Many of you may have already connected this song to the iconic painting by Van Gogh, Wheatfield with Crows, though that painting alone is not what inspired this song.  I was actually  thinking of Akira Kurosawa’s movie, Dreams, in which one of the “dreams” is a sketch where a young artist attempts to access the mind of Van Gogh while viewing the artist’s paintings in a museum.  At the end of the “dream”, Van Gogh walks up the road in a wheatfield, with crows flying to each side, and although music for that particular sketch is Chopin’s Prelude No. 15 in Db Major (Raindrop), the sketch ends with the call of crows as Van Gogh, played by Martin Scorsese, disappears over the horizon. Of course, Van Gogh’s Self-Portrait is an entirely different painting, and the placement of Van Gogh in the painting is purely a fabrication of Kurosawa’s imagination.  It is that moment, and the difference between the painting and the movie, that truly interests me.  Though I do have some personal affinity with the lyrics in that “I am not now or have I ever been cool,”, (Quote Attribution: Philip Seymour Hoffman in Almost Famous), this song is not really about me.  The genius I speak of is that of Van Gogh and others like him. Of all the songs on this EP, Crows is the most carefree in mood and nature...“You go your own way in spite of the others.”  The “La La Las” move in unison with the whistle and do much to say that the artist in question is content with all things before him, and the strange crows are his companions, his muse. Their flight, their voice, their darkness in contrast to the light, their mythological and literary connection to the human soul all compel the artist. In my view, the creative cloak is the artist’s power, and because of that I wanted to use a reference to some type of cloak.  I chose to use “a coat of many colors” because Joseph in Genesis was gifted a colorful coat by his father. The use of the concept was a nod not only to the color used by an artist but to Van Gogh’s gifted, favored, and beautiful state of being, though I do acknowledge here that he was also a tortured soul.  The lead vocal tells the story, but it is with the backing vocals that an otherworldliness is created for the strange crows to populate.  In the center lead solo, the whistle is freely moving and “calling out to a companion” which of course is the lead guitar.    

 

 

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