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The story of

housebroken

a tale of mistakes and missteps, heartbreak and healing

 

This record is about the systematic dismantling of a carefully built town with false fronts, one board at a time. It’s about the loss of innocence and the pursuit of true love. It’s about the decision to inflict real pain on the most innocent ones, the ones closest to the heart, flesh of our flesh. It’s about a visceral love and the struggle for true identity, about understanding that one cannot live but in their own skin and that pain begets rebirth.

 

Let me tell you a little about myself. I am classically trained double bass player. I was married at the tender age of 24 to a brilliant and kind man I met at music school . My husband and I became the parents of three beautiful boys and taught piano and music theory lessons out of our living room. We shared a love of culture, a passion for wine and food (in that order), and obviously, music.

 

The next bit, although unpleasant, is far more common than most of us realize. Overwhelmed by my responsibilities as a young mother of three babies, I succumbed to the hormone crash after the birth of our third son and sank into a deep postpartum depression with hallucinogenic breaks that landed me in the psych ward. During the slow recovery fissures opened in my relationships and no matter how much caulking we applied, they still bled through.

 

In an attempt to manage the insomnia, headaches, nausea and hallucinations, I began to write, first stories, and then songs. To my great surprise the songs were well received by friends in the pop-ier side of the business. One who was a film composer offered to produce a few and this became my first EP, Time In Between. Weirdly and wonderfully, it generated buzz and I was intrigued that something I created had stumbled into a connection. I had found my way out, my way back to myself.

 

How does a mother of three make records, play shows until 3 in the morning, tour? Only with a lot of support. Inspired by my new-found fulfillment, my musician husband worked his ass off at home and on the stage, and we financed the next record with a line of credit against our house. That record (Time Is How You Spend Your Love) came out in October 2010. Like a couple of salmon swimming madly upstream we threw ourselves into the project, doing everything we could to avoid acknowledging that our relationship had likely run its course.

 

There was an avalanche-laden tour through the Rockies in January where, despite all of our musical and parental efforts, the poor hired drummer in our little trio witnessed the death throes of a long marriage. By May we were done. After the split, I had no money, no time and no band. I stopped performing because I had no nerve. I felt old and self-conscious. I felt silly pursuing teenage dreams. And besides, after wrangling three boys, teaching thirty private students a week, looking after an old house by myself, feeding everyone, cleaning and doing ALL the laundry, I was too exhausted to move, let alone shake. I could, however, write. I needed to write. I needed to somehow transform these awful feelings of terrible guilt, crushing anxiety, the deep disappointment of my parents and extended family, the hurt that I had caused everyone – I needed to put it somewhere.

 

An astute psychiatrist once said to me (during the darkest days) that a mother lion hunts for food, and after a kill, she always eats before her young. Because if mama doesn’t get what she needs, she can’t keep hunting, and they will all die.

 

Housebroken is a record (in the truest sense) of the end of my marriage – the before, the during and the after. Although time has healed and soothed, to make this album I had to return to that pain-filled place and relive the moments that became the songs. I had to replay the movie in my mind of the day we told the children: the awful howls from our 11 and 8 year old boys, “No, no, please, please, no, mummy, no!” sobbing, prostrate in our arms. And our bewildered six-year-old, not comprehending but carried along the wave of grief like women who wail for strangers’ deaths at the sound of others’ desperate loss. I had to go back to the hunted, haunted look on the face of my husband; his glacial acceptance, that despite our best efforts, trying so hard for so long, there was no way to reconcile our happiness.

 

It is also a record of the beautiful times we shared, the exquisite lives that we made: three incredible boys who are becoming three soulful, inquisitive and gentle men.

 

In the years it took for this album to be born, there were many times I thought about giving up. But somehow, despite all the crazy odds, it has crystallized into something precious and profound. And maybe, just maybe, someone like you will hear it and it will set a string vibrating in your heart that says: I am not alone - this desperation I feel will end and from it will come something beautiful and strong and true.

 

You are not alone. We are listening to you. Find a small tear, a small hole - and go into the light.

 

pj