From the upcoming album “Canyons to Sawdust”.
Animated by Qianwen Yu.
About the track: “The Lake” began in an email poem with the subject “Hello new email freestyle” to my then girlfriend who I was in a long distance relationship with. It was when I first registered the bryanaway.com domain, and I wanted to show off my new email. Somehow in about 30 minutes I ended up writing most of the lyrics for what would eventually become The Lake. I was open with her about feeling like I was not experiencing the full breadth of human emotion, something I’ve yearned for and which forms the theme of the song. Repeatedly I echo this desire/longing and use nature imagery and the water cycle to describe its scale and my thirst. I ended my poem to her “it will be love, and you will be the lake”, imagining all other emotions will be born out of love, and that she will be this infinite reservoir flooding my world.
The music came some time later. I was learning piano and playing pretty often at the Old Town School in Chicago (playing a real piano felt so much better than my Casio keyboard, so it was always worth the trip). One thing I enjoyed was improvising left-hand and right-hand patterns that were in different time signatures. It’s one of those rub your belly pat your head kind of physical challenges that also produces interesting things musically. I remember playing the piano part for the first verse and chorus in one sitting. I hadn’t thought about the poem for awhile, but when I started singing it came back to me. I immediately went back home to record and start arranging strings, it wasn’t too long before the rest of the song fell into place.