Launched in Yellowknife on January 17, 2013, Inside Journeys Outside is an album of songs, and a multimedia experience currently in post-production. An exploration of the landscapes of the desert and the north, and an homage to the late Charles Russell, who helped me record many of the piano tracks you will hear on the album more than three years ago in Slab City, a city of squatters in the Sonoran desert, close to the Mexican border. If you listen closely you will even hear birds and crickets in the quieter parts of some songs. You can listen to and buy the album here.
Charlie lived in a camper trailer with an elaborate set-up of batteries, solar panels and communications gear set up in a shipping container. He had created a sculpture garden entirely out of found items, and every wall in his outdoor living area was either covered in art, or created of it. Charlie taught me to trust my vision in my work, to stay on the path, and to see every moment as an opportunity to create something interesting.
When I arrived in the desert, I had already visited Yellowknife and decided it was going to become home. The parallels between this community of squatters in the desert and what I had experienced in the Northwest Territories became clear to me very quickly. Charlie had his sculpture garden made of discarded items, while houseboaters built their homes on hollow tanks they found at the local landfill. Off-grid communities. Two deserts, one covered in sand, the other in lakes, rock and snow. In both places, a resourceful and innovative spirit and a deep connection to the land.
The concert was a collaboration between several Northern artists, as well as Vancouver-based photographer Lung Liu, who brought me to the desert so many years ago and was the person who first introduced me to Charlie. Lung presented a photo exhibit in the lobby before and after the show, juxtaposing these two very powerful places.