Astral Woman is the other centerpiece (with Tuesday's track "I Lay Down") to the album "All My Relations (at peace)." It is the song from which the album title is derived - or is it the other way around? The lyric is by Amee Evans Godwin in collaboration with Miguel and Paul. It begins with the deaths of two family members (or the surroundings of their deaths) - "her back is turned to me, and he no longer sees." But it goes on to explore our preparations and caretaking of the recently deceased. "She sweeps the letters clean, changes out the flowers in between; he's stretched in front of me, his blood runs cold from drain to drain." Fitting that this morning I read an account in the New Yorker about Caitlin Doughty, an "artisanal undertaker" - fascinating stuff as I had the experience of playing music during the ritual bathing of my brother's corpse and found the "gig" not just deeply emotional, but wondered whether this was actually a gig that musicians could do for others. Apparently so.
The track and its vocal have been compared by several listeners and one reviewer to David Bowie. I was certainly unaware of this influence when we were writing/recording but I won't deny that on hearing it now, it does remind me of certain 80s Bowie gothy-dramatics. And then, in the coda, the "all my relations" lyrics begin. Here we explore the various versions of our relations and their current states - "so far from home," "none are alone," "wanting for nothing," "half of them bluffing," "none are deceased," "Finding their Peace." We hope there is rest for those that are tortured, in pain, weary - the phrase "no rest for the wicked" comes to mind, but really, for those still seeking, still ploughing the rows, little rest is necessary and there's time for sleep on the other side.