BOOK/CD: Sea of Trees’ “Fletcher and the Hendersons, Part One”

Sea of Trees: Fletcher and The Hendersons

(SwordPaw Music, 2011):

“It’s a book!”

“No, it’s a CD!”

Stop. You’re both right – it’s a book and a CD!

Albany’s own Sea of Trees has forged one of those fab, age-old, multi-media experiences with their new release, “Sea of Trees Presents Fletcher and the Hendersons, Part One.”

It’s something like a children’s book for all-ages. The book chronicles the adventures of a young girl named Florence, whose scientist-father goes exploring in the mountains and never returns. With the help of a ghost named Fletcher, the intrepid Florence goes on a dangerous journey to search for her father.

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Tucked in the back of the book is a nine-song CD of music that acts as a soundtrack to the tale.

The music is by Sea of Trees. The story is by Sea of Trees’ principal songwriter Dylan Palazzo. And the wonderful, whimsical illustrations are by Pelham-based artist/designer Nancy Palazzo, who just happens to be Dylan’s mom.

Although Nancy Palazzo created the CD cover-art for Sea of Trees’ 2010 self-titled EP, “Fletcher & the Hendersons,” is a first-time collaboration on a book by both mother and son.

“I’m a songwriter, but writing a children’s picture book is something I always wanted to do,” says Dylan. “I wanted to create a narrative that would contain elements of fantasy and whimsy, and then enhance that story through music.”

“The inspiration for the illustrations came directly from Dyl,” says Nancy. “He’s amazing to work with, and he took all the time I needed to understand the multi-levels of his story. The lyrics provided a clear description for my mind’s eye to grasp.”

The music on the accompanying CD was originally written and recorded last year at Franklin’s Tower in Albany as part of the RPM Challenge, an annual nationwide contest for musicians to record an original album of music from scratch during the 28 days of the month of February.

The music was performed by Dylan (vocals, organ) along with his bandmates Mitch Masterson (pedal bass, percussion) and Ian White (percussion, mandolin, lap steel guitar). And rest assured that the music is no Barney-like kids’ music. It easily stands on its own without the aids of the book narrative and illustrations.

If there’s one aspect where “Fletcher and the Hendersons” falls short, it’s the book cover. It’s simply too plain and nondescript for the magic that you’ll find inside. Can’t wait for “Part Two”…

“Fletcher and the Hendersons” is available today (Friday) exclusively at the new Design It Together in Troy. And Sea of Trees will be serving up a free acoustic performance at the store at 8:30pm tonight, in conjunction with the monthly Troy Night Out.

This weekend the book/CD combo will also be available at the two-day Restoration Festival at St. Joseph’s Church in Albany. It will also be available for purchase from the band’s website and several locations throughout Nippertown, including Market Block Books in Troy, The Book House of Stuyvesant Plaza in Guilderland, Last Vestige Music Shop in Albany and the River Street Beat Shop in Troy.

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