Singletrack: John Cicora of Nootka Sound

John Cicora
"Lines and Creases" from the album A Man and His Ego/Evelyn

After meeting my mother for dinner one night, I noticed for the first time ever that she was beginning to accumulate lines and creases in different corners of her face. The lines that stretched out from the part of her mouth where her lips met were beginning to deepen, become more intense, and define the bottom part of her face. When my mother smiles her eyes get smaller and her face crunches in, revealing the creases that shoot outward from the ends of her eyes and shape her cheeks. It was a moment in which I had to acknowledge—at least in the physical sense—that my mother was aging. A multitude of thoughts come with this realization: a life without her, the process of mourning her death, and, of course, positive thoughts such as acknowledging how incredibly healthy, beautiful and smart she is. These days it seems age is much harder to judge based on physical appearance, and my mother definitely contributes to that idea with an ageless beauty. "Lines and Creases" is my ode to her health and spirit, and the process of aging.

The hardest part about writing and arranging for a larger ensemble is deciding when to employ every instrument, which produces a huge sound, and when to value dynamics through the utilization of only a few instruments. The verse, bridge and outro sections of the song have eight to ten instruments layered, filling the entire canvas. The chorus however retains a much more simplistic accompaniment. This sparseness directs the focus of the listener to the vocals. The harmonies used are often derived from “suspended six-nine” as well as “major seven sharp eleven” chords. These two harmonies create a sense of intensity and dissonance, but lack enough of a consequential sound that the listener can decide whether this is a happy or sad song.

On this track:
John Cicora, guitar and vocals
Leslie Beukelman, vocals
Spencer Jenich, keys
Dave Agee, drums
Garrett Degnan, bass
Ryan Adamsons, trumpet
Alex Beltran, tenor sax
Sam Werk, percussion

Nootka Sound is an Indie Jazz/Pop band from Chicago, Illinois. The tunes are composed and arranged by John Cicora with additions and often corrections by the musicians.

Engineered by Wes Lambert. Mastered by Kevin Blackler. Recorded at Minbal studios, Chicago, IL

All music copyright 2012 by Cicora Music (ASCAP)

"Singletrack" is CAR's Artist Story for Chicago musicians in which songwriters and bands discuss a song and how it came to be alongside audio or video clips of the work. To submit your song for consideration, please email the music researcher.


Jessie Young Photography

Published by CAR_Editor on Fri, 03/29/2013 - 2:10pm