It happened not once but twice – or was it three times?
“The Clearing”, initially released under the Crooked Forest moniker was officially digitally released on March 13th 2022 after being featured on the “Tape Deck” digital demo tape, but it wasn’t long after before it was pulled in solidarity with Neil Young’s campaign against the service due to their unwavering willingness to support disinformation promoted via Joe Rogan’s podcast (Remember? Seems like ages ago now).
But then it returned because as an indie, Crooked Forest (the band) – which was me, by the way, in case you’re new here, often feels like rush judgments like this make it more challenging to get heard among the mass of artists and maybe if they/I ever reach Neil Young or Joni Mitchell acclaim, they/I can revisit this idea.
But there was a problem with the return as well. At this point, I was well aware that there did exist another Crooked Forest in the music space. They didn’t seem to be active, with only 1 release to their name that came out in 2017 and none on popular streaming services, but there was always a thought in the back of my mind that one day they could return and perhaps they’d still want to use that name.
At this point I’d built this entire website and pushed my music under this title and had a running theme with the whole thing (the Sprout EP being another example of this), so it’d mean starting over in a lot of ways.
So I did. I introduced you to my other self, my new and yet somehow more former self, Neither Could Dylan and I went straight to work on that debut release (which will make its way to your ears on April 7th of this year).
And then I sort of just… stopped thinking about The Clearing. I’d promote it here and there and it was still available under its original release title and even on my Bandcamp page and I’d still perform the songs acoustically, but, I sort of felt like I’d left it behind.
I wasn’t sure what to do with it.
I thought about re-releasing it as a Neither Could Dylan release but, it’s a pretty different sound than the upcoming debut album and the general purpose of the record seemed too different in my own mind.
The Clearing was about facing things head on that I’d let fester in my mind for entirely too long in order to let go of them completely; I entered Neither Could Dylan with an entirely different headspace than I went into the Crooked Forest with.
The problem, I suppose, was that it’s impossible for someone like me to completely let go of things; to never think about them, to pretend they didn’t happen. They did and they will always have a reserved parking space somewhere in my own head.
And beyond that, I am entirely too proud of the album not to promote it. 14-year old me always thought great records had to be made in a professional studio with a team; a producer, an engineer, a mixer, and multiple players to fill in all those instruments – for “The Clearing” I wore every single hat and I did it in the comfort of my own home – and not for anything but if you ask me, it really holds up against those others records made in fancy L.A digs for thousands and thousands of dollars.
As much as I feel I’ve already grown from where I was when I put that record together, I still think it has some great songs and I’m excited to keep sharing them with you.
So I’ve given it a new home and this time with proper presentation.
“The Clearing” is now and will forever be available on all your favourite streaming services under my own name Jaimee Jakobczak. It’s already back on Spotify and if it’s not on your other services yet, it will be soon.
The digital release includes 3 bonus tracks including my acoustic cover of “Always Be” by Jimmy Eat World – I could think of no better song to end the album with and none of my own at the time seemed to wrap up the story as well as this song does.
It also includes an acoustic cut of “Champagne Birthday”, the song that started it all, and my extended alternate version of “If Not Now” which reminded me to trust my own instincts and keep the second bridge even if it makes the song a little long.
Limited copies of the 10-song record are currently being burned to disc (the original medium I really took to when I was diving deep into music) and will include a 12 page booklet that I designed of the lyrics which to me have always been the most important part of creating music – telling the story.
More info on when that’ll become available when it’s in my hands but in the mean time I hope you enjoy the digital release.
And so this officially closes the Crooked Forest (the band) chapter of this continuing saga which to me feels like a relief. I had invested a lot of time and energy into the original idea that started that project and this website and a lot has changed since, so it was a little challenging to finally make my way to this point but, it feels like the right thing to do.
Crooked Forest (the website) of course lives on to allow me a space to share all my different projects, music, poems and otherwise, but with a refocus on promoting other artists who like me are just trying to share something special to us.
As always, thanks for being here and for listening.