There is an area in the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness of Minnesota that embodies the feeling of home to me - it feels more like home than any other place I've ever lived. I call it "Medicine River". I yearn to be there whenever I think of it. It includes the Perent, Isabella, and Kawishiwi Rivers. These rivers all flow together eventually. The nature track herein was recorded on the Perent River at dawn May 4th, 2010. Largely it is a real time sample of the sounds one morning on that special river. Wind distortion, microphone bumps, and a few moments where bird calls were minimal were edited out. It was a chilly morning, and you can hear the crackling of my campfire as well as river rapids.
Some parts of the piano melodies I literally copied from the birds; they are the writers and I was merely a listener. Others were directly inspired by the feeling of their songs. Many were written in the summer of 2011: as I listened to the nature track, I played to it, and let it inspire me. One day that summer, as I was composing several of the songs on the piano in my studio in Hovland, I stepped outside and accidentally scared a fawn which had curled up five feet from my open window. So I decided to use Mark Tessier's photo of a fawn for the cover of this package; he related to me that it had come and lay down right outside his window. Some of the songs, such as "The Birdman of Medicine River" and "Behold the Royal Blue Jay", come from my childhood. They were written around 1974 when I was in 6th grade, not long after my band instructor showed me some chords on the piano.
In the fall of 2011, a vast forest fire burned much of the "Medicine River" area of the Boundary Waters. I hope to go back early next spring to see how it has transformed. I'd like to record more nature tracks and compare the bird sounds from before and after the fire. ~ Joe Paulik January 9, 2012