunshot wounds up to an hour to see a doctor in that town, so what the hell was I gonna do? Luckily for me, New Orleans is a city full of things designed to take away the pain. And I did enough of them that first night to chase most every imaginable kind of ache, agony or affliction a thousand miles straight out from the reaches of my mind, body or memory. I met a million drifting souls that night, rambled in and out of a million different places. The sun was well up now and I was mostly alone. There was a beer vending machine in the back of the Guest House where I was staying, it's cool plastic Pepsi sign a glowing beacon even as I returned at dawn. I leaned my face up against it, fought to get my dollar into the slot with my left hand, my right arm just hanging there, useless pins and needles. The machine took my buck and I pounded any button. A Pabst came out. I took a seat in the yard, watched the growing morn. The throb in my right shoulder, which only hours earlier I'd been forced to pop back into socket, was now but a distant aching hum. I'd transcended. For now, I had conquered the darkness. Existence was tolerable, and the birds were chirping. The beer tasted good too, if I recall correctly. Things weren't so bad. Alas, just below my nirvana, sat something sad. An "ah-hah moment" had taken place while watching a crazy percussion band on Frenchman Street sometime the evening prior. It hit me in the garden and I let out a sigh. My drumming career was over. I first met Lenai (pronounced LEN-EYE) coming home from my shoulder rehab appointment some weeks later, upon my return to Canada. She was hanging up there in the pawn shop window, her red contours grabbing at my eyelids that same way some good-looking women can. I had never owned a guitar before. Never wanted to. I just looked at her for a moment and I went home and ate some lunch. When I was eating, I remembered John Lee Hooker sayin "If it ain't been in a pawnshop, it cain't play the blues." I always liked the blues. I thought it was a sign. So I went back and bought her. Didn't know one chord. Didn't even know one tune. Not even how to tune. I just wanted her and she wanted me, positively. So there it was. Something started right there. Some time passed and I picked up a bit about guitar and started to sing some. My arm healed by then, but I didn't even think about going back to playing the drums. I started to let go of the idea that bad luck mojo had been on me, started to see the positive energy around me pushing the darkness away, and I just went with it. I wrote some songs and pretty soon Lenai and I were playing in front of people, mostly Little Rock clubs and folky places in Toronto at first, then elsewhere. In the meantime a new world had begun, the trajectory of humankind changed forevermore. Tsunami. Katrina. World Market collapse. The Death of a Cultural King. The promise of a New Commander in Chief . It was a new beginning. The audacity of it made me feel alive, and I dove in head first. Sadly in that time, I had to put Lenai to rest. Her glimmering crimson body was too frail to survive the monsoon months of the southern Chiapas jungles. She snapped one day and I knew that was it. I buried her and found Rosie and started to really get out there around Toronto. I wanted to see for myself if the scene was as broken as they were saying it was. Along the way, I made some friends and I wrote some songs. And here some of them are. (Fret not, there's plenty more.) This collection ain't perfect, not by any means. But it's real. I can't say it was easy getting it together either, but it wasn't grossly expensive and I think there is something honest about that. To those people who've stuck with me making this album, who played and helped record it---Noah Zacharin: the Godfather, the chops, the all-round street cred; Elissa Gallai: the sweetness, the sass, the blue jean cowgirl; Rehan Dalal, the selfless student/teacher, the jumpstart, the pro; A. Smith & N. Smyth: the incomparable talents and bros; Steve York, the positive presence in T.O; of course my Corrie, Carl Lorrusso Jr, and most notably my mixmaster David Plank at Chapter Two Records, one of the few persons I've met in all my life who didn't pack up the tent when the going got really rough (mucho respectico y gracias Dave!) ---to all those who've helped, I am forever in your debt. And to those who are fans of my songs, for whatever reasons, thanks. You folks are the positive energy. -JT summer 2009.