Less than a year after our founding, Sustain’s first Songscape song is officially released! You can now purchase ‘KTAADN’, by folk-rock band Parsonsfield, at their website HERE.
KTAADN is the product of Songscape: Katahdin Woods & Waters Recreation Area. Songscapes are Sustain’s songwriting retreats, where we partner bands with public land organizations. Through the hospitality of host land groups, we send bands out for a few days of immersion in protected landscapes. The musicians use this time to write a song inspired by their experiences and their environment. This song is then donated to the host land group, and used to inspire and encourage audiences to value these landscapes.
In our first Songscape project, we partnered folk-rock band Parsonsfield, with Katahdin Woods & Waters Recreation Area in Maine. Parsonsfield, formed in Connecticut in 2010, has played their rowdy Americana folk music across the USA and throughout Canada. David Vescey, from The New York Times writes, “They harmonize; they play saws, mandolins and pump organs; they back their songs with crickets and squeaking screen doors; they are boisterously youthful yet deftly sentimental...”. Theirs is a sound that has its roots in Maine as well. The name, Parsonsfield, comes from the rural town in southwest Maine where they recorded their first album. Those crickets and squeaking screen doors were courtesy of the old farmhouse recording studio there, called Great North Sound Society. Parsonsfield was very excited to pilot the Songscape program, and spend a week in Maine exploring Katahdin Woods & Waters Recreation Area (KWWRA).
Located in the shadows of Mount Katahdin, Maine’s highest and most storied peak, Katahdin Woods & Waters Recreation Area offers a sneak peak of land that one day could become a new national park and national recreation area. The land, bordered on the west by Baxter State Park and with the amazing East Branch of the Penobscot River running through its heart, includes unparalleled opportunities for traditional outdoor recreation and an opportunity to see firsthand the woods and waters that have helped to define the state. It is KWWRA’s hope that the Katahdin region, and KWWRA specifically, will gain public support to become America’s next national park and recreation area. This unique and beautiful landscape has such a rich history and ecology, and it deserves to be shared with the nation.
For our Songscape: Katahdin Woods and Waters Recreation Area project, Parsonsfield spent a week at KWWRA, at off-the-grid Lunksoos Camps on the banks of the East Brach of the Penobscot River. The first night, local KWWRA supporters welcomed Parsonsfield with a feast and bonfire- a friendly welcome that set the tone for the rest of the retreat. The band hiked Barnard Mountain and saw the Katahdin landscape cloaked in fiery autumn foliage. They went looking (and calling!) for moose. They saw glowing sunsets, and canoed in the same waters that Henry David Thoreau paddled. Parsonsfield had a wealth of experiences and beauty to draw from while writing and composing their Songscape song, KTAADN.
On the band’s final day at KWWRA, we filmed a music video of KTAADN, with the whole band playing in a canoe. This video will be available on Sustain's Youtube channel next week. Parsonsfield has also been performing the song on dry land, at shows across the northeast.
After the retreat, Sustain arranged for Parsonsfield to record their Songscape song at Dirt Floor, a recording studio in Haddam, CT. Dirt Floor, run by Eric Lichter, is one of the original members of Sustain's Green Roster program. Green Roster is a community of bands, luthiers and recording studios which pledge to uphold environmental practices in their businesses. Dirt Floor has been a great supporter of Sustain and generously donated a free recording session for this project. Another Green Roster band member, Greg Dyson of Hanging Hills, donated his graphic arts skills in designing the KTAADN album cover. Sustain is very grateful for everyone's support.
All of this work has culminated in today's release of KTAADN. Parsonsfield has donated the song to Katahdin Woods & Waters Recreation Area to use in their marketing materials, and has made the song available to anyone who would like to purchase it on their website. The proceeds of the song sales will help support Sustain, KWWRA and the band, so we can continue to bring you great music, a great landscape, and future Songscape projects.
Sustain would like to especially thank the following people for supporting Songscape: Katahdin Woods & Waters Recreation Area and taking a chance on our new organization and our pilot project. Lucas St. Clair (president of Elliotsville Plantation, which founded KWWRA), Susan and Mark Adams (KWWRA Ambassadors & Hosts), Simon Roosevelt, the members of Parsonsfield (Antonio Alcorn, Chris Freeman, Harrison Goodale, Erik Hischman and Max Shakun), Eric Lichter, Greg Dyson, and the Board of Sustain Music and Nature (Ricky Hernandez, Maggie Comstock, Nicole Reese, Aubrey Gallegos, Harrison Goodale and Betsy Mortensen).