This little tune is quite different from the previous Lost Tracks. In this one, I switch off the electricity and pick up an acoustic guitar while Louis switches from rhythm to fingerstyle. Also, the piece sounds like it's something that might have been written hundreds of years ago rather than in the last few decades. I'm not exactly sure when we wrote and recorded this. I'm not even sure if it had a title until recently. Louis calls it "Shadows in the Woodlands" and that feels right to me. Whatever images that might have come to mind back when it was created, when I hear the piece now, I see the forest and the characters and creatures that live within it. Some are real and some might be. Lighthearted minstrels and masters of the sword, talking ravens and mumbling wizards, gentle deer and gentle folk, dangerous to the darkhearted, commoners on uncommon adventures in a world of lovely maidens, trolls and teardrops. The forest, after all, is where Magic most obviously lives on, never to fade, never to die. And all trees know their mission. Even the ones that sleep on city streets, and wake to whisper their subtle messages of what the world could be, know they are reminders of such things as the flight of Robin's last arrow, the too well hidden Faery folk, and that thing I cannot name but know so well. It is something a child sees. And if luck is with him for the rest of his life, something he never forgets.
When I asked Louis if he had any photos to illustrate this tune, he sent me this beautiful picture. I love how the light seems to spill down from the sky like a flowing river of green and gold, curving across the leaves before reaching the ground below. There's the little sapling, almost glowing at the beginning of its journey, while the older trees tower so far above as they rise up from dark through shadow and on into bright sunlight. There are patches of shadow we can see on the path, and shadows we can't see through further on. The path turns to the right. Or does it? Maybe its existence is just an illusion, wishful thinking.
Someday, I hope to roam woods like these again. To be back in the kind of landscape I once played in, grew up in, and never left behind. To find myself on lost trails. To rediscover my home away from home away from Home. To play my guitar late at night beneath some symphony of wild sky or, sunlight lit, gather tree lore into my heart for a rainy desert day. One way or another, in one form or another, one day, I'll return, just to lean back against an old oak and watch as shadows in the woodlands wake from ancient childhood dreams and move with the wind.
"Shadows in the Woodlands"
Written by John Kirnan and Louis Riel
Fingerstyle acoustic guitar – Louis Riel
Lead acoustic guitar – John Kirnan
To check out the fourth Lost Tracks song, right-click on this link and select Save Link As to download the mp3 file: Shadows in the Woodlands