It's hard to believe how much the world can change in 10 years.
When Paper Bag and I talked about the idea of reissuing Glory Hope Mountain last year, I had really mixed feelings. It feels like reunions, reissues, and comeback tours are achingly prevalent these days. And despite some fortuitous adventures, The Acorn always seemed most at home underground, and far-removed from the music-industrial complex.
When we wrote this record, I really thought we were documenting one person's story: a harrowing and surreal story, but as my bandmate Jeff DeButte aptly put it to Exclaim! in 2007:
"This is a really bad idea. Not in a callous way, but who cares about your mom?"
It just took the world flipping on its head for me to understand what this record was really about. Selfishly, I wanted to document my mother's story for my own sanity. My father's death left a lot of gaping holes and specifically, crippled my ability to relate to men; honestly, I just didn't need any more holes. So, I spent a few months asking Gloria every question I wanted answered. And what we wrote with those answers, despite its beauty, at times felt like a one-dimensional story.
But now, watching a sociological World War unfold on my newsfeed daily, I feel like her story belongs to anyone who's ever struggled to find a home on this planet. Revisiting GHM this past December, the album took on a completely different shape. I broke into quiet tears, walking down the street one day. And in a wave of gut-knotting empathy, drew lines from her struggles to countless others: her struggle to survive childbirth, her struggle to come up an orphan, her struggle running from abuse and violence, her struggles starting adult life at age 11; I finally understood why she hates exercise.
Cynically, my father used to say that the world and people don't change. But oddly enough, the smallest struggle my mother faced was crossing borders from Honduras through to the U.S. to finally land in Montréal in 1972. Naïvely, I find it hard to believe that 45 years on, escaping hardship in the western world, would somehow be more problematic.
I'll fess up that I wasn't trying to make a grand public statement with this record, and the insidiousness of "cause-based marketing" was still a decade away. But it actually feels like a good time to revisit this collection of songs. If it means that a few more people might connect or empathize with the universality of the world's immigrant/displaced population, that seems like a good enough reason to me.
Talk soon, Rolf.
I'd like to acknowledge the work and support of Brooke, Trevor, Noah, Benjamin and Briana at Paper Bag Records, without whom, the Glory Hope Mountain 10th Anniversary Edition would not be happening. Merci à vous xo