From The Desk Of matt pond PA: Death And Leia

The 11th matt pond PA full-length, Winter Lives, features artwork that evokes Windham Hill’s catalog. Winter Lives arrives 11 years after Pond’s nearly all covers EP, Winter Songs. Pond, a New Hampshire native, understands the season that inspired Winter Lives, but he needed to write winter songs in the spring, so the album would arrive in context. Given his background, Pond didn’t scratch down too far to find inspiration. “It’s just visceral,” he says of winter. “There’s this coldness and shut-down emotional temperament to people in northern places, but when you get through that, there’s so much depth and reality to northern people.” Pond will be guest editing over the next two winter weeks. Read our new feature on him.

Pond: Since I first wrote about death, Carrie Fisher and her mother, Debbie Reynolds, have passed away. Shampoo, Star Wars, Singing In The Rain—these films left dramatic impressions on my childhood mind. Even though I was prone to falling madly in love with every actor on the screen, these human beings had eyes and actions that expressed empathy and infinite, intrinsic beauty. I celebrate them. And I will miss them.

We’re in a time when the icons are aging, when the first superstars are rapidly coming to the end of their lives. Inevitably, that means that some years are going to feel like 2016. With or without orange-hued, reality-star presidents. But still, 2016 was hard, seemingly rife with death. For some, I believe it appeared to have the look and feel of a couple rapturous harbingers, pirouetting past the last song of a bad dance-off. If I ever appear glib about the final curtain, I honestly apologize. The truth is I’ve probably never properly dealt with my own father’s death. So I guess my cool breezes are really just defensive hot airs.

Michael Cimino, Merle Haggard and Garry Shandling. These human beings thrilled me through film, music and television. I celebrate them. And I will miss them.