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From New Orleans to Joshua Tree

On August 19 Jules Shapiro, partner of Juliette Tworsey, an occasional reader of this blog, posted a message on Facebook:

It's official. I'm now a desert dweller! It's been a calling of ours for a long time and after 5 years in New Orleans we decided to take the next plunge into a new life! We will miss our block on Gallier St. in the Bywater along w our loving neighbors who would go the extra mile for you if you needed anything. That's what makes New Orleans sparkle for us, sweet souls and great music leaving a life long imprint on our spirits now and beyond this life.

In other words, the same week my daughter arrived at Loyola University in New Orleans (see previous post), Jules and Juliette left the city and moved to Joshua Tree in the high desert of California.

The reason I mention this is because the pair were guests of Forest at the 2015 Freedom Dinner and before that Juliette was one of the few people who publicly opposed the NOLA smoking ban and didn't throw smokers under the bus.

By coincidence our own Dan Donovan – musician, photographer and graphic designer – recently spent two weeks recording tracks at Rancho de la Luna, a recording studio in Joshua Tree. Before he flew to California he explained:

I've been obsessed with the desert and the studio Rancho de la Luna, Joshua Tree CA, for a few years now. The studio operates on quite a chilled creative no nonsense, low fi kind of plain. Pretty much everything that comes from that studio I love, Iggy Pop, Queens of the Stone Age, Eagles of Death Metal, Kyuss, PJ Harvey, Black Rebel Motorcycle Club to name a few.

A good few weeks ago I hooked up with long time friend Jonny Quinn [Snow Patrol] and asked him if he'd come across the place in his travels. He said yes and it would be perfect for me to go and record as Dave Catching, the owner, and myself are 'cut from the same cloth'.

I thought no more about it then Jonny told me he'd been in touch with Dave C. Next thing Dave C listened to some of my tunes and invited me over to record. Next thing Jonny says he's recording the new Snow Patrol album in LA during May/June and would come and play drums for the session if I go ahead with it.

But it wasn't the studio that impressed me as much as the location.

Joshua Tree, in San Bernardino County, is in an area known as the High Desert which is part of the Mojave Desert. Named after the trees that are native to that region, its population, according to the last census, is less than 8,000.

Dan took some wonderful photographs that caught the beauty of the amazing landscape. I've posted one below and there are many more on Facebook. I'm hoping however he will publish a photo book to accompany the tracks he recorded at the Rancho. It would make a fabulous package.

In a further coincidence, another band that recorded at the same studio a few years ago was none other than Firebug, aka Jules Shapiro and Juliette Tworsey. Small world.

Anyway, I wish Jules and Juliette all the very best for their new life in the desert. When they've settled in perhaps they will write and tell us how they're getting on.

In the meantime I recommend this Firebug video, 'Wine, Water and Bread', filmed on location at Fountainebleu State Park, Mandeville, Louisiana, August 2015.

Photos courtesy Dan Donovan.

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Reader Comments (1)

Hi Simon,

What a coincidence indeed! I am sorry that we did not have the opportunity to meet your daughter before we left New Orleans. I hope that she enjoys her time at Loyola.

Hi Dan! Nice t-shirt btw (and beautiful photo of Joshua Tree!) just wore my Mohave Lords t-shirt the other day. I wish that you were still here in Joshua Tree so that we could say hi to you in person. We look forward to hearing your new tunes when they become available.

When Jules and I still lived in Los Angeles we would occasionally visit Joshua Tree, but we still had that itch to live in a city, so we moved to New Orleans for its lower cost of living and musical culture. Fast forward a few years and the mountains of the West came calling. There are a lot of musicians here, which is one of the main reasons why we chose this area and you can see the stars at night!

We are still getting settled in (we still have boxes everywhere), but when we do get settled in I will make it a point to post back. As an aside, while I have not had the time to blog or post much as of late ( I have been studying computer programming/web development + playing/practicing/writing tunes = there goes most of my, but I am always reading this blog. I am happy to have come across this post this morning.

Wowza! I mean, OMG, what a small world!

Cheers and talk soon:-)

Monday, August 28, 2017 at 18:41 | Unregistered Commenterjredheadgirl

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