Rambling Bran: Approaching the End…and a New Beginning

Work on my Four Branches album is coming to an end very soon. As soon as the artwork is in my sweaty, anxious hands, the physical album will shortly fall into place: it will soon be time to finalize the thing.

Reflecting on the album and its genesis, I am amazed. Four Branches unknowingly began production in 2013 when I wrote the first song (a very rough–and very different–version of Face Changer that I had entitled Pwyll Pen Annwfn). And just five months ago, I put my foot down and decided that, beginning in February, I would attempt such a feat.

Now, just a few short months later, I’m putting the final touches on an album. The very idea blows me away. I never set out with the intention of creating an album. But here I am.

I’ve always loved the act of creating art of all forms. Ever since I was nine years old, I knew without a shadow of a doubt that I wanted to write stories. I wrote hundreds and thousands of pages, probably millions of words, and I still write to this day. But more often than not my writing has been focused in song instead of narrative. And that’s completely okay with me.

I never set out on a creative pursuit with the intentions of creating for others. I sit down at the computer with an empty Word document, or sit down with my guitar in my hand not thinking What do people like, but What do I want?

Some of the stuff I create I’m scared to share with others. For example, for the last eight years I’ve written a series of bizarro fiction novels that I only let three other people read. I think who in the world would want to read this? It’s nuts. But I cherish the nuttiness, like a fine piece of chocolate.

And for the longest time, I was the same with my music. I was “raised” in my musical ways by my brother, and in front of a recording microphone, alone in a room. I could instantly hear myself, and I thought it sounded ridiculous. But I loved (and still do love) making music, telling stories with song, conveying some strange ideas through lyrics and melodies.

I don’t profess to be good at what I do, only that I’m good at having fun doing it. When I decided I would make a public album–and one based off of Welsh myths, no less–the idea terrified me. Aside from a small community of online amateur songwriters and a few close friends and family members, I never told anyone about my music.

So when I came out of the guitar closet, I took baby steps, unsteady and cautious. It was almost as if I was afraid of what others would think, what others would say. But you know what? At the end of the day, none of that matters. You do what you do because you love it. It’s taken a while for me to realize this, and it’s still sinking in rather slowly, but hey, baby steps.

So Four Branches is coming to a close, the creative process involved is winding down, and soon I will reveal it to anyone who might be willing to hear it for a second. But it’s not an end.

When I began pondering the idea of creating an album, I juggled with the idea for almost a year. I have so many ideas in my head that sometimes it’s hard to know which one I was set on creating first. I have many ideas for albums, and for a while the idea of Four Branches sat in a limbo state.

Four Branches won the first round, and that’s one less idea to juggle. Now I’m stuck performing a Mill’s Mess, with three (oh gods, don’t throw me another ball!) ideas spinning and jumping about in my arms. And I know soon I’ll have to change the strings on my guitar and start again. Many an album beg for creation, and I must abide the pleas. And soon.

So yes, Four Branches is coming to an end, creatively speaking. But there are already so many more songs coming, bursting at the seams really. And I cannot wait to create more.

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