We were just talking Calgary in the writeup for BTW the Neighbourhood Council. It’s back to Alberta again with “Willow Tree,” one of 12 new songs from ex-busker Chad VanGaalen’s forthcoming Soft Airplane, the follow up to 2006’s Skelliconnection. He captured the new one on “an old tape machine” and JVC boom box in his Calgary basement. The album’s opener “Willow Tree” is a sad, joyfully resolved and pretty sing-song that involves water-born, Viking-style burial/cremation rites, fueled by kerosene and freedom. The willow tree plays an important roll, as do the melancholic horns.
Chad VanGaalen – “Willow Tree” (MP3)
Other songs on Soft Airplane deal with death, but this is my favorite: The way the instantly memorable melody, Neil Young-y vocal quaver, and various instrumental flourishes work to push it into the realm of the quietly anthemic. I haven’t always been the biggest VanGaalen fan, but this one hits the spot.
Soft Airplane is out 9/9 on Sub Pop.
[Photo by Marc Rimmer]