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Another Direction

Updated: Mar 9, 2019

This song is dedicated to my cousin, Mitch Aronson, who passed away unexpectedly in the Spring of 2017. Mitch was the older brother I needed and never had. I idolized him. He had a way of talking through his laughter that was unique and infectious. He was tough, smart, funny, ethical, loyal and artistically creative. The days we spent together are among my best memories, and we stayed in close contact till the end of his life.

When we were 11 or 12, Mitch and his dad built an enormous, weather-station-spec box kite that was by far the most efficient and robust kite any of us had ever seen. They constructed a wooden spool with crank handles to hold as I recall, a mile of strong, heavy string. Mitch determined one afternoon to let all the way out. Due to the weight of the string, the kite didn’t gain much altitude as it hovered over a forest of Sacramento oaks and walnut trees, a minute orange dot glowing low in the distance as evening approached. Of course, it was much faster to let the kite out than to reel it back in, and we were making pitiful progress recovering it. It was going to be tricky to reel the thing back in without it becoming tangled in the trees or the utility lines. Mitch finally cut the line, and we went inside to read car magazines.

A couple of grief-filled days after he died in his sleep of a heart attack, I wondered if he had experienced the primal realization that he was in trouble and needed to wake up and fight to stay alive? Could he have rallied to call 911or to get up and take an aspirin? He was experiencing health and life challenges, and it would have been a hard, daunting road back to recovery. I suddenly remembered his kite and this song came to me. Months elapsed before I could sing it without breaking down, and while I wanted to perform it at least once as a tribute to my beloved cousin, I never expected it to be a song that others would relate to, I wrote it because I needed to externalize my grief. Of course, I’m not the only one who does.

Dave Roof is playing bass and keys, Donn Deniston is keeping time. Mike Gentry had the idea of replacing the accordion track at the bridge with an ethereal effect to heighten the emotional center of the song. We considered using a Mellotron flute or voice chorale, but remembered we had Mallory Wayt scheduled for the next session in the studio. She quickly and flawlessly stacked a four-voice harmony part which Dave Roof engineered to float suspended like a morning haze on one of those lakes to which our Grandpa took us fishing.

My cousin, Mitch Aronson - my brother from another mother..

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