"Tanana Mud and other songs from the North" contains songs and instrumentals with a little bit of everything: original and traditional, upbeat and soothing, joyous and mournful, rowdy and thoughtful, past and present, mythical and real.
The power of the North literally created this album: it was recorded "off the grid" at Lincoln Creek Studio, northwest of Fairbanks Alaska, using wind and solar power. The North permeates the album musically as well. The title track captures an idyllic June day spent floating down the Tanana River in a canoe -- one of those days that make you realize it just doesn't get any better than this. "Ole's Hell," a northern ballad reminiscent of the works of Robert Service and Jack London, portrays the bitter cold of an Interior Alaska winter, while the instrumental "December Day" evokes the beauty of a clear midwinter day just south of the Arctic circle. "Goddess In The Rock" is a poem set to music, inspired by a unique rock formation on the northern coast of Canada's Cape Breton Island. "The Great Silkie" is a traditional ballad about a mythical being who is a man on land and a seal in the sea. "Shadow Patterns" is a gentle song about memories and the bittersweet passage of time, be it a single day, a season, a year, or a lifetime. Seth's toe-tapping instrumentals "Jenny Kelley" and "Helen's Blue Eyes" and Skip's lovely waltzes draw their inspiration from Alaskan family and friends. "Let Us Dance," one of Ice Jam's most frequently requested songs, celebrates contra dancing, a popular Fairbanks pastime. "Hobo Ways" is the only song that is not about the North, but the main character sounds like a lot of folks whose wanderlust eventually leads them to Alaska.
Ice Jam: it's "dam" good music that won't leave you cold!
Some chunks of Ice Jam have already floated on down the river (Isla, Megan, Jennie, Erik...). The rest of us live close by each other (as the crow flies) but the road miles are many so we meet each and every Wednesday evening at the College Coffeehouse in Fairbanks Alaska for an informal jam session where all comers are welcome to join the circle and help us play or sing. Autumn of 2007 marks the 10th anniversary of our weekly coffeehouse jam sessions. In addition to the Wednesday night music, we play at a handful of contra dances through the year, folk festivals and the occasional wedding or other special event.