the big dismal

by Tangemeenie

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about

There's no good reason for me to release this album anymore, but I'm releasing it anyway to try to raise money.

This album began life partly as an attempt to express gratitude to my family for having "been there" for me during the worst of my own struggles with depression and anxiety during an extended period of personal tragedy that started over a decade ago, when my mom died of cancer, my wife Lori and I suffered a painful late pregnancy loss together, our former band broke up, and financial stress and countless other personal setbacks, frustrations, and disappointments seemed to come our way. The process of making the album also served self-therapeutic purposes for me as I worked on rehabilitating myself after carelessly developing an addiction to a legal substance in a misguided attempt at self-medicating my anxiety.

I expected and hoped my wife Lori and I might grow closer again and start healing some of the deeper wounds carelessness, time, and misfortune had made on our relationship through the process of making another album together. We had started our marriage recording and performing music together, and I had hoped making more room for creative expression in our lives would be good for all of us. But Lori left me only a couple of months after work on the album was wrapping up, so clinging to that idea hasn't worked out so well for me. There's a lot more I could say about other extenuating circumstances in my personal life that pushed me to such a desperate place, emotionally, that I became for a time almost obsessed with making this album, but in the end, that's all irrelevant now.

Lori and I have been trying to work out a plan to divorce ever since but our shared financial obligations make it hard to find a clear path to that resolution that doesn't leave one or both of us in a potentially very financially precarious position going into our retirement years. We've got two kids, too, and they have some special needs we aren't always able to address as well as we'd like due to our financial circumstances. It's been hard on me because I still love Lori and don't believe a divorce is the right call or in any of our best interests in this particular case. But that's not my decision to make, so I'm not fighting the divorce.

I'm between paying projects at the moment, looking for work that provides additional flexibility for me to manage the larger child care responsibilities our shared custody arrangement demands, and running out of money to cover basic living expenses, much less to finance a divorce. So even though I can barely stand listening to it anymore, here's the last album Lori and I made together before our family fell apart. It's called "The Big Dismal."

It was supposed to be a concept album in two-parts with a turning point in the middle: the first half reflects on the self-defeating thoughts and behaviors that characterize depressive disorders, the turning point (when the album's imaginary protagonist attempts suicide in a local swimming spot but has a change of heart after being moved by the natural beauty of the scene) provides an instrumental transition into the second half, which focuses on happier themes and includes a cameo vocal performance by my son Ander in what was meant to be an allusion to the shared sense of security, solidarity, and mutual care I believed I had finally found in taking shelter (in the Buddhist sense) in my family life.

Even apart from my more personal feelings and disappointment over how the project turned out, "The Big Dismal" seems like a big, over-produced, and crowded mess to me now. Not even Lori's soaring, naturally beautiful voice is enough to cover how weak some of my vocals are. The process of recording all the samples and arranging them was fun and exciting at times and helped me to put my mind back together. But as a whole, the album never really came together into anything like what I'd hoped it could be. Either way, like the man says, "If you try the best you can, the best you can is good enough." Here's to that spirit of generosity and compassion, for whatever it's worth.

credits

released February 26, 2016

Steven "Steev" Taylor - Vocals, Keys, Guitars, Beats, Effects, Etc.
Lori G. Taylor - Vocals, Constructive Criticism

All lyrics by Steven Taylor

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Tangemeenie Tallahassee, Florida

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