John Ray, canoe on the lakeTidal Motion is a tune I wrote while sitting in a canoe alone in the ocean, not catching fish and being rocked by the wind and waves, drinking beer and playing on my little beat-up travel guitar. I shelved the tune for a year or so, because I thought it would be too hard for any groups that I played with to do. Then I started jamming with Matt Sickels and Jonathan Greene, and they jumped at the challenge. It has been an honor to work with such professional, talented and motivated musicians on this. Katie Kron painted me a beautiful watercolor to use as the album art, which is crazy because I gave her no direction at all and she painted exactly what I envisioned for this. When you purchase this tune from my site, you will also be able to download the painting as an HD background for your mobile device!

Jonathan and I put together this video of the recording. I tracked a demo version of the tune and emailed it to the other guys who tracked their parts and sent it back. We rehearsed it a few times to get ideas and nail down a form, but the whole recording was done individually!

Matt said it would be a good idea to tell the story of how I wrote this tune. There is a reason it’s called Tidal Motion; I came up with the original groove sitting in my canoe out in the ocean, barely in sight of any land.

I had played a gig somewhere on the outer banks of NC the night before, and knowing I would be off work the next day threw my canoe on top of the car, packed a cooler full of beer, frozen shrimp and granola bars, and grabbed my travel guitar and a fishing rod. This is one of the reasons I love my job so much- I get to do these things on a regular basis! I could already fill up a book with stories of these trips, but this one was pretty uneventful. Except that I don’t think I caught a single fish (beside the point) and ended up just sitting in my boat being rocked by the waves and picking on this little guitar. This rhythm just came to my head, and I wrote the first few sections of this tune as I sat and drank beer. It wasn’t until I got home and played the riff again that I realized it was in 15/16 time and modulated time signatures frequently. It all flows well though, at least in my head. Translating that to other people is a challenge, though, and the chart took me a while to write!

I hope you enjoy this tune as much as I have enjoyed the whole process of writing, rehearsing, recording, mixing and producing this!



Tidal Motion is dedicated to Dean Najouks, the Lower Potomac Riverkeeper, Will Scott, the Yadkin Riverkeeper, and all of the other environmental advocates that defend our planet’s water. You can support Potomac Riverkeeper here and Yadkin Riverkeeper here