by Sean Jewell::
By nature farm work is cyclical. Morning becomes evening toiling in the soil. Days become weeks –then months, as seasons pass into one another. Seeds and soil eventually become the harvest, but you have to give it time. Nathaniel Talbot is busy with farm work all spring and summer, with no time to compose, but as a poet and folk musician, is blossoming with song in the fall. Talbot estimates he works 60 hours a week on his certified organic vegetable farm on Whidbey Island, in Washington State. It’s no wonder, with his every sense given to taking in nature most of the year, that every creature, every vision and texture of farming come back out to embellish his songwriting. Talbot uses language like a religious mystic might; he’s an effluence of natural descriptors, weaving a tapestry of deeper meaning. Finger-picked on guitar and backed by delicate mandolin, “As The Way” reveals his love as bountiful harvests, comfortable winters, awe-inspiring natural scenery.
From Nathaniel Talbot:
“One of my favorite writers, Wendell Berry, writes extensively about modern people’s dissolution from the natural world. The symptoms of this separation appear not only in a degraded environment, but in our households and relationships. Particularly, he talks about the foundation of a healthy marriage being the shared work and mutual investment put toward creating a home together. If you consider the back three acres where we run our farm business as part of our home, I guess my fiance and I spend the vast majority of our time building and nurturing our home. We are incredibly privileged to have this shared commitment to farming, where we get to experience the passing of seasons, and cycles of life and death, together, which in turn reinforces our own bond. Before “As the Way,” I hadn’t written a love song in years, as all attempts seemed forced or cliche. This tune, however, came me to me easily, once I decided to write it.”
“As the Way” is the opening track on Talbot‘s forthcoming album Swamp Rose and Honeysuckle Vine. It’s a wealth of lyrical vision, complex guitar playing, and expert musicianship; a work about people’s connection to one another through the earth, disguised as a folk album about farming.