Recording of the 5th Bloomistry album began on Wednesday, November 21, 2007, at The Underground in Hull, Quebec—three months after the previous album, All I Know Is the Skin of the Earth, was completed.
The working title of this record, The All American Five, provides a clue to the approach of these sessions. “The All American Five” refers to the tubes commonly found in US-made tube radios, and that’s what this album was intended to be: an American record, grounded in American sensibilities and sounds. Also, I was a gear junkie at this point, buying vintage amps on eBay. So I knew a lot about vacuum tubes.
Everything Bloomistry was tongue-in-cheek. So of course I opened my Americana album with a quintessentially British snippet from the Beatles 1965 Rubber Soul sessions. At the time The All American Five was being recorded, I was reading Mark Lewisohn’s The Complete Beatles Recording Sessions and listening to the four-track sessions of the Beatles early recordings. I really got into studio work in a big way. The intro to “Has Been Blues,” which I recorded on May 26, 2008, features a Scouse exchange between John Lennon and a recording engineer I lifted from the 4-track beds for the song “Run For your Life” (“Okay boys?” “Okay Johnny!”). The reference pays tribute to the album that came out the week I was born—also, coincidentally the album that made me want to record music.
The previous album, All I Know Is the Skin of the Earth, was recorded over a weekend. At The End Of A Difficult Day, as it finally came to be known, was finished in 10 months, on September 21, 2008. On that day, tuba and piano overdubs were added to the track “Diane,” and the album was mixed by Dave Draves two months later, at Little Bullhorn, on November 21 and December 2, 2008.
Beginning with the album At The End Of A Difficult Day, Bloomistry recording sessions tended to be chaotic, multi-tasking affairs. Several parallel records were conceived and in the works during this period, including two recorded but unreleased EPs—one called Yes! and a second with Ottawa musician and friend Flecton Big Sky, recorded on December 14, 2007. This would be even more the case with the next album, To Be.
Despite the chaos, At The End Of A Difficult Day is, I think, one of the most cohesive and focused Bloomistry albums. It would also feature, as its closing track, the song I consider my best. I remember listening to the mix of River Wide Road for the first time and being blown away by what Dave did with it. I also really like the lyrics. They’re playful, ironic, and clever—but also a fundamentally sad reflection on the reality of disappointment:
You know, the poets had it right:
They left it to their verses,
And either filled their beds at night
Or filled their lead with curses.
I guess there’s many ways to cope with bitter sorrow,
And when you’ve had enough of hope
There’s always hoping for tomorrow.
1. Has-Been Blues
2. I Guess I’ll Need A Miracle
3. You’re So Lyrical
4. Over The Moon
5. Near You
6. Symphony For The Street
7. Ragged Doll
8. My Meija
10. The Majesty
11. Sunday Afternoon
12. River Wide Road