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The Impact of "Northern Lights"

Originally created based on an assignment, “Northern Lights” was written in 1988 as a tribute to the Dene Indian tribes located in Alaska. A book I read that discussed the tribe’s experiences helped me curate the lyrics for this record. My father was filming an episode of “The Fishin’ Hole” that would feature this tribe, so my goal was to compose a track that would be used in that episode. In researching for and writing this song I felt connected to their experiences of protecting their land because it reminded me of the hardships I had to withstand pursuing a life in the music industry. I enjoyed the track so much, I produced a version with my voice which was not the original voice of the track used in the broadcast.

“The challenge here I wonder would behold my human rights”. This lyric was created to highlight the experience of those who have challenges where they feel what is rightfully theirs is being taken away, like the tribe who was fighting having their land stolen. “We sing for good luck and health, sing songs for our fun”. In heartwarming way the imagery used for the show the tribe can be seen dancing and having fun. The lyrics don’t just speak to their hardships but their ability to remain spirited. “North Lights” has become the theme for my life and is my favorite of all the songs I have written.

In 2022 while working at Warren Studio in Santa Barbara the initial steps for recreating “Northern Lights” began. I had recorded multiple guitar tracks in this studio including a first recut of “Northern Lights”. I felt that I had the right elements to do another version of the song with the new talented musicians I had met. I realized that I wanted my sound to be driven by acoustic instruments, sound, and feeling. The group, which would become my Soul Stingers team, really had the power to create this sound. The musicians I found to help bring this should to life included  Michael Rosen on harmonica , Bill Flores on dobro, Jeff Gross on udu, Gary Wick on upright bass and Austin Beede on brush drums. This cover of the song I wrote to commemorate the life of the Dene Indian tribe would now be recut as the inaugural song for the sound I wanted for Soul Stingers.

“The living things around me teach me as I look” I learned so much from this song in the original recording from 1988 and the recut version by Soul Stingers in 2022. I related to the struggles of the tribe who were the inspiration for the lyrics to this song and it has now become my favorite because it speaks to the theme for my life.

Stream the 2022 Recut of Northern Lights on youtube or on site or on Spotify


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