This album is about water in California.
At first glance, you might conclude that this particular topic is not quite the sexiest subject matter for an album of modern music. And, perhaps you would be right. But, nonetheless, the story of water in California reflects much of what is great and horrible about human nature: ambition, avarice, desperation, deception, passion, power, service, servitude, etc. In our view, these are all fine subjects worthy of closer inspection under the musical magnifying glass.
Water is to California what morphine is to a junkie. Without water, one dies; with water, any dream is possible. The so-called California Water Wars have shaped cities, transformed deserts, fed the hungry, made millionaires, and left others coughing and homeless in the dust. The political and pecuniary dominance offered by legal control over water rights has magnetically seduced robber barons, land grabbers, eager beaver dam builders, pickpocket politicos, and their progeny for over a century. Yet, the irresistible force of water unleashed through rainfall, flooding, and mud flows can crush our feeble homes and infrastructure like an elephant dancing on matchsticks.
We imagine an otherworldly convocation of the ghosts of those who have altered the flow of water in the Southwest. We imagine the spirits of the architects of the mother ditch (Zanja Madre) which conveyed water to the early settlement of Los Angeles. We imagine the power seekers who sought to divert water from its natural place for their own not-so-natural purposes. We imagine people like William Mulholland, Frederick Eaton, Harrison Gray Otis, and Henry E. Huntington. What would they say, looking down upon us from the shadows of the afterlife, about the current state of affairs here in the mortal world? Has anything really changed? Have we learned anything at all? What form of madness hath their toils and labors wrought?
Water Hammer represents our humble stab at answering those questions.
These songs are based on real people and actual events, though we occasionally embellish under the guise of artistic license.
To your health ...
Wishnefsky - composition, recording, production, electric guitars, acoustic guitars, bass guitars, synths, keyboards, samples, programming, lead and backing vocals
R. Matthew Carroll - production, backing vocals, bass guitar (live), and visuals/videos (live and elsewhere)
David Rodgers - drums (live)
Michael James - electric guitar on 3, mixing, and production
Mary Ann Pelino - backing vocals on 3, 4, 11,13, 14, 16, and 17
Ruby Wellen - graphics and design assistance
Recorded in 2015/2016 at Swamp Pig Studios and the Bat Cave.
Thanks to Pat Nahin; Michael James; Mary Ann Pelino; Ruby Wellen; Sophie Wellen; Alan Rosenbach; Todd Feinman; David Michaelson; and the many characters, living and dead, whose efforts have shaped the story of water in California for better or for worse.
Who is the Irrational Man?
Depends on who you ask.
©2016 by Wishnefsky
LOST DOG Records