Greyheart Update – After Losing Our Home to Fire

At the beginning of 2020, we had every expectation that Greyheart, the first full album recorded in our new California studio, would be released that year. And then…well…2020 happened. We didn’t go on our planned trip abroad. We quarantined with the rest of the world. We continued to work on music, even as our anxiety skyrocketed with each passing day. Come August, wildfire season was in full swing, and a fire was encroaching on our neighborhood. We were evacuated on Labor Day weekend during the height of the pandemic and, when it was all said and done 10 days later, we had no home to come home to. The good news: we saved our guitars and the studio computer that contained our recordings. Also good news: we somehow managed to not get COVID despite the fact that we were forced out into the world at the worst possible time. The bad news: we lost everything else. Our studio equipment, monitors, amps, stands, drum kit, piano, synth, and on and on, are all gone. All of our merch, including t-shirts, art prints, and hundreds of CDs, also gone. The picture below is the charred remains or our studio mixing board.

Folkstar after fire
The remains of our studio mixer. RIP.

For a couple of hours in October we were allowed, with the sheriff and various county and state personnel leaning over our shoulders, to sort through the ash that used to be our belongings. In November, after living as vagrants in various hotel rooms, rentals, and friends’ houses, we settled into a long term rental just a block away from our old house. Because the entire infrastructure was destroyed, we lived without electricity for 25 days. We never went back to sort through the ash again – not even the cast iron skillets survived so we had little hope anything else did – and our property has been taken over by Southern California Edison (SCE) who, after restoring power, proceeded to cut every single tree on our property. SCE continues to hang out at the wreckage of our home every day to find more trees to cut in the adjacent forest, and at this moment our rented house is shaking with the sound of large trees hitting the ground. Our beloved forest is a shadow of its former self and continues to dwindle (check out I Love Trees for Sue’s project documenting scores of destroyed giant sequoias). We just this week managed to get the money we were owed from the insurance company (which we had to fight for). Things have been a stressful and depressing mess. Some days we can barely get out of bed. We haven’t even sent out thank you notes to those who have helped us because the task seems absolutely overwhelming.

Through all of this, we’ve had people say things along the lines of, “Some amazing music is going to come from this.” We know your intentions are good. And you’re probably ultimately right. Songs can be written in pain but, at least for us, they can’t be recorded in this kind of headspace. Being in the studio requires patience, energy, QUIET, and a whole bunch of other things that have been in short supply. We are rebuilding the entire studio from scratch. It’s hard to muster up the energy to do everything, or anything, and it’s going to take time. But at least we’re starting to think about music again. The songs we wrote for Greyheart are good songs that deserve to see the light of day. But Greyheart is not going to be what we thought it was going to be. The songs will be released digitally, and will probably come to your ears as a series of singles that will eventually be compiled as a collection you can call an album.

Thank you all for being fans and friends. New music is coming. We’ll keep you updated as things unfold.

New Holiday Song: “Be with Me Christmas” just released!

From Kim:
I wrote “Be with Me Christmas” two years ago, when I was still living and performing in Wilmington, NC. For solo gigs during the month of December, I played mostly holiday songs and thought it would be nice to have another original song to throw into the mix. Christmas in the south was always a strange time for me, playing holiday songs often outdoors without a jacket, something I never quite got used to even as I spent more and more time away from my northeastern roots. I both enjoyed the temperate winter and found it somehow unnerving. While exploring this sentiment, I came up with “Be with Me Christmas”, an ode to Christmas at the beach but also an affirmation that the holiday season is about who you spend it with and how you celebrate, not where you are.

The song would not be what it is without Sue’s collaborative magic. I originally wrote the song as an upbeat jingle jangler and was surprised when Sue told me she heard a mellow song. I was skeptical. Then I heard her ethereal guitar parts and the song took its true form. Thanks to Sue’s melodies, reminiscent of the comforting sway of the ocean tides, “Be with Me Christmas” became a better song than I could have ever written alone. Like a melodic hug from a dear friend, a cup of hot cocoa for your ears, a tonally cozy fire in the fireplace, we hope you enjoy this sweet dose of comfort and joy!

Please download “Be with Me Christmas” or add it to all your holiday playlists on any streaming platform! Just search “Folkstar Christmas” and enjoy!!

Spotify Link
Apple Music Link
Amazon Link
Google Link
YouTube Link

Folkstar Be with Me Christmas

New single “Greyheart” is out NOW!

About the song:

This song began in the Porcupine Mountains of Michigan when I stopped to rest under a big old maple tree. Next to me below the thick leaf cover was a small black solitary mushroom in the shape of a heart. It was a “blackheart.” Kim commented about how it reminded her of me, perhaps because of my fondness for rock n roll, to which I simply replied that I was actually a “greyheart.” As we continued our travels I noticed other wild marvels including the wondrous sight of a great bison running through the grass and playing, alone, far away from others, in Wyoming. I thought a lot about this while hiking and exalting in being by myself, miles away from other people. Finally, it all came together on paper after returning home, after someone criticized me for my habit of frequently wearing the color black. This song is about being a true individual, balanced, authentic, and free. It’s about being an outlier, not the status quo. It is a self-portrait painted in song form.  ~Sue Cag

“Greyheart” is now available for streaming and download on all major platforms! You can find it on Spotify, Bandcamp, Amazon, and Apple Music.


Greyheart (lyrics)
Published by © 2019 Karmic Fury Records (ASCAP)

Growing up from the ground, below pieces of tree
Partially covered up, and very hard to see
Such a small thing, hidden in the dirt
Impossible to kill, but easy to hurt

A deep black coat over a white heart
With roots tapped in to all things

A streak of darkness and a beam of light
Alone in sadness, alone in joy
Not one to lead, never to follow
Not a heart of gold or one that’s hollow
Not better, not worse
An outlier, a greyheart

Running fast through tall grass in the sun
Rolling in earth and only having fun
Not needing to be part of the pack
Never keeping to a single track

A dark coat over a light heart
With no one else for miles

A streak of darkness and a beam of light
Alone in sadness, alone in joy
Not one to lead, never to follow
Not a heart of gold or one that’s hollow
Not better, not worse
An outlier, a greyheart