Emerald City

bark66: John Vanderslice / Emerald City

bark66 · CD / DIGITAL
Barsuk Records · July 2007

Time To Go
The Parade
White Dove
Tablespoon of Codeine
The Tower
The Minaret
Numbered Lithograph
Central Booking



John Vanderslice wrote the bulk of his new album while knee-deep in legal limbo after a visa application for his girlfriend, a French national he met in Paris, was rejected by US Immigration.

The songs and themes in Emerald City are fueled by an era of deep insecurity and paranoia; they develop in front of a backdrop of ritualized and mythologized current events. Lyrically, JV's characters and storytellers track Manifest Destiny from burning wagon wheels to two-bedroom homes with full amenities in Bakersfield, California. Along that rough road, there are bewildered commemorations, peace-lovers and revenge-lusters, psychotic reactions to unnamed episodes, and the grief-stricken and the vengeance-hungry wrapped up in the same skin. Weaving throughout the entire album is the ever present danger of opposition. But at its simplest, and captured with straight autobiography in album closer central booking, Emerald City is made up of JV's love songs — confused and angry, afraid and defeated. The red tape tie-up for JV and his girl remains unresolved.

Emerald city was tracked quickly, and mostly live at Tiny Telephone in San Francisco. The album was performed by David Broecker, Dave Douglas, Ian Bjornstad, Scott Solter, and JV. The record's title refers to the Green Zone in Baghdad.