One River is an image of our interconnectedness across space and time. Our ancestors flowed into us, and life will continue the motion beyond our days on the planet. “Spirit is the river, and body the boat.”
With a name taken from noted anthropologist Wade Davis’ book, One River was founded by Michael Quattrone as a musical outgrowth of his work with Hearthfire, a non-profit retreat center founded with his wife, ritual theatre artist, Kala Iversen, in Tarrytown, New York. Hearthfire encourages the myth-making potential of creative spirits by offering rituals and retreats to a diverse community of artists, leaders, and seekers. “Magic happens when we gather in a circle to mark life’s passages with song,” says Michael. “And sometimes you invite a record producer, who brings a magic of his own.”
The eponymous, debut album includes ten original songs by Michael. It was produced by Hugh Christopher Brown and Michael Quattrone for Chris’s independent, artist-driven label, Wolfe Island Records. The idea for the record emerged after Michael invited the Canadian producer and multi-instrumentalist to collaborate on music for a retreat, and join a men’s group, at Hearthfire.
The two-and-a-half year recording process that followed straddled the US/Canada border, the 2016 national election, and the Atlantic Ocean. Hugh Christopher says, “The first time I heard Michael's voice, I was knocked out. Having benefited from his talents in spiritual and social practice, his songwriting feels to me like plaintive, literal extensions of his soul. It has been a trip translating it all to tape.
”Contributing to the album are longtime friends of Hearthfire and its intersecting communities, including Kala Iversen and Ashley Wood of Hearthfire; Jack Algiere of the Stone Barns Center for Food and Agriculture; Joseph Jastrab of the Hero’s Journey Foundation, and author of Sacred Manhood, Sacred Earth; as well as veteran musicians: Tony Scherr (Bill Frisell, Norah Jones, Kate Fenner), Gregor Beresford (Steven Stanley Band), Hugh Christopher Brown (Bourbon Tabernacle Choir, Pros and Cons project). Other notable appearances include Jane Scarpantoni (Lou Reed, Patti Smith), Rocky Roberts(singer-songwriter, guitar tech for Neil Young), and Michael Blake (Lounge Lizards, Ray Lamontagne).
2 The record is ripe for release at this moment of cultural, socio-economic, and ecological upheaval, which demands the fullest presence of all of us to the outer- and inner-transformations underway.
The intentional music of One River is clothed in intentional artwork. The inside jacket features a reprint of the poem, “Prayer for the Great Family,” by Beat poet and Buddhist, Gary Snyder. The front and back cover images are recent photographs by London-based, aerial landscape photographer, Timo Lieber, from his series, THAW. THAW is a collaboration between art and science to highlight, in beauty, the devastating reality of climate change. The cover, which depicts a blue lake of glacial meltwater on the icy, white surface of Greenland, bears a striking resemblance to a crying eye, as if the planet itself is weeping.
That concept of thawing extends beyond the album’s visual presence, to its thematic and lyrical content. Water images flow through the songs. It is a record of goodbyes and homecomings (“longing and belonging”), that celebrates the “gift of tears,” and encourages the softening and opening of the heart in joy, grief, and devotion. “Everything that flows, is true”
Michael's twenty-five-year practice of singing and writing songs has been a crucible for personal discovery and evolution.
One River - Son Sun Moon Son
Viewed 204 times