Post by Jordan Lowe
If you’re on City Fruit’s blog, that means you and I share a deep appreciation for the bounty of the Pacific Northwest -- seemingly endless varieties of delicious, nourishing fruit growing in our literal backyards, on our streets, and in the parks of our beautiful city. Just as Seattle is a city of neighborhoods, it is a city of myriad music communities. Artists are everywhere and sometimes it’s hard to keep track of all the interesting, meaningful music being made and played every day. The purpose of this blog, Songs About Fruit, is to introduce you, readers, to artists in the Seattle area who share a passion for fruit. Each post will feature a musician who has a song about some type of fruit, and we’ll explore their connections to it. My hope is that, through this blog, you’ll get to know some of the talented artists who live among us, acquire some new tunes to play around the house, and maybe even go check out a show sometime.
Hope you enjoy!
Free-stone or cling, yellow or white, big and round or small and flat... peach season in Washington is something to drip all over your hands and down your arms about. While I thought most of our peaches come from across the Cascades, I was pleasantly surprised and delighted to eat a couple of delicious, Peninsula-grown peaches in Port Townsend recently. They make a delicious snack, creative grill fodder, or a fun homemade BBQ sauce addition -- and local artist Niagara Moon taps into their power of nostalgia. In the song Eating Peaches, he takes us on a happy journey through all our favorite summer haunts, eating juicy fruit, and “creating memories from nothing at all.”
I got to chat with Thomas Erwin, the person behind Niagara Moon, and ask him about his music, connection to the Pacific Northwest, and, of course, fruit. He grew up in Western Massachusetts and spent three years living in Kyoto, Japan before moving to Seattle about a year ago. Western MA and Western WA share a similar summer climate and yield much the same summer fruit. Thomas remembers picking blueberries and strawberries around this time of year, rhubarb growing behind the house, and, of course, glorious apple harvests in the fall. The peaches he had in mind while writing this song, he says, are actually Japanese peaches, a variety he thinks are sweeter and juicier than the peaches he’s had here in Washington. My personal theory is that he hasn’t eaten enough prime summer peaches here yet (but I’ll bet Japanese peaches are good, too).
While genres are sometimes hard to classify, Niagara Moon’s Bandcamp page sums it up perfectly as “music that sounds like Harry Nilsson or Brian Wilson, after Of Montreal and Animal Collective taught them how to use these newfangled computers.” The sometimes whimsical, sometimes expansively beautiful layers of harmonies, synths, guitar, and drums on this album are sure to make you smile.
Having lived elsewhere, Thomas feels at home in Seattle, connected to the natural beauty of our region, familiar local fruit seasons, and the friendly and communal vibe of the music scene. It seems to him that musicians here are doing it for the love of music above all else. Just as it takes a community to grow, harvest, cook, and eat local fruits and vegetables, so it takes a community to build a strong and inclusive music scene. Consequently, Seattle is rich in both. Enjoy your peaches!
City Fruit Guest Blogger
Jordan grew up in the Pacific Northwest, wandering trails, picking berries, and learning to advocate for the rain. After studying Urban Studies and Sustainability at the University of Pennsylvania, he made his way back to Seattle via a small farm in Pinedale, Wyoming. He is a firm believer in the power of fruits and vegetables as a conduit for environmental and community health and has spent the last year working on food access at farmers markets and on expanding opportunities for home-cooks to participate in the food system through Josephine - a website that helps home-cooks feed their communities. He now lives in South Seattle and when he’s not teaching cooking classes, cooking for his neighbors on Josephine, or trying, unsuccessfully, to climb a tree, you’ll find him playing keyboard and singing somewhere around the city.