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.

Greyheart Update – After Losing Our Home to Fire
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