Liner Notes from Robbie Basho's "Visions of the Country" by Fletcher Tucker

Visions of the Country is a great treasure, a shining example of what soaring artistic heights and ecstatic expression are possible when a musician (in Robbie Basho’s words) “puts soul first”. I have heard many people extol Basho’s virtuosic guitar playing, but strangely little praise of his luminous words. I regard Visions of the Country as a grand poetic work on par with the spiritual poetry of history’s greatest mystics (I’m thinking of Rumi and Hafiz in particular). In the same way that these Sufi poets referred to God as their “Beloved”, Basho’s songs on this record are essentially love songs to his “beloved”: the wild lands of the great American west. In “Blue Crystal Fire”, Basho sings:

Read More

"Turning Toward Fire – On Wildtending & Wildfire" by Noël Vietor & Fletcher Tucker

On the day we planned to send out an email announcement about a Yosemite backpacking pilgrimage we had extensively planned for Fall 2018, we got news of a wildfire exploding to the west of Yosemite National Park. In the two weeks since then, the Ferguson Fire has burned over 40,000 acres and is a quarter contained. Like so many wildfires on the West Coast, this one is fueled by California’s record-breaking heating climate, an invasive bark beetle-infested and drought-starved dying forest, and decades of misguided fire suppression strategies that have left dry timber and underbrush ready to burn across the state.

Read More

"Unshakable Belonging" by Fletcher Tucker – an essay from the "Cold Spring" booklet

In January and February of 2017, just after completing the last recordings for Cold Spring, the storms of winter came to Big Sur in earnest. Ninety plus inches of rain in one season along side hurricane strength winds. All this water and wind arriving only a couple months after an unstoppable, three-month-long forest fire tore through 200,000 acres of wilderness: perfect conditions for extreme erosion.

Read More

"What Lays Hidden" by Fletcher Tucker – an essay from the "Cold Spring" booklet

Cold Spring is the name of a high elevation camp that sits between the Big Sur front- and back-country – at the threshold of a heavily trafficked coast, and a virtually untrammeled wilderness. A smooth expanse of water lies to the west, endless thickets of brush, and cloud-shrouded peaks to the east. Many of the songs contained within this album were received in the area surrounding Cold Spring camp. Much has been revealed to me there; much more remains hidden.

Read More

"Flintknapping" by Fletcher Tucker – an essay from the "Cold Spring" booklet

For the last seven years, I have lived on the western slope of a steep mountain range, which descends into sheer cliffs at the Pacific Ocean. These mountains and coastline, its ravines, rivers, forests, and innumerable other natural aspects are collectively known as Big Sur.

This place has been my home and my teacher. I have offered myself to the land as fully as I’ve known how, hobbled as I am by my late-20th- century, Anglo upbringing. Big Sur, in turn, has spent twenty-eight seasons flintknapping my heart-mind into a useful shape.

Read More

"We Wild – Visions From the Trail to Tassajara" by Fletcher Tucker

For four days we will tromp on trail, single file, ascending and descending. But first my wife and I stand side by side and bow together. We bow to the place herself, and to her innumerable names and forms. Place en-creatured, place en-planted, place en-stoned, en-watered, en- weathered, en-fungied, en-peopled, en-spirited. Each step is also a bow. Tens of thousands of bows in thirty miles of wild walking.

Read More