There is nothing more big tent
than Rock Music. Beneath this overarching rubric, a multitude of styles
jostle (some not so amiably). But I think we can agree on the fact of
wealth in abundance under this big tent.
In the beginning came that breakout
blast of energy (Great Balls of Fire indeed), and then the story of
a widening cosmos of varying forms, evolving and reacting and interacting.
But you know it's Rock, no matter how sideways from the source it has
slid, when you get, somewhere within it, the feel of The Beat, that
bop of primal motion.
Though the nature of Rock is to perpetually
renew itself (often, mythically enough, by seeking to destroy the old
gods in pursuit of new modes of expression) we nonetheless have real
history, real ages of the music, which amount to both great solid shoulders
upon which to stand and play, and a glorious tradition to wander through
at our pleasure and draw inspiration from.
We are now in a kind of post-everything
period. It's almost hodge-podge. Anything, done well, could work, presumablyhave
an audience, evade the deathray of being typed uncool. But this
seems to make having the handle of a category all the more imperative.
We desperately need a way to differentiate what tumbles so plentifully
out of this cornucopia. And however superficial commercial pigeonholing
may be, styles really do represent distinctive energy zones. Genre-casting
is not necessarily a bad thing. There are very good artists/groups who
go for a single rich vein, and mine it pretty much exclusively.
But let's set that class of single-style achievers on
one side and look at the rest of the field. Is it not clear that the
standout artists/groups here tend to be magnificently diverse? No matter
how identifiable the sound may be, the songs themselves are quite separate
things, one from the other, and take us to very different places. They
demonstrate real range in their songwriting, a familiarity with all
kinds of ways a song can be, and take its grip on the listener.
Creativity recognizes other creativity and reaches outit
has to. And the more wide-ranging the creativity, the more the product
of an open ear roving the vast musical landscape it is bound to be.
Originality is perhaps less about origination than transformation and
So we come circuitously to The Wellworkers Guild. Think
of The Wellworkers Guild as a child of the Rock Era, running delightedly
about the endless garden. Think of it as a variegated creative impulse
that is at once original and referential. This impulse may rely on that
late 60's expansiveness, the new frontier exploring, and it surely displays
a taste for 70's complexity as well. But the Guild Ear has heard everythingthe
entire span of rock-infused decadesand has taken from that an
aspiration to be timeless.
So, what is this well that is
being worked? First we answer with another question
can it be that the mere ordering of sound by pitch and rhythm causes
it to reach right in and grab us by the soul? Make us jump up and dance
in sheer elation? Strike our hearts with the most exquisite melancholy?
You could wax metaphysical about this but in plain English, we're onto
something deep here. And that's where the idea of the well comes intapping
into that wondrous, inexplicable resource, and working it, drawing it
forth and making it available. For such an undertaking one must possess
the necessary devotion, and have mastered certain arcane techniques,
and be willing to embrace the necessary labor, and play well with peershence
The Wellworkers Guild is the brainchild
of Peter Kim-Fredell, a participant of long standing in the ever more
crowded and democratized" arena of music-making. He is perhaps
best known for being the founder of the group Stone
Soup, an acoustic quasi-trad band whose (to date) single release
reflects a rare extremity of eclecticism, one that might be unmatched
on the planet. Whereas Stone Soup grew out of a later-developed love
of folk and world music, and looks for originality through innovative
renditions of existing material, The Wellworkers Guild is rooted in
a life contemporaneous with the age of Rock, and is all about all-original
Peter first started performing his own
songs in his high school band The Primitives
(a band-name good enough to be taken up elsewhere a while later) and
has written continuously (if a bit sporadically) ever since. A couple
of the songs on CALL IT HOME were previously performed, albeit in a
different manner, by the erstwhile rock band Uncle Thump (of which,
unfortunately, no picture is at hand) but never released on record.
While those who knew it may regret the demise of that short-lived enterprise,
this turn of events did leave him to take matters into his own hands
and start down the path that has led to The Wellworkers Guild.
The Wellworkers Guild reflects a certain kind of artistic
coming home, because it's most natural for Peter to operate like a composer,
coming from what you might call a big picture approach. While everything
may start out straightforwardly as a song (in the way that any songwriter
might work), the act of recording becomes a compositional field where
the goal is for the arrangement (the accompanying ensemble elements
together with the structural development) to come together so as to
fully unfold the blossom of the song from its original bud. This is
hardly a unique aspiration among all the good music that has come into
the world, but it is what The Wellworkers Guild seeks to do.
John Bagale, an experienced and widely adept musician
with whom Peter has worked for a numbr of years, has played the drumkit
on the new release, and that term is definitely intentional. He addresses
the drums as a single instrument. Though his role on Call It Home is
as the Keeper of the Sacred Beat, John plays a lot of piano, flute-type
wind instruments, and is pretty much of a jazz theory heavy. He trails
a long and varied history of musical accomplishment behind him.
A second project is on the drawing board for The Wellworkers
Guild, likely using a bigger Guild roster. Look for it
in its own