Read ‘EPIPHANIES’ in The Wire by George Xylouris

Track from the album "The Sisypheans" by Xylouris White, available on LP & CD on November 8, 2019 from Drag City. Directed by Sarah King.

Film Clip by Jem Cohen

In ‘Tree Song’ Nature calls to the Sisypheans
She calls:
‘Don’t go away, stay with me
My three branched basil tree
My short bushy bitter-orange tree’

Cover Art by  Elsa Hansen Oldham

Cover Art by Elsa Hansen Oldham

Jim on ‘The Sisypheans’

As George Xylouris and I traveled around these last five years, we found ourselves talking about Sisyphus. George had a theory about Sisyphus, condemned to climb that hill with that rock forever. George saw him carrying the rock in different ways, in his left hand, behind his back, pushing it with his head while crawling and noticing each journey the seasons changing, the grass and the insects. The meaning was clear and for George it fit with playing the popular Cretan song “Proto Hanoti” many turns each day for his life and discovering it new each time…. I found it fit in with a long held set of thoughts I’d had, that if one concentrated activity and thought enough on one thing it would expand and be a whole world. It sounded like the same idea and also with the idea of first principles, for it to be new each time: that is our job as musicians. We would talk about this as we traveled playing music. One day a waitress heard us talking, and she asked if we knew the Camus essay about Sisyphus. We didn’t, but I got it in English and then we found it in Greek and it fit too. When we were playing in Louisville and working on Black Peak, we stayed at a house and saw the artwork you see on the cover, by Elsa Hansen Oldham … We’d finished the circular trilogy of Goats, Black Peak, and Mother, and we found ourselves making The Sisypheans. What we do leads us to who we are, the Sisypheans.