Kasuga is the name of a city in Japan. I have never been there, though I bet it's nice and tidy. Maybe it's situated on a calm body of water, with no litter on the boardwalk, but oddly no waste receptacles either. I know the name of this city because it is written in fading gold paint on the headstock of the acoustic guitar my parents bought at a yard sale when I was six years old. Apart from the old piano in the basement that I would noodle on after church, impersonating the organist, this was my first instrument.
I'm not very sentimental, but I refuse to part with this guitar. Its body is as familiar to me as my own, if not more, since mine keeps changing all the time. I've grown to be twice the size since we met, but it's stayed relatively the same since the mid-70s, way before I was even an accidental sparkle in someone's cocktail reflection. My playing skills are limited, so in spite of the warped neck, the spring-loaded bridge ready to snap off at any moment, the worn-down frets, and the rusty tuners, this thing is my best shot at sounding somewhat close to a real musician. I've learned that this is very important for my ego, so I keep the guitar.
There are six songs on the record I have named after the instrument named after the city in Japan that I've never been to. Really though, there are only four. Susa and Susa Valley Ramble are always played in succession, I just couldn't decide which name to use—how do you name twins? Rosmarin is my favourite—we dance like old lovers. Tuning is me, tuning. It could be called art, if that's the sort of thing you're into. Catharine is the oldest, probably seven or eight years now. It makes me think about grey winter highway slush and southern Ontario and depression and my sister. Pirogue feels like jumping off a dock into a river. Its name was taken from a line in a Hank Williams song about Louisiana. I've never been there either.
I like to play these songs sitting cross legged on the floor, or lying down on the couch, or hunched over the edge of my bed. They always sound different, changing by the day, and I don't seem to have a say in the matter. They live inside my guitar, and once and awhile I bring them out to have a conversation. Sometimes they want to change their names, but I've been pretty stubborn about that. Mostly we get along. I'll continue visiting them until one of us turns into dust, which could happen any day now, though I can't say to whom first.
released October 9, 2019
Recorded in Montréal, 2019.
Moment Bienheureux MB010