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Rose Hips

It was Hawthorne Boulevard in close-in eastside Portland, on a sunny day in the mid-90s, with a cup of coffee and a chance to visit with an old friend, the artist and activist Melanie Weidner (sample some of her extraordinary catalog here). I was excited to share a new song with her, one in a series of God-songs I was writing to share with our Quaker community, and she said, y'know that's just lovely. It's a very nice song, but what happens, she said, in the song, if you change the gender of the pronouns...? You mean from Him to Her, I said. Yeah, she said. So we tried it, and you know, it's a better song. The piece was nice before; this change made it important to people, so thanks, Mel. (Not for the last time.)

The history goes on, and starts to involve others: West Hills Friends really enjoyed singing Rose Hips on Sunday morning with me; what was extra cool was coming back from Africa in 2007 and discovering old f/Friends Jill and Aaron Townley-Pruitt playing a piano vocal duet version, and the church liked that one two.

When Nate Macy and I were producing my new anthology, A Month of Sundays, in 2021 and 2022, it was a natural to invite Jill and Aaron to record their arrangement of Rose Hips. The session went really well, the mix went down, the album was released last June; and now I tell people: I made Rose Hips straight and true and sweet - Jill and Aaron made it exquisite, all true.

Regards this new foldable: As Sue and I finished work on the album cover art, we started working on "foldable songs", and after we did Pastor's Daughter, and Blue Pony, and it became clear we were going for a series, again Rose Hips was an easy choice. I feel now, holding this piece in my hands, such pleasure folding and unfolding, revealing one extraordinary Sue Scott picture after another, juxtaposed with the lyrics to the song. As a foldable, the art reveal is sequential which makes it a different more dynamic thing in some cool ways. We're learning as we go...

What really comes up for me today, reviewing this little song's history with you, is how ephemeral it all is, a matter of breath, a matter of vibrations in the air; the spectrum of visible light, and how strong and magnetic it proves music and art can be to express our love, and our spiritual aspiration, and bring people together, and that's not ephemeral....


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