Friday, February 16, 2007

Cassadagas - North and South

Conor Oberst is coming out with a new Bright Eyes album April 10th, called Cassadaga. The new work is named after a Spiritualist community in Florida near where the album is recorded.

But the original Cassadaga is a tiny village of 700 adjacent to the tiny village where I grew up, and which is now buried beneath 10 feet of snow. It is a land of rolling hills and three beautiful glacial lakes, thickly forested right up to its banks. It looks much like it belongs to Canada's Laurentian shield, a couple hundred miles north. No wonder that it is home to many summer camps and fishing shacks, and now, thanks to the proliferation of snowmobiles, has become a year-round resort.

During the summer the area is also inundated with hundreds of mediums, psychics, seers and fortune tellers, tarot readers and astrologers. They flock to Lily Dale, perhaps the Spiritualist capital of the world, for the summer and to Cassadaga, Florida, for the winters. Not a bad life, I imagine.

Here's a video from his previous album, "Lua." Oberst is not only a great poet and musician, but is perhaps the first to bridge disparate genres of shoe-gazing folk and high lonesome country.

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