Shipping News

A few broken moments in the story: a flooded basement in Philly, a chalk heart on the wall, cradling the broken guitar, revival, a bakery from the 1800s, Fonthill, the tiles of serpents and ships, some are Babylonian, 4000 years old, kind neighbours, kind children, a wet dog in the Ohio River, a peach tree, a pair of mummified opossums, SMPTE, Word Clocks, Timecode, Night in the USA, literal blood in Italy - a stage against mountaintops, amazing food and generosity - human life - more water, a torrent rushing into the club from the loading dock, 3 walls and one lightbulb club, Baltimore, where our friend was robbed at gunpoint, faces upturned, dark hair, a process of sharing. Let's not forget the gaggle of college guys and their "puke in a garbage can contest" during our set, or the graceful quiet in the show the next night, then in pre-dawn - Road curved to the pulse of some magnetic earth, New Yorik, Cleveland, putting a cat in from the cold, a window washer suspended like a superhero, someone asleep in the dusky grass between interstates etc. We want to get through to you - Can we connect through sound? We are in motion - we connect with bodies and paper - we are doing our best to listen....

Shipping News started in the Fall of 1996 when Jeff Mueller and Jason Noble wrote and recorded music for the NPR program "This American Life". In Spring of 1997 Kyle Crabtree began collaborating with them. The recording project became a full band, its voice dropped, legs got hairy and started reading Henry Miller. They recorded their first album, Save Everything, in a shotgun house in Louisville and then finished in Chicago with Bob Weston on deck. Released in September of 1997 it was met with much enthusiasm and occasional disgust. A split EP CD with the band MetroSchifter soon followed in May of 1998. Shipping News has toured the US three times. In Fall of 1998 they traveled to Catania, Sicily to participate in the Mappe Arts Festival...playing outside in a harbour at night, history gushing out with dust and sound, looking around amazed at how music travels, amazed at everything....

Very Soon, and in Pleasant Company was written over a two and a half year period. Jeff, Kyle and Jason gathered for two and three month increments to work, swapping between Louisville and Philadelphia. In the process they toured with the new material - test driving, reconsidering, destroying and clarifying the fledgling songs. Longtime friend Christina Files joined them on these travels, mixing their live sets and offering helpful critique and support.

In Spring of 2000 they set up shop in an old dairy warehouse in Louisville (Lucky Anchor Studios) to document the new songs. All of the excursions from city to city, electrical transmissions, sepia-toned letters and supernatural signs leading up to the moment were captured over a few weeks. Christian Frederickson (viola) and Edward Grimes (vibes) contributed lovely sounds to the recording and acted as spiritual anchors more than once. Kyle, Jeff, Jason and Christina did the final mixes in Boston at Sonics Studios just as a fleet of 122 Tall Ships entered the harbour just after the Fourth of July holiday.

Shipping News appropriated their name from the acclaimed novel 'The Shipping News' by E.Annie Proulx.

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