COVID-19 has affected all of us in one way or another, and hopefully things are winding down. For those of us in upstate New York, getting back to a sense of normalcy seems just around the corner, and listening to some bluesy folk music about the Adirondack High Peaks may be the perfect way to hold us over until we can return to the outdoors ourselves without fear.
Upstate New York-based band Nite Train is back with their newest album “Cat on a Mission,” named after band leader Ken Briggs’ newly adopted blind cat, whose other senses have turned up to overdrive. The cat zooms around with some serious conviction, and the phrase “cat on a mission was born.”
The band Nite Train consists of Thomasina Winsolow on guitar and vocals, Marla Briggs on vocals, Al Kash on drums, Paul Quigley on guitar, Mike Kelley on keyboard, Marcus Benoit on the sax, and Ken Briggs on bass and vocals. They have some upcoming gigs this summer in July, August, and September and would be well worth the trip. To get more information on those events and to check out the band, visit this link.
Ken and Paul sat down with me to discuss a song included at the end of the album written about Ken’s ongoing attempt at the Adirondack 46er high peak challenge. Ken only had four peaks to go that he intended to finish last year until COVID-19 hit, which put a damper on both the hiking challenge and the recording of the 46r song. “Each peak is unique,” Ken says, “And not’ a one of them are easy.”
For those who don’t know, The Adirondack 46ers Club includes those who have hiked all 46 high peaks of the Adirondacks, with each mountain having a peak of at least 4000 feet. The 46r song itself opens with a recording of loons, a type of waterfowl out here in the North Country with a haunting call almost guaranteed to spark nostalgia for summer hiking in the hearts of residents. The call of the loons fade out to a soft, melodic acoustic riff played by Paul Quigley further capturing the feel of the wilderness in a few notes. Ken and Paul decided to abandon the traditional structure of a song in favor of a bluesy spoken word tribute to the high peaks. “There is a story for every summit, and no two stories are the same” Ken sings. “The Adirondacks hold legends and secrets, and 46rs are keepers to that flame.”
The song captures the memories of Ken’s 42 high peaks well, and you can tell just from speaking with him for a little that he is passionate about completing that goal. He intends to go back out there soon once things begin to return to normal. You can give the song a listen yourself by clicking this link here.