Back-up Vocal~ Our story grows legs. Once again, Manny isn’t wrong. He leans much closer to…….selective comprehension. As I began to seek research and resources to inspire and develop this new tale, a……truth became clear. Take heed, Beloveds….Norse Folklore is not light reading. I learned fast that this is demanding material.  Several of the names are not especially friendly to newbies. Tongue twisters, to be sure. More to the point, there were so many potential plot directions to choose from, that I ultimately felt the need to whittle the entire endeavor down to the most brass of all possible tacks. I asked myself a simple question: “What would Manny do with such a vast range of story arcs to pick for the basis of a Concept Album?”. Knowing the little lunatic as I do (or as much as he allows), I determined that he would grab what looked like the best entry point, cherry-pick a few ingredients of Norse culture and then write the rest himself as it suited his personal agendas. 

While I did explore a collection of books, the one proving the most useful was “Norse Gods and Heroes” by Padraic Colum. Reading was enacted with both a highlighter and pen, a true first in the pursuit of an anecdote for my boys. But, I understand that Manny was striving for something epic in this newest adventure. Thus, devoted concentration was applied to my study on his behalf. Most Prog Rock bands will work their way up to a Concept Album, cultivating listeners with live shows and their first few records. Then, they take the next step once they’ve proven their mettle, charting a course to the sonic outlands with those willing to follow them. However, Manny won’t stand on formalities like establishing a fan base first. Manny does what Manny does, when Manny does it. That creed seems to include completely re-imagining age-old folklore, with no regard for long-range consequences or what our modern standards might label “cultural appropriation”. Since I’m following our hero wherever he wants to go on this one, I will own my role in the proceedings, too. Colum’s book does discuss ravens delivering Odin news of dangers on their way to Midgard. Odin did take an incognito journey to the world of men to investigate. Manny combined them spices with the album title he already conjured, took off to the races and I let him.

Finally, it has not escaped my attention that yet again, the Yes “Union” album has found its way to Manny’s crosshairs. Take what you will from that there sentiment, Beloveds. I grant my boy absolute free rein to voice his opinion. I regret nothing.